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Al Fardan Exchange chases fintech tie-ups

CEO Hasan Fardan Al Fardan said the company was about to conclude a deal with a 'buy now, pay later' fintech Al Fardan
CEO Hasan Fardan Al Fardan said the company was about to conclude a deal with a 'buy now, pay later' fintech
  • Digital transactions currently make up 15% of Al Fardan’s business
  • Fintech partnerships to develop ‘buy now, pay later’ and other features
  • Training institute to educate Emiratis in fighting financial crime

Al Fardan Exchange is ramping up its digital business to compete in the technology-driven financial services industry. 

The 50-year-old money transfer and currency exchange house plans to forge partnerships with fintech firms to double down on growth.

Digital transactions currently make up 15 percent of UAE-based Al Fardan’s business via an app that was launched in 2022 and operates remittance and currency exchange deals.

“We expect to evolve by entering into exciting relationships that will complement our traditional remittance offering,” chief executive Hasan Fardan Al Fardan told AGBI.

The company is about to conclude a deal with a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) fintech that will enable customers to delay payments on remittance transactions for a set period, Al Fardan said.

Al Fardan Exchange is the national partner for Western Union’s digital app, a high-value digital currency exchange. It also has partnerships with digital banking startups Jingle Pay and Now Money, offering low-cost online remittances.

Total remittance flows across Mena grew 73 percent in the last quarter of 2022, according to research by Western Union.

But the Middle East and North Africa has seen an influx of fintech startups, boosted by increased venture capital funding and incubation support – according to Statista the number swelled from 30 in 2017 to 465 in 2022.

Al Fardan said there has been impact on the industry from the increasing presence of fintechs, but bricks-and-mortar business was still relevant.

“We haven’t seen any dip in volumes from our traditional channels,” he said, adding he anticipates company revenues, up 30 percent year-on-year in 2022, will continue to grow. 

Al Fardan Exchange has also set up Al Fardan Banking Training Institute, which aims to train 5,000 Emiratis over the next five years in fighting financial crime. Staff will undertake the training in the first year but the long-term plan is to employ dedicated staff. 

In February, the Financial Action Task Force global watchdog upheld its decision to keep the UAE on a so-called grey list, which means that some financial institutions must conduct higher levels of due diligence on transactions. 

“The nation is placing the fight against financial crime as a high priority and we want to play our part in supporting its objectives,” said Al Fardan.