Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) form the backbone of the economy. They represent approximately 90% of businesses in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, taking into account the formal and the informal segments, according to The Middle East Investment Initiative, ‘Small and Medium Enterprises in the MENA Region.’ The World Bank SME Finance highlights that formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. Nevertheless, the segment remains underpenetrated. Person to business payments worldwide to medium, small-and-micro retailers amount to USD 18.8 T, and only 37% are made electronically.
A global leader in payment technology and a payment processing company, FSS Technologies (Financial Sofware and Systems) is headquartered in Chennai, India, servicing leading global banks, financial institutions, processors, central regulators and governments across North America, UK, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and APAC and has 2,500 experts on-board. The company launched ‘Embark’, an “Acquiring Platform as a Service” offering for Acquiring Banks, and Payment Aggregators. Embark facilitates digital inclusion of MSMEs, with reliable, cost-efficient payment acceptance tools to expand addressable market, engage with customers in new ways and thrive in today’s digital economy.
Embark, a multi-sided payment acceptance platform, orchestrates interconnections between crucial ecosystem players – banks, processors, merchant acquiring institutions and MSMEs — to address this opportunity and create exponential value.
With Embark acquiring banks gain access to an underpenetrated MSME market via strategic partnerships, without having “feet on the street,” transforming the economics of MSME acquiring. This alleviates acquisition and servicing costs and brings efficiencies into a high-volume, low-value business. Payment Aggregators benefit as they do not have to tie-up with each bank individually. Embark provides a single-entry point that reduces the time and effort spent on complex integrations, enabling them to focus on core business activities.
Speaking on the launch, K Srinivasan, Global Chief Revenue Officer of FSS, stated, “Medium and small businesses are on the frontlines of the global economy. With Embark our objective is to bring MSMEs into the digital payment fold, a crucial step for sustainable economic and payments growth across markets. We want banks and other ecosystem players to collaborate with us in this journey and create a true network effect that would encourage adoption of digital payments and spur local entrepreneurialism and commercial activity.”
Commenting on the latest offering, Sandeep Gomes, Global Business Head Acquiring at FSS, stated, “The digital wave is reinventing the MSME marketplace across the globe. Embark offers industry players a real opportunity to profitably tap into the underserved MSME segment by adopting ecosystem models to create a ubiquitous payment acceptance network and achieve service differentiation on the strength of innovative products and superior business models.”
An all-in-one acquiring platform, Embark brings the following benefits, according to FSS: Omni-channel digital payment acceptance capabilities; Complete set of transaction capabilities; End-to-end operations support; Access to innovative payment propositions enabling MSME’s to launch new services; Robust risk management and fraud detection capabilities to improve authorization rates; and unified reporting and built-in analytic tools for insights into business performance.
An improved supply of reliable, easy-to-access payment services infrastructure unlocks new revenue opportunities and promotes growth. In addition, digital transactions leave an auditable trail that can be leveraged by credit constrained MSMEs to gain access to institutional finance for further business expansion.