The MENA Fintech Association (MFTA), the leading voice of the region's fintech community, has published the second volume of its SHIFT report. The first volume, “SHIFT – MENA Payments Landscaping”, was published earlier this year and contained everything a fintech needs to know about the region’s payments sector. In continuation to that, MFTA released the second volume titled ‘A Deep Dive into Cross-Border Payments’, a comprehensive report co-authored by M2P Solutions and Mastercard on the cross-border payment landscape in the MENA region.

"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 (DIFC), Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Arthur D. Little, BPC,, 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.

Cross-border payments are vital to the financial ecosystem in the MENA region, with two of the world’s three largest remittance corridors located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia (KSA). Both the UAE and KSA have handled $78 billion in payments in 2020 (source McKinsey) as millions of unbanked and underbanked expats reside across both countries.

The report provides an understanding of the cross-border payments scenario in the MENA region, making a case that there is a strong need for new and innovative technologies to help boost financial inclusion and access to financial services. A few key insights from the report are:

  • With more people living in other countries for work or business, globalization and outsourcing of firms, the openness of economies (FDI, FII), international tourism, and international e-commerce, cross-border payments are becoming an important aspect of business and daily life.
  • The volume of remittances transmitted from MENA to other nations is 20% Intra- MENA and 80% Inter-MENA region, indicating a solid use case for MENA's cross-border payment infrastructure.
  • Fintechs have introduced new channels for cross-border transactions and helped legacy players like banks and MSBs improve their cross-border payment products through APIs, digital onboarding, e-KYC, digital channels like Apps and Kiosks, payment gateways, and blockchain.

“The MENA region is well poised for a fintech revolution’’ said Vaanathi Mohanakrishnan, Business Head, MENA, M2P Solutions. “Due to the significant migrant population of about 45% in each country in the GCC, remittances are a vital part of the payment ecosystem. Creating a frictionless channel for end-users and promoting financial inclusion through the enablement of seamless and affordable digital experiences for cross-border payments are some of the key objectives of the MENA region's SHIFT initiatives.” Vaanathi added.

Mohit Gupta, Director of Cross-Border Services, EEMEA, Mastercard, said: “With its burgeoning expat population and its position as a gateway between the east and west, the MENA region is at the very heart of the cross-border payments landscape. GCC countries alone occupy 5 of the top 20 positions when it comes to outward remittances, while MENA volumes for B2B transactions are forecast to pass $30 trillion by the end of this year. The only way we’re going to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth is by building a more connected ecosystem and thriving world beyond cash, where everyone has equal access to a better life. At Mastercard we lead innovation across multiple payment rails, adding value and connecting information, while fostering financial inclusion, enabling people and organizations to transact across any channel and to any end point.”

Nameer Khan, Chairman, MFTA added “This is an essential piece of work on cross border focusing on wide spectrum of key factors and indicators in this vertical. With the increasing number of expats in this region and the increased adoption of a cashless society, Total GDP of the region being $ 2.26 Trillion we can see from this joint industry study that cross border payments will play a vital role. Congratulations to all the SHIFT members and the fintech community for such a comprehensive guide on Cross border payments.“

The complete SHIFT guide will be published in multiple volumes that cover the fundamental components of payments, such as regulation, technology, and processing, as well as trends in individual countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Iraq. Subsequent volumes of the report will cover regulatory and know-your-customer prerequisites, card-issuing models and best practices, and trending products, such as store value cards. The SHIFT report is available from the MFTA website using


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.

About DIFC

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.

About ADGM

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.

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 technology[1]intensive 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

About BPC

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.

About provides the fastest, most reliable payments in more than 150 currencies, with in-country acquiring, world-class fraud filters and reporting through one API. 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

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.

About GPS

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.

About Karm

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.

About Marshal

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.com

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

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.

About M2P Fintech (Registered as M2P Solutions in the Middle East)

Founded in the year 2014 and headquartered in Chennai, M2P Fintech is Asia’s largest API (Application Programming Interface) infrastructure company offering a wide gamut of services that enable businesses of any scale to embed financial services. M2P is an omnichannel platform that operates in over 20 markets across the Asia Pacific, MENA, and Oceania regions. M2P works with over 30 banks and has clocked over 600+ Fintech engagements across a varied set of industries . M2P Fintech is well-positioned with a secure and highly customizable tech stack that helps businesses launch their products with efficacy and speed at its core. On one end, M2P’s platform allows businesses to quickly create and deploy customized fintech products by customizing all relevant workflows through their plug-and-play solutions. On the other end, M2P simplifies the ability of banks and licensed and regulated entities to support these products at the back end by facilitating technology integration as well as settlement and operational support.

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:

About YAP

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: