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KUWAIT - Finance

Nasser Al Humaidi

CEO & Co-Founder, UPayments

Bio

Nasser Al Humaidi is the CEO & Co-Founder of UPayments, the first regulated fintech company in Kuwait. He has 10-plus years of experience in telecommunications and holds a political science degree from Kuwait University.

"The company was founded in 2016 by Ali Alhabshi as a prop-tech, and in late 2017 he invited me to join."
Providing innovative payment solutions, UPayments has expanded significantly in the last six years, creating products to address demands in the market.
Established in 2016, Upayments quickly increased its market share in the Kuwaiti fintech arena. What accounts for your success and competitiveness?

The company was founded in 2016 by Ali Alhabshi as a prop-tech, and in late 2017 he invited me to join. I purchased a stake, and we changed the concept to UPayments. There were not many players in the sector back then, and we decided to enter the market with a different concept, which is why we decided to create the many services that UPayments offers: u-rent, u-store, u-pay, and u-interface. We were competing with a number of companies and service providers, not only fintechs, which prompted us to diversify our services leveraging the innovativeness of my partner Alhabshi, who had brought certain technologies into the game. In 2021, we were granted an electronic payment license from the Central Bank of Kuwait, which made us a more accepted and respected service provider. It was a true milestone for us. We consider ourselves a one-stop shop where the client has the ability to get links to collect online, access the e-commerce website, as well as point of sale machines, and payment gateways if you have an application or a website. Also, our team helps by signing third parties such as local delivery, shipping, and storage companies. I should also say that none of our success would be possible without our agile and highly skilled team. When it comes to entrepreneurial ventures such as UPayments, people are often demanded to wear many hats and take up multiple tasks at the same time. Therefore, I always say that our company’s core assets are its people. We make a great team, which underpins our competitiveness and ultimately our success.

What are your expansion plans for the coming years?

We are in the expansion stage as we speak, having established offices in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain, and we will be particularly focused on Saudi Arabia in the coming year. When it comes to the products themselves, we have recently introduced a payment system for the education sector. It is available in Kuwait and will shortly be available in the Kingdom. This is a time-saving solution for parents when shopping for their children. We partner with schools, institutions, and unions to provide convenient purchase methods. We have an ecosystem of partnerships at UPayments, all serving our merchants’ needs, including shipping, storage, local and international delivery—all available through one platform.

What is your perspective on the current progress of digitalization in Kuwait, especially in the public sector?

The pandemic made huge changes in everyone’s mindset. Both the public and private sectors became more open to digitalization and have already begun related works. One solution that the government introduced is called SAHEL, which marked the first step toward digitalizing and simplifying bureaucracy. I have even noticed the Ministry of Interior becoming more digital, which is a positive sign. It is encouraging to see these changes occur in the official institutions themselves, and now the challenge is for the government to connect them all.

What are your priorities for the coming year?

Competition is stiff and healthy and keeps us on our toes, whereby we constantly work toward better and new solutions. We should review and improve our services and products annually. In fact, we are also focused on making such changes monthly or even daily, which will allow our customers to get better quality without noticing the changes. In terms of expansion, we plan to duplicate what works in Kuwait elsewhere, especially in markets like Saudi Arabia. We have a plan regarding what service we might focus on in that market. In brief, I foresee notable achievements for our team over the coming months.

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