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Finance (102)

The global financial sector is in the middle of a technology revolution, driven by consumer demand. Technologically adept customers are demanding the same services from their banks as they are used to in other aspects of their lives. As the average bank customer can download movies and TV series with the click of a mouse, or stream music with the tap of a smartphone, consumer-driven pressure to see technological advances in banking services increases exponentially. This compels former brick and mortar retail banks to embrace technology, real-time banking services and collaboration, in order to streamline the consumer experience or they would risk being left behind in the competition.

So what can we expect from retail banks in 2017?

Retail Banking Trends to look out for in 2017

Some useful indicators are contained in this yearÔÇÖs Digital Banking Report, which for the past six years has surveyed a crowd sourced panel of 100 global financial service providers to gain insight into upcoming trends.

The top trend identified for 2017 is that retail banks aim to ÔÇ£remove friction from the customer journeyÔÇØ. Success in this endeavour will necessitate better analysis of the data available to streamline the customer experience when using banking services, particularly where it applies to mobile services.

This leads neatly to the second most important trend cited: to use big data, advanced analytics and cognitive computing to their greatest effect to benefit the individual consumer. Though retail banks have a huge advantage in their access to ÔÇ£big dataÔÇØ, until now it has not been used to its full potential. Customers are used to their mobile device recognising their shopping and browsing habits, and personalising their offers accordingly. Retail banks havenÔÇÖt yet reached that level of personalisation, but itÔÇÖs expected that more and more of them will invest in doing so through 2017.

Other trends include expanding the reach and effectiveness of digital payments, improving integrated multichannel delivery, and exploring advanced technologies such as voice and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These all have a common theme to embrace and invest in new technology to make transactions more convenient, faster, intuitive and secure.

A final trend to watch in the retail space is increased collaboration across the financial value chain. Retail banking will tie up with fintech firms, collaborate with other banks, and reach out to other financial institutions to provide greater coverage and access new audiences. UAE Exchange has long advocated the benefits of collaboration for end consumers, and has already established partnerships with 140 banking institutions across the globe to ensure seamless money transfer facilities for customers worldwide.

While the retail banking sector might be subjected to market movements and political developments in 2017, one thing remains certain: this hotly contested space will be fought over fiercely, with banks utilising smart technology to make the customer experience faster and more convenient.

Everyone loves a bargain, and part of the fun of travel is finding a city that provides plenty of deals for budget-conscious customers. Here are 20 cities where bargain-hunters can indulge in their favourite pastime to their heartsÔÇÖ content. And make sure you take your gocash prepaid travel card to help you budget better and buy securely.

Bali: The wallet conscious can be fashion conscious too in IndonesiaÔÇÖs island of Bali, with handmade batiks, sarongs and shoes to be haggled over in the markets.

Bangkok: Shopping is an obsession in ThailandÔÇÖs capital. Hit the street markets for quality silks and textiles at reasonable prices.

Barcelona: The Spanish retail giants offer better prices at home than they do abroad, so stock up on your Zara, Mango, Massimo Dutti and Desigual at huge discounts.

Buenos Aires: ArgentinaÔÇÖs capital is one of the hottest places on the planet for great second-hand clothing, with vintage and used clothing stores everywhere you look.

20 Top Cities for Budget Friendly Shopping

Chicago: Step away from the Magnificent Mile in this American city, and head to the suburbs where hundreds of outlet stores will press your bargain-hunting buttons.

Florence: ItalyÔÇÖs Renaissance city offers more than dazzling frescoes and cathedrals. ItÔÇÖs a shopperÔÇÖs dream too, with impressive quality for the cost, especially for handbags and other leather goods

Hoi An: The Vietnamese city is legendary for its tailoring, where you can pick up a wardrobe of custom-made clothing for a fraction of the price youÔÇÖd pay elsewhere.

Hong Kong: If gadgets at great prices are on your shopping list, head to the Pearl of the Orient. There are also great bargains on clothes in the street markets.

