MoneyLoop is Saudi Arabia winner of 2024 Visa Everywhere Initiative

  • KSA-headquartered MoneyLoop won at 2024 VEI finals in Riyadh
  • Bahrain’s Cnpsecure moves on to compete at virtual Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa (CEMEA) competition on July 23
  • Bahrain’s Ryalize won Impact Award for positive social impact
  • Visa shares findings from an independent study “Understanding the Fintech Landscape — GCC”:
    • 71% attribute fintech growth in GCC to government support and regulatory initiatives.
    • 58% of fintechs acknowledge that payments is the most prominent emerging space
    • Open banking to drive the next wave of fintech unicorns
    • 40% of fintech players said talent acquisition and retention is the biggest challenge

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, June 5, 2024: Visa has announced the winners of the Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman edition of the 2024 Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI), a global open innovation program and competition for fintech startups to pitch their solutions to solve tomorrow’s payment and commerce challenges. In addition to monetary prizes, VEI winners receive global exposure, and validation from one of the world’s most trusted brands.

First place and prize money of SAR150,000 ($40,000) for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia went to MoneyLoop, a digital rotating savings and credit association that employs KYC to ensure low risk to users.

Also honored at the VEI finale, Cnpsecure, a turnkey solutions provider for issuers to adopt dynamic CVV and virtual cards, was awarded the winner for Bahrain with prize money of SAR150,000 ($40,000). The Bahrain fintech will also participate in the CEMEA regional finals for VEI, which will take place on July 23, competing for a total of SAR75,000 ($20,000). HAL Capital, a Sharia-compliant embedded direct financing FinTech platform for underbanked Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and individuals, was the Oman winner, receiving a total of SAR150,000 ($40,000).

The third edition of VEI brought back the Impact Prize to the competitor whose solution has a positive social impact on the communities it operates in. Examples include initiatives that boost financial inclusion, promote sustainability, or safeguard the environment. Bahrain-based Ryalize, a liquidity solution provider that provides easy access to financial products to individuals with predictable income, won the Impact Prize for this Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman  edition of VEI, receiving SAR37,500 ($10,000) in prize money.

Ali Bailoun, Visa’s Regional General Manager for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman said: “We are thrilled to announce the winners of the third edition of the Visa Everywhere Initiative in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman. My congratulations to Saudi’s MoneyLoop. This year’s competition was exhilarating with the impressive solutions our finalists introduced and we are eager to see how they will transform the payments landscape in the region.”

Bailoun added: “Fintechs in the region have great potential to drive digital payments forward and contribute to the wider economy. They need support to grow and access infrastructure, resources, and guidance. This is where industry players like Visa must step in, and through initiatives like the Visa Everywhere Initiative, we are committed to fostering fintech growth with our extensive knowledge and international presence.”

Each of the finalists presented their solutions to the payment challenges of tomorrow to an expert panel of judges, which included Nezar Alhaidar, CEO, Fintech Saudi,  Yousif AlNefaiei, Deputy CEO, BENEFIT,  Majid AlAmri, CEO, Thawani Pay, Godfrey Sullivan, SVP and Head of Strategy for CEMEA — Visa, Malak AlSaffar, Country Manager for Bahrain — Visa, and Thereshini Peter, VP, Chief Financial Officer — GCC, Visa.

To better understand the challenges and opportunities of fintechs in GCC, Visa commissioned an independent study that identified themes for empowerment. The key themes that emerged from the “Understanding the Fintech Landscape — GCC” study:

The Big Picture

  • 71% attribute fintech growth in GCC to government support and regulatory initiatives.
  • Top 3 sources of funding: corporate investors (25%), angel investors (21%), and bootstrapping (self-funding) (19%).
  • 73% of fintechs state AI will play a pivotal role in their future growth.
  • 58% of fintechs acknowledge that payments is the most prominent emerging space.
  • GCC banks and fintechs are increasingly collaborative, addressing the needs of diverse customer segments.

Emerging Spaces

  • Payments is the largest sector and will continue to grow.
  • Surge in BNPL / Installments.
  • Artificial Intelligence creating new opportunities.
  • Web3 moving beyond the hype.
  • Stablecoins and central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) are a nascent trend.
  • Crypto remains a high interest area.
  • Open banking to drive the next wave of fintech unicorns.

Understanding the Gaps

  • Top founder inspiration includes addressing a specific market need (70%) and filling a gap in financial services (61%).
  • 40% of fintech players said talent acquisition and retention is the biggest challenge.
  • 25% of fintechs surveyed find it challenging to build trust with customers.

“Attracting and retaining top talent is a global challenge for the fintech industry. We recruit from both traditional financial institutions and other sectors. While experienced bankers offer valuable industry knowledge, they can be hindered by conventional thinking. On the other hand, those from outside the sector may lack a realistic understanding of the financial industry. Finding the right mix of expertise and innovative thinking is crucial,” said Ali Abulhasan, Co-Founder & CEO at Tap Payments, who was one of the industry leaders who contributed to Visa’s study. 

Since launching in 2015, the Visa Everywhere Initiative has helped more than 15,000 startups from over 100 countries collectively secure more than $48 billion in funding. For more information on Visa Everywhere Initiative, please click here.

About  ”Understanding the Fintech Landscape — GCC” Study

Visa commissioned a study to understand the current fintech landscape in the GCC, with the aim of bolstering Visa's efforts in fostering and supporting fintech growth. The research included three methodologies: Analysis of publicly available data on the fintech market, qualitative in-depth interviews with industry experts and fintech players, and online surveys of fintech founders and decision makers in the GCC.