The digital payments sector in 2018 created a market of around 38 billion dollars comprehensively: the numbers in regards to the pattern of digital payments are continually developing with a positive normal yearly rate of 18% and a turnover of very nearly 90 billion dollars assessed by 2023.
These are the information that risen up out of the most recent statistical surveying of the Report Linker organization, breaks down that unmistakably feature the always expanding pattern in respect to the advanced digital payments advertise: the relentless presentation of imaginative advances and the improvement of a continually associated correspondence arrange are the principle essentials for concocting new business openings with brilliant and unique payment strategies.
Speed, solace and innovation are the primary highlights of the new advanced payment frameworks: in a cutting edge and carefully dynamic organization 24 hours per day it is unavoidable that the deals and payment parts will experience radical changes. On the off chance that online deals, web based business and buys by means of Social media speak to the most recent outskirts in the business circle, Digital Payments, ePayments and Mobile Payments are the genuine developments in the payments area.
The “Digital Payments Study Visa” investigate did in 2017 conveys that 68% of clients in Europe utilize digital payments to purchase products or services: the real buyers of digital payments administrations are the Millenials (individuals conceived somewhere in the range of 1981 and 1996) with a level of action of practically 90%.
What are digital payments? When can a payment method be defined as such?
The expression “digital payments” characterizes a wide range of payments made in advanced mode: online buys, electronic wallet installments and web cash exchange arrangements; P2P payments and exchanges made in physical stores utilizing NFC innovation and the contact less POS mode are additionally incorporated into the digital payment class.
Albeit altogether different from one another, a wide range of digital payments have as their essential goal the improvement of the client experience, ensuring the client solace and speed: POS and contactless end up being down to earth arrangements and perfect for activities inside stores, utilizations of online deals and digital transactions are the payment techniques most valued by internet business clients because of a natural, protected and quick service.
Payments via smart phone with e-wallets and applications
Transactions by means of smart phones are without a doubt the most inventive classification inside digital payments and can be isolated into four sorts: Mobile Remote Commerce, Mobile Remote Payment, Mobile Proximity Payment and Mobile Proximity Commerce. The Mobile Remote Commerce classification incorporates all the buying forms that happen by means of cell phone with charge on a payment card or electronic handbag, Mobile Remote Payment demonstrate rather all installments of top-ups, charges, parking garages or bulletins happened through cell phone with charge on e wallet or card. The Mobile Proximity Payment type alludes to installments made at the purposes of offer, approved by cell phones utilizing NFC or QR codes and charged on paper, electronic tote or financial balance, lastly Mobile Proximity Commerce incorporates every one of the administrations supporting the in-store client experience, for example, approval of coupons or loyalty services.
Digital payments- Advantages
Digital payments offer multiple innovative solutions compared to the classic payment with cash, we discover what are the points in favor of digital payments:
Security and protection inclusion
Most digital payments offer the client a substantial protection inclusion for the merchandise bought on the web: much of the time it is conceivable to get speedy discounts if there should arise an occurrence of item returns and discounts legitimate in case of a cheat. The protection guidelines and data security frameworks are progressively increasing more certainty from shoppers who incline toward online buys over physical buys.
Rapidity and simplicity
Online shoppers are searching for speed and effortlessness in their acquiring techniques: Digital payments can continually advance themselves, ensuring security, speed and solace to the client who utilizes them.
Internationalization of payments
With the utilization of digital payments there are no trade issues: it is conceivable to go in any nation by paying through your charge card or cell phone on account of the universal digital payment circuits.
Would you like to develop your business and improve your business results?
Fintech is booming in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as regulators and government agencies in countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are pushing for innovation in the financial services industry to improve financial inclusion and keep up with international counterparts.
As fintech innovation continues to grow in importance in MENA, a
growing number of events and conferences are being organized in the
region this year.
Here are the most anticipated fintech and digital finance events in MENA in the coming months
22nd MFC Annual Conference
May 29 – 31, 2019
TITANIC DOWNTOWN BEYOĞLU hotel, Istanbul, Turkey
Running from May 29 to 31, 2019, the 22nd MFC (Microfinance Centre) Annual Conference
will tackle the practical side of digitalization in the financial
inclusion sector through case studies, trend analysis and discussion of
emerging best practice.
