NEO, Iraq - Case Study

NEO is the first digital neobank in Iraq. A product of INC (International Network for Cards & Payments), this company was launched in 2018. Its founders had the firm belief that cash should become digital. NEO’s mission is to ensure that every Iraqi citizen has the ability to access digital payments.


Iraq is a country with a population of 40 million, has 50% internet penetration and increasing rapidly through smartphone adoption. Yet, online and digital payment systems have lagged far behind other countries. Iraq remains a mostly cash based market with less than 2% card penetration.

With this massive growth in smartphone penetration, increasingly more people in Iraq are seeking ways to pay digitally. Iraq represents a sizable unbanked population. Yet, its population is nonetheless “mobile phone native” and eager to adopt digital payments.

  • Purpose: NEO was looking to onboard its customers entirely over their mobile device and enable them to pay digitally.
  • Additional Benefits: NEO was also looking for a way to instantly deliver a digital Visa cards. They also wanted to provide the option for customers to order plastic cards in-app and pick them up from various locations.
  • Project Duration: The company sought to launch a mobile native solution and to do it in less than six months. This time period represented a record speed to market.


NEO chose NymCard to build a modern issuing solution digitally from the ground up. Headquartered in Beirut, Lebanon, NymCard is a modern issuing processing card payment platform. NymCard was selected for this challenging task due to their modern solution, track record, and focus on digitizing payments with financial institutions in the Middle East and Africa.

NymCard delivered an end to end issuing platform with a user facing application to onboard customers with a digital KYC process. The technology allows for approvals to only take 3-5 minutes. Once approved, customers can instantly create a virtual Visa card and is delivered in-app ready to be used.

NymCard also provided NEO with a dedicated authorized agent application. This app assists customers when they want to recharge their wallet accounts with cash at thousands of locations across Iraq.

Through this process, NEO gained the following:

  • Virtual Visa Cards for eCommerce and online use issued instantly and securely to customers In-App
  • The ability for plastic payment cards to be issued and used for Travel or as Gift Cards directly linked to a mobile experience
  • Secure payment processing taking place in the Cloud with a PCI/DSS compliance ‘out of the box’


NymCard successfully delivered a digital end to end card issuing and authorization solution with a full customer facing digital card experience. This was achieved in less than six months. Currently, hundreds of agents and thousands of customers are being on-boarded to effectively use this new payment method from Visa.

Visa Cards for Everyone in Iraq

NymCard has helped us tremendously with digital Visa card delivery for our new clients. This is the optimal solution for those in the MENA markets who are seeking a state-of-the-art payment issuing platform. Not only have we improved financial inclusion among Iraqis, but also we’ve been able to scale our distribution at a much faster speed.

Zaid Fawzi