National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has announced Weyay, the first fully digital bank in Kuwait. The unveiling came at an inauguration ceremony this week.
Weyay will be aimed at Kuwait’s large young cohort – two-thirds of the country’s population are under 34 and Kuwait has one of the highest smartphone and internet penetration rates in the world.
Shaikha Al-Bahar, NBK Group Deputy CEO, says: “Digital banks are the new normal and are the new generation of transformations in the banking industry, especially in view of customers’ increasing reliability on digital services and financial apps provided by fintech, telecoms companies and some of the world’s leading technological corporates.”
The parent bank conducted research among 15 and 24 year-olds, with 80% saying they were looking for tools to help them set personal saving goals and track their money. Many use external apps or methods outside of their regular banking app to achieve this.
Weyay will aim to provide an integrated package of products and services that help young people better track and organise their expenses and savings, as well as providing them with appropriate investment channels.
The bank is currently in beta mode ahead of a full launch. Account opening will be fully digital. Customers will be able choose the colour of their cards and can use them immediately. The bank is also promising innovation around money transfers. For security it will harness biometrics such as facial recognition.
NBK has been undergoing its own transformation, developing digital services and channels, and providing new payment solutions.
Al-Bahar adds: “We have completed a chapter of our digital journey, during which we succeeded in building a solid technological infrastructure and a digital culture that became embedded in all of our operations, products, and services.”
She describes Weyay as a new chapter based on “our belief that digital advancement is the main driver of future growth across all the markets in which we operate”.