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UAE Ministry of Labour spans the divide

SpanCash to offer banking services to low paid expatriate workers

The UAE's Ministry of Labour has signed an agreement with InfoSpan, a technology, financial services and outsourcing firm, to provide a global financial service for GCC workers.

‘SpanCash', the new service, will allow workers to receive their salaries through banking channels and include services like international remittance and utility bill payment. The service uses a pre-paid stored value card to which salaries are uploaded. These funds and the different services are then accessible via a toll free call from a mobile, landline or puSpanCash to provide banking services to low paid expatriate workers blic phone, as well as on the internet.

The service is expected to be of particular use to lower-income workers, who are currently most often paid in cash. The Ministry of Labour has to implement the government's mandate for employers to pay all salaries through banking channels, but banks often impose heavy fees or minimum monthly balance requirements on lower-income accounts because of their lack of profitability.

SpanCash will allow employers to credit salaries through banking channels and give workers access to ATMs and PoS units at a "nominal" cost, according to InfoSpan, and workers will also be able to remit funds home in a method that is "cheaper, safer and more convenient than current alternatives".

His Excellency Dr. Ali bin Abdulla Al Ka'abi, UAE Minister of Labour, said, "We are happy to be working with InfoSpan to provide all UAE employers and expatriate workers with a secure, affordable and easy to use product. This will result in financial inclusion of the large underbanked population, which is certainly the need of the hour".