UAE banks are continuing to set the bar when it comes to technology adoption in the region, with a new focus on offering customer services through social media apps.
Dubai's largest bank, Emirates NBD, and its Shariah-compliant unit, Emirates Islamic, have introduced 'WhatsApp Banking', which allows customers to check their account balances, the last five transactions of their account or credit cards, credit card mini statement, temporarily block or unblocking cards, new cheque book requests, as well as foreign exchange rates.
To subscribe to this service, Emirates NBD customers can SMS 'WhatsApp' to 4456 using their registered mobile number, or, alternatively, they can subscribe through mobile or online banking. Emirates Islamic customers can SMS 'WhatsApp' to 4451.
Industry data has revealed that WhatsApp is the most popular social media platform in the UAE, followed by Facebook, Skype, SnapChat and WeChat; this has resulted in banks using these tools to quickly interact with their customers. In order to access customers through these digital platforms, banks in the UAE are pumping billions of dirhams in digital innovation, improving mobile banking, and the user experience. Emirates NBD had earlier announced plans to invest Dh1 billion in digital transformation, while Mashreq Bank chief executive, Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, also recently announced half a billion dirham allocation to transform half of its retail network into digital branches. Emirates NBD and Emirates Islamic are the first bank to offer chat banking through WhatsApp in the region. A few banks in India have also introduced WhatsApp banking.
Banks across the UAE have assured that all messages on the banks' verified WhatsApp Business account are encrypted, ensuring the safety and security of a customer's information. Customers are encouraged to check for the green badge next to the Emirates NBD name in the chat window to ensure that they only engage with the bank's verified WhatsApp Business account. The banks using chat banking through WhatsApp are supported by easy-to-use secured channel, Infobip, allowing its customers to execute banking transactions without having to log in.
"With customers increasingly turning to online and mobile banking services, Emirates NBDs' Chat Banking via WhatsApp solution is to make banking easy and intuitive. WhatsApp is a simple, reliable and private way to talk to anyone in the world, which will lend further convenience to banking with Emirates NBD," said Suvo Sarkar, senior executive vice president and head of retail banking and wealth management at Emirates NBD.
"As the first Islamic bank in the world to launch a WhatsApp banking solution for customers, we have further cemented our position as an industry innovator and digital frontrunner in the Islamic banking sector," said Wasim Saifi, deputy CEO for consumer banking and wealth management at Emirates Islamic.
By Waheed Abbas
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