1. San Francisco based payment aggregator Paymentwall announced its service expansion to Iran on April 12th 2016.
What is Paymentwall

Paymentwall is a global digital commerce platform that has partnerships with more than 140 payment providers in more than 200 countries with 75 currencies. The company has 11 offices around the world other than its HQ in San Francisco.

Partnership with CBI’s Shetab

The company announced that it had integrated with CBI’s (Central bank of Iran) Shetab network via an official press release on Tuesday. Shetab is a unified electronic interbank clearance system for the entire Iranian banking operations to facilitate transactions from debit cards, POS terminals, ATMs and online portals. According to the official press release, this would create an opportunity for merchants to tap into the Iranian market and have transaction flow in and out of the country. In simpler words, this means the possibility of paying and getting paid from the country as well as moving money in and out of the country that has been under international sanctions for 35 years.

Such announcements regarding international payment companies connecting to Iran, and Iranian banks tapping back to SWIFT, are highly watched and anticipated in Iran. One of the biggest barriers hoped to be removed after the JCPOA deal and sanctions removals were payment and the international money transaction barriers, which obviously enables more merchants dealing with Iran and vice versa.

Although

Though the recent nuclear deal has caused the sanctions on Iran and its banking system to be lifted but US sanctions are still in place. This announcement was rather shocking considering the fact that Paymentwall is a San Fransisco based company with an only possibility of engaging with Iran from one of their subsidiaries or offices outside of US. Most european sanctions on Iran has been lifted but not sanctions imposed by the US are still in place. The US banking system is still not open to Iran and so is the possibility for most American companies to work with Iran. Making it almost impossible for Paymentwall to come to Iran on the red carpet.

Paymentwall’s announcement on expanding to Iran created a wide press buzz. More interestingly the company removed their official press release post on Iran from their website and social media overnight. Which could be an identification of a step back from the company. Many questions are popping up as what was the cause of this act. Perhaps the possibility of a security threats to the company exists because of the US sanctions. Nonetheless news from payment companies to operate in Iran are becoming a trend.

The company has still not responded to questions of the overnight change of mind. We are yet to get an answer on one of Iran’s current hot FinTech media buzz.

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Yaser Kerachian
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