The MENA Fintech Association (MFTA), the leading voice of the fintech community in the region, has released the first volume of the SHIFT report, a comprehensive guide that supports the fintech community in navigating the MENA payment landscape.
"SHIFT” is the name of the working group, which is composed of the association’s members. These industry leaders are focused on payment technology solutions and services, financial education and regulation, and international card networks. They include The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF), Dubai International Financial Centre, Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Arthur D. Little, BPC, checkout.com, Codebase Technologies, GPS, Karm, Mastercard, M2P Solutions, Marshal, Taptap Send and YAP. The working group was formed with the objectives of stimulating insightful conversations on regional prime payment topics and fostering a shift towards the future of payments.
The comprehensive SHIFT guide will be released in several volumes that cover the core aspects of payments, from regulation, technology and processing to information on trends in specific countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq and others.
The release of the first volume, “SHIFT – MENA Payments Landscaping”, sets the scene. It contains everything a fintech needs to know about the regional payments market. It draws a picture of a diverse region undergoing a significant transformation in how payments are made.
Although the banking sector has been relatively slow to adopt digital payments compared to other parts of the world, a number of factors and trends that are discussed in this report indicate that digital payments are becoming more commonplace across MENA and are disrupting the traditional value chain for payments.
The report describes interesting and continuing developments in the region that are key drivers for change:
- The rise in real-time and faster electronic payment methods
- The growth of embedded payments
- The blurring of lines between payments and lending/investments, such as buy now pay later
- How cash is still a significant element of the overall payments landscape
- The shift in the competitive landscape with the rise of substitute fintech offerings
Arjun Singh, Partner and Head of Financial Services Middle East at Arthur D. Little and a contributor to the SHIFT report, commented: ‘’What's driving the rapid change in the MENA payments landscape is the region’s demographically young societies, who are well versed in the use of digital technology and are contributing to the trend of moving away from cash as a traditional medium of exchange.’’
He continued: ‘’Recent developments in regulatory initiatives that support a digital economy and cashless society and the impact of pandemic-driven digitalisation on all aspects of daily life have led to an increase in the number of fintechs in the region. These businesses are now replicating successful global models. Moreover, there is an increasing investment from VC and PE firms in the region within the payments sector.’’
Nameer Khan, Chairman of MENA Fintech Association further commented: ‘Payment is the heart of fintech and backbone of our economies, plus at the pace we are becoming cashless as a society, it’s pivotal for the industry to support it’s development. ’This the first time that the industry has come together to share their knowledge in an all-in-one guide that will serve to foster healthy payment competition and innovation in the MENA region. I invite fintechs to download the report and interact with MFTA members and the contributors of this report.’’
Christian Kunz, Head of Group Strategy and Innovation at DIFC Authority, commented: “The FinTech sector is witnessing rapid growth and we are delighted to be taking part in creating a comprehensive guide for the FinTech community. At DIFC, we are committed to developing start-up companies through our acceleration programmes that provide innovative solutions and stimulate the growth of companies' businesses within integrated regulatory frameworks.”
Subsequent volumes of the report will cover regulatory and know-your-customer prerequisites, card-issuing models and best practices, cross-border payments and trending products, such as store value cards.
The SHIFT report is available from the MFTA website using this link.
About the MFTA
Founded in 2018, the MFTA is a not-for-profit group set up to represent the growing number of FinTech firms in the Middle East and North Africa region. It has worked with regulators and policy makers with a view to offering a regional voice for the industry.
About The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF)
The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF) has been at the heart of the finance sector since 1879. It’s a professional body and registered educational charity, incorporated by Royal Charter. It’s the only professional body with Taught Degree Awarding Powers, providing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees for students aiming to pursue a career in finance. It’s the only provider of personal finance qualifications at GCSE and A Level, helping young people to develop vital money management skills for life. It’s one of the main awarding bodies for banking and finance qualifications, in the UK and internationally. https://www.libf.ac.uk/
Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) is one of the world’s most advanced financial centres, and the leading financial hub for the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA), which comprises 72 countries with an approximate population of 3 billion and an estimated GDP of USD 7.7 trillion. https://www.difc.ae/
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), an international financial centre in the capital of the UAE, opened for business in October 2015. Comprised of the three independent authorities where Common English Law is directly applicable, ADGM plays an essential role in the diversification of the economy in the UAE and is committed to providing a comprehensive business ecosystem operating with the highest standards of integrity and is renowned for its ease of doing business. https://www.adgm.com/
About Arthur D. Little
Arthur D. Little has been at the forefront of innovation since 1886. We are an acknowledged thought leader in linking strategy, innovation and transformation in technologyintensive and converging industries. We navigate our clients through changing business ecosystems to uncover new growth opportunities. We enable our clients to build innovation capabilities and transform their organizations. Our consultants have strong practical industry experience combined with excellent knowledge of key trends and dynamics. ADL is present in the most important business centers around the world. We are proud to serve most of the Fortune 1000 companies, in addition to other leading firms and public sector organizations. For further information, please visit www.adlittle.com
Founded in 1996, BPC has transformed over the years to deliver innovative and best in class proven solutions which fit with today’s consumer lifestyle when banking, shopping or moving in both urban and rural areas, bridging real life and the digital world. With 350 customers across 100 countries globally, BPC collaborates with all ecosystem players ranging from tier one banks to neobanks, Payment Service Providers (PSPs) to large processors, ecommerce giants to start-up merchants, and government bodies to local hail riding companies. BPC’s SmartVista suite comprises cutting-edge banking, commerce and mobility solutions including digital banking, ATM & switching, payments processing, card and fraud management, financial inclusion, merchant portals, transport and smart cities solutions.