This year, the theme will be “Demystifying Digital in Microfinance” and will include a full range of workshops, panel discussions and side meetings to explore different aspects of the digitalization in financial inclusion, including agile ways of working, developing staff digital competency, digital client experience, non-credit digital products, regulatory issues connected with digitalization, financial services for migrants, digital tools for improving financial health, fintechs and financial inclusion, and more.
Token Fest 2019
June 3 – 4, 2019
David InterContinental Hotel, Tel Aviv, Israel
Token Fest promises
to be an exclusive, two-day networking event focused on the business
and technology of tokenization. Attendees will gain a wealth of insights
and information about the state of the token-based economy while
networking with over 2,500 senior level decision makers.
Topics covered during the event will include applied cryptoeconomics, token design, token trading and the future of digital assets, the structure and dynamics of security tokens, ICO blueprint for token crowdfunding, commercialization of blockchain platforms, multi-industry case studies of decentralized platforms, obstacles to mainstream adoption, and more.
June 12 – 13, 2019
Port of Beirut, Downtown, Beirut, Lebanon
This year, Arabnet will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary, a decade since it began its journey setting the ground for digital business and entrepreneurship in the MENA region.
To date, the brand has organized 25+ events in Beirut, Kuwait, Dubai,
and Riyadh, released 20+ in-depth reports on the different sectors of
the MENA ecosystem, and provided up-and-coming startups with a chance to
grow and reach high levels of success through our competitions.
Arabnet Beirut 2019
promises to be bigger than ever, a celebration of innovation gathering
3,000+ corporate executives, government leaders, and entrepreneurs under
The buzzing event is set to bring together 250+ experts and speakers
from around the globe, covering a range of topics and will include the
Launchpad for startups and investors, Ad/Edge for digital media and
advertising, and Finverse for digital banking and fintech.
Finverse will explore the latest trends and opportunities in fintech and banking innovation, diving into chatbots and robo-advisors, big data, blockchain, and the practical opportunities available for banks and financial services providers.
June 12 – 13, 2019
Gulf Convention Centre, Bahrain
InsurByte aims to be the insurtech knowledge-exchange platform in
Asia and the Middle East. The event is expected to bring together over
150 companies participating from over 25 countries who will be
interacting and showcasing the latest initiatives, innovations and
applications related to the insurance industry.
Building on the success of the 2017 conference, InsurByte 2019,
in strategic partnership with Bahrain Insurance Association and
the Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance, will provide a platform
that fosters synergies among market players to find solutions and
promote innovative insurance practices in a collaborative, open and
The conference will host keynote speeches, panels, fireside chats, show and tells, startup pitches, investor sessions, workshops, network sessions and case studies from entrepreneurs, innovation labs, venture capitalist and insurance professionals.
Future of Finance and CFO Summit
June 17 – 18, 2019
Grosvenor House, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Dubai, UAE
The Future of Finance and CFO Summit
is set to bring together the region’s top CFOs and senior finance
professionals to discuss and address challenges and their key
initiatives helping shape their businesses successfully.
The summit aims to act as a platform to gain unparalleled insight on
cost control strategies through access to a global expert speaker
faculty, hear from the leading senior finance experts and discuss the
future of the finance industry by looking at what’s operational
efficiency and change management.
Participants will also get to learn more about the real value of AI, analytics and other innovative technologies in the finance industry and how it can make operations more efficient and achieve cost control, and much more
Seamless North Africa 2019
June 17 – 18, 2019
The Nile Ritz-Carlton, Cairo, Egypt
Seamless North Africa 2019,
organized by the Terrapinn, is held under the patronage of the Central
Bank of Egypt and in partnership with the Council of Arab Economic Unity
and the League of Arab States.
The event will feature inspirational keynotes from global innovators who are changing commerce in their companies as well as technology leaders from retail, e-commerce and payments across North Africa. It is set to bring together thousands of professionals and will include an exhibition where leading solution providers will showcase a wide range of new technologies.
The event will explore the role of digital assets and stablecoins, looking at how they can revolutionize financial services globally to improve transparency and accessibility, as well as the latest proof-of-concepts by financial institutions in the region. It will also address how to overcome hurdles around ecosystem maturity to implement the technology, and participants will get to hear from a range of central banks and free zone regulators on their views on blockchain in the Middle East to help financial institutions adapt and collaborate.
ATMIA Middle East 2019
June 25 – 26, 2019
Shangri-La Hotel, Dubai, UAE
The ATMIA Middle East 2019 conference will focus on global trends in next-gen ATMs and innovations in digital banking.
