Careem joins the FinTech race
Facebook introduced Libra, Apple launched the Apple Card, Amazon has Amazon Pay, and the latest to join this series of tech firms entering the FinTech sector is Careem with its mobile wallet Careem PAY.
As the region's leading ride-hailing platform, Careem is also in the play to becoming a super-app — a trend that has emerged from China and is being adopted by tech companies across the world
The super app is essentially a way to meet many needs of a user within the same app. Think of apps bundling services, such as WeChat or Facebook. They're doing so to capture a higher screen time with users, thus increasing their ad revenues.
When it comes to Careem, its biggest advantage is its already existing user base of millions of people who use its services on a daily basis in 14 countries. It has already expanded from taxi bookings to food delivery, small pack transport with Careem Box, RTA's Hala taxi service, and is now adding a digital wallet to its repertoire.
It recently announced that in addition to the ability to pay for rides, Careem PAY can also be used to recharge pay-as-you-go mobile numbers; thereby removing the necessity of having apps from telecom providers if one uses them majorly for topping up their credit.
Careem’s payment offerings will be core to becoming the region’s every day super app. Our wallet is the most downloaded digital wallet in the market and we will continue to add more products and services that can be paid for through our platform."Junaid Iqbal, managing director of Careem PAY
At the moment, Careem PAY wallet has been launched in the UAE, Egypt, and Pakistan. Jordan is said to follow soon. It claims that one in three rides are paid via the Careem PAY wallet.
The market potential is huge with 86 percent of people in the MENA region not having access to banking services or similar financial institutions.
Junaid Iqbal added, "With only 14% of the region holding a bank account, there is a massive opportunity for us to serve this unaddressed audience and enable them to participate in digital finance. Providing the option to purchase mobile recharge credit is the beginning of many more ways in which we aim to simplify and improve our customers’ lives."
Careem's move into FinTech is not very surprising considering the service sector is booming, tech giants are entering the space, the trust in finance apps and mobile wallets is increasing, the banking industry's innovation is restricted and slowed due to strict regulations, as well as the massive potential of FinTech in the region with only 14% of the population being banked.