Why the Middle East is such a great region for fintech startups
The Middle East has a booming industry of fintech startups.
Experts are convinced this is partly because of the always-connected banking habits of Millennials. In the run-up to GITEX 2016, research had been released showing a surge in growth of “moneyhawks” - the high-income, under-35-year-old customers who want constant mobile access to their banking and finance accounts.
Banks often struggle to profit from their customers. The bottom 28 percent of customers give a 22 percent profit loss, due to cashing checks at branches or not paying back loans. Moneyhawks are only 16 percent of banks’ customers, but generate the majority of profit, especially from digital payments, according to the Database Marketing Institute.
Millennials in the UAE are a key target for banks. About 60 percent of the population is under 25 years old, and the GDP per capita is over USD 48,000, the second-highest in the Middle East and North Africa, according to a recent report by the Kuwait Financial Center, Markaz.
Abdirizak Ibrahim Salah, Co-Founder of Trriple, a UAE-based digital payments startup, commented: “UAE Millennials do not want to wait at bank branches – they want constant, secure, and easy access to their banking and financial from their mobile devices. As a result, more banks are establishing partnerships with FinTech startups, which can drive digital payment innovation with a more agile mindset.”
At last year’s GITEX, Trriple launched as a company and signed a partnership with Ericsson on mobile wallet solutions in banking and Smart Cities. Trriple returns this year to showcase digital payment innovations, and exhibit alongside FinTech startups at the GITEX Startup Movement. Salah added: “Cash represents 75 percent of the UAE’s total payments – leading to a fragmented payment space for consumers, businesses, and banks. Innovative FinTech startups can use mobile apps to transform the UAE consumer payments space, leading to a cashless society by 2018.”
Read the September 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine