Qatar Central Bank Grants License to 7sab Bringing Total Number of Approved Digital Payment Fintechs to 1015. September 2023
The Qatar Central Bank (QCB) has granted a license to 7sab, allowing the startup to provide digital payment services in the country. The move brought the number of fintech companies permitted to provide digital payment services in Qatar to ten.
7sab provides a payment gateway that integrates into merchants’ websites and which allows them to generate invoices, manage their payments, and make instant transfers by using their mobile, tablet, desktop or any electronic gadget that can turn into a personalized point-of-sale (POS).
The startup, which was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Doha, strives to deliver payment solutions that are not only convenient and smart, but also reliable and secure. It is a partner of the Qatar National Vision 2030, an economic, social, human and environmental development plan launched by the government in 2008, and was part of the 2020 Qatar Fintech Hub incubator program.
According to the company website, 7sab serves more than 50 clients and has facilitated more than 1,000 transactions so far.
7sab joins a list of ten fintech companies that have been approved by the central bank to deliver digital payment services. Alongside 7sab, these companies are:
- Paywise, a company doing business as Dibsy that helps businesses in Qatar accept online payments from anyone, anywhere in the world;
- C Wallet Services, a startup providing payroll, payment and remittance services and which is working towards becoming the first licensed neobank in Qatar;
- MyFatoorah Company, a digital payment services provider from Kuwait and one of the fastest-growing fintech companies in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA);
- Pay2M Trading Company, a Qatari digital payment platform providing services including frictionless payments, e-invoicing, instant payment, seamless integration and fraud control module;
- Noqoody Payments Services Company, a payment gateway and financial service provider providing a comprehensive digital and electronic payment offering;
- Skip Cash, a mobile payment app from Qatar that allows consumers to make digital payments using a proprietary QR code scheme, monitor their spending via visual spending reports, organize their payments receipts, access merchants’ vouchers and coupons, and more;
- Sadad Payment Solutions, a payment gateway and electronic payment services provider in Qatar;
- Ooredoo Money, a mobile wallet service that allows instant local and international money transfers and payments; and
- iPay by Vodafone Qatar, an e-wallet that offers customers direct access to instant local transfers to all banks and wallets under the Qatar mobile payment network, as well as international remittances and merchant payments.
These ten companies are licensed under the Payment Services Regulations, a framework that came into force in September 2021 regulating companies providing payment services in or from Qatar.
These regulatory changes are among the numerous initiatives launched by the Qatari government to facilitate and foster the development of the domestic fintech ecosystem.
In August, the QCB issued the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) Regulations, a set rules and a licensing framework for companies wishing to offer BNPL arrangements in Qatar.
The regulation requires BNPL providers to maintain a minimum capital of QAR 5 million (US$1.4 million) as initial paid-up capital or 15% of the outstanding loans, whichever is higher.
They must calculate the outstanding loan amount as per the average daily balance for the last 90 days, and must undertake the complete credit risk of the provided facility.
BNPL providers are prohibited to offer or lend cash to their customers, and must ensure that consumers do not exceed the maximum credit threshold of QAR 25,000 (US$7,000) from all BNPL providers at any point in time.
The QCB, which opened applications for its BNPL license on September 04, 2023, said it had received more than 25 applications in the span of just two days, showcasing the growing popularity of BNPL arrangements across MENA and the rising prominence of digital payments in the country’s booming e-commerce space. The applications will be accepted until November 03, 2023.
The QCB launched the Qatar Fintech Strategy 2023 in March, outlining its ambition to create a leading and attractive fintech market infrastructure, and develop a comprehensive ecosystem for fintech companies to growth, maturity and scalability.
Under the plan, the central bank said it will develop regulations covering digital banking, open banking and crowdfunding, among emerging technologies and business models.
It is currently running a fintech competition focused on encouraging digital payments acceptance among Qatari merchants, and is inviting local entities in Qatar to create and present innovations relating to customer rewards and direct discounts.
Featured image credit: edited from Unsplash