Finance forward

Antti Arponen - CEO and Co-founder of Pyypl and Otto Williams, Senior Vice President, Head of Partnerships, Innovation and Digital Solutions for Visa CEMEA
Antti Arponen - CEO and Co-founder of Pyypl and Otto Williams, Senior Vice President, Head of Partnerships, Innovation and Digital Solutions for Visa CEMEA

Pyypl, the Middle East- and Africa-based payment technology company and financial services provider, has partnered with Visa. What does this mean for both?

By Nisthula Nagarajan

Published: Mon 24 May 2021, 9:06 PM

What advantage does partnering with Pyypl give Visa?

At Visa, we understand the valuable role that digital transformation plays in economic development and growth and therefore provide real-time solutions to meet current needs. Over time, we have established partnerships with fintechs that touch almost every part of the payment's ecosystem - from neobanks, and digital wallets, to alt lenders and earned wage access providers. Visa's vast network is a critical differentiator for fintechs, helping to connect dots across the landscape to create and enable new payment flows across digital and physical experiences.  Our partnership with Pyypl is one more example of how we are jointly building out this landscape. 

How is the Middle East region picking up contactless technology compared to the rest of the world?

Consumers in the Middle East are increasingly savvy when it comes to digital payments including contactless payment adoption and have adjusted the way they pay for items recently.  

62 per cent of UAE consumers surveyed in a recent Visa-commissioned study are using contactless payments where possible over the past three months. 

The ability to pay digitally is no longer simply a convenience but a necessity for consumers and merchants.  

74 per cent of UAE consumers surveyed would not shop at a store that doesn't offer a contactless payment method.  

53 per cent have not used cash as much over the past three months.   

Businesses are on board too in response to evolving consumer preferences. 

A third of SMBs in MENA surveyed are dropping or accepting less cash due to Covid-19; a fifth are allowing contactless for the first time.  

97 per cent have adjusted the way they operate their business in the past three months.  

Businesses have increased digitisation to improve operations.

What is the future for Visa in the Middle East and globally?

Over the next few years, we're set to see even faster changes in the payments landscape, and these markets are set to be at the forefront of the payment's transformation. 

MENA saw record fintech funding in 2020 - it hit $993m in 2020 which was three times the funding levels in 2019 and the industry expects 2021 funding to surpass 2020 numbers. 

Two billion individuals and 200 million small businesses in emerging economies today lack access to formal savings and credit. They transact exclusively in cash, have no safe way to save and invest their money, and must rely on informal lenders and personal networks for credit.  

Access to banking can greatly improve people's lives by enabling them to save for healthcare or education, to build a business, manage their financial risk and get easier access to government payments or pay bills online. 

The use of contactless payments became part of the public health response to Covid-19 but the convenience, security and reliability of those payments will no doubt reinforce long-term habits once the pandemic is over. Seventy-seven per cent of UAE consumers surveyed say they will still prefer to use contactless in a post-Covid-19 world, just as much or more. Given these factors, it is only natural that Visa is already partnering with several mobile network operators (MNOs), alongside other players such as banks and fintechs, to develop the next generation of mobile financial services. 

At a very basic level, the digitisation of cash and enabling contactless payment has become even more pressing as we seek to safeguard the health of populations. And, as economies continue to struggle, expanding merchant access to payment acceptance and driving financial inclusion for those in need is more crucial than ever.   

Tell us about Pyypl.

Pyypl is an international payment technology company and financial services provider using blockchain in its core systems. Pyypl is a globally accepted digital alternative for a credit card if you cannot get one. Pyypl connects any smartphone owner into the formal financial system. Pyypl works immediately, and it can be used anywhere, anytime. Pyypl is safe, affordable and easy to use.

Pyypl has the ambition to become the biggest fintech payment services provider in the MENA region.

What advantage does partnering with Visa give Pyypl?

We will have access to Visa's international network and expertise in payment solutions. This has great upside for us operationally and given that reputationally - a business is judged by the company it keeps - there is no greater validation for Pyypl than working with the world leader in digital payments, Visa.

What is your foresight for the contactless payments sector for the next five years?

Digital payments are growing exponentially across the world, especially in emerging markets as consumers start to move away from cash. We expect huge growth and more global citizens to have access to the financial system whether they have a bank account or not.

What does the future hold for Pyypl?

Our ambition is to be a truly regional financial services provider by 2025, operating across MENA. According to GSMA, which represent mobile operators worldwide, smartphone penetration will reach 900 million people (out of a population of 1.2 billion) in Africa alone by 2025.

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