2 min read
17 Feb

Around 15 years ago when I was studying for my Masters, we had some extensive courses on the importance of the value chain. With time, experience on the ground showed how costs can be cut and businesses streamlined if there is greater control over one’s own supply or value chain. This could take the form of a bank acquiring a company that offers innovative blockchain solutions or, the set-up of Neo banks as extensions of a banks existing platforms , acquiring the provider of your basic raw material, etc. – these are integrative moves.

However, within the tech space there appears to be a move towards disintegration in some ways. The various elements of the value chain which were previously done by one entity, are being broken down into their own separate elements. That’s the beginning of Backend as a Service, Banking-as-a service, lending-as-a-service, software-as-a-service – the list is getting longer.

In line with this, I stumbled upon the more detailed world of technology and API’s (Application Programmable Interface – for those that are as unaware as I was). With finance as my core interest, it got me thinking about my previous exploration into the world of FinTech and my curiosity in tow, I looked into how API’s have enabled embedded finance.

Embedded Finance allows for digitised versions of buy-now-pay-later schemes, for instalment schemes, prepaid cards, easy credit – and that’s like the tip of the iceberg. API’s allow any offering to enter an agreement and gain access and interact with banking systems.

Payment solutions and card processing currently seem to be the most popular form of embedded finance. In Bahrain, Sinnad which is a subsidiary of Benefit Pay, Infinios (previously NEC Payments) and NymCard (With Arab Financial Services) are all examples of emerging and established players in the space. Related to this, systems like Tap or MyFatoora offer a suite of services around allowing businesses to accept payments online. Take this a step further and you have Payment International Enterprise (PIE) which now provides a self-service platforms for electronic payment for customs brokers, importers and customers to pay customs fees and taxes.

Buy Now Pay Later systems are also gaining traction. Regionally, Zoodpay offers a seamless deferred payment solution allowing customers to make interest free payments for their ZoodMall online shopping orders with simple instalment plans. The success of their business model is evident in their successful Series A funding of USD 10 million and a Series B round of USD 38 million. Banxware a Germany based company provides Lending As A Service by offering loans for SMEs, in partnership with marketplaces, payments providers and others. The company recently raised close to USD 11 million in a seed expansion round.

Money is what moves any business, and, any system that eases the flow of money from the payee to the recipient, is likely to be here to stay. Currently, embedded Finance generates revenues for USD 22.5 billion globally but is expected to be worth over USD 7 trillion by 2030. [1]

The world of technology is a complicated, very intriguing and extremely lucrative. The complications and details are like a deep web and if each branch turns into its own clear offering, embedded finance is likely to create novel connections among different businesses, their consumers and the systems that run all of the above. In a way, it’s like the disintegration is likely to case integrations like never before. To survive, almost all businesses are going to have to explore, accept and adapt really fast.

This article was originally published in Bahrain This Months February 2022 issue.