UAE community’s personal banking and lifestyle habits

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Positive feelings towards personal banking over the internet; overwhelming majority keep their personal finances up-to date-and ladies taking the lead in controlling the purse strings

With the mercury rising prompting most people to remain indoors or consider their overseas travel plans, a recent consumer survey conducted by Western Union (NYSE: WU), a leader in money transfer and global payment services, amongst UAE residents* into their personal finance and banking habits showed that most are quite happy to conduct their finance management from indoors – via computer. In fact, the survey found that nearly half of all respondents (44%) actually prefer internet banking whilst 76% feel safe undertaking their personal banking over the internet.

The findings, part of a lifestyle survey launched by Western Union, demonstrate the popularity of internet banking in the region and are a firm indicator that Western Union’s recently launched Account Based Money Transfer (ABMT) service is yet another step in the right direction for the company. ABMT is a web-based facility that enables customers to send money through Western Union directly from their bank account – from the comfort of their home and at the click of a button.

Commenting on these findings, Sobia Rahman, Western Union’s Regional Vice President for Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Gulf said: “There appears to be an extremely positive wave of feeling towards internet banking and the security associated with it. And, this research clearly shows that our customers want the convenience of sending money via electronic channels. Our Account Based Money Transfer (ABMT) service not only allows a customer to easily move money from one location to another, but opens our money-transfer services to a new generation of consumers. We have already announced a strategic partnership with UAE- based Emirates NBD and our ABMT service is available through Emirates NBD online channels. We are currently looking to extend our ABMT footprint with other banks across the Gulf through various banking channels such as online, ATM and mobile.”

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • 32% of those who replied use internet banking for transferring funds; 35% use the internet to pay utility bills and 31% use it for paying their credit card bills.
  • 46% of respondents still prefer the personal touch when it comes to their personal banking needs.
  • 13% prefer telephone banking.
  • Only 9% use the internet to pay their mortgage suggesting that consumers prefer more traditional methods of payment for settling their larger bills.
  • 14% of respondents use the internet to manage their investment portfolios.
  • 72% of those surveyed keep their personal or family finances up to date, the remaining 28% saying that they tend to put it off. Interestingly, women tend to be more on top of their personal finances than their male counterparts.
  • Of those surveyed who procrastinate regarding their personal finances, 26% claim it is because they are too busy, 10% find it boring, 9% say that they are too frightened to do it, another 9% would rather watch TV and 5% reckon they have more interesting things to do.

Rahman continued, ”It is also interesting to note that consumers tend to stay on top of their personal finances demonstrating a heightened sense of responsibility in this area. With women tending to take the lead on this, the notion of the lady of the house running the family purse strings, no matter who the main breadwinner is, remains in place.“

Other survey highlights suggest that failing to undertake one’s personal finances is not the only thing consumers tend to procrastinate about:

  • 42% of those surveyed tend to put off doing exercise with 39% of these respondents being female and 30% procrastinate when it comes to starting a diet.
  • 30% put off going to the doctor and 25% delay going to the dentist.
  • For the more romantic amongst us though it is good news as 83% tell their spouse that they love them suggesting that the UAE population is not afraid to show its feelings!
  • Following on from this 50% of respondents stated that when it comes to exchanging gifts they prefer to send their loved ones abroad a money transfer with 46% preferring to wait until they are at home so they can present their gift personally.

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