Mastercard launches Fintech Express in MEA region to empower Fintechs to launch and expand

Mastercard has launched Fintech Express in the Middle East and Africa, a programme designed to facilitate emerging fintechs’ launch and expansion. Leveraging the power of partnerships and Mastercard’s expertise, technology, and global network, startups will now be able to focus on innovation that drives the digital economy.


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Mastercard Fintech Express is designed for all types of fintechs: established fintechs wanting a direct license from Mastercard, as well as fintechs with the ambition to innovate through collaborating with ready-to-go Mastercard Engage partners. As such, the programme is split into three core modules: Access, Build, Connect.

- Access: Enabling regulated entities to obtain a Mastercard License and access Mastercard’s network through a streamlined onboarding process
Build: Fintechs as Processors/Enablers can become an Express Partner by building unique tech alliances and benefitting from all the advantages that Mastercard provides
Connect: Fintechs/Startups, looking to add payment solutions to their suite of products, can easily connect with qualified Express Partners available on the Mastercard Engage web portal, and go live with Mastercard in a matter of days

The programme supports digital payment innovators by making it simple to collaborate with Mastercard and its partners to launch new fintech products. It is designed for fintechs looking to add payment solutions to their suite of products, tech-savvy startups looking at serving a new segment as well as established players with ambitions to innovate through partnerships. Becoming an Express Partner helps brands simplify the launch of payment solutions, shortening the process from a few months to a matter of days. Express Partners will also enjoy all the benefits of becoming a Qualified Mastercard Engage Partner

“Startups are forming exciting and diverse new collaborations with traditional financial institutions, thereby enhancing competitiveness while also bringing a host of new services and products to market. Mastercard is playing a central role in making these fintech partnerships a reality as their technology provider of choice. Technological advancement and innovation are steering the digital financial services industry as fintech players are becoming globally mainstream and an increasing influx of these players are competing with large traditional players. With the announcement, we are taking the next step in further empowering them to fulfill their ambitions of scale and speed,” said Gaurang Shah, Senior Vice President, Digital Payments & Labs, Middle East, and Africa, Mastercard.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is home to a range of fintech startups, supported by innovative initiatives to support these players throughout the region. MENA is home to over 1,200 fintech players, covering everything from credit to insurance to wealth management offered through a centralized cloud-based platform.

As an Express Partner, Network International, a leading enabler of digital commerce in MENA and long-term Mastercard partner, will act as an exclusive payments processor for Middle East fintechs, thus enabling and accelerating participants’ regional market entry. 

“In the last decade, fintechs have been pushing the boundaries of innovation and transforming our everyday lives. At Network, innovation is core to our ethos, and we believe that fostering a local culture of innovation is key to success. We’re pleased to enter into this strategic collaboration with Mastercard, as part of our long-term commitment to support fintechs and strengthen the UAE payment infrastructure,” said Samer Soliman, Managing Director, Middle East – Network International.


August 2020 saw a 48% drop in the number of deals, while total funding on the other hand increased by 93% when compared to the same month last year. Discover more trends and insights in our August 2020 Dashboard.