The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD), the Number One Bank in the UAE, has joined hands with MoneyGram International (NYSE: MGI), a leading global money transfer company, to become the first MENA bank to allow mobile phone international remittances to more than 200,000 locations across 190 countries & territories around the globe .
The agreement between MoneyGram and NBAD will make it easier and more convenient for consumers in the UAE to send money transfers via their mobile phone to family and friends around the world. The partnership also gives MoneyGram access to NBAD's account holders in the UAE and extends the benefits of safe and reliable money transfer services to a new category of consumers.
Arrow money transfers, including MoneyGram international remittances, can be carried out from a current account and prepaid cards. Almost two years after NBAD introduced its Arrow service, the country’s first mobile phone money transfer and payment service, the Bank has integrated Arrow with MoneyGram to enable consumers to transfer funds directly from their NBAD or a prepaid account to persons outside the UAE via mobile phones. UAE has been recognised as a major source of remittances worldwide. The World Bank recently estimated remittances from the UAE to be between US$15 billion and US$20 billion in 2009 with potential to continue growing in the coming years. In GCC, the size of the remit market is nearly US$50 billion.UAE also has one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates in the world as the rate for mobile phone users in the UAE stood at more than 190% of the population. “An overwhelming majority of expatriates in the UAE remit money to their families in their home countries. The Bank wanted to bring to the market a product that serves this large demographic. We worked very methodically for more than a year with our partners to fine-tune the Arrow service to ready it for consumers to use it to conduct international remittances,” said Saif Al Shehhi, the Senior General Manager of Domestic Banking Division at NBAD. “NBAD understands a key component to delivering quality service is by being a leader in innovation. The Arrow mobile phone payment service and its expansion into international remittance is another example of NBAD’s innovative leadership in the market place.”
“With more than 4 billion mobile phones in use around the world today, we recognize the critical role that mobile technology is playing in the evolution of the remittance market. This partnership with NBAD reinforces our commitment to deliver innovative mobile money transfer products and services and provide consumers with more accessible, affordable and secure options to send cash around the world,” said Nigel Lee, MoneyGram’s executive vice president for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.,
The expansion of the Arrow service to international remittances with MoneyGram constitutes the third phase of enhancement and improvement to Arrow. In the first phase, introduced in November 2008, Arrow allowed customers to access their bank accounts via mobile phones to pay, send, and receive money domestically 24 hours a day.
NBAD developed the Arrow service with Luup, a world leader in the mobile payment industry.In the months that followed the initial introduction in November 2008, NBAD and Luup increased the range of its services outside NBAD current account holders to include transfer from prepaid cards linked to salary (Ratibi cards), and to non-NBAD customers who could transfer funds from their prepaid cards. Offering international remittances through MoneyGram is the culmination of 18 months of work that NBAD and Luup have undertaken in developing this service.“NBAD strives to provide services and products that genuinely deliver utility and value to consumers. Given how many people need to remit money to other countries, this service greatly meets a need in the market place,” said Ahmed Al-Naqbi, the Senior Manager of Channels and Electronic Banking Services at NBAD. “As UAE’s Number One Bank, NBAD is on the forefront of bringing to the market the latest banking technology to provide customers with a fast, secure, reliable and convenient banking experience.”"This new partnership with NBAD will start to define the use of Mobile remittances in the UAE as well as the region," said Richard Meredith, MoneyGram’s Regional Director for Middle East, Pakistan & Afghanistan. "This service demonstrates one of MoneyGram’s core values in making remittances convenient."