UAE's Verity rolls out banking app to help families with financial literacy

FinTech start-up aims to help build money management skills for children aged 8 to 18 in the Mena region

The Verity banking and financial literacy app for children allows parents to control family finances. Getty Images
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Dubai-based FinTech start-up Verity has rolled out a family banking and financial literacy app that aims to provide children aged 8 to 18 with the tools they need to earn, save, give to charity and spend responsibly in a real-life environment.

The platform helps to build a foundation of money management skills and allows parents to control the overall family account, Verity’s founders said on Monday.

“We’re witnessing a real digital transformation here in the region and financial services are taking the lead, with 69 per cent of Mena transactions expected to be cashless by 2023,” said Dina Shoman, co-founder of Verity.

“Realistically, the next generation will rarely interact with banknotes or coins, which means it’s critical that parents get a head start on helping them appreciate the value of money.”

Financial literacy is a key social priority in the UAE, which was identified by the Department of Community Development — Abu Dhabi through its Quality of Life survey.

The UAE has launched a number of financial literacy programmes over the past four years to tackle the rise of personal debt in the country.

In 2019, the Central Bank of the UAE signed an agreement with Emirates Foundation to launch a financial literacy programme through the Esref Sah scheme.

The Authority of Social Contribution — Ma’an has also rolled out the Ghaya financial literacy programme that aims to empower Emiratis with smart money skills to help them to contribute to Abu Dhabi’s long-term economic growth.

Meanwhile, a 2019 financial literacy survey by Visa found that 43 per cent of respondents in the UAE aged between 16 and 24 felt they were not ready to manage their own money. The survey found that 53 per cent said schools did not prepare them enough to take care of their finances.

Parents who sign up for the Verity app can top up their children’s digital wallets directly from their bank accounts. They can then allocate a set amount to each user in the family through pre-scheduled monthly or weekly allowances or one-off transfers.

Children also have the option to earn money by completing chores and tasks set by their parents.

Once they have received their funds, children are prompted to decide how much they would like to contribute to personal or family savings goals, charities, or their own spending budget.

“While it’s been great to see a number of financial institutions begin their transition towards youth banking, which remains an underserved segment … the Verity app has been built specifically for families in the region,” said Omar Al Sharif, co-founder of Verity.

“With more than 200 nationalities with highly varied lifestyles living in the UAE alone, that has meant accommodating an incredibly diverse audience.”

Verity was founded in May 2021 by Mr Al Sharif, Ms Shoman and Kamal Al-Samarrai, who initially bootstrapped the company.

They closed their first pre-seed round of $800,000 last year, with investors including Wamda, VentureSouq, Beyond Capital and regional angel investors.

The company recently closed its latest bridge round — backed by global investors and venture capital companies — bringing the total amount raised to $1.2 million.

The new funding will be used to expand Verity, which can be downloaded on Google Play and the Apple App Store, in markets across the Mena region.

Updated: September 20, 2022, 3:44 AM
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