First Ever Independent Digital Banking Platform Launched In UAE
Published On:March 08, 2021
The United Arab Emirates' first independent digital banking network, a neobank aiming to be a pioneer in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, launched on Sunday. YAP, which is headquartered in Dubai, does not have its own banking licence, but it has partnered with RAK Bank, which provides YAP users with foreign bank account numbers and secures their funds under its own banking licence.
YAP, like other neobanks without physical branches, does not have conventional banking services such as loans or mortgages, but instead focuses on spending and budgeting analytics, peer-to-peer transfers and remittances, and bill payment. According to YAP's head of product Katral-Nada Hassan, the company is in the process of partnering with banks in other countries, including one in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Ghana.
Revolut, one of the world's fastest-growing applications, is one of the few global leaders in digital banking that does not have a presence in the UAE. Some UAE banks, such as Emirates NBD's LIV and Mashreq Bank's Mashreq Neo, have recently introduced their own digital banking offerings aimed at digitally savvy and younger users.
Last year, Abu Dhabi state-owned holding company ADQ announced plans to launch an unnamed neobank using the country's largest lender, First Abu Dhabi Bank's banking licence (FAB). Fintechs seeking to expand to the UAE face hurdles, according to Hassan. YAP is in the seed stage, with financing coming from the founders, a private equity company, and private investors, according to Hassan. More than 20,000 customers have pre-registered, and accounts will go live in the coming weeks.
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