Emirates NBD recorded an increase of more than 20 per cent in the volume and value of funds transferred via its DirectRemit platform in 2020 compared with 2019 as more customers switched to online and mobile channels for their banking needs during the pandemic.
“DirectRemit was especially critical for customers dealing with urgent family needs or emergencies during lockdown and when movement restrictions were in force,” Emirates NBD said on Wednesday.
DirectRemit is a digital money transfer service that allows customers to send remittances to India, the Philippines, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Egypt and the United Kingdom in less than 60 seconds and with no charges via the bank’s online or mobile banking platforms.
India and the Philippines topped the list of recipient countries for DirectRemit transactions.
The rise in remittances via the bank’s digital platform is in contrast to the overall personal remittance market in the UAE, which remained sluggish amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Outbound personal remittances from the UAE fell 7.7 per cent, or Dh3.3 billion, in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019, according to the Central Bank of the UAE. There was a reduction in transfers through exchange houses by Dh6.9bn, while outward remittances through banks increased by Dh3.6bn. India, Pakistan and Egypt were the top destination countries for personal remittances from the UAE during 2020.
The UAE registered outward personal remittances worth Dh41.4bn and Dh38.2bn in the first and second quarters of 2020, respectively.
Changing demographics, labour mobility, unemployment and the pandemic will affect the UAE remittance industry in 2021, according to a survey by the Foreign Exchange and Remittance Group.
Other concerns include changing oil prices, geopolitical instability and reliance on government expenditure.