Financial institutions in the UAE are beginning to understand that as consumers begin spending more time online, a shift in banking must also take place. With this in mind, banks across the country are beginning to develop and implement strategies to help reduce the amount of physical bank visits by consumers. This not only makes the consumer happy, but it also reduces costs and time investment for the institution.
In the UAE’s bid to become more advanced and offer its citizens and expat community more peace of mind, it is important to make changes in these areas. Compared to the West, where online banking is the norm and covers everything from bill payment, to wire transfers, the UAE still has much to improve upon. The right vision is in mind and the right steps are also being taken which will help push the UAE to the forefront of all Middle Eastern countries.
AT Kearney, a leading global data analysis company reported that only a third of all banking customers in the GCC have registered for online banking. The study further reports that only 18% of those are actually active on their accounts. Emirates NBD quite possibly have the largest online banking user base in the UAE at 26% active. HSBC reported that more than 31,000 customers log in to their online portal everyday across the MENA region. To put these numbers in contrast with developed markets such as Japan, Canada and Scandinavia, there banking institutions enjoy a 70% rate of active online banking users.
Some of the initiatives by the financial institutions include development of new digital technologies, namely apps. Institutions are also adding new banking activities in addition to upgrading the overall online banking experience. Take for example Noor Islamic Bank, which has fit out 6 of its branches in the UAE with 15 Apple iPads. Management hopes that this will help encourage their banking customers to try online banking and understand the benefit. Noor Islamic bank has also launched a campaign which features free bank account opening without a balance requirement and also 5% cash back on all credit cards for any applications made online.