The ATM-dedicated conference will offer delegates and exhibitors the opportunity to share experiences and insights with their peers and industry experts from across the Gulf, Middle East and surrounding regions.
Fintech Summit Middle East
June 26, 2019
Intercontinental Hotel Amman, Jordan
Fintech Summit Middle East
will take place on June 26, 2019 in Amman Jordan, and promises to bring
together more than 300+ industry leaders, business decision makers,
tech innovators , business leaders and disruptive technologists,
regulators and academics who are shaping the future of banking and
financial services by driving a technological revolution in the industry
across the Middle East.
The summit will discuss the latest disruptions and opportunities across the fintech landscape, covering topics including blockchain, online payments and digital banking. This one-day event will focus on fintech with a range of programming, including panels, off-sites and networking opportunities.
June 26 – 27, 2019
Avenue Convention Center, 1 Hasharon St. Airport City, Israel
is an international annual conference on fintech taking place in
Israel. This year, Fintech Junction is expected to bring together 1,500+
professional attendees from Israel and from around the world including
CXOs, entrepreneurs, investors, innovation and fintech leaders from
leading startups, banks, financial institutions, hubs, accelerators and
The event will cover the latest and hottest trends shaping the future of financial services, including open banking, blockchain, cryptocurrencies, ICOs, regulation, cybersecurity, AI, P2P platforms, startups and venture capital and much more.
Oman Islamic Fintech Forum 2019
June 26 – 27, 2019
Oman Islamic Fintech Forum 2019 (OiFF2019)
aims to become the exclusive Islamic fintech reference in Oman. This
event will bring industry experts from various fields of expertise
including regulators, bankers, entrepreneurs, investors, and IT experts
to share their experiences and insights in developing the fintech
ecosystem for Islamic finance in Oman.
OiFF intends to set the stage in the Middle East for Islamic fintech experts to meet and share their expertise in order to assess Oman’s potential in embracing Islamic fintech to promote economic growth and develop the industry of Islamic finance.
Saudi Fintech Forum
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Fintech Workshop
is set to bring together business leaders and technology innovators to
collaborate on the re-invention of technologies, processes and products
through digital transformation. The event will explore how to increase
efficiency and agility with operational excellence, while creating
customer-obsessed experiences that grow revenue and re-invigorate your
business. It will include case study presentations and panel
The workshop is designed to host 100+ senior professional from banks,
insurance companies, brokers, bancassurance, and fintech companies to
discuss their strategies for digital transformation. It will address the
key issues of financial transformation and innovation by bringing on
board expert speakers from the industry to address and provide updated
information and solutions to the challenges facing the industry.
Key topics to be covered include blockchain technology, mobile, the future of fintech in Saudi Arabia, the Internet-of-Things, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and more.
9th Annual Middle East Banking Innovation Summit
September 3 – 4, 2019
Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, Dubai, UAE
The Middle East Banking Innovation Summit claims to be the largest
banking technology platform in the region, bringing together banking
leaders, fintech experts and over 450 senior experts and leaders to
discuss the future of banking.
The Middle East Banking Innovation Summit 2019 will focus on various disruptive technologies, new banking regulations and emerging key trends impacting this sector. The must-attend summit will explore the latest developments in the banking industry, with the sole purpose of emphasizing the impact of technology and innovation in this sector.
Fintech Abu Dhabi
October 21 – 23, 2019
Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, Abu Dhabi, UAE
Fintech Abu Dhabi
is a leading fintech festival in MENA that’s set to bring together this
year 5,000 influencers and innovators who are pioneering the new wave
of innovation across financial services.
Building on the success of the previous two editions of Fintech Abu
Dhabi, ADGM has partnered with Unbound, a global innovation ecosystem
builder with a successful track record of creating innovation events
around the world.
This third edition will explore the next frontier of fintech and innovation and intends to be the meeting point for the global fintech community in 2019, featuring many country delegations, a new global challenge format, a Fintech World Tour, the inaugural Fintech Abu Dhabi Awards for Excellence and a showcase of the world’s most promising fintech startups and scaleups.
Enterprise Fintech Summit
October 28 – 29, 2019
The Enterprise Fintech Summit, taking place on October 28 and 29, 2019 in Dubai, will host more than 600 leading banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) decision maker across Middle East. These will privately meet to discuss sector transformation and disruptive topics such as banking 2025, digital DNA, regtech, micro-financing, artificial intelligence, robotics, financial inclusion, blockchain, and real-time data analytics.
