Hunting for the latest bargain has never been easier for UAE consumers thanks to the raft of daily deal websites that have cropped up this year, all of them eager to cash in on the nation's hunger for a bargain.
From Groupon to Cobone, GoNabit and many more, the market has been flooded with discounts on spas, shopping, weekend getaways and eating out.
Now a new player has entered the arena that only offers deals to women. JOYoffer (www.joyoffer.com), launched earlier this month, offers discounts of 50 per cent to 90 per cent on beauty treatments, dining out and hair care.
The site also claims to be the first "green" daily deal website because customers do not have to print off their vouchers to redeem their deals. Instead, after purchasing an offer by clicking on the "buy now" button before the timer stops, the customer will receive an e-mail with a unique code that they can present to the merchant they are claiming their deal from.
"Our primary focus is women and, accordingly, a significant percentage of the deals featured on our website target this high-potential segment," says Serhan Erol, the managing director of JOYoffer.
"Our goal is to provide the best value deals for consumers."
Deal-of-the-day websites are one of the most aggressive trends to hit the online market this year, with nearly all the sites delivering the same concept: daily discounts with local restaurants, spas and shops through a subscriber's e-mail, which require a minimum quota of people to make the deal active.
However, consumers still need to tread carefully when snapping up daily deals. Because of the high number of vouchers sold, they may need to wait their turn before they can redeem the offer they have purchased.
But Mr Erol adds: "With the steady growth of e-commerce in the UAE, we believe there is tremendous potential for our business model to succeed."
Al Hilal Bank has introduced a new thumb-verification system to speed up banking services for customers.
The Islamic lender is the first bank in the UAE to adopt the biometric technology, which scans customers' thumb prints and stores them in its maximum-security database.
The prints can then be used to verify a customer's identity for various transactions at the bank, negating the need for a customer to present any ID.
"The thumb-verification technology is inspired by Al Hilal Bank's vision to introduce state-of-the-art technologies that simplify the banking processes for customers," says Mohamed Jamil Berro, the bank's chief executive.
Al Hilal Bank hopes the new technology, which is not mandatory, will speed up customer waiting times and improve security. The bank has also recently introduced personalised account numbers, which enables customers to choose their own number.
For more information about the technology, go to www.alhilal.ae.