Middle East

The Demand for Smart Banking Starts in the UAE

As the world turns, the United Arab Emirates leads the way in technological and engineering advances. From hence, its people enjoy a future built on convenience and a higher quality of life. Before smart banking becomes a standard around the world, the UAE is working toward building a smart banking society with access to wealth management at the tip of a finger.

UAE Development of Smart Banking

The UAE is known for anticipating trends and building upon them proactively. It is also the only place in the world where the needs of the people are met by both government offices and private companies. Where elsewhere trends are born from what technology is offered, in the UAE, what consumers want is what is developed.

Smart banking is no different. Going into 2019, the world is more interested in convenient access to their financial information. The UAE is no different.

In its 2015 GCC Digital Banking Report, EY polled 2,000 customers in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. The survey found that 81 per cent of customers in the UAE would transfer to a different bank if it offered services and complimentary tech access based on their needs for on-the-go banking.

In 2017, Google’s Connected Consumer Survey determined that the UAE has the highest usage of smartphones in the world.

Overall, according to these surveys, the UAE has a large population of consumers interested in smart banking capabilities, and they all have access to the smartphones needed to ensure product development is met with a generous user base.

These facts have not fallen on deaf ears. In an article published on Gulf News, Philip King, Head of Retail Banking ADIB stated, “There is a definitive shift taking place in the way that consumers in the UAE are banking and we are investing heavily in the infrastructure to allow our customers to bank the way that they want to.”

Other financial institutions are already on the map with smart banking. The First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) has established convenient online banking services for their members that include mobile banking through an app.

FAB Mobile Banking

The FAB app is easy to install and is available to customers in Arabic and English.

Through it, members experience hassle-free enrollment and can add beneficiaries for payments both in the UAE and abroad. The app can be personalized, and access to the system is as easy as inputting your personalized six-digit code.

FAB’s mobile banking app is equipped with essential services that members can use without needing to visit a brick and mortar branch or the desktop online baking portal.

As soon as customers register for mobile banking, the homepage can be customized to show the user’s account balances, recent transactions and other services. The app also offers access to credit card balances, the ability to block lost or stolen cards and money transfers to and from accounts. Billpay is also a standard service.

Unlike other mobile apps, members can also apply for new accounts through the FAB app, order replacement cards and contact the bank at any time.

The Evolution of Mobile Banking

Elsewhere in the UAE, mobile banking is also being developed to include unique service with an aim on competitive supply to the demand. Emirates NBD recently launched a fitness initiative that provides members with increased interest returns on savings accounts based on the number of steps they take daily. The service is linked to the fitness app and a compatible wearable device.

According to the EY report, 47 per cent of banks in the GCC have a planned $5-20 million budget to increase mobile services to meet the demand of consumers. It looks like the future of banking is underway in the UAE.

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