Companies in the Gulf region can take inspiration from stc Pay’s experience and be more prepared to take calculated risks to achieve their goals of income diversification.
STC’s fintech business, stc pay, sold 10 per cent of its assets to Western Union in November 2020 worth USD133.3 million. The company is now valued at over USD 1.3 billion, making it the first Saudi Arabian financial start-up to achieve unicorn status. In just two years, stc pay has amassed over 4.5 million customers and has become the primary digital payment and fund transfer platform.
The following are some ways that stc pay varies from other operator-run mobile money systems in the Middle East.
The corporation runs as an autonomous entity. Stc Pay has communicated with its parent firm to share technological expertise, but it has discretion over how it allocates its resources and carries out its strategy. That division is essential to comply with the SAMA’s requirements.
Stc Pay aims to attract non-Stc clients. At the time of its inception, stc pay was solely accessible to stc customers, and only local wallet-to-wallet transactions were supported. Later, it was made available to consumers who weren’t STC, and new functions were added.
The payment platform for stc pay was created internally. Stc pay card was motivated by digital-first businesses and chose an innovative software development methodology to encourage cooperation, flexibility, and constant improvement.
By providing a well-designed application and expanding its partner network, stc pay tapped into the growing popularity of digital payments.
Due to favourable legal conditions and the development of a vibrant ecosystem, the Saudi financial sector has improved since 2019. From 20 in 2019 to 60 in 2020, there were more operational fintech businesses, and by October 2020, over 10 of those businesses had reached the commercialization phase.
This favourable and encouraging regulatory environment, STC’s solid financial stability, and the value of its brand have all benefited stc pay. Due to its early-mover benefit, superior app interface (in comparison to that of traditional banks), and simple onboarding procedure for customers and merchants, it has controlled the growing fintech market. The following two fast-growing markets have also received attention.
Sending money internationally
With a service that is more practical than utilizing a money transfer centre and offers fewer fees, stc pay card aims to serve the sizable community. As per the World Bank, Saudi Arabia is the second-largest sender of remittances on the planet (after the United States).
To facilitate contactless payment, more than 13 000 businesses in Saudi Arabia, like famous retailers, gas stations, and coffee shops—have signed up with stc pay. Additionally, it has cooperated with food delivery services.
Stc pay has made considerable use of social media platforms and implemented a referral scheme. It often conducts promotions To expand its user base, improve app stickiness, and encourage spending.
The STC’s investment in fintech is profitable. That ought to motivate other business owners in the Gulf to take greater chances to diversify their sources of income. Other countries may have less favourable financial services legislation and competitors than Saudi Arabia.