Astra Tech and Mastercard forge first-of-its-kind agreement to pave the way for new digital payment solutionsMarch 13, 2023 | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Astra Tech's PayBy is the first chat-based platform to offer fintech services and one of the first to launch multi-currency prepaid metal cards.
- Astra’s fintech arm, Payby, obtains Mastercard principal membership license in the UAE to act as an issuer for prepaid and debit digital and physical cards and as an acquirer leveraging Mastercard products.
- Astra’s ecosystem now has the full suite of financial services available to its customers.
- Astra to offer financial services to its over 100 million users through the BOTIM platform.
Dubai, UAE - 13 March 2023: Astra Tech's PayBy, a Central Bank-UAE licensed fintech offering a variety of financial technology services, has achieved a significant milestone in the MENA region's fintech space by becoming one of the first fintech players to obtain a Mastercard principal membership license. This achievement further elevates Astra’s ecosystem, which is now enabled to provide users with the full spectrum of financial services. Furthermore, Astra's PayBy is the pioneer in offering multi-currency prepaid metal cards through its premium card offering, providing customers with an elevated level of financial flexibility and convenience.
Through the partnership with Mastercard , Astra will issue branded Mastercard digital and physical cards to millions of users on top of its platforms BOTIM and Payby, providing authorization services and prepaid multi-currency cards. Additionally, Astra is licensed to act as an acquirer, leveraging Mastercard's suite of products, including Payment Gateway, Tap on Phone, and Fraud & Cyber Security.
Additionally, as part of Astra's vision to become the region's leading technology enabler, the company will be able to offer BIN sponsorship services, enabling other third-party Fintechs to issue prepaid cards and connect with Mastercard's card scheme network. These efforts strengthen Astra's position to empower other Fintechs in the region.
With over 100 million registered users and an 80% market penetration rate in the UAE, BOTIM has the ability to become the biggest card-issuing fintech in the region enabling millions of users to access cutting-edge financial services on top of their communication platforms.
Abdallah Abu Sheikh, Co-Founder and CEO of Astra Tech, BOTIM’s parent company, stated:
“Our vision is to be the leading technology player in the MENA region. We are one of the biggest technology companies in this part of the world, helping tens of millions of users daily. Our commitment is to make our users' lives easier. Financial services are one of the most important and underdeveloped sectors in this part of the world. To take on this challenge, we chose to partner with a trusted and world-renowned company like Mastercard to ensure we provide the best service our users deserve.
J.K. Khalil, Cluster General Manager, MENA East, Mastercard said:
"At Mastercard, we are enabling fintechs to innovate and bring new digital payment solutions to market with speed and ease. We are excited to partner with Astra Tech's PayBy and support their vision to further empower other fintechs through our BIN sponsorship services. Through this partnership, millions of users will have access to Mastercard's global reach and suite of products as we join forces to create a more connected and inclusive digital future for all.”
Astra Tech, the UAE-based technology development and investment company that acquired BOTIM and Payby earlier this year, has rapidly transformed the VoIP app's capabilities to serve as the base of its upcoming Ultra App. The acquisition of BOTIM is a landmark transaction for the MENA’s tech scene. With over 100 million registered users and an 80% penetration rate in the UAE, BOTIM is a popular VoIP app in the region.
Earlier this month, Astra launched international money transfers on top of BOTIM and aims to launch the full ultra app capability by Q2 2023.
About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.
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