Las Vegas: You can blow your budget in the designer boutiques on the Strip, but the canny budget shopper knows that Las Vegas offers outlet malls stuffed with premium products at rock-bottom prices.

London: With the British pound sterling at a historic low, now is the time to get some serious shopping done in London. The bustling hub of Oxford Street is the place to take advantage of the exchange rate.

Madrid: Take a walk on Calle Hortaleza in this Spanish city for excellent value on footwear- you might swap your well-worn shopping shoes for some new ones!

Mexico City: Street markets and bazaars in MexicoÔÇÖs capital city offer the perfect opportunity for adventure, bargaining and budget shopping.

New York: The city that never sleeps caters for wide-eyed shoppers with a mind-boggling range of options for bargain shopping. Arrive with an empty suitcase

Orlando: Disney WorldÔÇÖs hometown in the United States isnÔÇÖt just about Mickey Mouse or the Magic Kingdom. With 500 factory outlet stores across the city, the brand-name bargains are there for the taking.

Sao Paulo: Stroll through the many ÔÇ£feriasÔÇØ, second hand markets in this Brazilian city to fill your bags with bargains.

Shanghai: Markets in this coastal Chinese city are legendary, numerous, fascinating and offer extremely good value. YouÔÇÖll find everything at the markets, from antiques to exotic fish, from textiles to pearls!

Shenzhen: The sheer commercial buzz of this Chinese city can be overwhelming, as you are assailed from all sides with offers to sell you everything from dinosaur eggs to handbags.

Tokyo: For all things gadget-related, head to the Akihabara district of JapanÔÇÖs capital city. They have gadgets there you never knew existed - but once youÔÇÖve seen them you wonÔÇÖt be able to live without them!

The festive season is upon us, and with it the annual commercial frenzy that can push people into living beyond their means, emptying out their accounts, and facing January with maxed out credit cards and any post-holiday withdrawal symptoms. But fret not ÔÇô weÔÇÖve identified five key budgeting mistakes and come up with tips on how to avoid them:

Impulse Buying (Real Life): The biggest budget buster, especially during the last few weeks of December, is the preparation of the lavish feast. You go to the supermarket intending to buy a couple of necessities, then end up with a trolley-load of goods you hadnÔÇÖt intended to buy, and a hole in your accounts. Use simple tips to avoid impulse buying. Before going shopping, make a list and stick to it. DonÔÇÖt be lured by ÔÇ£specialÔÇØ offers unless you really needed the item in the first place. And never, ever shop for groceries when youÔÇÖre hungry.

Impulse Buying (Online): Shopping online can sometimes reduce the risk of impulse-buying. As in the ÔÇ£real lifeÔÇØ example, if you make a list, stick to it, and compare prices it can be a budget booster. BUT the online shopping world has its own dangers. If youÔÇÖre the type to surf idly looking for gadgets in the middle of the night, only to find youÔÇÖve ended up with a lot of unusable that you canÔÇÖt afford, you might want to lock up your computer once darkness falls. Especially with the seasonal offers blaring out of your screen, which can be hard to avoid.

Holiday

Forgetting Your Buffer: Every careful budgeter knows to expect the unexpected: your car might break down, your pipes might leak, and those emergencies will demand ready cash. Always have a contingency ÔÇ£bufferÔÇØ of funds available for emergencies. ÔÇ£Extra Decorations On DiscountÔÇØ is not an emergency.

Not Keeping Track of All Expenditure: During this season, most of us tend to develop selective amnesia about how much money weÔÇÖre spending. DonÔÇÖt we all just forget about that expensive pair of shoes you bought, or that ÔÇ£necessaryÔÇØ round of drinks at the party, that valet parking charge because you couldnÔÇÖt be bothered to walk? ItÔÇÖs fine to splurge, especially during the year-end season, but donÔÇÖt forget to write down all your purchases. Otherwise the January credit card bill might contain some nasty surprises.

