The innovations of many of the solutions in information and communications technology (ICT) is achieved in developed countries with a lot of capital in R&D and real-life applications. Several iterations later, the technology becomes cheap enough to where it can be offered in developing countries around the world. This has made it possible for these countries to leapfrog many of the pain points of developing a new technology, and is responsible for the rapid growth of their economies.
Mobile payment solutions is one technology that is currently being adopted globally to empower consumers and provide financial services to disenfranchised populations. A new partnership between Mobetize, provider of mobile commerce payment solutions, and SurePay Payment Services has been established to provide payroll funded mobile wallet and remittance services in the UAE.
The United Arab Emirates has one of the most lopsided population demographics in the world. The native Emiratis are outnumbered in their own country at a ratio of 11 to 1, with foreigners making up 91 percent of the population. This has pushed the government to establish accommodative policies to ensure its large foreign work base has access to financial services that allow them to carry out different functions, including remittances back home.
The agreement between the two companies is going to provide mobile wallet services with money transfer and airtime top-up funded via the payroll from expatriate workers living in the UAE.
“We are excited to work with SurePay and the Royal Group to offer the first mobile money transfer service to be funded via payroll for expatriate workers in UAE,” said Mobetize co-founders Stephen Fowler and Ajay Hans. “The large population of previously unbanked and underserved foreign workers in the UAE and in the Gulf region presents a very large opportunity for SurePay and Mobetize.”
According to Mobetize, the more than 8 million foreign residents from 140 different countries in the UAE were responsible for remittances totaling almost $30 billion in 2013. With this new service, expatriate workers will have more access to financial services through their smartphones, which currently has a 78 penetration rate in the Emirates.
The three-year agreement will provide SurePay with the Mobetize smartWallet platform, smartRemit international money transfer service and its smartCharge mobile phone airtime top-up/ recharge service. The service will also add bill payment, POS payments, prepaid cards and other services. Mobetize will receive an integration fee and a variable fee per transaction based on volumes and types of financial service provided. The service is expected to launch in early 2015.
Edited by Maurice Nagle
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