Empowch: Paving the Way Toward Financial Inclusion

May 26, 2024

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is experiencing rapid growth in the e-commerce sector. However, businesses face substantial challenges when it comes to cross-border payments. The region’s diverse regulatory environments, varying banking systems, and multiple currencies add layers of complexity that can deter businesses from expanding their operations across borders.

The Challenges of Cross-Border Payments in the MENA Region:

  1. Regulatory Complexity:
    • Each country in the MENA region has its own set of financial regulations and compliance requirements. Navigating these regulations is time-consuming and requires local expertise.
  2. High Transaction Fees:
    • Traditional banks and payment providers often charge high fees for cross-border transactions. These fees can eat into profit margins, making cross-border expansion less attractive for e-commerce businesses.
  3. Currency Exchange Issues:
    • Currency volatility and exchange rate fluctuations pose risks to both businesses and consumers. Managing these risks requires sophisticated financial tools and strategies.
  4. Limited Payment Methods:
    • Consumers in different MENA countries prefer different payment methods, including cash on delivery, bank transfers, and digital wallets. E-commerce platforms must support a variety of payment options to cater to local preferences.

Empowch’s Solutions:

Empowch offers a single solution designed to simplify cross-border payments for e-commerce platforms in the MENA region, making it easy for them and their clients:

  1. Unified Payment Gateway:
    • Empowch provides a single API integration point for multiple payment methods, allowing businesses to accept payments from various sources without the need to manage multiple providers.
  2. Competitive Exchange Rates:
    • Empowch offers stable coins as their currency of choice, which are redeemed at the face value of the linked currency on the transaction date, as though you are paying cash.
  3. Compliance Management:
    • With Empowch, businesses can stay compliant with local regulations effortlessly. Our self-custody model eliminates complex compliance, and our integrated KYC process identifies the transaction channel and requirements between the parties, ensuring adherence to local regulations on either side.
  4. Reduced Transaction Fees:
    • By leveraging its extensive network and partnerships and our peer-to-peer structure, Empowch can offer lower transaction fees compared to traditional banking options by eradicating multiple middle parties. This helps businesses save money on every transaction.
  5. Seamless Integration:
    • Empowch’s solutions are designed for easy integration with existing e-commerce platforms. This ensures minimal disruption to business operations and a smooth transition to using Empowch’s services. With experienced integration under the belt, we are able to quickly loop technology into our system without dozens of overburdening integration meetings.

Case Study:

A remote worker management platform wanted to offer their services to an unbanked audience of businesses, gig workers, and freelancers in Lebanon, where almost 90% of the population is unbanked. This market segment cannot partake in the digital economy, which entrenches them into further financial exclusion. The company approached Empowch for a payments solution, and we integrated their payments channel into our CONNECTOR service, where local businesses are able to digitize USD and local currency into USDC.

This means that remote employment companies in Lebanon who hire internationally can add funds to their wallets to make international cross-border payments, and freelancers in Lebanon can now be paid by US freelancer companies. This both empowers the local workforce by offering them higher-paying gig opportunities and opens up a much larger pool of talent for American companies to tap into. It’s a win-win for all.

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