Being Too Frugal: Yes, itÔÇÖs good to be sensible with your finances. However, thereÔÇÖs room for treats, too. Putting yourself under too much pressure to save money can often result in ÔÇ£binge-purchasingÔÇØ which will leave you with more regret. Treat yourself every now and again. Allow enough money for everyone to have a good time and a happy, budget-friendly festive season!

And if you are making merry with your credit cards, you can always swing by UAE Exchange branches to make your card payments and ensure 2017 starts off even merrier!

As the world is facing its largest refugee crisis in 20 years, mobile wallets and the ability to transfer money to migrant people on the move has become a lifeline for refugees. ThatÔÇÖs why financial and money transfer brands are constantly innovating online and mobile payment methods that can bring much-needed financial services to excluded audiences. 

HereÔÇÖs the context: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has the total number of displaced people worldwide at 15.1 million. Nearly half of these refugees come from Syria and Afghanistan.  They might not have cash, bank cards or even identification papers, but they do have mobile devices capable of receiving and spending money. 

The development of mobile technology has presented opportunities to use mobile phones for financial transfers. Money transfer services that use simple handsets as a platform have exploded in popularity in developing countries.   In fact, mobile money solutions have evolved to suit even the most basic phones. If a handset can text, it can use mobile money technology. 

This sort of digital transfer can be a very welcome resource in disaster situations. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, mobile money services were widely used (by individuals and organisations) to provide aid to those affected. 

Mobile money helping displaced migrants

Here are some advantages that mobile payments deliver for displaced people:

Easy access: Mobile payments just need a SIM. And anecdotal accounts from Syrian refugees making their way through different countries show that they buy a new SIM in each country they get to, and use the phone to locate themselves, and access basic services.

Cross-border capabilities: Mobile money systems can be far more integrated and reliable during cross-border travels than banks and ATMs. The account information and transaction history linked to a SIM card can be used to establish identity when traditional documents are not available.

Security on the move: Mobile money transfers are secure and can be accessed in any country. Sometimes one money transfer can be shared between many different people in a community on the move. Women especially feel safer when they have access to secure financial transfers- they donÔÇÖt have to carry cash, and they can choose safe locations to access their money.

Electronic payments have become an increasingly usual way of assisting refugees- even by NGOs. When displaced people have access to funds they are empowered. If refugees and their families are going to be displaced long term, it becomes even more important for them to be able to manage their money in a safe and secure way. For money transfer brands, this is a huge opportunity to innovate life-changing and inclusive mobile payment solutions.

 

As the world is facing its largest refugee crisis in 20 years, mobile wallets and the ability to transfer money to migrant people on the move has become a lifeline for refugees. ThatÔÇÖs why financial and money transfer brands are constantly innovating online and mobile payment methods that can bring much-needed financial services to excluded audiences.

 

HereÔÇÖs the context: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has the total number of displaced people worldwide at 15.1 million. Nearly half of these refugees come from Syria and Afghanistan.[1] They might not have cash, bank cards or even identification papers, but they do have mobile devices capable of receiving and spending money.

 

The development of mobile technology has presented opportunities to use mobile phones for financial transfers. Money transfer services that use simple handsets as a platform have exploded in popularity in developing countries.[2]  In fact, mobile money solutions have evolved to suit even the most basic phones. If a handset can text, it can use mobile money technology.

 

This sort of digital transfer can be a very welcome resource in disaster situations. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, mobile money services were widely used (by individuals and organisations) to provide aid to those affected.

 

Here are some advantages that mobile payments deliver for displaced people:

 

Easy access: Mobile payments just need a SIM. And anecdotal accounts from Syrian refugees making their way through different countries show that they buy a new SIM in each country they get to, and use the phone to locate themselves, and access basic services.

 

Cross-border capabilities: Mobile money systems can be far more integrated and reliable during cross-border travels than banks and ATMs. The account information and transaction history linked to a SIM card can be used to establish identity when traditional documents are not available.

