Dubai: Even though there are many fintech products in the market, there is a need for platforms that educate consumers.
“When you go for personal finance products like credit cards, mortgages and personal loans, you go to the aggregate websites and get so many options,” said Nikunj Soni, co-founder of Money Mall.
In the UAE, many expats are not into mainstream finance. When they go back to their home country, they are in a limbo.
“But for you as a consumer, it is very difficult to figure out which one is right option for you. Then there is a clear conflict of interest between the people who are selling the product and those buying.”
Money Mall is a platform for financial coaching and personalised product recommendations based on their credit scores. Soni said that when he looked at the situation, he found consumers do not understand how banks look at their profile when they actually give the product out.
“They look at the credit score and so many data points; that is why I started this proposition which gives consumers better control over their finance,” Soni said.
“In the UAE, many expats are not into mainstream finance, especially blue-collar workers. When they go back to their home country, nobody recognises them as they work abroad. So, they are in a limbo.”
When a customer enters details on the platform, Money Mall validates your identity using Emirates ID, KYC and other antifraud tools to find who it is.
Less than 30 per cent of adults, several years out of high school ... have retained an understanding about the use of money.
“Then we show you your credit score which we are expected to get from the Etihad Credit Bureau. Once we show the score, we will also show other part of your finances in an easy-to-understand manner and with a likelihood of acceptance.”
Money Mall is targeting blue-collar workers to give them the awareness and options to financial products.
Omar Fisher, founder of iWealth, said available research is pretty clear that the old ways of teaching financial literacy has failed. “Less than 30 per cent of adults, several years out of the high school where the topic is usually taught, have retained an understanding about the use of money,” said Fisher. “In this region, it is not even a subject in the core curriculum.”
iWealth is an educational platform integrated with a mobile app, digital wallet and bank cards, focusing on increasing financial intelligence for those between 14 and 24 years and parents by teaching healthy money habits.
There is a big potential for fintech services in the region. Our solution is to combine all the loyalty programmes into just one platform.
One in five adults is unbanked in the Mena region, that is about 22 million, Fisher said. However, “When you add in Generation Z, which is 24 and under, it will add to 68 million unbanked individuals in the next years.”
According to central banks rules, 18 and under cannot have a bank account. Fisher said parents can set up a budget on a weekly and monthly basis and can track the spending, setting savings goal for the future.
Abdalla Al Shamsi, co-founder of ebooc, said that there is a big potential for fintech services in the region. Ebooc is a multi-participant loyalty programme operating on blockchain and NFC technology.
“We are trying to tackle a couple of issues faced by the consumers,” Al Shamsi said. “Our solution is to combine all the loyalty programmes into just one platform with full security using blockchain technology.
“We will also include a facility where you can earn and burn points or exchange points. We believe that we can diversify and change the game where more competition will be split among the retailers.”
When a business is down, retailers can push an offer through the platform immediately and lure customers on a daily basis. “Our concept is also to convert the loyalty points into an e-wallet at a later stage,” he said.