In 2018, the Global Innovation Index (GII) again rated the UAE as the most innovative country in the Arab world. This standing can be seen in its bold move towards becoming a cashless society – the result of more fintech start-ups entering the market and developing new ways of conducting transactions.
Policymakers, too, are keen to revolutionise the UAE as much as possible, not least because digital payments can have rich rewards for the economy. A report by Visa has found that they could bring $2.2bn in net benefits each year to consumers, businesses and the government in Dubai alone.
One organisation that has led the way in the UAE’s financial revolution is Mashreq Bank. It has undertaken a wide range of activities to help the government reach its goals, one of which is to make all of its utility services cashless by 2021. Mashreq has also seamlessly implemented sophisticated technology into its operations. It was the first bank in the region to introduce Alipay – China’s popular mobile and online payment platform, as well as launching Mashreq Pay, which allows customers to simply tap and pay at retail outlets.
Writing for World Finance magazine, Subroto Som, Executive Vice President and Group Head of Retail Banking Group at Mashreq Bank, discusses the bank’s latest efforts to digitise. At Mashreq, 95 percent of financial transactions are undertaken via digital and automated channels, such as Mashreq Online and the bank’s mobile app SNAPP, as well as new generation machines like ATMs, cheque deposit machines and self-service kiosks. Meanwhile, 65 percent of service inquiries are made online or via mobile. There has also been a huge uptake of Mashreq Neo – the UAE’s first fully-fledged digital bank to offer a full range of services.
This approach has won the bank a series of accolades, such as Best Digital Bank, UAE, and Best Mobile Banking App, UAE, both for 2018, and awarded by World Finance.