The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD, has joined hands with MoneyGram International to offer international remittances via mobiles to more than 200,000 locations across 190 countries and territories around the globe.
The partnership also gives MoneyGram access to NBAD’s account holders in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). NBAD introduced its Arrow service almost two years ago. It was the country’s first mobile money transfer and payment service. Arrow has now been integrated with MoneyGram’s international remittances service, and the transfers can be carried out from a current account or prepaid cards.
The World Bank recently estimated that remittances from the UAE were between $15 billion and $20 billion in 2009. In the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Sultanate of Oman), the size of the remit market is worth nearly $50 billion.
UAE also has one of the highest mobile phone penetration rates in the world at 1.9 mobile phones per capita.
“An overwhelming majority of expatriates in the UAE remit money to their families in their home countries. The Bank wanted to bring to the market a product that serves this large demographic,” says Saif Al Shehhi, senior general manager, Domestic Banking Division at NBAD.