Finovate Middle East 2019
November 17 – 19, 2019
Finovate Middle East 2019
is set to bring together the region’s fintech community to showcase
cutting-edge banking, financial and payments technology. The event is
set to attract more than 400 senior financial and banking executives,
venture capitalists, press, industry analysts, bloggers, regulators, and
entrepreneurs from across the UAE.
Participants will see the latest fintech innovations demoed live on stage and hear insights from global financial services experts.
The Global Islamic Fintech Huddle 2019
November 25, 2019
The Global Islamic Fintech Huddle
is an international gathering of industry influencers and fintech
visionaries passionate about using technology to drive financial
inclusion in a Shariah compliant and ethical manner.
Featuring a series of high-level panel discussions, demo sessions and networking events, the Huddle is designed to be the epicenter of Islamic fintech ideas and innovation with the primary objective of connecting all stakeholders of the Islamic fintech ecosystem startups, investors, policymakers and intermediaries, to facilitate the exchange of ideas and create new collaborative business opportunities.
December 5, 2019
BlockOn 2019 aims to provide a platform for knowledge exchange that fosters synergies among market players to find solutions, and helps implement and promote innovative blockchain practices in a collaborative, open and transparent manner.
BlockOn 2019 aims to provide a platform for knowledge exchange that fosters synergies among market players to find solutions, and helps implement and promote innovative blockchain practices in a collaborative, open and transparent manner.
BlockOn 2019 will gather the blockchain community to investigate the challenges and opportunities of blockchain technology on multiple perspectives. Live panel discussions will probe deeper into what it takes for blockchain solutions to be successful and how this new and exciting technology can be applied for data integrity, trust and accessibility.
Startup Arabia captures the untold stories of the high-tech entrepreneurs in the Middle East who are creating one of the most vibrant and fertile tech hubs in the world today. The book was written by Amir Hegazi, a life-long entrepreneur, with over 15 years of startup, tech, e-commerce, and digital media experience.
Through a collection of interviews, Startup Arabia touches on the early days of those entrepreneurs and the startups they created. It explores how they got their initial ideas, what challenges they faced and how they overcame them, what lessons they learned from those experiences, and what advice they have for the next generation of Middle East entrepreneurs. They also share what they believe is required to ensure continued development of a startup ecosystem in the region.
Not only did these entrepreneurs conquer the usual challenges of new tech startups; they managed to break from deep-seated tradition and societal limiting beliefs, cut through red tape, and navigate an often unfriendly startup environment.
Startup Arabia provides an eye-opening, refreshing look at the entrepreneurial journey and a much-needed call to action to aspiring entrepreneurs across the region to help shape the future of the Arab world. It was also selected among the top 17 best books for startups worldwide by Book Authority in 2019 https://bookauthority.org/books/new-startup-books
Foloosi is a UAE Fintech startup facilitating consumer-to-business card payments by enabling the business to display QR code, Payment Link and API integrations for the customer to scan & pay
Foloosi ( https://www.foloosi.com ) is a UAE Fintech startup facilitating consumer-to-business card payments by enabling the business to display QR code, Payment Link and API integrations for the customer to scan & pay.
Foloosi offers a complete technically advanced digital solution, which seamlessly connect consumers with businesses to provide actionable flow of events resulting in a fast and secure way of making payments based on QR codes and card networks.
Foloosi enables businesses in the UAE to get paid using QR code technology without the need of POS machine or any additional hardware. While the payment is deducted instantly, the merchant can also receive instant payment notifications.
Mission of Foloosi
World is going faster day by day with the power of digital information & technology. Our mission includes,
To make digitized payments/ transactions throughout UAE reforming the cash payments
To provide easy payments for customers to pay bills, recharge, book tickets, scan and pay etc and make them to enjoy their life
Enables business owners to accept payments without the need of any POS/ swipe machine or any other larger infrastructure
Products of Foloosi
Retailers can accept payment easily from customers just by generating one QR code. Customers can make payment using Scan & pay option. Customers can scan the item QR codes as they shop and can pay within minutes without queuing.
Foloosi technology offers a marvelous solution to the likes of freelancers by enabling them to share payment web links with their clients through multiple means such as email, sms, whatsapp, social networking apps and sites.
