Omar Onsi, CEO and Founder of NymCard, spoke with Jean Sideris (Director, Dubai). During their conversation, Omar highlighted key aspects of NymCard value proposition for fintech in MENA, as well as his views on how the card-issuing market will evolve in the coming years in the region
1. Please give us an overview of NymCard and your different products
NymCard is a MENA-based BaaS provider and modern card issuer processor. We offer a cloud-agnostic modern payment issuing and processing platform called nCore that allows fintech in the MENA region to instantly create, control, and distribute highly customizable virtual or physical payment cards. NymCard’s mission is to enable companies to launch frictionless payment card programs at speed in any market in MENA and now in Asia as well. We are removing the friction associated with legacy systems enabling fintech to focus on building their product proposition rather than deal with complex payment processes. NymCard developed its own processing technology from the ground up, owning our whole tech stack. We published our APIs and are the only MENA-based issuer processor with a live Sandbox where fintech can get access and start building in no time. Our platform supports multiple emerging use cases, including gig economy use cases, multi-currency wallets, money transfers, corporate expense cards, on-demand delivery services, buy now pay later (BNPL) offerings, youth banking applications, among many others.
2. What are the top / most critical elements that a fintech is looking for in a card program?
To be specific to the MENA region, fintech still struggle with finding a modern issuer processor with the agility, cost structure, and required modern APIs to build their card products on top. Another issue they have is finding a partnering bank to sponsor those card programs, which is currently a big challenge. Now imagine them having to go through this in every market across MENA!
3. How do you see the MENA card issuing market evolving in the next few years?
MENA’s card issuing market has immense potential. According to numbers from Visa and Mastercard, credit, debit, and prepaid cards issued in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region generated over $1.212 trillion in 2019 in transaction volume. NymCard is spending a lot of resources to democratize card issuing in MENA’s fragmented market. At the moment, it is challenging for fintech in MENA to scale across the whole region as each country has its own set of laws and regulations. The story is different in the US and Europe, where it is a little easier to operate on a bigger scale. NymCard aims to solve this pain point with our fast-track card issuing capability, whereby we partner with banks across the MENA market to create a frictionless process so that our fintech clients do not need to go through that hassle. They just have one relationship with NymCard, and we take them across the whole region. With that in mind, we firmly believe that removing these blockers within MENA’s card issuing market will spur unprecedented growth in MENA’s fintech ecosystem. More and more fintech will be able to launch and scale both easier and faster, which will accelerate the adoption of digital banking services resulting in a significant rise in total card transaction volume.
4. What are your hobbies? How do you spend your spare time?
Outdoor sports, in general, are where I try to spend any spare time. Cycling is also one of my hobbies.
5. What are you reading at the moment?
I enjoy a lot reading business books and biographies. "Getting to YES" is a book I am currently finishing.
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