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Ramana Kumar, Chief Executive Officer at Magnati on MetaV being the first metaverse platform to be fully integrated with traditional payment rails and gateways

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Published: Fri 29 Jul 2022, 9:00 AM

Magnati recently launched the region’s first metaverse marketplace. Tell us more about it.

Magnati MetaV is the region’s first metaverse platform that enables users to experience e-commerce in a new, immersive way. The online virtual experience provides users with richer visual and sensory information along with improved quality of information, as they shop, learn and play online. Customisable avatars enable users to explore a discovery-driven online environment where consumers can see and feel retail offerings in multi-dimensions.

Given that this is a new technology, it is important that there is a bridge that connects the existing ecosystem wit the future to encourage user adoption. Hence, Magnati MetaV is the first metaverse platform fully integrated with traditional payment rails and gateways, so that payment for products and services on Magnati MetaV can be made through cards, wallets and other existing digital form factors. In Magnati MetaV, how customers shop will be entirely new, but the payment experience will feel familiar.

How could the metaverse disrupt retail payment practices?

Magnati MetaV revolutionises the shopping experience for consumers, who will be able to shop, learn, play games, attend events and more through a seamless online experience, all from the comfort of their homes. As people move more of their lives online, the metaverse provides an enhanced platform for e-commerce in line with changing consumer habits.

Users will be able to explore, pick up and purchase products across a mix of retail categories, including fashion, groceries, gaming, technology and more. They can also purchase tickets and sign up for events to attend virtual concerts, sporting events and educational courses. We call this ‘experiential commerce’, the next generation of e-commerce.

Magnati MetaV sounds like it could transform e-commerce for customers. How do retailers benefit?

Currently, e-commerce merchants face challenges like high returns to sales, exchanges and drop in sales due to dissatisfaction in customer experience. Magnati MetaV helps to solve this by providing the tools that let customers experience a product before buying. The metaverse also opens up new revenue opportunities for brick-and-mortar merchants that may have previously been restricted by physical space limitations. This includes educational institutions, event organisers and sports broadcasters who have gained access to virtual venues and arenas that can fit thousands of people, allowing these merchants to scale quickly and easily. The possibilities are endless.

What do you think is the future of payments?

The future of payments is all about being frictionless. Payments will no longer simply be transactional or an additional step in the process, but instead, will interact with customers along multiple touch-points in a way that saves them time and hassle. The shift to digital payments holds huge potential for businesses, if they choose to view payments not as a source of cost, but a lever of growth. Through Magnati’s offerings, we are enabling merchants to provide invisible, seamless and secure payment experiences. For example, the solutions we offer include wireless card swipe machines, mobile PoS and SoftPoS, to make payment acceptance frictionless. We also provide kiosks that enable 24/7 payments at customer convenience. At Magnati, we are constantly innovating and constantly moving forward. Hence, we are going beyond the base of core payment services, to unlock value-added possibilities with differentiated, value-added services. With Magnati MetaV for example, we are further unlocking the possibilities of payments with cutting-edge metaverse technology that provides users with a new way to shop online.

The concept of innovation has evolved in this region, especially in the fast-moving payments space. How has it evolved with a leading brand like Magnati?

Magnati is focused on unlocking new growth opportunities for our consumer, government, merchant and institutional clients. Magnati’s vision is to transform ‘payments into possibilities’ for regional and global partners, while setting a new standard for innovation and delivery in the payments industry.

When we were carved out of First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) in 2021, this was done to allow us to operate with an agile and focused model, boosted by the bank’s infrastructure and capabilities. We have since established ourselves as a leading payments company, providing merchant acquiring, consumer payment solutions, government payment solutions, issuer processing and acquiring processing services that deliver improved experiences and increased efficiency.

We acknowledge that offering pure play payments processing alone will not help us achieve our vision, especially in a fast-moving industry. Therefore, complementing Magnati’s payments processing services is our next-generation ‘Payment as a Platform’ that provides a platform built on advanced technology, including AI, machine-learning and APIs, to drive value for our customers by monetising data and enabling them to operate on a single API integrated platform.

We are on a constant journey of innovation to help our merchants find new ways to drive sales and revenue.

The UAE is pushing its innovation boundaries with new modes of payments, paperless initiatives, cloud transformations etc. What are your thoughts on this innovation-led transformative change that is taking place currently, especially in an economy that is moving towards cashless?

For a business to thrive in the new economy, going digital it is a necessity that should be built into decision-making and operations from day one. This is especially true in the UAE, which is setting an example as a regional leader in digital transformation.

The UAE payments landscape is going through massive disruption. Traditionally, the region has been largely cash-dependent, relying on money for most transactions and transfers. In recent years, there has been a shift towards digital payments, driven by technology changes and behavioural changes of consumers, and thanks to initiatives by the UAE Central Bank, regulators and the wider industry. Additionally, Covid-19 has also accelerated the adoption of digital payments.

Businesses need a mindset shift when it comes to payments. The line between payment and experience is becoming increasingly blurred, putting the onus on merchants to engage their customers in new ways and navigate the possibilities.


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