Astra’s PayBy and BOTIM secure Mastercard license for multi-currency prepaid metal cards in MENA

Rick Steves

With over 100 million registered users and an 80% market penetration rate in the UAE, BOTIM has the ability to become the biggest card-issuing fintech in the region enabling millions of users to access cutting-edge financial services on top of their communication platforms.

Astra Tech’s PayBy has become one of the first MENA-based fintech players to obtain a Mastercard principal membership license.

The Central Bank-UAE licensed fintech, which earlier this month launched international money transfers on top of BOTIM and aims to launch the full ultra app capability by Q2 2023, has achieved yet another milestone.

Astra branded Mastercard digital and physical cards on top of BOTIM and Payby

A Mastercard principal membership license further elevates Astra’s ecosystem, which is now enabled to provide users with the full spectrum of financial services. Astra’s PayBy offers multi-currency prepaid metal cards through its premium card offering.

The partnership with Mastercard will allow Astra to issue branded Mastercard digital and physical cards to millions of users on top of its platforms BOTIM and Payby, providing authorization services and prepaid multi-currency cards.

The firm is now also licensed to act as an acquirer, leveraging Mastercard’s suite of products, including Payment Gateway, Tap on Phone, and Fraud & Cyber Security.

The company will be able to offer BIN sponsorship services, enabling other third-party Fintechs to issue prepaid cards and connect with Mastercard’s card scheme network. These efforts strengthen Astra’s position to empower other Fintechs in the region.

With over 100 million registered users and an 80% market penetration rate in the UAE, BOTIM has the ability to become the biggest card-issuing fintech in the region enabling millions of users to access cutting-edge financial services on top of their communication platforms.

Astra Tech acquired BOTIM and Payby earlier this year to rapidly transform the VoIP app’s capabilities to serve as the base of its upcoming Ultra App.

“Millions of users will have access to Mastercard’s global reach and suite of products”

Abdallah Abu Sheikh, Co-Founder and CEO of Astra Tech, BOTIM’s parent company, stated: “Our vision is to be the leading technology player in the MENA region. We are one of the biggest technology companies in this part of the world, helping tens of millions of users daily. Our commitment is to make our users’ lives easier. Financial services are one of the most important and underdeveloped sectors in this part of the world. To take on this challenge, we chose to partner with a trusted and world-renowned company like Mastercard to ensure we provide the best service our users deserve.

J.K. Khalil, Cluster General Manager, MENA East, Mastercard said: “At Mastercard, we are enabling fintechs to innovate and bring new digital payment solutions to market with speed and ease. We are excited to partner with Astra Tech’s PayBy and support their vision to further empower other fintechs through our BIN sponsorship services. Through this partnership, millions of users will have access to Mastercard’s global reach and suite of products as we join forces to create a more connected and inclusive digital future for all.”

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