 

Security on the move: Mobile money transfers are secure and can be accessed in any country. Sometimes one money transfer can be shared between many different people in a community on the move. Women especially feel safer when they have access to secure financial transfers- they donÔÇÖt have to carry cash, and they can choose safe locations to access their money.

 

Electronic payments have become an increasingly usual way of assisting refugees- even by NGOs. When displaced people have access to funds they are empowered. If refugees and their families are going to be displaced long term, it becomes even more important for them to be able to manage their money in a safe and secure way. For money transfer brands, this is a huge opportunity to innovate life-changing and inclusive mobile payment solutions.

Eager and curious to know if you have won? We too are!

UAE Exchange takes immense pleasure in announcing the winners. 

And the winners are...

Winner Name Mobile Number ending with Prize
Ghinwa Merheb
939

Samsung Galaxy A5 

Anas PV
348

Samsung Galaxy A3

Ruby Guevarra

516

500 AED Cash Voucher 


Congratulations to all the winners!
We extend our heartfelt gratitude and best wishes to all the participants who made this contest a huge success.

Winners are requested to send us their full name, address, contact number, email-id and a copy of identity proof to socialmedia.team@uaeexchange.com with ÔÇÿUAE National Day Contest 2016ÔÇÖ in the subject line.

winners of UAE National day contest

Money laundering has come far from the old-fashioned days of briefcases full of cash being moved around. In the contemporary era, the Internet provides a far easier ÔÇô and less noticeable way ÔÇô of turning black money, usable. Here are some of the ways that criminals launder their money in the age of the World Wide Web. You need to know the same to be alert of ways you too may be targeted:

ÔÇó Online gaming: Online gaming is a popular way of whitening money. It usually involves opening multiple accounts under different names in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). Many of these games allow rewards earned in-game to be transferred as money to the real world, and also allow real money to buy improved weapons and equipment. While this method may work for committed launders, customer risk is close to zero because they are not directly targeted.

ÔÇó The mule: The Spam folder in your email is a good indicator of how these schemes work. Most are polite messages from people with honorifics asking you to help them out of dire circumstances by accepting a money transfer on their behalf. Some correspondents claim to be princes or business leaders under siege in their home country. Others want help with an inheritance. While some of these emails are merely scams that want to bleed money from gullible recipients, others are actually launderers who will follow through with the transaction and place large sums of money in consumer accounts. They will then cajole and threaten to have the money transferred further into other accounts. Remember that accepting black money is a crime, so donÔÇÖt receive funds from people you donÔÇÖt know.

The World Wide Web new home for money launderers

 

ÔÇó The job offer: This is a twist on the standard mule. You might be contacted about a lucrative job offer, where all you have to do is accept transfers and re-route them. It might seem like a reputable job but is, in fact, a means of making you complicit in money laundering. Again, never accept money from senders you donÔÇÖt know.

ÔÇó Identity theft: This can prove very dangerous for end consumers. The process starts with criminals assembling enough information about your personal profile to impersonate you and take control of one of your bank accounts. Once that has been achieved, they can use your bank account to transfer and re-route funds without your knowledge. Guard against this process by not divulging financial details to strangers. Keep an eye on all your bank accounts and respond immediately to login or authorisation requests that donÔÇÖt come from you.

Money laundering tactics that target end consumers are quite frequent, but easy to defend against. Vigilance and quick action are the best recourses. If you're ever in doubt, let your bank know immediately, and alert the authorities.

GCC Currencies 101: A Crash Course

Friday, 02 December 2016

Are you relocating to one of the GCC countries to start a brand new life? Even if you're all set, is your mind struggling with calculating rents, figuring out utility charges and other expenses in the new currency system?

Fear not ÔÇô weÔÇÖve created a primer to help you come to grips with the currency systems in the GCC countries. Money management in the new currency system might seem complicated at first, but youÔÇÖll get the hang of it very quickly.

