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The Monday Roundup: what we are watching this week | April 1st

By Puja Sharma

April 01, 2024

  • banks in UAE
  • Fintech news
  • MENA

MondayThe Monday Roundup sets the scene for the week’s biggest news stories, industry deals, and upcoming events. For Prime subscribers only.

Enhancing financial connectivity

Mobile phone with arrowMashreq, a financial institutions in the MENA region, has partnered with NPCI International Payments (NIPL), to take a significant step forward in enhancing financial connectivity between the UAE and India.

Unified Payments Interface (UPI) – enabled apps such as PhonePe will now be integrated with NEOPAY, Mashreq’s payment platform, facilitating seamless payment solutions for Indian tourists across multiple merchant locations in the UAE.

Vibhor Mundhada, CEO of NEOPAY at Mashreq said, “We are delighted to collaborate with PhonePe to offer yet another new payment solution for Indian tourists and visitors in the UAE, helping further cement the already strong financial relations between the two countries. This latest launch underscores our commitment to incorporating innovation and technology into our operations, and to providing the solutions and experiences our customers want and need.”

Money bagWorldline a global payments service, has announced that Türkiye’s Central Bank (TCMB) has approved Worldline’s partnership with Turkish FinTech company Lidio Payment Services (Lidio) to accept payments for global online businesses from Türkiye.

The strategic partnership between Worldline and Lidio will help global online businesses gain a competitive advantage in Turkish expanding eCommerce.

Worldline and Lidio have successfully onboarded three global enterprise customers delivering impressive payment performance improvement. Worldline and Lidio are currently onboarding a Big Tech customer onto the solution highlighting its robust capabilities and compliance with various regulations.

International impact investors

Credit cardAlaan, UAE-based corporate card solution, and Visa, a digital payments provider, has announced a landmark 5-year deal to digitise expense management processes for businesses in UAE and KSA.

This five-year strategic alliance aims to leverage Visa’s payment network, VisaNet, and Alaan’s AI-powered spend management system to deliver enhanced financial control and visibility to businesses across the region, in line with UAE and KSA governments’ cashless society agendas.

“At Visa, we are committed to fostering strategic partnerships that enhance and secure the region’s payments ecosystem and deliver innovative corporate solutions that support businesses in their digital transformation,” said Saeeda Jaffar, Visa’s Senior Vice President and Group Country Manager for GCC. “Our collaboration with Alaan is a testament to this commitment, and we look forward to working with them to empower more businesses and companies in the Middle East with innovative spend management solutions.”

Flying moneySindhuja Microcredit, a new-generation digital and rural-focused microfinance institution (MFI) providing financial services to women entrepreneurs, has raised $14.5 million (Rs. 120 crores) in a Series C funding round from GAWA Capital (through its vehicle Huruma Fund) and Oikocredit.

The company will deploy the funds to expand the business in its existing geography and foray into new geographies and product lines.

Abhisheka Kumar, Managing Director and Malkit Singh Didyala Chief Executive Officer, Sindhuja Microcredit said, “GAWA Capital and Oikocredit are well-known international impact investors, and it is a matter of pride for us to have their backing. We are also humbled by the continued confidence shown by Carpediem Capital and Abler Nordic, our existing investors who participated in our pre-Series-C round. The funding further strengthens our commitment to make financial services easily available to the financially excluded and MSME entrepreneurs through technology-driven solutions.”

What is the buzz

CogRakuten Group announced plans to consolidate its FinTech operations into a unified entity, aiming to enhance cooperation and attract more customers across various financial services such as online banking, credit cards, securities, and insurance. This reorganization, set to commence in October, involves a memorandum of understanding between Rakuten Group and Rakuten Bank. Despite the integration, Rakuten Bank will maintain its listing on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The parent company, primarily focused on its e-commerce platform Rakuten Ichiba, has faced financial challenges since the launch of its mobile carrier in 2020, resulting in consistent operating losses over 14 consecutive quarters.

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