Rise co-founders Padmini Gupta and Milind Singh Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: Over 2,000 nannies in the UAE have opened bank accounts, and 3,000 more are waiting in line, thanks to a new service that can be obtained through an app.
The service, launched by Rise, a Dubai-based financial services company in partnership with United Arab Bank, specifically aims to help domestic workers, the majority of whom remain unbanked.

All the nannies have to do is download the app, also called Rise, and register themselves. “They have to submit the application for opening a bank account along with a copy of their labour contract with details of their salary and employer. The documents will be processed by the bank and once the account is opened, the nannies are given a Visa debit card from United Arab Bank to make their purchases or withdraw cash from the ATM,” said Padmini Gupta, CEO and co-founder, Rise.

She said more than 2,000 nannies have opened accounts so far. “Another 3,000 have registered with us via the app and are waiting to have their documents processed.”

Financial independence

“The idea behind launching this financial service is to help domestic workers in the UAE become financially independent. With a debit card in hand, they are learning to be cashless and make purchases online. Another good thing about the debit card is that they can use it even when they travel,” said Gupta.

Nannies with their newly acquired debit cards.

Milind Singh, co-founder of Rise, said, “Having a debit card gives domestic workers financial freedom as they don’t have to rely on cash anymore. When salaries are credited to a bank account, nannies become conscious of their spending. They get a monthly statement which helps them to keep track of their income and expenses. In due course, we are planning to introduce a number of saving plans too on the app.”

Arlene Blanca, who works as a nanny for a European family in Abu Dhabi, said her expenses have come down after she opened her bank account three months ago.

She said, “Earlier, I would get my salary in cash. I would send some money home and spend the rest. With the card now, I don’t keep cash at my disposal.”

Sri Lankan helper Nilanji, who opened a bank account six months ago, said, “One of the best things about using a debit card is that I get a message on the phone when I incur an expense. At the end of the month, I know where exactly my money has gone.”

Repatriation convenience

Rise has tied up with UAE Exchange to offer better exchange rates for migrant workers registered on the app. Besides, it also offers convenience and security while sending home money. People don’t have to stand in a queue at the exchange. Instead they can use the app on their phone. Also the app allows them to track their money sent home.