With a huge consumer market, India is possibly the favorite investment destination for foreign firms. Transition to a cashless economy has encouraged many global Fintech players to create a scalable business in India. Noticing the benefits, Bahrain based Arab Financial Services (AFS), the leading provider of electronic payments outsourcing services in the region will also synergize its efforts to make India a cashless Economy.
Entrepreneur India caught up with B. Chandrasekhar, CEO, Arab Financial Services (AFS) at Unbound Bahrain to know his plans for entering the Indian Market.
AFS has been the leading Fintech enabler in the MENA region for over 30 years. Owned by 40 banks and financial institutions and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain, AFS offers innovative and end-to-end payment solutions to its clients along with state-of-the-art value-added services suite.
BPO for Banks:
According to Chandrasekhar, AFS works like a BPO (Business process outsourcing) for banks today. The company processes payment transactions for nearly 70 banks in 20 countries.
"We do it with a combination of technology. Our credit card software comes from major American companies whose software we run for credit. For debit card, we have partnered with another big U.S company called FIS global (Fidelity National Information Services Inc). Right now, we are partnering with an Indian company to do our point of sale," shared Chandrasekhar.
Helping India Go Cashless:
Chandrasekhar believes India is a huge market. Despite rich investment opportunities, regulatory uncertainty is the biggest challenge for global players which is why AFS is more keen on taking one city as a project.
"We are aware that things take time to move in India but things are changing now. But, I don't want to get stuck with State Bank of India or RFP (Request for Proposal) kind of situation. So, we are examining select corridors in India. Mostly, we want to concentrate on a state which encourages Fintech and wants to go cashless," said Chandrasekhar.
Talking about the company's plans for Bahrain, Chandrasekhar also shared that he wants to help the banks go digital.
"We want to create a new experience around current accounts, virtual cards, and e-commerce transactions. Eventually, we see Bahrain leading the way to a cashless economy," he added.
Around the world, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the most common source of job creation. AFS also has plans to shift its focus to SME banking very soon. Chandrasekhar emphasized the more electronic Bahrain goes, the more SMEs will go electronic, further making it easier for banks to lend money.
Fantastic talent in India:
More and more companies are outsourcing Indian talents from India as it helps in meeting business needs in a cost-effective way. There are also few Indian developers working with AFS in Bahrain. When asked his view on Indian talent force, Chandrasekhar said the availability of Indian engineers is great.
"Being myself from India I know that India has some fantastic talent.The ability to scale up very quickly to customer demands is the strength of India. The companies we are in contract with are picking bright engineers from India and training them as per our requirement," he concluded.