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RAKBANK: Best Digital SME onboarding, 2023

16th March 2023, Dubai: We are continuing our awards activity this week with a focus on the lifeblood of almost every economy – small businesses. We have been following the development and growth of RAKBANK’s SME focus for some time. Back in 2019 the bank launched their SMESouq service targeting SMEs with a selection of targeted products, not least the ability to swiftly create an account.

The SMESouq approach itself is one that we find both innovative and refreshing. SME banking is traditionally incredibly complex – because it’s often being delivered in the same manner as other corporate banking services which routinely demand a detailed approach at every step. This tends to make the customer experience for SMEs, especially single person companies or freelancers, particularly frustrating.

Other banks internationally have had some good successes ‘starting again’ by deploying a standalone platform, distinct from the existing legacy systems and purpose-built to deliver straight-through, simple, easy experiences for target small business customers.

By deploying SMESouq as a standalone service the bank is able to offer expedited services to SMEs that, even now in 2023, are still unusual for their speed in the local marketplace.

We have also been following the ecosystem approach that, we believe, is paramount to any banks aiming to retain and attract SME customers. By this we mean additional value-added services (paid for or otherwise) that enhance the end experience for customers. For example, the SMESouq site has a rather helpful Trade License Comparator as well as a vibrant B2B Marketplace.

We don’t tend to publish screenshots in our award notes but we’re making an exception today with RAKBANK as we want to highlight the language and approach which we think is outstanding in the marketplace:

RAKBANK Screenshot of SMSSouq website captured on 14th March 2023 at

We particularly like the suggestion of ‘grabbing a cup of tea’ to set expectations for the customer, along with the simple and clear requirements (“make sure you have these documents at hand”).

The SME sector is highly competitive and in many cases underserved when it comes to strong, valuable customer experiences. We think RAKBANK is pushing the rest of the market forward with its SMESouq offering and although other actors are innovating in this space, we think the bank’s contribution and ongoing activity deserve to be recognised.

We selected the category ‘Best SME Digital Onboarding’ as most fitting, although we do note that this is just one aspect of the SMESouq product offering.

We’d like to congratulate the whole team at RAKBANK for Best SME Onboarding 2023 and in particular extend our congratulations to Dhiraj Kunwar, the bank’s Managing Director of Business Banking and Donjung Choi, the bank’s Group Chief Customer Officer. We are looking forward to seeing what’s next from RAKBANK in this space.

Assigned by Sebastien Parker
Senior Research Analyst
Global Banking Monitor
16th March 2023

Notes: Read about our Award methodology here.

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