Zain, Orange

On the money: Zain and Orange boost fintech footholds

06 January 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Two major international telcos have bolstered their presence in the fintech space with the launch of new finance services.

First up, Zain Group subsidiary Tamam Financing Company this week became the first entity in Saudi Arabia to receive a consumer micro-loan licence from the central bank, Sama.

Providing a "fully digital customer experience, through a mobile app" – with the financing also Shari'a-compliant – Tamam tested the tech for 18 months at Sama's regulatory sandbox.

The new platform offers consumers Shari'a-compliant micro-finance, which takes "less than five minutes from downloading the app to receiving the financing amount based on the user credit profile".

It follows the launch of the Zain Cash mobile money platform, which debuted in Iraq in 2015 and Jordan in 2018.

Sharing his pride in the latest development, Bader Al-Kharafi, VC and group CEO of Zain, vice-chairman of Zain KSA and chairman of Tamam, said: "Innovation is key to our ongoing developments and investing in viable digital services such as the fintech sector is a strategy we have launched a few years ago with Zain Cash and continue to implement across our markets as a critical component to our sustained evolution and success.

“Zain KSA’s evolution to becoming a digital lifestyle provider requires us to take bold moves in new digital areas, and we are pleased at how the Saudi Central Bank and the Kingdom’s wider community are extremely receptive to such developments. We believe the thorough testing achieved during the 18 months of trials has made our platform the most robust of its kind, and we look forward to increasing the number of consumers benefiting from micro-financing services,” he added.

Meanwhile in Europe, Orange Bank today confirmed it had acquired Anytime, the French neobank for start-up entrepreneurs, freelancers, the self-employed and small businesses.

Now a wholly owned subsidiary of Orange Bank, Anytime is planning to "scaleup its commercial reach and enhance its range of solutions for professionals", while Orange will benefit from increased presence in the SME finance market.

The value of the acquisition has not been disclosed, but Orange added that the news "aims at supporting the Orange client footprint and is fully aligned with the core multiservice strategy of the group".