The Saudi Central Bank, better known as Sama, has officially granted an electronic money institution (EMI) licence to Riyadh-based FinTech platform Tweeq to launch its mobile-first app in the kingdom.
The new licence will allow Tweeq to offer e-wallet services. This brings the total number of payment companies licensed by Sama to 23, the bank said in a statement.
Founded in 2020, Tweeq allows users to make payments through its app. The start-up is backed by Saudi venture capital company STV, Raed Ventures and Beco Capital.
The company said it aims to build a financial super-app with an ecosystem of features and services that are personalised around the lifestyle needs and ambitions of millennials and Gen Z.
“We are honoured to have secured the EMI license from Sama. With their confidence, we are now one step closer to enabling all citizens of society to have access to the next generation of digital payments that meet their needs,” Tweeq’s chief executive Saeed Albuhairi said.
Tweeq offers spending accounts through the issuance of debit cards powered by MasterCard and the Saudi-based local scheme mada. Customers can make transfers, set financial goals, shop online, pay bills and stay in full control of their card accounts.
Mada card is a debit card issued by local banks that allows cardholders to gain access to the funds in their accounts.
“Tweeq aims to transform the way people think and feel about their finances by providing more advanced and seamless experiences,” Mr Albuhairi said.
Demand for digital payments and other FinTech services has surged worldwide as more people use online banking services and other platforms to transfer money and pay for purchases amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Customers in Saudi Arabia are increasingly choosing FinTech solutions over those offered by traditional financial institutions. A McKinsey report revealed that more than 80 per cent of urban consumers in the kingdom prefer to deal with financial institutions digitally.
The FinTech market worldwide is projected to reach $332.5 billion by 2028, from $112.5 billion in 2021, the latest report by global payments company MasterCard showed.