UAE Banks Federation (UBF), an association of 49 banks in the United Arab Emirates, this month said in it will move ahead with plans to develop a mobile wallet accessible to its members in 2016.

The Abu Dhabi-based organization began discussions about creating a broad mobile wallet in early 2014, with the goal of improving convenience for consumer payments and reducing their reliance on cash, the UBF said. The organization has not set a date for the mobile wallet’s launch.

Cap Gemini served as a technical consultant as the committee drew up a business model for the operation over the last year, and the UBF formed a steering committee in June 2015 to guide the project. The UAE Central Bank recently gave permission for the UBF to proceed with development of its proposed Near Field Communications-based UAE mWallet, enabling consumers to make purchases at retail outlets with smartphones, including storing and transferring funds, the UBF said.

Participating banks may offer the mWallet to their customers or integrate it within their own online and mobile banking platforms, the UBF said.

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