Fintech players in the Middle East are launching prepaid cards to provide easy online payments to millions of people
In recent years, the demand for prepaid cards as an alternative to cash has increased exponentially in the Middle East region. The growing popularity of technology-driven products and services coupled with the government's encouragement to use cashless and contactless payment methods such as digital and mobile wallets is fuelling the growth of the prepaid cards market in the region.
Key fintech players in the Middle East are entering the prepaid card space through innovative partnerships and acquisitions of payment providers to drive financial inclusion in the region. For instance,
- Telda, an Egypt-based fintech company, received the final approval from the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) to launch its prepaid card in July 2022. The company aims to launch its prepaid card in the Egyptian market in a move to fulfill the digital transformation and financial inclusion in the country. Telda is an app designed for Millennials and Gen Z that offers the issuance of prepaid cards powered by Mastercard, which can be used for in-store, online payments and cash withdrawals from ATMs.
- VaultsPay, a UAE-based fintech, has partnered with Wibmo, a PayU-owned payment security provider, in June 2022 to launch a prepaid card platform. The prepaid card will be introduced across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) with a phased approach beginning in the third quarter of 2022. This partnership is aimed to provide payment services to the large population of underbanked people in the Middle East. VaultsPay will take advantage of Wibmo's prepaid platform to build secured and specifically configured cards and supports the financial transactions of blue-collar workers, who may not even have bank accounts.
- Rewire, an Israel digital wallet for economic migrants acquired a prepaid card provider for migrants, Imagen, in June 2022. Through this acquisition, Rewire can provide prepaid debit cards in Israel that have already been rolled out in UK and Europe earlier. Imagen currently has 30,000 active Mastercards connected to the bank of Jerusalem, and their customers will easily access additional financial services after this acquisition.
- Khazna, a fintech company, has disclosed that it received approval from the Central bank of Egypt (CBE) in April 2022 to launch its prepaid card in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank Egypt (ADIB). Khazna card will provide services such as money withdrawal and deposit, payroll, and online payment to its customers. In addition, the prepaid card will bear the logo of Meeza, the National Payment Network. The prepaid card paves the way to transform towards a digital society and enhance financial inclusion in Egypt.
- The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) granted preliminary approvals to a fintech solutions and electronic payments company, Opay Egypt, in April 2022 to launch prepaid cards in cooperation with the Egyptian Cards Company. With the prepaid card's service, Opay Egypt plans to provide various digital payment solutions, including money deposits, purchases, and withdrawals, for its customers without needing to open a bank account.
- One of the biggest financial institutions in the Middle East and Africa, QNB launched its first prepaid card in April 2022, designed with Laeeb, the official mascot for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. In partnership with Visa, this prepaid card provides an exceptional payment experience to customers, such as contactless payment and e-commerce to enable safe, secure, and convenient purchases.
These fintech companies are launching their prepaid cards to drive financial inclusion in the region by offering advanced financial services to eligible citizens suitable to their needs. The range of services offered by prepaid cards, such as payroll processing, gifting, sending or receiving remittances, and government benefit disbursement, are gaining traction in the Middle East region. With the growing adoption of prepaid cards among students and blue-collar workers who do not have a good credit score and an existing bank account, PayNXT360 expects the prepaid card market to be full of opportunities from a short to medium-term perspective.
To know more and gain a deeper understanding of the prepaid card market in the Middle East, click here.