Now, here are some things to keep in mind:

Look to the dollar:

The GCC is an oil exporting region. And globally, oil is traded in US Dollars (USD). To facilitate their exports, GCC currencies are all pegged to the USD ÔÇô with the sole exception of Kuwait, which in 2007 moved to a currency basket that includes the US Dollar. Most expatriates automatically calculate GCC currencies in how much they are worth back home, but itÔÇÖs helpful to remember that a trade peg exists with the USD.

There are 6 currencies in play:

The GCC is a common marketplace comprising of six countries ÔÇô each with its own currency.
The Bahraini Dinar (BHD), Omani Rial (OMR), Qatari Riyal (QAR), Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR), UAE Dirham (AED), and are all pegged to the US Dollar.
The Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD) is pegged to a basket of currencies that includes the Euro and US Dollar.

GCC Currencies 1

Exchange rates are easy to remember:

Because theyÔÇÖre all pegged to the USD, GCC currencies are related to each other in ways that are quite easy to remember.
For instance, the exchange rates of UAE Dirham, Saudi Riyal and Qatari Riyal are all approximately similar. One Bahraini Dinar and one Omani Rial is worth around USD 2.60 or AED 10 each.
The Kuwaiti Dinar, due to its slightly different peg, fluctuates against other GCC currencies. On 25 November 2016, KWD 1 was worth USD 3.28, or around AED 12.

Currencies divide and sub-divide:

ÔÇ£FilsÔÇØ are the most popular currency subdivision in the GCC region.
One UAE Dirham comprises 100 fils. Each Kuwaiti Dinar divides into 1,000 fils, as does each Bahraini Dinar. Saudi Riyal subdivide into 100 ÔÇ£halalasÔÇØ while each Qatari Riyal works out to be 100 Qatari ÔÇ£dirhamsÔÇØ.
Meanwhile, ÔÇ£baisaÔÇØ is the subdivision of choice for Omani Rial, with 1,000 baisas coming up to OMR 1.

Some easy denominations:

The UAE Dirham is denominated in notes of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 dirhams. There are 3 types of coins in circulation in the country - 25 fils, 50 fils and 1 dirham coin.

The Saudi Riyal has notes for 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 riyals. 5, 10, 25 and 50 halala coins are in circulation.

Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti Dinar comes in widely-circulated ¼, ›, 1, 5, 10 and 20 dinar notes, with 10, 20, 50 and 100 fils coins available.

The Qatari Riyal is denominated in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 riyal notes. The coins used include 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 dirhams.

The Bahraini Dinar comes in ›, 1, 5, 10 and 20 dinar notes, with coins in 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 fils.

For the Omani Rial, the notes are 100 baisa, ›, 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50 rials. 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 baisa coins are in circulation, as well as ¼ and › rial coins.

So, there you have it ÔÇô some basic rules of thumb when it comes to managing GCC currencies. We hope you have a wonderful time starting your new journey in the GCC.

Are you an entrepreneur with a brilliant idea, but not enough money to turn your idea into a profitable finished product or service?

While banks may have teams dedicated to financing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), that option may not be suitable for entrepreneurs just starting a business. To mitigate their own risk, banks will ask for guarantee or collaterals. These are difficult for entrepreneurs to furnish early in the business cycle.

So what can you do? 

Crowd Funding new

You can try other practical alternatives to bank finance. One such great option is crowdfunding. Having emerged as a saviour for start-ups with promising ideas, crowdfunding attract small denomination capital from many people. All you have to do is, use technology to pitch your ideas to a large audience. The crowdfunding revolution was sparked by the very successful Kickstarter.com, which by November 2016 had funded over 115,745 successful projects and raised over USD 2.7 billion in pledged money.

