Dubai’ Biggest Bank gets Into The E-commerce Business

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UAE’s largest lender Emirates NBD has launched SkyShopper, an online platform, as it seeks to capitalize on the growing e-commerce market in the UAE.

The SkyShopper platform will enable the bank’s credit and debit card customers to pay for items including flights, hotels, electronics, fashion items, groceries, entertainment and international shopping using a single check-out.

It is a leap of faith for Emirates NBD because only a few banks have done this before, Suvo Sarkar, senior executive vice president, and group head – retail banking and wealth management, Emirates NBD.

Emirates NBD wants to encourage cashless payments rather than competing with regional e-commerce players like, he said.

The bank does not aim to make margins from the platform, he said adding that the platform will help its customers connect with shop e-tailers and retailers and shopping stores in the country.

Emirates NBD has partnered with retailers and online shopping players—including travel sites Cleartrip and Musafir, fashion portal Namshi and electronics stores Axiom, Jumbo and Sharaf DG—for the platform, according to Sarkar.

Ticket booking site Platinumlist, groceries app, US-onward delivery site and Indian delivery platform MySmartPrice are among the other participants.

The bank is also working on deals with, The Luxury Closet, 6thSTREET.COM, and Headout, he said.

It may also partner with in the future, according to Sarkar.

Sarkar said the site would initially be available to UAE customers, before being gradually rolled out to other markets.

The site forms part of Emirates NBD’s plans to invest Dhs500 million (around $136 million) in digital services.

The Dubai-based bank has been keen on embracing emerging technologies.

In October, Emirates NBD said it was working with Indian bank ICICI on a pilot project to use blockchain technology for global remittances and trade finance.

The e-commerce market in UAE is valued at $10 billion and its forecast to double by 2020.

Consultancy firm A.T. Kearney predicts that e-commerce will grow more than three times faster than traditional retail in the Gulf over the coming years, from $5.3 billion in 2015 to $20 billion by 2020.