Careem, the internet platform for the greater Middle East, and Visa (NYSE: V), the world’s leader in digital payments, have partnered to expand digital financial inclusion across the Middle East and North Africa region by integrating Visa credentials into the Careem Pay Super App and providing Careem captains (the term for Careem drivers) with financial payment services that aim to resolve liquidity challenges associated with cash conversion, remittances and real-time access to funds.
Initially, Careem’s captains in five countries will be issued with Visa card credentials that will allow them to access a variety of advanced payment solutions. The Careem Pay Super App will be equipped with Visa’s real-time push payment solution Visa Direct that allows fast, safe, convenient, and real-time payments directly to eligible cards, accounts, and wallets. This will enable Careem captains to instantly access earnings from their daily trips in real-time as opposed to any time lags. Careem captains will also be able to use low-cost remittance solutions to make fund transfers to bank accounts and Visa cards worldwide, providing them access to cheaper modes of remitting money.
Junaid Iqbal, Managing Director, Careem Pay said: “The only way digital payments truly make a difference is when both sides of the market benefit. Through this partnership with Visa, Careem will be paying captains in real-time, bringing them into the digital marketplace, and removing the need for cash.
Digital payments are the backbone of Careem’s Super App, giving us immense opportunities to simplify the lives of even more people across the region. The partnership with Visa will not only solve cash flow constraints but will also provide many new use cases to improve the everyday lives of Careem customers.”
This move aligns with increased adoption and preference for digital payments. Visa’s latest Stay Secure survey shows that consumers in the Middle East, including Pakistan, prefer digital payments over cash because they find it more secure, faster, convenient and widely accepted. There is also a growing trend of contactless payment adoption, which now represents at least a third of all face-to-face transactions in nearly 50 countries, according to Visa data. In the UAE and Saudi, that figure is higher – with 8 out of 10 transactions in Saudi and more than half of transactions in UAE made using contactless cards or devices.
Marcello Baricordi, Visa’s General Manager for MENA, commented, “Societies around the world have been challenged by the coronavirus outbreak, and many individuals and businesses continue to experience severe hardship, especially the underbanked who are more vulnerable. As a company, Visa is working hard, along with our partners including fintechs, Super Apps, and Digital Banks, to support, inform, and protect our societies. We’re seeing how COVID-19 has radically changed how we spend, spend, and use money. Enabling secure, immediate movement of money for gig economy workers like Careem captains is especially vital as we support economic recovery efforts.”
He added: “With the pandemic already reinforcing existing trends towards increased digitization of payments, it is vital to introduce convenient and secure cashless solutions to bring formal financial services to the underbanked. Through our global payments network, VisaNet, we are helping Careem’s Super App move into global commerce in a fast, secure, scalable, and innovative way by giving millions of captains and consumers more options to manage and move their money in real-time. Our next-generation fund transfer solutions include earnings payouts, P2P transfers, and cross-border remittances that are integral to economic recovery.”
Visa and Careem will partner with licensed banks and regulators to roll out this service across the entire region where Careem operates, initiating from the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.