Cover photo: Ahsan Ullah, an electrician working in the UAE, uses NOW Money’s app to remit money back home to his family in Pakistan.

Ahsan Ullah moved from his home country of Pakistan to Dubai to find work as an electrician. Like many other people who have relocated to the Gulf Coast region for better work opportunities, he sends 75 percent of his salary back home to his family in Pakistan. Ahsan found a way to transfer money overseas in NOW Money, the first digital banking solution for low-income migrant workers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). He uses NOW Money’s app to transfer the money he earns servicing cable cars and other machinery, and his family receives it the next day.

When Accion Venture Lab first invested in NOW Money in 2017, we were incredibly excited by the company’s vision to tackle the challenges its customers, migrant workers in the GCC, faced. These customers have unique financial needs as they often earn just $200 to 300 a month and typically send 70 percent of those wages to family members back home. The traditional financial infrastructure in the GCC prevents these workers from accessing bank accounts, excluding them from the cashless economy. Without a digital banking solution like NOW Money, workers like Ahsan have to wait in line for hours to send much-needed money back home to their families.

NOW Money co-founders
NOW Money was founded in 2015 by Katharine “Kat” Budd and Ian Dillon.

The last 12 months of the COVID-19 pandemic have only made those realities tougher, as the brick-and-mortar institutions often relied on by this population temporarily closed, all but shutting these individuals out from the financial world. As noted by co-founder Katharine Budd in an episode of our VentureKast podcast, “Having access to digital finance, as long as you’ve got an internet connection, is a lifeline.” Inclusive fintechs like NOW Money are critical to supporting this lower-income and often-overlooked population throughout the pandemic, continuing to provide their products and services safely and digitally.

Accion Venture Lab is pleased to announce our follow-on investment into NOW Money’s Series A round, to support the company as they continue to build their moat as the first fintech company in the GCC to use digital banking technology to provide access to fairly priced and well-designed financial products to the migrant workers that need them.

To reach these migrant workers, NOW Money partners with businesses to provide an end-to-end digital payroll solution for their employees. They manage the backend for their partner companies and allowing workers to receive their salaries directly into the NOW Money app. NOW Money bundles a suite of relevant, digital financial services into their app, including a contactless-enabled debit card, mobile top-up, bill pay, remittances, and more, aggregating all the services these migrant workers need to manage their financial lives.

We’re excited to continue supporting NOW Money as they disrupt the region’s fintech scene for a few core reasons:

We’re proud to be a part of NOW Money’s journey and growth over the last few years, and we believe that this series A will propel them to financially include even more migrant workers in Gulf Coast countries. As NOW Money continues to grow and scale, they can provide the critical financial tools and services that migrant workers need to support themselves and their families back home.

Explore More

BancoSol customer in La Paz, Bolivia
Article

The road ahead for women’s economic empowerment

person using phone
Article

What’s next for inclusive digital payments in Africa

Women of Accion
Article

Women leaders champion economic empowerment

An Indian women is walking alongside with her cow
Case Study

Growing women’s role in dairy value chains