Payment link is sending a payment request to get paid instantly.
API documentation for websites is available as an option for merchants who want to accept payments on their own websites.
Businesses can accept payments in their mobile app/ website with Foloosi payment gateway API and customers can pay on merchant’s website.
Enable recurring payment schedule, control the billing cycle and get instant alerts on subscription activity with Foloosi Subscriptions. All to do is to link a plan to the customer.
Foloosi help its merchants to offer customer subscription plans to their customers with automated recurring transactions on various payment modes, through a platform that’s built for automation.
Need of Press Release and target audience
In order to make use of Foloosi- digital payment solution by all the individuals and retailers of UAE we are launching this press release. Our target audience includes from small startups to larger organizations. All can make use of this digital payment solution and enjoy transaction in a quick and easy manner.
Benefits for customers
Enjoy recharges, bill payments at the tap of your fingers
Book tickets for events
Scan and pay to businesses
Secure and easy digital transactions with history
Reward points and Local shopping
Benefits for business owners
Accept every payment
Fast bank settlements
Good success rate
Business growth insights
What Founder says about Foloosi?
Mr. Omar Bin Brek, founder of Foloosi says, “Our aim is to bring innovative payment transactions throughout UAE. We developed Foloosi technology platform in order to make transactions simple, fast and secure and to reform older method of transaction i.e. cash payments and our technological innovation solves the teething problem of processing payments”
DUBAI: Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has signed a
memorandum of understanding (MoU) with professional services company
Accenture, to develop Financial Technology (fintech).
Under the MoU, Fintech Hive at DIFC will collaborate with Accenture’s
Fintech Innovation Labs in New York, London and Hong Kong, to share
resources and knowledge on the latest research and trends in financial
In line with DIFC’s Growth Strategy 2024 and Dubai Vision 2021,
Fintech Hive at DIFC aims to fill a void in the market by giving
financial companies access to state-of-the art technologies to support
their digital transformation.
“What sets us apart is our ability to harness the assets to grow
fintech locally that will ultimately create more jobs, attract
investments and support the economy as a whole,” said Arif Amiri, chief
executive officer of DIFC Authority.
The Fintech Innovation Labs are annual 12-week accelerator programmes
that bring together early-stage financial technology companies and the
world’s leading financial institutions. Globally, the Labs’ alumni
companies have raised more than US$1.07 billion in venture financing
after participating in the programmes.
“In today’s hyper-connected world, this type of alliance is critical for maximising talent development and innovation. With surging demand for fintech solutions and Dubai’s increasing presence on the global financial scene, we are confident that this international collaboration will generate incredible opportunities for the region,” said Sushil Saluja, a senior managing director in Accenture’s Financial Services practice.
DIFC has recently announced that the 2018 programme, which is opening for applications in May, will be expanded to include insurance, Islamic finance, and regulatory technology services. First Abu Dhabi Bank, Arab Bank and Noor Bank will join the programme this year, with returning financial institutions to include Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Citigroup, Emirates Islamic, Emirates NBD, HSBC, Mashreq, Standard Chartered, UAE Exchange, and Visa.
Abu Dhabi: The UAE’s fast-growing Fintech and entrepreneurship
development sector is poised to receive a major boost as Abu Dhabi
Global Market (ADGM) collaborates with difference entities, a top
official said on Monday.
The development comes in the context of
the announcement by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan,
Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed
Forces, of a Dh50 billion stimulus package to support entrepreneurs,
SMEs and the private sector in their growth and innovation.
at Fintech Abu Dhabi Summit, Ahmad Al Sayegh, minister of state and
chairman of ADGM said officials were in active discussions with the
Department of Economic Development to boost the SME sector.
are also working with Emirates Development Bank on initiatives that will
improve the cost and ease of obtaining bank loans and supporting
businesses through funding.
“This new collaboration augments the
ADGM Tech Start-up licence and framework, which enable innovative tech
start-ups, regardless of industries, to set up at low cost, while having
access to professional services, affordable office solutions, and
funding avenues all at one stop in ADGM,” Al Sayegh said.
rallying the local scene is our partner — Plug and Play ADGM. Together,
we co-create a structured Fintech accelerator platform to support
start-ups and corporates alike.”
To provide SMEs greater access to trade finance and other markets, ADGM is also working alongside the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Monetary Authority of Singapore, to build a blockchain-based trade financing platform for cross-border trade among the markets, he said.
