Emirates NBD has launched a digital-only bank aimed at millennial customers.
The bank, known as Liv., will target younger customers through an app on their smartphone that will provide a series of services including personalised deal offers through partners, more user-friendly statements offering details on how much is being spent on things like groceries, food and clothes, and the ability to instantly send money (or even pay utility bills) to friends who also use the service.
Other functions included in the app include a fitness tracker that will be linked to offers, a geolocation service that will provide exclusive offers to customers based on their location, and an ability to transfer funds through social media accounts such as Facebook and WhatsApp.
“We are very proud to launch the first digital lifestyle bank in the UAE. We have been working on this project for more than a year – almost a year and a half,” said Ali Sajwani, the chief information officer of Emirates NBD.
Research presented at the launch stated that the number of millennials in the UAE is set to rise to 3 million by 2020 – up from 2 million in 2014. It added that millennial spending in the UAE is estimated to be worth Dh73.5 billion to Dh88.2bn. A beta version of Liv. for “selected customers” will be available from Sunday. It will initially only be available in the Google Play store, but Jayash Patel, the head of Liv., said that a launch across all platforms will be rolled out within “a matter of weeks”.
It said the sign-up process has been created to be as easy as possible, merely through a Facebook sign-in and a scan of a customer’s Emirates ID card. A debit card will then be dispatched by courier, with verification being carried out at handover through both a swipe of the Emirates ID card and a biometric fingerprint reading.
Emirates NBD also plans to develop the Liv. brand internationally, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt two obvious targets given the fact that it has existing operations in both countries.
However, Mr Patel said that it was too early to say when operations could be extended to other markets, as this would be subject to securing agreements with local regulators.
“If you look at the region, the population is perfect for such a solution. So we’re going to experiment, learn and grow the business here and then go to other markets,” he said.
The bank commissioned New York-based advertising agency R/GA to work on the launch of the new bank’s brand.
Follow The National's Business section on Twitter