Al Etihad Payments Launches Aani: UAE’s Instant Payment Platform

Al Etihad Payments (AEP), a subsidiary of the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), has announced the introduction of Aani, an immediate payments platform aimed at revolutionizing the landscape of digital payments in the UAE, on October 16.

Aani, a central initiative under the CBUAE’s Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FIT) program, heralds a new phase of seamless, secure, and instant digital payments. In line with the UAE’s objective of becoming a global digital payment hub, the platform allows licensed financial institutions (LFIs) and payment service providers to provide customers with an outstanding user experience.

The payment platform offers consumers, businesses, corporates, and government entities an unmatched digital payment experience, permitting transactions to be handled immediately and securely 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The platform encompasses a range of convenient features enabling users to instantly transfer money using only the recipient’s phone number.

Other functions of Aani include “Request Money” and “Split Bills,” effectively streamlining various payments experiences. Aani also supports QR codes, making it easy for users to make hassle-free, cashless payments at merchants. Additional functionalities will be introduced in the near future, such as real-time direct debit and e-checks.

The launch includes participation from eight licensed financial institutions: Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Al Fardan Exchange, Emirates NBD, Finance House, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Habib Bank AG Zurich, Mashreq Bank, and National Bank of Fujairah.

AEP is actively working to onboard the remaining LFIs by year-end 2024. Aani can be accessed through the existing channels of the participating LFIs or through AEP’s Aani mobile app. AEP has also been collaborating with Magnati, Mashreq/Neo Pay, and Network International to enable Aani QR-based payments with merchants, with the aim of onboarding tens of thousands of merchants in the coming months through these and other licensed merchant acquirers.

Saif Humaid Al Dhaheri, Chairman of AEP, remarked, “The launch of Aani exemplifies our unwavering commitment to digitize the economy and advance the financial sector, aligning with our visionary leadership’s aspirations and the CBUAE’s objectives. Aani is not just a payment platform; it represents a catalyst for economic growth, innovation, and financial inclusion. We remain dedicated to fostering an ecosystem that encourages innovation, competition, and growth, benefiting the entire financial

Jan Pilbauer, CEO of Al Etihad Payments, added, “We are delighted to introduce Aani, a platform that redefines the digital payment experience and reinforces the UAE’s pioneering position as a global digital payment hub. Collaborating closely with our partners, we are committed to unlocking the full potential of Aani through current and future features that address evolving market needs.”

The launch of Aani follows the announcement of the UAE’s first Domestic Card Scheme (DCS) which further supports the nation’s digitization agenda, reduces the cost of payments, and enhances the UAE’s competitiveness.

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