On the operations of ADGM, he said a
number of banks including BNP Paribas, Citibank, UniCredit and State
Street Corporation, as well as international investment firms such as
Softbank and McKinley Capital, have chosen to establish themselves in
ADGM to expand their presence in Abu Dhabi.
Abu Dhabi Investment
Authority and Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds, have also
announced their plans to expand their presence and operations in the
ADGM, he added.
“In particular, Mubadala’s announcement to have $1
billion [Dh3.67 billion] of technology investments by 2021 will no
doubt inject new energy into the market and among innovators. Their
decision to move existing or start new operations in ADGM validates our
efforts and strategy as an IFC [International Financial Centre] and
SoftBank Vision Fund
executives of SoftBank said they are working closely with Mubadala in
Abu Dhabi and also with Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia to help
the companies, in which SoftBank has invested via its $100 billion
Vision Fund set up in the region.
“We are working with Mubadala
and Public Investment Fund to bring our portfolio of companies, where
relevant, to the region so that they can actually set up local and
regional businesses here and there are a number of our companies that
have globally scalable models,” Faisal Rehman, Middle Eastern regional
office head at SoftBank Investment Advisers, said while speaking at a
panel discussion in the summit.
Mubadala Investment Company made $15 billion commitment to the Softbank Vision Fund, a major technology and innovation focused fund, alongside a consortium of leading investors including Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia and Apple Inc, among others.
Dubai: The financial technology (fintech) revolution that is sweeping across the banking and financial services industry across the world is likely to disrupt the retail banking business in the GCC while the overall impact on balance sheets and bank ratings is going to be minimal in the near future, according to rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P).
“Technological innovation in the financial sector is a global trend,
reaching developed and developing economies alike. We believe that
fintech could reduce the profitability of some business lines of GCC
banks and change the way they operate over time.
“While we don’t expect major disruption of lending activity in the GCC,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Mohammad Damak.
S&P analysts believe that fintech could impact retail banking,
particularly money transfer and foreign-currency exchange business. This
would push some banks to adjust their operations through increased
digitalisation, branch network reduction, and staff rationalisation.
Conventional banking’s value chain essentially involves functions such
as taking savings, providing loans and facilitating payments. In this
value chain, at the most risk of disruption is the payments business
model because it is the least capital intensive and most tech intensive.
While savings and lending involve the balance sheet and regulation,
in the case of payments, business is balance sheet-light and regulations
are relatively lower, attracting most innovators to this segment.
In lending and savings, the impact of disruption has been slower
compared to payments. S&P analysts don’t expect fintech alone to
have a significant bearing on our GCC bank ratings in the foreseeable
future. On average, banks in the GCC are still very profitable and
efficient by global standards.
“We think that some banks are starting to realise the extent of the
threats and opportunities that fintech poses, and are putting in place
measures to adjust to the new realities of their operating environment,”
As corporate lending constitutes a major portion of the loan books of
GCC banks, analysts believe the impact of fintech on overall
profitability of banks are going to be muted.
Corporate lending remains relationship-based and the human
added-value remains significant in the GCC, from corporate relationship
managers all the way up to decision makers.
“While we acknowledge that fintech might help enhance the efficiency
of some of these operations, we don’t think they will be significantly
disrupted in the next few years,” said Damak.
Analysts expect fintech to affect GCC banks’ profitability, but not
across all business lines. In 2016, the GCC banks generated around
one-quarter of their revenues from fees and commission and
foreign-exchange gains. The latter contributed around 6 per cent of
rated GCC banks’ operating revenues over the same period. While a
significant portion of these revenues relates to lending and advisory
activity, part of it also relates to money transfer and currency
GCC countries remain net exporters of capital. Their small populations and significant investments and economic development have brought about a significant need to import qualified and unqualified workforces. As a result, the populations of most GCC countries are dominated by expatriates. According to the World Bank, these expatriates sent $102.5 billion (Dh376 billion) back to their home countries in 2016. Fintech could also disrupt the payment industry as it would reduce costs for end users because of the reduction in the number of participants. GCC banks only started to realise the potential risks and opportunities from the development of fintech recently.
