Using Fixed Price Payments for the Unbanked in MENA

Over the past two decades, consumer preferences for cross-border payments have evolved, and more and more people are demanding convenience, speed, security and, above all, value for money, said Kaushik Sthankiya, chief commercial officer of the subscription- Sokin based global payments provider.

But compared to the rapid growth of innovative payment and remittance solutions for consumers in developing markets, millions of financially excluded consumers and businesses in emerging markets across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region ) still lack access to easy, instant payments and cash. transfer possibilities.

“We’ve seen consumers and businesses get really tired of paying expensive payment fees to transfer money around the world, which often takes one to five business days, and then they’re also faced with legacy banking infrastructure. struggling,” Sthankiya told PYMNTS in an interview.

The myriad regulatory frameworks in these fragmented markets have not helped either, creating obstacles that have limited progress in achieving transparent cross-border payments in the MENA region.

These are the challenges that UK-based foreign exchange account provider Sokin has set out to address, recently expanding an existing partnership with Mastercard to offer consumers in nearly 40 new markets in the MENA region payment services. and easy and transparent fixed price money transfers.

Related: Sokin and Mastercard extend their digital banking partnership in the MENA region

Under the agreement, the company will leverage Mastercard’s banking solutions and digital card services to launch its app and global currency account wallet in 39 different MENA countries, providing millions of non- banked and migrant workers access to cheaper and frictionless global money transfers. and currency exchange services.

“The ability to sign up for our app and get a multi-currency account [with a Mastercard virtual card] sending and receiving money to friends and family, or paying for goods and services online or in-store wherever Mastercard is accepted, is an attractive proposition,” Sthankiya noted.

The MENA region is full of opportunities

For global payments and financial services companies, emerging markets in the MENA region present a largely untapped and rapidly growing opportunity.

In recent years, countries like Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain have emerged as booming hotspots for FinTech startups, and the region’s young tech-savvy consumers continue to drive the payments gateway. cash to digital payment methods.

“Consumers and businesses in the MENA region are embracing new forms of payment, almost leapfrogging some of the legacy financial services and instruments used by Western consumers and moving directly to new forms of payment such as QR code or wearable technology” , Sthankiya said.

This growing opportunity, he added, is one that Sokin will seek to capitalize on as part of its goal to provide an inclusive, transparent and hassle-free payment and transfer experience for consumers and businesses in the region.

Read more: Sokin launches Metaverse World eCommerce

Also jumping aboard the disruptive innovation bandwagon, the UK-based company recently made its first foray into the metaverse, enabling retailers and brands to move from their physical locations to the virtual world.

In this metaverse world – where full e-commerce transactions will be processed – Sokin will host a 3D community of brands and businesses, including fashion and sporting goods, that will allow consumers to interact, transact and make purchases via a mobile application.

As Sthankiya said, “We are always on the lookout for innovative trends and looking for ways to satisfy [evolving] consumer demands for different forms of payment methods. »

See also: Sokin to Launch Enterprise Platform for X-Border Payments

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