At Last, a Good-news Story About Banks!

aimiaSplutter, gulp, cough…calm down now. No, not United Kingdom banks. Banks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Apparently, there’s little in the way of flack there, only trust.

Yep, the banks in Dubai and the rest of the UAE – you may even even have heard of some of them, HSBC, Barclays, Citibank and others – are tops when it comes to handling sensitive data, you know, current account, credit card, personal loan and other personal banking details.

And they’re even more trusted than the government, according to research by Aimia, a global leader in loyalty management, and 60 per cent owner of Air Miles Middle East (AMME), the region’s leading coalition loyalty programme with over 1.3 million members throughout the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.

The research measured people’s perception of how their personal data is used in the UAE compared to those living in the UK.

Results showed over 73 per cent of UAE respondents trusted their bank with their private data compared to only 38 per cent in the UK.

In fact, this was by far the most trusted industry. Second place went to the government, chosen by over 48 per cent of UAE residents, while loyalty programmes came third out of the eight industries included in the survey, with more than 27 per cent confident in their use of personal data.

The release of the research findings coincided with the customer engagement conference En-Gage Loyalty World Middle East 2012. Over 150 leaders in the global loyalty market, predicted to be worth over $100 billion by 2015, attended the two-day event held recently in Dubai.

AMME CEO Mark Mortimer-Davies said, “The results are extremely interesting, showing that – despite the recent financial crisis – it seems banks have established a high degree of trust in managing data responsibly.

“Our findings also show most consumers are not concerned about the amount of data companies hold and are willing to allow them to use it, particularly if they believe it will be used effectively. However, overall consumers do not currently feel rewarded for sharing data with many companies, but loyalty companies are better placed than most to change this.”

Jan Pieter-Lips, Managing Director Nectar UK and Aimia Middle East, said, “Customers are becoming more aware of the way companies are using their data and they expect to be rewarded for providing this information.
“Loyalty programmes like Nectar and Air Miles are well placed to reward their customers and give them more relevant offers based on the data they have provided. We are very aware of the importance of keeping our customers data safe and secure and only use the information in the way we agreed.

“Data and privacy will continue to be hot topics for our industry and it is important we continue to get the balance right for all of our customers.”

The research found over 52 per cent of UAE respondents were happy for organisations to use their information to personalise product and service offers. However, only 13 per cent would be keen to offer up more detailed information than they already have to.

They would also be happier buying and paying online from international brands (77%) than regional brands (67%), and 74 per cent would be keen to have information stored about their shopping habits used to send vouchers relating to frequently bought products or recommend other potentially interesting products.

You can find out more about Aimia here.

Photo by Bart Heird

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  1. Wow! Banks trusted more than the government? I think in the US, it might be a tie….with neither getting high marks.

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