Stock - NAQD
UAE now has a growing base of digital-only banks, throwing up new opportunities for businesses and individuals to tap next-gen banking services. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Another digital-only bank has been licensed in the UAE, with Naqd Community Bank backed by Royal Strategic Partners winning preliminary approval from the UAE Central Bank.

The entity will offer banking solutions to ‘support the long-term growth of companies involved in numerous industries’, and particularly for those operating in ‘ecommerce and omni-channel spaces’. Naqd will also tap the UAE’s entertainment, transportation and logistics and retail, apart from healthcare.


“The bank employs cutting-edge digital banking technologies and innovations to provide services to various significant economy sectors in the UAE,” said Dr Hamad Al Ali, CEO of Royal Strategic Partners.

“Naqd is slated to promote the development of digital banking in the country by offering customers a unique, secure, and seamless banking experience. By doing so, we aim to support the strong regulatory frameworks being established and the 2023–26 strategy of UAE Central bank, which includes issuing digital currency, promoting digital transformation in the country’s financial services sector through the use of AI and big data solutions, developing more secure financial cloud infrastructure.”

Several local and regional banks are concentrating on providing customers with a branchless banking service via mobile banking technology. By adding RSP into the digital banking community and bringing distinctive services, we expect that the Naqd Community Bank will offer a host of diverse opportunities for companies and individuals across the UAE

- Dr Hamad Al Ali, CEO of Royal Strategic Partners

Growing base of neo-banks

The UAE banking regulator has already granted approvals for neo-bank operations from Wio, Zand and Al Maryah Community Bank. The SME space is of particular interest to these entities, and it is also an area that Naqd will target.

The bank will ‘further cater to the financial needs and requirements of the banked and unbanked population, as well as micro-SMEs and startups in the UAE,” a statement said.

“Neo-banks. is transforming the banking system with its customer-centric approach and services,” said the statement. “The UAE’s digital agenda is completely aligned with the disruptive trends of neo-banks, as a result of which the nation's banking operations are being altered at a rather surprising rate.

“With more than 50 commercial banks operating in the UAE, neo-banking receives strong government support. By working together with the neo-banks, Naqd will contribute to advancing the UAE's banking sector to a completely digital world and encourage more new digital banks to launch its operations in the country.”