The mobile money service in the Arab Gulf has reached new ground with the newly introduced instant account-to-account transfer of funds by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD).
Following mobile money services that allow customers to pay bills or make remittances using SMS text messages, the new feature added to the NBAD Arrow service is a first of its kind and allows customers to instantly transfer funds to any bank in India at a lower price through Federal Bank, one of the leading private sector banks in India.
NBAD Arrow, the mobile based SMS payment service powered by Luup mobile payment technology, already allows users to send money to over 256,000 MoneyGram locations in 192 countries by two simple SMS messages. The new feature enables NBAD and non-NBAD customers to pay $2.55 (AED12) for their remittance to bank accounts in India. Money transfer times are cut to just seconds compared to the two or three days with standard mobile banking applications, giving users greater security, convenience and control.
“Indian nationals make up the largest expatriate group in the UAE and offering this service at such a low rate compared to the usual market price for their remittances adds a valuable saving to our customers,” said Ahmed al-Naqbi, the Head of Direct Banking & E Development at NBAD.
“We are proud to be the first UAE bank to offer this real time special bank-to-bank mobile service and allow customers to transfer funds using the bank’s competitive exchange rates and remittances fees.”
In March, UAE telecoms operator Etisalat, which saw $1.8 billion moved over its network last year via money transfers, sought regulatory approval to expand its financial services offerings in the Gulf region, home to millions of expatriates.
“The market is constantly looking for reliable and inexpensive means to meet their banking and financial needs. This is why we continue to develop services, add more valuable benefits and employ advanced technology to offer our customers utmost convenience when banking with us,” al-Naqbi said.
“Remittances are a huge business opportunity,” George Held, director of products and services at Etisalat, told Reuters.
About 89 percent of the UAE’s 8.3 million population are expatriates, while in Saudi Arabia just over a fifth of the 27 million population are foreigners.