New app initiative to give ten-year-olds online banking access in the UAE

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Children as young as ten will be able to earn, save and invest their money through their own bank account, under a new initiative by UAE digital banking app YAP.

Dubai-based YAP, the first independent digital banking platform in the Emirates, was launched last year with the aim of giving consumers the ability to access all of their bank accounts and cards from one digital banking application and is now ready to roll out accounts specifically for children to train them in financial literacy.

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It would allow adult YAP users to create sub-accounts for their children, which would enable them to have their own cards and start banking themselves.

Marwan Hachem, CEO and founder of YAP, said there will be two different banking products; one aimed at children under the age of 13, and one aimed at the 13-18 demographic.

“We are targeting everyone under the age of 18 because, after the age of 18, they would be eligible for a normal bank account,” he told Al Arabiya English.

“The parents would be app users who would go ahead and subscribe to a sub-account for them, but the child will feel like they have their own app with their own card and start banking in themselves,” he said.

The company wanted to focus on three main areas for the youngsters’ product.

“First of all, the basic one of being able to get money to the child directly; so, payments can happen from the parent to the child, with what we call allowances,” he said.

“Second, they will have an earning capability with we call what we call missions. So it's kind of like setting giving you the option to complete a chore, the children can accept it and be able to earn that tender as a third aspect.”

The app will also allow “children to create savings and start moving those allowances and earn money into the saving parts and have access to the money once they've reached their goal.”

Katral Nada Hassan, head of product experience and innovation at YAP, said the services will help tackle financial illiteracy among children.
“If they have their own banking platform, we can start educating them on earning and saving money.”

YAP is also working at building a financial learning program for children, teaching them about stocks, shares and cryptocurrencies.

Some UAE banks have in recent years launched their own digital banking offerings targeted at digitally-savvy and younger users, such as LIV by Emirates NBD and Mashreq Neo by Mashreq Bank.

YAP, which currently has 50,000 users and 1,000 SMEs on board, has announced plans to be in eight countries by the end of 2023, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco.

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