Fueled by nearly universal smartphone adoption, the increasing embrace of digital savings platforms, a growing emphasis on financial education, and a national aspiration to position Saudi Arabia at the forefront of the fintech landscape, the Kingdom is fully committed to providing financial solutions and accessible financial well-being guidance.
Leading the charge is MALY, a cutting-edge digital savings and financial mentor app designed to usher in a new era. Established in early 2022 as a financial well-being platform aimed at assisting individuals in developing healthier financial habits, MALY is poised to address critical deficiencies in Saudi Arabia’s consumer savings sector, according to Mo Ibrahim, the Co-Founder and CEO of the company.
Ibrahim notes, “Alarmingly, numerous estimates indicate that up to 70 percent of the Saudi population has no savings at all. This is in spite of the considerable economic challenges facing individuals, including escalating living expenses, substantial household debt, global market volatility, and a lack of personal financial security and planning throughout the region. These economic pressures, coupled with limited access to financial education and associated tools, mean that 60 percent of people in the UAE and KSA lack adequate financial security.”
“People require assistance in fostering healthier financial relationships, and fintech companies can furnish the essential tools and platforms to promote individual financial well-being,” Ibrahim states.
Furthermore, Ibrahim underscores that fintech expansion in the Kingdom will be greatly bolstered by the Saudi National Fintech Strategy (SNFS), a government initiative introduced by the Financial Sector Development Program with the objective of propelling the nation into a leading position in the fintech sector. The SNFS envisions Riyadh as a global hub, with a focus on enhancing economic empowerment for both individuals and local communities. The strategy aims to drive fintech innovation, increase the number of fintech players in the Kingdom to 230, and boost digital transactions by 70 percent by 2025.
Ibrahim adds, “There is a distinct mandate from the progressive leadership of the Kingdom to enhance economic outcomes, savings, and digitalization across all sectors. Encouraging savings and individual-level investment is now a top priority for financial policy-makers.”
Ibrahim emphasizes that MALY occupies a unique position to facilitate the seamless realization of Saudi Arabia’s vision through its emphasis on financial well-being and its use of cutting-edge technologies, primarily harnessing the power of data science, machine learning, and robust in-house technical expertise. MALY, according to him, serves as an indispensable toolbox to help individuals efficiently automate and manage personal savings and investments through time-based plans, debt management tools, responsible borrowing, and investment strategies.
“Just as physical fitness is achieved through consistent steps, building sound financial health begins with small actions. Just as regular exercise and a balanced diet maintain physical health, consistent financial monitoring, positive savings habits, and prudent investments can foster fiscal well-being. Similar to individuals seeking the guidance of a personal trainer for physical fitness, a financial well-being platform can act as a trainer, offering the tools, guidance, and resources needed to attain financial goals,” Ibrahim remarks.
Ibrahim anticipates that MALY will play a pivotal role in accelerating financial literacy and inclusion rates in the Middle East and North Africa. According to The World Bank’s Global Financial Inclusion DataBank, these rates are already on an upward trajectory, with 85.7 percent of individuals aged 15 and above in the UAE and 74.3 percent in Saudi Arabia owning and operating a bank account. Additionally, 23.9 percent and 32.4 percent, respectively, have borrowed from financial institutions. MALY is set to introduce its AI-powered Financial Stress Tracker, utilizing Open Banking to identify patterns and trends that indicate financial stress. It will provide customers with personalized advice on reducing financial stress and offer customized financial education programs designed to help individuals enhance their financial knowledge and make more informed financial decisions, Ibrahim concludes.