Bank with the BEST credit card
Amit Malhotra is General Manager - Personal Banking Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai
CBD credit cards offer 10 per cent cashback across everyday spend categories, along with ultimate privileges CBD credit cards offer 10 per cent cashback across everyday spend categories, along with ultimate privileges
Amit Malhotra, General Manager - Personal Banking Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai, takes pride in declaring that his bank is a leading card issuer in the UAE. CBD offers a full range of cards - credit, debit, pre-paid, payroll, commercial - to individual, SME and corporate customers.
"We work closely with the leading payment networks, Visa and MasterCard, and in total we have over 200,000 customers across the mass, emerging affluent and affluent segments," Amit remarked, adding, "Our card propositions are second to none and offer a blend of rewards, cashback, dining, wellness, lifestyle, saving and protection benefits
CBD's credit and debit cards are 'dual interface' in nature and support both Chip & PIN and contactless (tap & go) transactions. The bank is also a leading E-acquirer with a sizeable market share in the public-sector payments space, and has recently entered into a strategic partnership with Network International, the largest acquirer in the UAE, to offer Point-of-Sale acquiring services to its corporate and commercial clients.
Amit, while elucidating on the intricacies of the credit card market, said, "The UAE credit card industry is mature, with over 20 major credit card issuers serving a bankable population of around 2.5 million. A large number of residents possess more than one credit card in their wallets."
He said that during the last couple of years, there has been consolidation of portfolios and slow growth in the overall number of cards, spends volumes and receivables, but it is likely to change starting 2019 on the premise of positive macroeconomic indicators. Recent product launches, including CBD's launch of its Super Saver card, the entry of new mobile wallets such as Google Play are a testament to this trend.
"Competition will remain high, and credit card issuers will need to up their game from a proposition, channel strategy, customer engagement and risk-mitigation perspective to grow top-line and margins," he advised.
While the UAE is a fairly saturated market in terms of the number of cards per capita of the bankable population, the fact is that over 85 per cent of retail financial transactions still use cash. However, with newer technologies (e.g. mobile wallets and push payments), developing acceptance infrastructure (QR codes, in-app payments), support from issuers, acquirers and the payment networks (investments in merchant and customer education) and a big push from the UAE government itself (Smart Government - 'Week without Service Centres' initiative, etc.), the share of card-based transactions will continue to increase.
On the role of technology, the CBD General Manager says, "It goes without saying that technology has played a big role in the credit card industry, beginning with the sale of the card itself. At CBD, we have done away with paper-based card applications and have digitised the entire onboarding process - our sales agents use tablets that are equipped with Emirates ID readers and are integrated with the Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB) and our policy engine. Hence when our agents meet customers they are able to validate identification, access credit history and run the policy criteria to provide an 'approval in principle' within minutes."
Similarly, from an account management perspective, several banks including CBD offer a 'do-it-yourself' functionality to cardholders via their mobile apps and internet banking platforms - cardholders can seamlessly activate, block, set credit limits, apply for ancillary products like balance transfer/cash-on-call, review transactions history and redeem rewards, thus serving the twin objectives of improving customer experience and reducing operating costs for banks.
These are just a few examples, but technology has actually powered almost every aspect of the cards/payment industry - customer engagement (offers, notifications), mobile payments (NFC, BLE, QR-code based), form factors (contactless cards, virtual cards, wearables), data security (Chip & Pin, tokenisation, biometric authentication) analytics (modelling - predictive, best-fit product), credit and fraud risk mitigation (credit bureau integration, encryption, fraud threat matrices) - technology and cards are entwined to a very significant degree.
Amit observed that the Smart Government agenda in the UAE is playing a big role in driving the use of technology overall, and payments in particular. "A good example of this is the Dubai Now mobile app that has aggregated utility, government services and merchants and allows customers to register their cards one-time and make payments with a single touch. It also provides notifications and allows one to pre-set recurring payments and supports Apple Pay."
Describing the salient features of an ideal credit card, he said, "An ideal credit card programme is one that offers users an optimal trade-off between 'cost' and 'value', i.e. what does the user need to pay as joining fees, annual fees, interest on revolving balances, other charges versus what he or she gets back in terms of rewards, discounts and other benefits."
The recently-launched CBD Super Saver Cashback credit card is a perfect example, he pointed out, saying, "It is offered on a first-year-free basis to allow customers an opportunity to experience the benefits. It is positioned as the B.E.S.T card in the UAE and offers 10 per cent cashback across everyday spend categories, including bills (utility, telecom, government payments), education (school and college fees), supermarkets (grocery spends) and transport (fuel)."
The card also offers one per cent on every Dh2 of spends outside these categories, plus free valet parking, complimentary lounge access, discounts on cinema tickets and dining, free travel insurance etc. Overall a cardholder can save over Dh20,000 per year against no first-year fees and an annual fee of Dh800. That's 20X in terms of 'value' versus fees.
Moreover, the CBD has enhanced its mobile banking app to provide more 'self-service' features to help conveniently activate cards, change pins, manage supplementary card limits, report lost or stolen cards.
Amit Malhotra, General Manager, Personal Banking Group, Commercial Bank of Dubai