The personal finance stories you need to know this week – will you go cashless in the UAE’s new Mobile Wallet scheme? Rera cracks down on real estate telemarketing, maids get contract protection and two weeks paid leave, drivers want to buy car insurance online, schools needs to improve their Arabic teaching in the UAE and Dubai holiday homes must now be let through licensed operators.

Banks launch UAE Mobile Wallet cashless scheme

The UAE Banks Federation (UBF) has launched its ‘smart’ mobile wallet project for digital payments. It is expected to be implemented over the next year in phases with 90 Smart Government services and with banks including Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, Adib, Commercial Bank of Dubai, Emirates NBD, Mashreq, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered and First Gulf Bank. A recent Mastercard survey showed non-cash transactions account for a quarter of UAE payments, compared to 19 percent in Saudi Arabia.

“The Mobile Wallet supports a critical national goal. The UAE will be potentially the first country in the world where the whole banking sector supports such a programme, which will impact everyone’s daily lives in one way or another,” said Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of the UAE Banks Federation.
 [Gulf News]

‘Give us online car insurance, say UAE drivers’

Eighty percent of UAE drivers want to buy their car insurance online, according to a survey – but many of the Emirates’ car insurance companies still do not offer the option. []

Rera gets tough on real estate telemarketing

Rera, the regulatory arm of the Dubai Land Department, has issued official notice to the city’s real estate offices demanding they stop direct telemarketing after constant complaints from customers.

“Rera is keen to apply the highest standards of transparency in the market and this means both exercising control on transactions and regulating interactions between real estate agents and customers,” said Yousif Al Hashimi, Deputy CEO of Rera. “As the regulatory body for Dubai’s real estate sector, our aim is to ensure that every party undertakes its actions and activities in a professional manner that is consistent with the agency’s laws and principles,” he added. [Zawya]

Have you been a victim of online credit card fraud?

More and more UAE residents are shopping online – but many more are still nervous about their credit card safety and the security of online shopping. A lot of banks offer valuable extra services to protect you against credit card fraud; here are some you may have overlooked. []

More protection for UAE maids

A new domestic workers contract launched this week by the Ministry of the Interior will stop employers and agencies from cheating maids through the use of ‘double contracts’. Many maids sign one contract in their home country then are forced to sign another for a lower salary when they arrive in the UAE. The new contract will guarantee one day off a week and 14 days paid leave.

Lawyer Michael Barney Almazar, of Gulf Law legal firm, told 7DAYS: “Most Filipina domestic helpers will execute an agreement in the Philippines with a certain salary only to find out that they need to execute another contract in UAE with lower pay. I believe this has been addressed by the new law since it will require the amount of compensation in UAE to be agreed upon prior to the helper’s entry to UAE.” [7DAYS]

Dubai schools need to improve Arabic education

The Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) says Dubai schools need to significantly improve their standard of Arabic education, both for native Arabic speakers and students learning it as a second language. []

Dubai holiday homes can only be let through operators

Holiday homeowners have just days to comply with a sudden new rule enforcing the use of licensed operators to let their properties from 15 June.

Acting on a December decree, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) will initially accept applications from operators who want to manage 20 or more holiday homes in their portfolio. Holiday homeowners will need to let through one of these licensed groups. The DTCM did not disclose the costs involved of applying for a licence. [The National]

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