On the good old game of who enters the Iranian market first, the Turkish online payment service provider Iyzico beats Paypal by partnering up with local a payment system Pecco. The US sanctions still in place have prevented American companies to do so.
With the Iyzico – Pecco partnership, a total of 230 million Iranian debit cards from every single Iranian bank gets connected to Iyzico. How does this happen you ask? All Iranian banks are integrated to Shetab, the local unitary clearance system in Iran. With this partnership, Iyzico clients get connected to Shetab and all the 230 million debit cards connected to it directly. The company signed the deal after the nuclear deal on January 16th, which discontinued Iran form being excluded from the SWIFT banking system because of the international sanctions.
This is the first payment startup to enter the large Iranian market. Paypal, Stripe and every single American credit card company are still unable to enter Iran; due to the fact that sanctions on Iran by the United States government, prevents American companies to work with Iran. This has created a unique opportunity for European companies to take advantage. The Turkish Iyzico won the race and went from 180 Million cards from Turkey ( 58 million credit cards and 112 million debit cards) to a total of 410 million cards including the recently added 230 million Iranian debit cards. This game changing partnership has caused international merchants to get access to 410 million cards in both emerging markets of Iran and Turkey.
Now what does this means for Iranian Startups?
You guessed it, Iranian startups can now get direct access to the Turkish market. Iranian e-commerce startups can sell directly to Turkish users through Iyzico and so can Turkish startups. This could be a game changer to many Iranian entrepreneurs that were waiting for the sanctions to be lifted to ultimately tackle markets beyond Iran.
Iyzico raised $6.2 million in a round of investment last year led by the investing arm of the World Bank, the IFC (The International Finance Corporation). Among its customers in Turkey, BMW and Allianz can be seen. The company was founded in 2012 with the aim of providing e-commerce companies the ease and security of a payment management system in Turkey, which has now extended its service to Iran.