By Shane McGinley
Payfort aims to target the Arabic speaking online internet consumer community
Dubai has launched a new internet payment platform which aims to target the Arabic speaking online community and rival global player PayPal.
“While e-commerce has seen impressive adoption gains in the MENA region... both consumers and retailers [are] demanding simplified, secure payment options,” Omar Soudodi, managing director of Payfort, said as he launched the platform at the ArabNet Digital Summit 2013.
“Payfort was developed specifically to address these challenges by deploying a secure payment network that is built using the most sophisticated and up to date fraud prevention and anti-money laundering technologies and completely eliminating the risks associated with online payments for both buyers and sellers,” he added.
The platform is designed to reduce the risks associated with online transactions and will compete with global players such as PayPal, which is owned by eBay.
“Payfort has already started serving many of the top e-commerce websites in the Arab world,” said Soudodi.
“In the government space, Payfort can provide Arab governments with solutions to their service/payment processing needs, helping them improve time to delivery of services while reducing the operational burden of the existing paper-based, physical service delivery model,” he added.
The Dubai-based firm behind Payfort has already signed up a number of payment partners, including American Express, cashU, MasterCard, and Visa.
PayFort is a spin-off of CashU Inc. the leading online payment provider in the Arab World with investment backing from some of the top global online investment firms such as Naspers and Tiger Capital, it said on its website.
While Arabic is the fifth largest spoken language in the world, with over 350 million speakers, only 65 million are online. While only three percent of online content is in Arabic, Payfort aims to build on the fact that it is one of the fastest growing sectors as it grew by 2,502 percent between 2010 and 2011.
Around 40 percent of Arabic speaking users are in the lucrative 15 to 35 year age bracket and nearly 80 percent use the Internet on a daily basis.