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Zwipe strengthens regional biometric payment card position with appointment, strategic partnership

CEO discusses progress at Goode Biometric Summit
Zwipe strengthens regional biometric payment card position with appointment, strategic partnership

Zwipe says it has appointed a general manager for the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) and sealed a strategic partnership deal in India as it seeks to respond to strong interest for its biometric products in those markets.

Ramzi Saboury has been handed the role for managing Zwipe activities within MENA, and a deal has also been sealed with Masterline to speed up Zwipe’s Pay ONE biometric card platform’s deployment in India and other key markets in the Middle East and Africa, according to a joint statement.

Saboury boasts over 26 years of experience within payment services at leading banks in Kuwait, as regional GM for Levant at Visa Inc. and as CCO at areeba, during which time he successfully established many financial services, notably including within contactless payments and mobile technologies.

“Zwipe’s decision to strengthen its position in MENA fits perfectly with the transformations that are taking place in the global payments market. I am delighted to have joined Zwipe’s team and I am already busy driving biometric payment cards and Zwipe Pay ONE in a region that is very keen for such advanced solutions,” said Saboury. In 2018, Saboury was named among ‘The 50 Most Promising Young Leaders in the Banking and Financial Services industry for APAC and the Middle East Regions’ by the Asian Bankers Organization.

Through its new partnership, Zwipe says it will benefit from Masterline’s proficiency from over 20 years of driving sales and deployment of smart card products, SIM cards and recharge scratch cards as well as its experience in the fintech and payment solutions sector as a seasoned and well-connected actor.

Naresh Nanda, founder and managing director of Masterline Group, said the deal was important as there is significant interest and potential for biometric payment cards both in India and elsewhere. “The Masterline team and I are delighted to proactively assist the on-the-ground customer and go-to-market partner on-boarding on behalf of Zwipe in these regions. We are promoting the disruptive Zwipe Pay ONE platform both to smart card manufacturers and banks,” said Nanda.

“Our end-to-end, one-stop-shop offering to enable launch of biometric payment cards is welcomed by players across the payments value chain, both in the MENA region and in India,” Zwipe CEO André Løvestam said. “Ramzi’s expertise in driving payment innovations to successful businesses in the MENA region and Masterline’s formidable track record in scaling smart card products in India and certain MEA markets will be key in accelerating the mass market deployment of Zwipe Pay ONE-powered payment cards.”

Early in the month, Zwipe said it sealed another Indian partnership for the manufacture of biometric payment cards.

Update provided at Goode Intelligence Biometric Summit

Løvestam also discussed Zwipe’s prospects and the market’s preparation for mass biometric payment card adoption at the Goode Intelligence Biometric Summit 2021.

The “contactless to contact-free” transition, which refers to the ability to perform even high-value transactions without resorting back to touching the terminal to add the security of a PIN, is the phase the market is currently in, he says.

It takes four to six weeks for issuers to prepare their back-end systems for biometric smart cards, Løvestam said during his presentation.

As volumes of cards utilizing Zwipe Pay ONE increase, the cost of biometric payment cards will fall below $10 each, the CEO forecasts.

Goode and Løvestam discussed how they have been following the development of biometric payment cards since 2015 or earlier, but Løvestam says the cost reductions and ecosystem readiness make Goode’s forecast of one in five cards by 2026 to be biometric is realistic.

The discussion also touched on the balance between mobile devices and cards as a payment form factor, how users will enroll their biometrics, and the impact of the UK increasing contactless payment limits to £100 (US$138).

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