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New Mastercard Partnerships Aim to Bolster Payments Across MENA

Mastercard has continued its efforts to bolster the payments space across various industries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Two new partnerships with Bahrain-based fintech Infinios Financial Services and UAE-based fintech PayBy, aim to support B2B travel and consumer payments respectively.

B2B Travel Payments

Mastercard’s collaboration with Infinios Financial Services looks to enhance liquidity for travel suppliers, such as travel agencies. It aims to do this by offering increased transaction flexibility, transparency, and security.

Infinios will also deploy the Mastercard Wholesale Program to its travel industry customers to help them secure, streamline, and automate B2B travel transactions. Mastercard’s program is a virtual card-based B2B payment product and is looking to offer “scalable and seamless” cross-border B2B payments.

The adoption of card payments continues to power recovery for the travel economy. The new collaboration will see Infinios leverage Mastercard’s dynamic and transparent pricing structure tailored specifically for industry distribution, market, and currency needs.

This partnership in Bahrain will also enhance major B2B travel payment flows and bring the travel ecosystem closer together to accelerate sustainable growth across the travel value chain.

Andrew Sims, co-founder and CEO of Infinios Financial Services, said: “The combined strength of Infinios’s comprehensive technology capabilities and the pricing structures available through the Mastercard Wholesale Program will enable us to provide a further boost to the corporate travel industry as it continues to recover from the ill effects of the global pandemic.”

Khalid Elgibali, division president of MENA at Mastercard, also discussed the B2B payments partnership. Elgibali said: “As consumers regain the confidence to seek out and book travel experiences, legacy B2B payment processes threaten to hold the industry back. It is now vital that organisations across the sector consider how their payment strategy can secure growth and improve liquidity.

“Innovation must play its part in ensuring that travel payments are not only simple and convenient but, even more importantly, flexible and secure. Card payment technology provides the firm foundations from which the travel economy can not only grow but flourish.”

MENA financial services for consumers

Astra Tech’s fintech arm PayBy, a UAE Central Bank-licensed fintech, has also become one of the first fintechs to obtain a Mastercard principal membership license. This licence enables Astra Tech to provide users with the full spectrum of financial services.

Through the partnership, Astra can issue branded Mastercard digital and physical cards to millions of users on top of its platforms BOTIM and Payby, providing authorisation services and prepaid multi-currency cards. Astra is also now licensed to act as an acquirer, leveraging Mastercard’s suite of products, including ‘Payment Gateway’, ‘Tap on Phone‘, and ‘Fraud & Cyber Security’.

The partnership ensures that millions of users will gain access to Mastercard products, expanding the payment company’s global reach.

Abdallah Abu Sheikh, co-founder and CEO of Astra Tech, said: “Our vision is to be the leading technology player in the MENA region. We are one of the biggest technology companies in this part of the world, helping tens of millions of users daily.

“Our commitment is to make our users’ lives easier. Financial services are one of the most important and underdeveloped sectors in this part of the world. To take on this challenge, we chose to partner with a trusted and world-renowned company like Mastercard to ensure we provide the best service our users deserve.”

J.K. Khalil, cluster general manager in MENA East at Mastercard, said: “At Mastercard, we are enabling fintechs to innovate and bring new digital payment solutions to market with speed and ease. We are excited to partner with Astra Tech’s PayBy and support their vision to further empower other fintechs through our BIN sponsorship services.”

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