Dubai Unveils Future Nol System Upgrade, Eliminating Physical Cards

Dubai is set to transform its existing card-based ticketing system, Nol, with a substantial upgrade to an account-based model that incorporates central wallet technology.

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This Dh350 million project will introduce advanced artificial intelligence (AI) features, including facial recognition, although specific details about the implementation of this technology are yet to be disclosed.

The current system necessitates users to possess a physical or digital card. The upgraded project aims to establish a digital payment system utilizing centralised transport fare wallet technology, allowing for online payments and storage of e-tickets or documents.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) assures that the new system will seamlessly integrate across different modes of transportation in Dubai. Key advantages include extensive upgrades to payment system technology, operational enhancements, and the provision of personalized services and products.

Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the RTA, highlighted the innovative features of the new system. It will support trip planning, booking, and pre-payment through smart channels, offering integrated packages with diverse services and the issuance of family and group tickets.

The upgraded system provides direct access to crucial information such as account balances, travel history, pricing details, and fare calculations. Users can manage their accounts and address issues related to lost cards, among other features.

Concerning electronic security, the new system links all issued cards to individual customer accounts and accounts of companies and multi-user entities, enhancing the security of personal and customer data for privacy protection. Al Tayer emphasized that the system offers flexibility in refining operational processes and monitoring performance.

The enhanced digital payment system is expected to provide improved data utilization and analysis based on trip details such as origins and destinations.

Since its introduction in 2009, the RTA has issued over 30 million Nol cards. In 2023, the average daily card use reached approximately 2.5 million transactions, totaling Dh2 billion.

Nol cards have played a significant role in facilitating public transport mobility and payment of public parking fees across the emirate. In 2017, the card's functionalities expanded to include payment services in retail outlets and cover entrance fees for various public and private establishments in Dubai.

Al Tayer sees this upgrade as a crucial step in embracing rapid global advancements in digital payment solutions and financial technology (fintech).

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