Crowdfunding comes in three basic flavours ÔÇô donation or reward-based, debt-based, and equity-based. Reward-based crowdfunding, as popularised by Kickstarter.com, sees investors give money to promising ideas based on the premise that the project creator will reward them with finished goods and services. For debt-based crowdfunding, the creator or entrepreneur promises to pay back the money borrowed. Meanwhile, equity-based crowdfunding sees the entrepreneur give away a stake in the business to each contributor.

UAE based start-up Beehive enables debt-based peer-to-peer lending. The idea is that investors lend money to promising businesses, and get returns on the capital they have invested. Start-ups benefit from lower capital-raising costs, while investors enjoy higher than average rates of return.

On the other hand, UAE based start-up Eureeca uses technology to enable its investor network to buy shares in promising businesses. These investors range from friends, family and casual investors to angel investors, venture capital funds and institutional investors.

Crowdfunding isnÔÇÖt the only venue available to entrepreneurs. But it certainly is helping plug a large financing gap. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates a USD 2.7 trillion gap in funding for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in developing countries alone, with the MENA region alone needing an additional USD 320 billion in credit for MSMEs.

So if youÔÇÖre in the early stages of bringing your start-up to life, try crowdfunding. ItÔÇÖs a powerful addition to your capital-raising toolbox.

TodayÔÇÖs world is shaped by the Millennials, a generation of people aged between 18 and 34 years; a generation that was raised in an age of technology; and the largest, most influential group of people in todayÔÇÖs society. 

They are considered to be the disruptors in almost every industry due to their unique outlook on life and values. They want one thing ÔÇô convenience! They donÔÇÖt want to spend more time than they have to, especially when paying for services or products. They also donÔÇÖt want to deal with unnecessary and difficult processes. This attitude has impacted the financial and payment industry to a large extent, and has led to the rise of convenient payments methods and transfers.

Meet the Millennials The Convenience Generation

 

UAE Exchange connects with this generation of money movers, and offers a convenient and fast online money transfer service with Money2Anywhere.com.  At the touch of a button, or the tap of a card, we can send money anywhere in the world, instantly.

Money2Anywhere.com satisfies all the criteria of todayÔÇÖs millennials:

  • ItÔÇÖs convenient - Send money in a few steps via a secured portal.
  • ItÔÇÖs fast - Allows you to transfer money through your bank account, debit/credit card to the recipientÔÇÖs account.
  • ItÔÇÖs in-tech - Using your smartphone, you can send money in just a few taps!

In todayÔÇÖs age of direct debits, contactless payments and online shopping, itÔÇÖs very easy to fall into a financial pitfall, where you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck. If you find yourself not taking a holiday atleast once a year, constantly struggling with bills, then itÔÇÖs time to re-configure your money management style and while doing so, take control of your financial position. This may sound overwhelming, but itÔÇÖs a lot easier than you think.

Here are the top 3 steps that can help you reduce your financial frustrations and take the path towards financial well-being.

1. Use a money management app

Everyone is plugged onto their smartphones these days. Hence choosing a money management app that suits your needs is a great way to keep yourself in check ÔÇô anytime, anyplace. No more waiting at the end of the month or surprise bank statements thatÔÇÖll rob your sleep. Some free money management apps you could check out are: Mint.com, Good Budget and Pocket Expense.

In 3 Steps The Road to Financial Wellness

2. Have an accountability partner

Talking to a near and dear one will help you get a fresh new perspective on how you can budget, spend and save. ItÔÇÖs always insightful seeing how others manage their finances as well have someone to counsel you on some of the most important financial decisions you may make. Being transparent and open with a trusted person can go a long way in keeping your habits and values in check when it comes to money matters.

Beware of hidden charges

The lure of services such as free credit card and insurance is beyond belief. People get hooked on, like a fish to the bait. The hidden fee they charge is enormous and youÔÇÖll end up losing money during every payment. Hence do your research and make informed decisions.

Regardless of where you are on your financial journey, make sure you remember the above mentioned tips and manage your money with dedication and commitment. Make a small change today and youÔÇÖll see that the reward is well worth that effort!

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