Checkout.com provides the fastest, most reliable payments in more than 150 currencies, with in-country acquiring, world-class fraud filters and reporting through one API. Checkout.com can accept all major international credit and debit cards, as well as popular alternative and local payment methods. The company launched in 2012 and now has a team of more than 1700 people across 19 offices worldwide, offering local expertise where it’s needed. Find out more at www.checkout.com.
About Codebase Technologies
Codebase Technologies is one of the world's fastest-growing open API banking solutions providers. With a vision to “disrupt the way technology is utilized, for a greater purpose," we engineer impactful digital financial experiences for conventional and Islamic banks, fintechs, neobanks, lenders, and start-ups. Codebase Technologies has launched several digital, challenger, and neobanks and financial propositions across the UAE, Malaysia, Bahrain, UK, and Africa with a proven success rate and unparalleled speed to market. As a result, Codebase Technologies has grown exponentially as a digital banking technology pioneer in the global banking industry. Our award-winning Digibanc Suite is a cloud-enabled, API-driven, and highly adaptable digital banking platform allowing institutions to deliver inclusive digital financial services. Our open architecture embraces a diverse ecosystem of partners and vendors, driving collaborative experiences across the financial services landscape. The Digibanc platform is built on a modular micro-services architecture providing a robust and agile environment to launch new financial products at scale. With a deep culture of innovation and excellence, Codebase Technologies are helping bring forward the next generation of digital transformation and banking worldwide. https://www.codebtech.com/
Global Processing Services (GPS) is the trusted and proven go-to payments processing partner for today’s leading fintechs, including Revolut, Curve, Starling Bank, Zilch, WeLab Bank and Paidy. GPS has issued millions of physical and virtual cards, enabled in over 48 countries, and processes billions of transactions on its API-first cloud-based platform. GPS’ highly flexible and configurable platform places the control firmly in the hands of global fintechs, digital banks, and embedded finance providers, enabling them to deliver rich functionality to the cardholder. It is a multi-award-winning issuer processor powering next generation payment segments, including expense management, B2B payments, crypto, lending and credit (including Buy Now Pay Later (“BNPL”) propositions), digital banking, FX, remittance, open banking and more. GPS is certified by Visa and Mastercard to process and manage any credit, debit or prepaid card transaction globally, with offices in London, Newcastle, Singapore, Sydney and Dubai. Its platform is equipped to meet the stringent standards required by Tier 1 banks, integrating with over 95 issuer partners and operates programmes for a global client base. www.globalprocessing.com
KARM was officially launched at the Global Legal Forum on 23rd August 2018 at the Peace Palace, The Hague - the home to the International Court of Justice and the mecca for the global legal community. KARM Legal has been successful in integrating international best practices to meet the unique requirements of the GCC region, and globally, primarily located within the United Arab Emirates, with secondary offices in Malta, European Union. https://www.karmadv.com/
Established in 1981, Marshal FinTech Partners is the largest and oldest provider of payment technology in the Gulf region. Serving clients across 16 countries in the Middle East; Marshal is at the helm of chip card and payment technology that has changed the way the Gulf pays and transacts on a daily basis. From smart cards, POS, and loyalty solutions to the most sophisticated transaction automation products in the field, Marshal delivers tailor made solutions for IT driven systems in finance, hotel management, petroleum, and convenience store operation for the Middle East. As one of the Gulf’s leading consultancies for world-class payment products and their applications, we have helped revolutionize the way IT infrastructure works for the payment industry. Marshal has forged its reputation on trust, diligence, and years of partnership with some of the Gulf’s most respected and reputable institutions. As a result, it maintains its position as one of the leading institutions of solutions, services, and knowledge for payment solutions in the Gulf and Middle East. https://marshal-me.comhttps://marshal-me.com/
About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com
M2P Solutions is an API infrastructure company that enables businesses of any scale to embed financial products in their customer journeys. Our agile platform allows businesses to quickly create and deploy fintech products by simplifying the partnerships with Banks, PPIs, FIs, and other regulated entities. We provide deep domain expertise with significant speed to market while maintaining the core of our offerings' scalability, security, and reliability. Headquartered in Chennai, India, M2P operates in over 20 markets across Asia and North Africa. A few key markets apart from India include the United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, Nepal, the Philippines, Bahrain and Egypt. The company plans to expand its footprint to Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and across the MENA region. https://m2pfintech.com/
About Taptap Send
We are Taptap Send, a borderless team focused on supporting communities on their most important cross-border financial needs, getting capital into the hands of those that most need it. Our no-fee, instant remittance products help users send money to family and loved ones in the most convenient, reliable and fairly priced way possible. Founded by the founders of the non-profit GiveDirectly (philanthropic cash transfers; fastest growing non-profit of last 30 years), and Segovia (B2B mobile payment gateway acquired by Crown Agents Bank), Taptap Send is an extension of this mission to make it as cheap, fast and convenient to transfer money into the frontier markets as possible. For more information, visit: https://www.taptapsend.com/
YAP is redefining the fintech sector in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia by creating smarter and faster financial tools. The app offers a suite of versatile features such as analytics and budget tools, card controls, easy money transfers, real-time notifications of purchases, virtual cards and more. With an extensive database of resources at their fingertips, users can go from financially inexperienced to expert money managers. YAP partners with banking partners in various regions to provide IBAN and BIN sponsorship for users. YAP is available to download on iOS and Android devices. For more information, please visit: https://www.yap.com/.