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EghtesadOnline: A group of Iranian fintech companies has formed Iran’s Fintech Association, soon after the Central Bank of Iran put forward the idea.

Nasser Hakimi, the director of CBI’s IT Department, had proposed that fintech firms create a forum to identify challenges, prepare key questions and contact the regulator for solutions.

“Currently, CBI is not able to help innovators case by case, considering the large number of financial innovators … But once the forum is established, the regulator would be able to help fintechs quickly and efficiently,” he told Way2pay.ir.

“This would be beneficial for both fintechs and CBI. The regulator would become familiar with the latest market trends.”

According to Financial Tribune, the association, called “Fintech A”, is set to bring industry players under a single roof, mainly to find a solution to their problems and boost innovators’ relations with regulatory bodies.

 Ongoing Concerns

“We would be able to address the ongoing concerns over the operation of fintech firms through close interaction with CBI, Center for E-Commerce Development and the judiciary,” Milad Jahandar, the founder of Bahamta application, was quoted as saying during the first meeting of the association last week.

Bahamta is an Iranian application for management of micro-payments.

“We want to prevent controversies, like what happened to ride-hailing applications,” he said and called for all fintechs to join the association, referring to fraught relations between taxi drivers and domestic ride-hailing companies.   

ZarinPal, Bahamta, Hesabit, PayPing, Poolam and Mehrabane are among founding members of the association.

Mostafa Amiri, the founder of ZarinPal, said they are ready to negotiate with regulators.

“We need to form a unique voice today, otherwise we would lose the market to foreigners once they enter the Iranian market,” he said.

Amiri criticized current regulations regarding the operation of fintechs and said the document prepared by the Center for E-Commerce Development leaves no space for creating new businesses.

“It is our task to come up with solutions for meeting regulators’ concerns and prevent inefficient regulations,” he said.

Back in December, the center announced that it would regulate the operation of unofficial payment tools, referred to as aggregators, after profiling owners and their users.

The framework requires users to provide a phone number (owned by the business) for being allowed to use payment services. The measure has been repeatedly criticized for neglecting issues concerning the operation of startups.

 CBI’s Stance

However, Hakimi said the framework developed by the e-commerce authority is not approved by the central bank.

“CBI is working on another framework that defines redlines for the operation of fintech firms,” he said.

According to CBI regulations, innovative financial services are allowed to operate as long as they are not involved in money creation, currency exchange and offering their own payment tools (like cards) and attract deposits.

It was announced earlier that CBI was working on a project to create a safe and healthy environment for innovators and fintech firms, and to authorize their operations.

Hakimi said it takes at least three months to finalize the project.

Central Bank of Iran Iran Fintech Iran Fintech Association