India-based Cashfree Payments invested $15 million in Dubai's e-payment solution Telr, a move that will allow it to tap the Middle East and North Africa region's growing online payment market.
The investment makes Cashfree one of the largest shareholders in Telr. Following the deal, both companies also plan to develop a unified cross-border payments platform that would help Indian merchants accept payments from customers in Mena and vice-versa.
The Telr investment "aligns well with our aspiration to be a leader in the rapidly-evolving digital payments space in the Mena region and overall global expansion goals", Akash Sinha, chief executive and co-founder of Cashfree Payments, said on Tuesday.
Cashless payments in the Mena region have been surging in the wake of the pandemic as traditional brick-and-mortar businesses accelerate their online offerings.
London-based payment systems company Checkout.com added that "stubborn" cash usage could fall in the Middle East region, owing to a pivot to digital payments following the pandemic.
The region's digital payments market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 15.39 per cent from 2021 to 2026, with 47 per cent of consumers likely to shop more online over the next year, according to MarketWatch.
The UAE's e-commerce market significantly grew after the pandemic as more consumers turned to online channels for their shopping needs. The sector grew 53 per cent to a record $3.9 billion in 2020 and it is expected to grow further, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said in June.
Dubai's issuance of e-commerce licences – which allow business activities online and across social networking accounts – posted solid growth in the first half of 2021, rising 63 per cent at 3,243 from 1,989 a year ago.
Cashfree's investment complements its operationalisation and scale-ups of industry-first solutions in India. It will also enable the company to launch its offerings in the Mena region, leveraging Telr’s strong presence and payment infrastructure.
Its products are integrated with major platforms such as Shopify, Wix, PayPal, Amazon Pay, Paytm and Google Pay. Apart from India, Cashfree's services are available in eight other countries, including the UAE, the US and Canada.
Telr's platform handles payments in more than 120 currencies and 30 languages, with a high level of security. It counts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, UnionPay, Apple Pay, PayPal, Sadad, Mada and STC Pay among the platforms it offers to users.
“Joining forces with Cashfree Payments will further enable us to continue on our innovation and growth journey," said Khalil Alami, chief executive and founder of Telr.
"This combined effort will translate into greater benefits for our customers and the markets we operate in."