Conversation with Muzaffer Hamid, CEO at Mercury

Conversation with Muzaffer Hamid, CEO at Mercury

Jean Sideris
February 1, 2024
What is Mercury’s role in the UAE payments market?

Founded and incorporated in the UAE, Mercury has always been focused on delivering payment products and services tailored to the local landscape. Our primary goal has been to ensure the widespread accessibility to payments for UAE residents and those travelling here on business, visiting family or on holiday. Over the past decade, our journey has been marked by a substantial accumulation of knowledge in the local payments domain, gaining insights into market behaviour, and more.

Today, we are uniquely positioned in the market as both a leading payment services provider and a trusted partner for some of the nation's most strategic payment initiatives. Working hand-in-hand with regulators, government, and semi-government organizations, our commitment extends to fostering payment sovereignty, spearheading initiatives to modernize transit payments and actively contributing to the realization of a cashless society.

We are not just facilitating transactions in the country; we are driving pivotal transformations in the payments landscape, aligning with the evolving needs of our community and the broader national vision. Our journey reflects a commitment to innovation, collaboration, and the seamless integration of cutting-edge solutions into the fabric of the UAE's payments ecosystem.

The UAE is going through a fast payment transformation; how does Mercury contribute to it while staying competitive in the market?

Numerous transformative initiatives are currently underway, reshaping the payments landscape in the UAE at an accelerated pace. Notable among these are the visionary-led efforts such as Instant Payments and the Domestic Card Scheme initiatives spearheaded by the Central Bank of UAE and Al Etihad Payments. Additionally, initiatives by the RTA in Dubai are converging transit and retail payments, propelling the nation towards the realization of a cashless society.

Our strategic approach to contributing to these strategic initiatives has been to extend our expertise, platforms, skills and know-how to help accelerate these initiatives as well as position ourselves as a trusted advisor to organizations driving these initiatives. In order to stay competitive, we believe we simply need to drive the adoption of these strategic initiatives through the products and services we offer in the market.

Collaboration stands at the core of our strategy, as we actively engage with regulators, government bodies, our member banks, and network alliance partners. This collaborative approach not only reinforces trust in the services and products we bring to market but also facilitates faster adoption, accelerates time to market, reduces costs, and mitigates risks in the dynamic payment ecosystem of the country.

What do you think are the key trends that will shape the payment ecosystem for the UAE and the MENA region in the coming years?

In the forthcoming years, the payment landscape in the UAE and the broader MENA region is set to undergo a profound transformation, shaped by several pivotal trends. One such trend is the pursuit of payment sovereignty, reflecting a regional commitment to reduce reliance on external systems and enhance control over domestic payment infrastructures. This shift is accompanied by a growing exploration of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), with central banks in the region considering the implementation of digitized national currencies to bolster efficiency, financial inclusion, and the effectiveness of monetary policies.

Collaborations with both regional and international instant payment networks are anticipated to facilitate instant cross-border transfers, addressing the increasing demand for swift and seamless global payment solutions. Simultaneously, efforts to reduce dependence on global currencies in regional transactions are gaining momentum, fostering a focus on promoting local currencies and bolstering financial independence. Moreover, the integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning into payment systems is expected to play a pivotal role in fraud mitigation, ensuring real-time analysis of transaction patterns and enhancing overall security measures. The adoption of tokenization techniques is poised to reduce reliance on traditional plastic cards, offering a more secure approach to transactions. As these trends unfold, collaborative efforts among stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, financial institutions, and technology providers, will be crucial to shaping a resilient and innovative payment ecosystem that meets the evolving needs of the region.

What do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?

I am an avid golfer and usually spend my weekends playing golf around Dubai. In fact, three generations i.e. my father and my son also along with my brother get together to play a round of golf and that is the time we catch up on the week gone by. I love to swim and do a few kilometres every week.

What book are you reading, or which is one of your favourite books?

I am currently reading the Sahih Al-Bukhari books on the hadith of the Prophets but generally, I am more of a news kind of person rather than books. I spend most of my time reading / watching news from across the world from various verticals. I believe this gives me a good sense of perspective on politics, economy, sports, and entertainment. I like to remain acquainted with the current affairs of the world.

The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of Edgar, Dunn & Company. The information and views expressed in this publication belong solely to the author(s).

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