The LuLu Exchange in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has confirmed that they’re teaming up with American Fintech Ripple (which is the subject of a major enforcement action from the US SEC) and Federal Bank in order to enhance real-time payments capabilities from the UAE to India.
We are proud to announce our partnership with Ripple and Federal Bank to enhance real-time payments from UAE to India that are faster and more affordable than ever before. Step into any of our 76 branches in the UAE or call 600 5222 04 to know more. #ripple #luluexchange @Ripple pic.twitter.com/VoCcycce92
— LuLu Exchange UAE (@LuLuExchange) January 26, 2021
According to the announcement, these new cross-border transactions will be “faster and more affordable than ever before.” As noted in the update, customers may step into any of the 76 branches based in the UAE (or call 600 5222 04) to learn more about this offer.
As mentioned on LuLu’s official website, the company aims to “simply money” and “simply life.” The LuLu exchange allows users to perform transactions across the globe “with ease and securely” with its “honest” and “hassle-free” services.
Some of they key services offered by LuLu include:
- Remittances: send money anywhere you want in an efficient manner
- Currency Exchange: Purchase and exchange currency “at the best market rates” and speedily
- Wage & Salary Administration: Wage payments streamlined to reach you “safely and promptly”
There are many other Fintech firms like Rise that also offer similar payments services in the MENA region. Rise Founder Padmini Gupta recently discussed the different challenges experienced by migrant workers when sending remittance payments.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a major global disruptor as it has fundamentally changed how people conduct their daily lives. In 2020, we saw many more consumers using online platforms while cash usage dropped considerably in some parts of the world.
In developed countries like Italy and the UK, ATM withdrawals declined by 60-90% during the early days of the Coronavirus outbreak. While cash usage is up again, UK-based consumers are still using cash a lot less (usage still down 35% from pre COVID levels). Notably, the CEO of the UK’s largest ATM operator has predicted that cash machines might completely disappear in the future.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Checkout.com reports that online transactions have increased by 85% and that 47% of consumers are more likely to purchase products from digital commerce sites. Although this is a positive development for e-commerce sites, Padmini Gupta from Fintech Rise points out that “it raises an interesting question – how do the people who are not banked pay without cash?”
She further noted that migrant workers continue to have the “lowest consumption footprints.” These low-income workers have really been struggling with sending money back to their home countries because many exchangers had been closed earlier this year, when the pandemic had become quite severe, Gupta claims. She also pointed out that even if these consumers were able to send money back home, their family members might not have been able to spend that cash because of government-enforced lockdown measures.
Gupta’s Fintech company Rise has been trying to help migrant workers with gaining access to modern financial services. As covered in October 2020, Rise launched a new platform for affordable remittance or cross-border payments.
In other parts of the world like Brunei, the Fintech sector has been growing steadily as the demand for remittance services and better credit solutions rises, according to a new report.
Meanwhile, in MENA region countries like Qatar, Fintech CWallet, which will offer payroll and remittance payments options, has secured $220,000 in pre-seed funding.