According to EY’s GCC Fintech Play 2017 report, only 42 per
cent of GCC banks that participated in EY’s survey were familiar (fairly
familiar or more) with the fintech industry, while 93 per cent of GCC
banks doubted that fintech players could disrupt their businesses in the
In the same survey, 86 per cent of GCC banks estimated that no more
than 15 per cent of banks’ business could be lost to fintech in the next
five years, believing fund transfer and brokerage to be the main
business lines most likely to be disrupted.
“In our view, the sooner GCC banks understand fintech’s potential
threats, the better they will be able to implement defensive measures or
develop collaborative strategies with new fintech players.
“Collaboration could take the form of partnering with some fintech
companies for specific services, for example, allowing fintech companies
to use the banking system infrastructure for clearing and settlement
operations,” Damak said.
Defensive measures would primarily take the form of strengthening
mobile banking services, rationalising branch networks, and refocusing
staff on value-added services rather than repetitive and less-profitable
Role of regulators
The role of regulators and authorities lies between protecting banks and seizing opportunities.
Clearly, regulators in the GCC are looking closely at fintech, not only from a perspective of financial stability, but also from one of collaboration.
Fintech Hive in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and
the regulatory “sandboxes” set up by the Dubai Financial Services
Authority (DFSA), with similar initiatives in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, are
examples of how regulators are approaching the fintech industry.
While Fintech Hive helps fintech companies benefit from
collaborations with top executives at the DIFC over a 12-week
accelerator programme, the regulatory sandboxes allow fintech companies
to test their innovations in the real market in a restricted regulatory
In Dubai, the DFSA launched its regulatory framework for loan- and
investment-based crowdfunding platforms earlier this year, and it has
licensed one company for peer-to-peer lending and another for
What is Fintech?
Fintech is a collection of financial technology that describes an emerging financial services sector in the 21st century.
Originally, the term applied to technology applied to the back-end of established consumer and trade financial institutions. The term has since expanded to include any technological innovation in the financial sector, including innovations in financial literacy and education, retail banking, investment and even crypto-currencies like bitcoin.
Dubai: Dubai International Financial Centre’s (DIFC) new $100 million (Dh367 million) FinTech fund, which will come from internal resources, will support Fintech Hive start-ups in Artificial Intelligence, blockchain, robotics, DIFC governor Essa Kazim said on Tuesday.
He was speaking at the Global Financial Forum, which was opened by Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and the president of DIFC.
DIFC thinks that fintech is “underserviced” and the allocation of funding going into this new business is “very very limited” in the MEASA region, accounting to less than 1 per cent of the total.
“We are ready to spend the money. But it will depend on opportunities and if it makes commercial sense,” Kazim told reporters. “We want to consolidate the position of the DIFC and to be at the forefront of the changes that may happen in the financial sector.”
The fund can grow bigger, Kazim said.
“We have been talking with some government departments at federal level, or local level. If the interest materialises into anything then definitely the structure of the fund will be different,” he said.
“We don’t mind having other entities mainly government or semi government entities to participate in this fund. Today the fund is sufficient to support our own initiatives whether it is development of Fintech hive, the type of companies that are going to be supported by accelerator,” Kazim added.
Importance of Fintech
The 2024 strategy, which was a 10-year plan of the DIFC to triple its size, was launched 3 years ago, but Kazim didn’t envisage that Fintech would have been a part of the strategy, when the announcement was made.
“There is a new order that global financial services industry needs to navigate … the new alliances are being forged. The rapid emergence of advanced technology in all areas of finance is creating shifts like never before in the industry,” Kazim said.
Updating on the achievements made so far in the 10 year strategy rolled out in 2015, Kazim said “We are on track (in terms of meeting targets for the 10 year strategy). In certain areas we have passed our targets, but other areas we are lagging behind in area of employment. Although the number of licenses are on track attracting companies, but there is a little lag (not significant) in terms of employment,” said Kazim.
Falling oil prices has not been a negative for the center to attract businesses. Before the drop in oil price, the DIFC licensed 150 companies a year on an average, after that the average jumped to 300 companies.
“That (funding) element has encouraged banks to really expand their balance-sheet and provide credit to regional governments. Governments have been active in issuing bonds and sukuk and that also encouraged financial activities in the DIFC,” Kazim said.
DIFC also hopes to attract more asset managers, financial institutions from India and China.
Regarding competition from other financial centers, Kazim said “competition is always there. The UAE was built on competition and on market forces. We have 5 airports, and 7 ports, and financial activity is one of those things. We don’t fear competition, and it is always good.”