Fin Tech Focus

Banking on the unbanked

June 3 - 9 , 2020

Gulf Weekly Naman Arora
By Naman Arora

Gulf Weekly Banking on the unbanked

Two UAE-based fintech startups are expanding their service offering and targeting the underbanked migrant population in a push across the region.

Jingle Pay, founded by Amir Fardghassemi and Nadeem Hussein, previously digitised the on boarding process and customer due diligence to cover over 7600 government IDs in 160 countries. Now the company is launching a digital-only social bank with cash accounts, instantaneous payments and easy money transfers to friends and family.

“We’re seeing tremendous demand for a new way of offering banking services in the Middle East. Bricks and mortar banks don’t have the immediacy of response that a new generation of always-connected consumers want,” says Amir. “Jingle Pay will be offering a multi-currency account and card, remittance, nano financing, instant and free money transfer services in addition to other value-added services. We’re seeing mobile phones and FinTech come to the fore in key global markets that haven’t been ideally served by traditional markets. We’re looking to deliver financial inclusion in new ways to global audiences, starting with the Middle East. Here, we’re not just talking about the completely unbanked but also low-income individuals who can’t avail themselves of financial services in any meaningful way”

According to the World Bank, as many as 1.7 billion adults remain unbanked globally, without an account at a financial institution or through a mobile money provider. The report also states that in the Arab world, only eight per cent of the adults are considered suitably banked. Financial inclusion measurement in the Arab world resulted in a large unmet demand for financial services with 168 million people lacking access to a basic bank account.

Rise was launched in the UAE in 2016 to offer bank accounts that don’t require a minimum balance or salary, remittances, insurance products and consumer loans in both the UAE and migrant home countries. Last year Rise launched cross-border unsecured loans in the Philippines, and a credit fund through Astra Amco.

Recently, Rise announced a “Buy Now, Pay Later” partnership with, one of Pakistan’s largest managed marketplaces, enabling overseas Pakistanis to buy durable goods in Pakistan by making payments in instalments in their country of residence.

Pakistan has one of the largest diaspora in the world, with almost 9 million overseas sending home USD22 billion (BD8.3 billion) every year accounting for seven per cent of the country’s GDP.

Shayaan Tahir, Founder and CEO said, “We are delighted to expand our reach to bring easy instalment purchases for overseas Pakistanis. During these challenging times when our fellow Pakistanis are not able to travel back home, we are pleased to offer them a means to take care of their loved ones back home.”

Jingle Pay is currently in the process of getting licensed in the UAE and other GCC markets. Rise plans to start operations in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain later this year as well as expand its reach to merchants in other markets.

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