Aani, an instant payments platform, aims to transform the landscape of digital payments in the UAE, ushering in a new era of seamless, secure, and instant digital payments.
Al Etihad Payments (AEP), a subsidiary of the Central Bank of the UAE (CBUAE), has launched an innovative instant payments platform Aani.
Being a key initiative under the CBUAE’s Financial Infrastructure Transformation (FIT) programme, Aani offers individual customers, businesses, corporates, and government entities instant transaction processing on a 24/7 basis.
Money transfers in the system can be conducted using only a recipient’s mobile phone number. Besides common P2P transfers, Aani has “Request Money” and “Split Bills” features for utter user convenience. The platform also supports QR codes, which can be particularly useful for merchants. As the rollout unfolds, AEP plans to introduce new services to the platform such as real-time direct debit and e-checks.
Currently, the new instant payments system has onboarded eight licensed financial institutions (LFIs): 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. Other entities will be gradually added up to the end of 2024.
Aani can be accessed through the existing channels of the participating LFIs, or the separate Aani mobile app. Besides, AEP has been collaborating with Magnati, Mashreq/Neo Pay and Network International to enable Aani QR-based payments with their partner merchants. The organization envisions onboarding tens of thousands of merchants in the coming months through licensed merchant acquirers.
The launch of Aani follows the announcement of the UAE’s first Domestic CardScheme (DCS) which is another integral part of CBUAE’s FIT programme.
Al Etihad Payments is a national payments entity created in 2023 to support the UAE government’s objectives of transition to a cashless economy, national digitalisation, and delivering best-in-class payment solutions to the country’s citizens. AEP is a part of the National Payment Systems Strategy, contributing to financial stability and financial inclusion in the UAE.