By Olga Rosca
New financing by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is helping to increase the availability of cashless payments in Turkey for customers who do not own a bank account or those without a credit card.
The EBRD is providing a loan to Dubai-based mobile payments provider TPAY MOBILE to finance its acquisition of the Turkish Fintech firm Payguru.
TPAY MOBILE, which is active in 24 countries including Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, focuses on digital mobile payments and works with over 54 telecommunications and e-wallet operators in the region.
An alternative to bank card-based transactions, direct carrier and direct wallet billing offered by TPAY MOBILE allows users to make purchases by charging payments to their mobile phone carrier bills or pre-paid airtime balance, as well as wallet stored value. Such cashless payments have become even more popular with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic as consumers increase their digital spending while facing restrictions on leaving their homes.
With the acquisition of Payguru, TPAY MOBILE is gaining a foothold in the large and fast-growing Turkish market with its young, digital-native population. The company will also take over Payguru’s electronic money transfer platform, which offers bank card-free transfers, deposits and withdrawals through a network of over 30,000 ATMs or 75 per cent of cash machines in Turkey.
EBRD Managing Director in Turkey, Arvid Tuerkner said: “The coronavirus pandemic has been a turning point for the payments industry with digitally based services thriving. Two strong Fintech players joining forces will further popularise cashless mobile payments in Turkey, helping improve financial inclusion, empowering individuals and eventually contributing to economic growth that is distributed fairly across society.”
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TPAY MOBILE, Sahar Salama added: “TPAY MOBILE is on an accelerated growth trajectory, and the acquisition of Payguru fast-tracks our vision to become the leading digital payment platform in the Middle East and Africa, guaranteeing a best-in-class user experience, and offering innovative services to our partners, and further driving digital and financial inclusion in our region. This transaction extends our footprint in the region, continues our diversification into new business lines and also significantly strengthens our value-added services proposition in the region. The regional and global Fintech sector is at an inflection point for growth, making this the perfect time to welcome Payguru into our fold.”
Payguru’s Co-founder, Chairman and CEO, Işık Uman commented: “We are proud to have built a successful and profitable business over the last five years, which we have achieved through organic growth and no external investment. We are delighted to be joining TPAY MOBILE, a leading player in the region. The merger with TPAY MOBILE opens a huge window of opportunity for the export of our products outside of Turkey, leveraging TPAY MOBILE’s presence in MEA countries. This will also bring our local merchants the opportunity to collect payments from these new countries with a single integration on the TPAY MOBILE/Payguru platform.”
Strengthening the resilience of Turkey’s financial sector – including in the area of Fintech – is among the EBRD’s priorities in the country.
The Bank is a major investor in Turkey. Since 2009 it has invested €12.4 billion(US$13.91billion) through 311 projects in various sectors of the country’s economy, with almost all investment in the private sector. The EBRD’s €7 billion portfolio in Turkey is the largest among the 38 economies where the Bank invests.