ZPay, a payment application for foreign tourists in Iran, has won Bank Pasargad Iran’s award for best fintech innovation at the First Fintech Festival.
ZPay, with the Z standing for Zeitoon, which is the Persian word for olive, works by permitting foreigners to shop in Iran while keeping their money outside the country, reports the Financial Tribune.
The event was organized by BPI affiliate Fanap and saw a group of 16 teams receiving technical support to help produce new ideas during the three-day festival. The top three teams received cash prizes.
One of the members of ZPay said in the pitch, that:
Foreigners are permitted to bring about $10,000 to Iran and several shopkeepers told us that tourists do not have enough money to purchase Iranian handicrafts like carpet due to the restrictions.
Iran Boosts FinTech
Iran is doing much to improve its fintech standing.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Iran had launched a FinTech Association to push for further development.
Several months before the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) suggested the idea that Iranian fintech companies should work together with the finance sector. Not only that, but with the chief executive of Iran’s Tejrat Bank stating that innovations like Bitcoin and blockchain will impact the way banks operate in the country, Iran is keen to adopt new measures.
And yet, while the Iranian capital of Tehran is home to a growing number of local fintech startups, Iran still has a long way to go before it can be considered a fintech hub.
Of course, with around 50 million people using smartphones in Iran and 45 million Internet users in the country, there appears to be plenty of scope for startups to flourish in Iran with the added support to grow as well.
Middle East FinTech Hub
However, according to Shahab Javanmardi, chief executive of Fanap, he said at the festival that innovators should stop focusing on payment services and focus on finding solutions for domestic challenges.
In the report from the Financial Tribune, he said:
This would help us reach our target of becoming Middle East’s fintech hub.
This is what Iran appears to be setting its sights on. So much so, that the CBI has planned for the creation of a robust future for its banking sector in its 2021 Roadmap. While, by 2025, Iran sees the country becoming a regional hub for financial and banking services.
It remains to be seen how fintech will continue to grow in Iran, but steps are certainly being made to improve on the services that the country provides.
Featured image from Shutterstock.