MONEY 2020 Copenhagen: Samir Lamrissi, Executive Vice President of Strategy at HPS Group

Founded in 1995, HPS is a specialist cards and payments software company based out of Morocco. They now provide innovative electronic payment solutions for financial institutions globally. Speaking about their experience in the African Market, Lamrissi says that they have mastered “the art of payments” and built a know-how around their omnichannel offering “Power Card”, that addresses every aspect of transaction processes, from verification to automation.

Unlike many other payment providers, HPS’ first market is Africa, where they started out automating payments and fighting for financial inclusion. According to Lamrissi, “cash is very expensive, it’s costly to transport, secure and manage. For Africa, using local networks instead of international networks reduce costs of making payments. For example, the West African region has launched a network with 130 banks to interconnect the banking and finance sector. This makes it easier and cost-effective to conduct instant payments, without passing on the cost to the consumer."

Lamrissi adds, “this is because central banks require banks to be faster, more secure and provide affordable services to the consumer. So for Africa, it’s always better to use regional networks than international networks when transacting locally, while international payments providers are great at providing easy global transactions. In this way, consumers can have access to affordable deals.”

Talking about the payments ecosystem, Lamrissi says Morocco is very advanced from the North African region. However, South African and Kenyan markets are ahead of the game. "We are seeing progress in these areas and there is a big potential." This growth is mostly due to the deregulation that enables telecom providers such as Safaricom to issue payment initiatives. Generally, in most African regions, companies have to be a financial institution to issue money.

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