Many banks have chosen to stop providing a secure vault with safe-deposit boxes globally as it has become difficult and expensive to maintain the service.
As banks are closing branches and doing more of their business online, there are now fewer locations where these facilities are offered and mostly to most favoured customers.
Apart from this, banks see the provision of safe deposit boxes as a loss leader and it does not provide insurance cover to consumers for holding safe-deposit boxes.
Safe-deposit boxes are necessary for consumers to place their valuables such as gold or jewellery or important documents such as property deeds or birth certificates.
For keeping it at home, you need to make your arrangements to protect it from being stolen or destroyed in a fire. What happens when a thief steals your documents or gold when you are not at home?
So, keeping a safe-deposit box at home is not viable for security reasons. We have heard of burglary stories many times despite living in a safe environment. With skill and practice, almost any safe deposit lock combination can be decoded and opened.
Banks are not the safest place for lockers
Bank lockers are not the safest place for your valuables as they have no liability or responsibility for any loss of valuables in lockers and the global banking law does not support it, which means that you should not expect any compensation for theft or burglary of valuables in safe deposit boxes of banks.
For holding a safe-deposit box facility, you need to have a bank account and a fixed deposit apart from the locker fees per annum.
Despite this, many consumers are in the waiting list and a consumer can access his safe deposit only during banking hours.
So, there is a growing demand for safe deposit lockers in the UAE and globally and Dubai-based MySafe is aiming to cash in on the growing demand.
In a chat with TechRadar Middle East, Terry Downes, CEO and co-founder of MySafe, estimates that more than 8,000 eligible banking customers need to wait for many years to secure a safe-deposit box in the UAE.
To get a locker facility in the UAE, he said that a customer needs to have a residence visa to open a bank account and so it is very difficult for regular visiting people to open a bank account and their valuable assets are at risk. They have to either keep it in the hotel vaults, which are not insured or carry with them wherever they go.
Any time access
Downes, who hails from Ireland, said he had the first-hand experience after every bank exited the business three years after the financial crash in his home country and that lead led to a crime epidemic as there were no alternatives.
Explaining further, he said that he aims to transform safe deposit lockers similar to what ATM did to cash withdrawal.
ATMs were available only at banks before and transactions can be done only during working hours.
That concept has changed, he said, and added that every shopping mall now has different ATMs and can be accessed at any point of time.
Unlike traditional vaults where management retains one set of key and a customer keeps the second key, Downes said MySafe is a personal service and you alone control access to your safe deposit box.
MySafe booking process takes less than 10 minutes to complete and only needs a copy of the passport, a valid visa and ID.
“Customers can access the automated safe deposit service at any time and without talking to anyone. Our safe deposit lockers are secured using the latest security and robotic technology,” he said.
Service insured by Llyods
Moreover, Downes said that it is also monitored by Dubai Police and Dubai Police Response services 24/7.
MySafe claims to be the world’s first secure, insured and automated safe deposit service.
Additional security features include card access control, fingerprint scanners and PINs.
Downes said that every box at MySafe is automatically insured by Llyods for AED80,000 and clients can purchase additional insurance for up to AED1,000,000.
He opened the first facility at Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) in 2017 and then at the lobby of Kempinski Hotel & Residences in Palm Jumeriah six weeks ago.
MySafe charges AED1,000 for three months and AED3,000 for one year, inclusive of insurance, for one box. Two people can be registered in one box.
“Our game is to create an interest in the market and not to create the largest safety deposit box in the UAE so that we develop this network ourselves and in partnership with the industry or different partners in different segments,” he said.