The agreement is expected to accelerate cashless payments and digital banking across the Middle East and North Africa, the companies announced.
Under the terms of the deal, Visa is integrated into the Careem Pay Super App which will provide Careem drivers, known as Careem captains, access to payments and funds.
Marcello Baricordi, Visa’s general manager for MENA, said “enabling secure, immediate movement of money for gig economy workers, like Careem captains, is especially vital as we support economic recovery efforts.”
He said as the pandemic fuels digitization of payments, convenient and secure cashless solutions are key.
A Visa survey revealed consumers in the Middle East, including Pakistan, prefer digital payments over cash because it’s secure, fast, convenient and widely accepted.
In addition, the trend of contactless payment represents one-third of face-to-face transactions in nearly 50 countries, according to Visa data.
In the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia, that figure is higher, where 8 out of 10 transactions in Saudi Arabia and more than half of transactions in the UAE, are made with contactless cards or devices, Visa said.
Paired with Visa Direct payments, the Careem Pay Super App will be equipped to allow fast, safe, convenient, and real-time payments directly to eligible cards, accounts and wallets.
The move integrates Visa credentials into the Careem Pay Wallet to address liquidity challenges.
Junaid Iqbal, managing director of Careem Pay, said the only way digital payments make a difference is when both sides of the market benefit.
“The partnership with Visa will not only solve cash flow constraints, but will also provide many new use cases to improve the everyday lives of Careem customers,” he said.
“This crisis is, if anything, accelerating the growth of digital platforms,” he said. “A lot of people who would go out in the offline world and do things are now forced to do things digitally.”
Last year, Careem was acquired by Uber, their global competition giant. Regulators approved the $3.1 billion deal after Uber guaranteed it would sustain competition in the regional market.