The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is backing cashless mobile payments in Turkey, helping promote a payment mode enjoying increased popularity in the era of coronavirus. 

The EBRD is providing a loan to Dubai-based mobile payments provider TPAY Mobile to finance its acquisition of the Turkish fintech firm Payguru, said a bank statement on Thursday.

Active in 24 countries, including Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco, TPAY Mobile focuses on digital mobile payments and works with over 54 telecommunications and e-wallet operators in the region.

An alternative to bank card-based transactions, direct carrier and direct wallet billing offered by TPAY mobile allows users to make purchases by charging payments to their mobile phone carrier bills or pre-paid airtime balance, as well as wallet stored value.

The company will also take over Payguru’s electronic money transfer platform, which offers bank card-free transfers, deposits, and withdrawals through a network of over 30,000 ATMs or 75% of cash machines in Turkey, the statement read.

“Two strong Fintech players joining forces will further popularize cashless mobile payments in Turkey, helping improve financial inclusion, empowering individuals and eventually contributing to economic growth that is distributed fairly across society,” said Arvid Tuerkner, the EBRD managing director for Turkey.

TPAY Mobile CEO Sahar Salama stressed that the acquisition of Payguru fast-tracks the company’s vision to become the leading digital payment platform in the Mideast and Africa.

“This transaction extends our footprint in the region, continues our diversification into new business lines, and also significantly strengthens our value-added services proposition in the region,” Salama added.

Isik Uman, Payguru’s co-founder, said the merger opens a window of opportunity for exporting its products outside of Turkey.

“This will also bring our local merchants the opportunity to collect payments from these new countries with a single integration on the TPAY Mobile/Payguru platform,” he said.

Since 2009, the EBRD has invested €12.4 billion ($13.95 billion) through 311 projects in Turkey.

The EBRD’s €7 billion portfolio in Turkey is the largest among the 38 economies where the bank invests.

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