22 April, 2015

Dubai First: Embodying the spirit of Dubai

Banker Middle East, one of the leading magazines in the Middle East recently published an interview with Dubai First's CEO, Amit Talgeri, about Dubai First’s growth segments and competing with conventional banks’ products and services.

Banker Middle East is the region’s only magazine serving the financial sector, providing news, analysis and in-depth interviews to all C-level executives in financial institutions informing and advising them of key financial sector developments.

Here is what Amit Talgeri had to say:

How has the credit cards segment grown over the past year and how is Dubai First positioned?

“Traditional demographic profiling is no longer enough to remain relevant in today’s market. In the UAE, we continue to see an emerging trend of targeting customers based on their income, lifestyles preferences, recreational habits and travelling patterns and this is what underlines the success to creating long-term customer relationships.

At Dubai First, providing the right product to the right market segment has been the key to successful acquisition, engagement and retention. Through applying market intelligence and using data driven insights, we offer niche products that cater to the evolving requirements of our customers in the emerging affluent, affluent and ultra-high net worth segments.”

What’s new and exciting in credit card technology? What can Dubai First cardholders expect?

“Technology plays an increasingly important role in the finance industry. The payment landscape has seen substantial change in the past few years, with electronic payments marking triple-digit growth year-on-year.

Technology advancements follow market trends to match the evolving behavior of customers, who now use various digital platforms and device for purchases. The system and product innovations are developed on two vectors – increased payment security and enhanced customer experience.

“As early adopters of novel technologies, Dubai First offers new choices and enhanced convenience to our cardholders, while remaining conscious of the security aspect. Towards this, a few of our key focus initiatives include Chip & PIN - a technology that has already proven to be successful in reducing fraud in other countries around the world; 3D Secure - a system that offers increased security while shopping online; and an innovative digital wallet solution that offers our customers an easier and faster online shopping experience.”

What’s the value add proposition in approaching a finance company over conventional banks for personal finance products? How is Dubai First proposition different?

“Dubai First has benefited from being a consumer finance company in its ability to respond quickly to new market trends, flexibility to turn innovative ideas into value propositions and offer niche products.

Over the years, we have introduced several award winning products. Royale Card – a programme that is by invitation only - targets ultra-high net worth customers and is recognized as one of the world’s most prestigious cards; DubaiFirst Miles was the region’s first airline-agnostic credit card. The Dubai First Emirati Card is the only card exclusive to UAE Nationals. We carry the name of Dubai in our brand with pride and the Dubai Moments Card is testament to this. The Card embodies the spirit of Dubai and offers customers unique and tailor-made benefits around what this dynamic city has to offer.

UAE is a trading and logistic hub in the region, where SME contributes to 40 per cent of the GDP. Within the SME segment, micro SMEs remain a highly underpenetrated market for financial institutions. Dubai First offers tailor-made solutions catering to the needs of this niche group.”

Is Dubai First planning to launch similar Shari’ah compliant products? If so, what will be the investment challenges?

“Dubai First, as a wholly owned subsidiary of FGB, is focused on offering differentiated and niche conventional consumer financial products. FGB offers Shari’ah compliant products through its Islamic finance subsidiary. Dubai First has a massive opportunity to grow and diversify its conventional products portfolio and this is where our focus will remain.”.