The Indian digital payments company PayMate is to invest Dh11.02m in its operations in the Middle East with the intention of expanding across the Arabian Gulf, according to its CEO.

A Dubai office for PayMate was set up five months ago back in July, and will begin serving regional clients from the beginning of next year, starting with the United Arab Emirates.

The company’s founder, Ajay Adiseshann, says that the investments will take place over the course of the next 18 months to two years in the hiring of new talent, the development of customised regional business solutions and the localisation of data.

This is the company’s first big international push and has succeeded in raising almost $25m from investors, including the likes of Recruit Strategic Partners, Brand Capital, Visa and Mayfair 101, in July.

The company will go live with six to seven large UAE customers, some of which may also have cross-border GCC requirements, Adiseshann says.

The next market that PayMate is hoping to expand into is Saudi Arabia, with the size of the economy being even bigger and therefore having even greater potential for the company than the UAE.

Over the course of the new few years, PayMate should become available in every GCC nation as well as some areas of North Africa, Adiseshann believes.

PayMate is collaborating with banks that issue Visa commercial credit cards in order to facilitate credit for receivables and payables in supply chains and the moving of cheques, traditional cash and electronic funds transfer payments onto credit cards.

Payment cards are predicted to rise in the next few years, according to industry analysts.

Consumers are continuing to make the switch from traditional money to debit cards and credit cards.

There are expected to be as many as 910m credit cards in the Middle East and Africa by the close of 2021, a rise from just 611m back in 2015, according to RBR, a research company based in London.

Gulf expansion is to be the first phase of a major growth plan for the company, which is ultimately planning to expand all over the world, Adiseshann says.

That goal became more credible when more capital was raised by the company in July.

In the next few years, the Middle East is expected to contribute as much as 35% of PayMate’s overall revenues, according to Adiseshann.

PayMate was the first digital payments provider in India that enabled customers to pay for retail and online purchases via mobile phones, making use of the software framework.

Transactions of over $5bn are already being processed every year on the platform, with the plan being to hit $8bn to $10bn by the end of the Indian financial year in March 2020.

The Gulf operations are reliant on PayMate’s partnership with international payments tech firm Visa, as well as local banks such as Emirates NBD.

Many banks in the Gulf and the UAE are already partners with Visa, and PayMate platform payments will be able to be performed on Visa commercial credit cards.

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