The FinTech industry can rejoice as the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) granted a micro-financing license to Tamam, the FinTech subsidiary of Kuwait-based Zain Group, to operate in Saudi Arabia. Micro-financing is a financing service provided to individuals and small businesses who would otherwise lack access to conventional banking services, and therefore has been a driver of financial inclusion globally thus far (at least in countries where FinTechs have been licensed to offer it).
Tamam, a mobile telecom operating across MENA, became the first company to receive this kind of license in the region (and it was about time someone did!). They will now provide micro-loan services to their consumers via a digital customer experience through their mobile app. According to a Zain press release, the entire process – from downloading the app to receiving the loan amount, which is based on users’ credit profiles – takes less than five minutes (lightning speed compared to other credit facilities in the region!). The platform also gained an accreditation that assures data and digital infrastructure security.
However, the license is not yet fully-fledged, as it follows an eighteen-month testing period within the central bank’s regulatory sandbox. Fingers crossed they’ll graduate to be a fully-fledged financial services operator after testing the waters throughout this period.