The day might come when you can pay for your groceries with a retinal scan or perhaps a chip embedded in your arm. But for now, banks are still making it convenient to pay your bills, check your balance and even transfer money around the world. Noor Islamic Bank, for instance, has joined ranks with other financial institutions across the UAE by offering mobile internet banking solutions. However, there are a few features that make this product stand out from the crowd.
Noor has recently launched the country's first Arabic-enabled mobile service as part of its drive to provide services 24 hours a day (www.noorbank.com).
"The new service can be accessed via any mobile-phone brand with access to the internet," says John Chang, the head of consumer banking. "A key differentiating factor of this service from other existing ones on the market is the direct hassle-free interface with which the customer can hook onto the Noor site."
After logging on, users are not required to bookmark the portal or even download and install applications. The "intelligent Noor website" will automatically detect the nature of the device logging in and adapt to the user's requirements, Mr Chang adds. The service is also available in English and allows customers to check their bank account and credit-card balances, transfer money and pay bills. Access to all of these services is free. However, consumers should keep in mind that their mobile-phone provider may charge for internet access.
Other banks that offer mobile banking services include Emirates NBD, Mashreq and Dubai Bank. Mr Chang says that clients can easily access all of Noor's latest promotions and offers through their mobile, such as the "Addvantage" account. The new scheme requires no minimum balance and includes pre-approved Islamic covered drawing (equivalent to a conventional bank overdraft) up to the client's monthly salary, a free-for-life credit card, preferential rates on financial products and a dedicated relationship manager.
And for those who sign up for the account by November 6, a special promotion is in place whereby clients have the chance to win Apple gift vouchers worth Dh40,000. Winners will be announced on December 9, 2010. Noor also offers some unique options when it comes to credit cards, such as the Noor Rewards programme, which gives clients one point for every Dh1 they spend. The minimum number of points that can be redeemed is 10,000 and in multiples of 5,000 thereafter. Every 10,000 points can get you a Dh100 gift voucher, or the equivalent value in cash, which will be subsequently debited to your credit card.
Meanwhile, the Credit Shield option on Noor credit cards provides insurance for customers suffering from permanent or partial disability, death or involuntary loss of employment. According to the bank, no medical certificate is required.