Katharine Budd: Paving the Way for Financial Inclusion in the Digital Age


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In recent years, the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) has played a critical role in propelling wealth and businesses forward, providing a strong platform for businesses and individuals to prosper. Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) hosts the Dubai FinTech Summit 2024 as a symbol of its commitment to the financial industry. This summit demonstrates the city’s commitment to embracing technological advancements for significant financial transformations. NOW Money emerges as a prominent advocate for financial inclusion in the fintech space. Its co-founders, Katharine Budd and Ian Dillon have become pioneers in mobile banking. They are providing financial services that are accessible.

Katharine Budd’s education at the University of Exeter focused on psychology and statistics, which served as the foundation for her successful career. She earned a BSc Hons with an II:I classification, demonstrating intellectual prowess and proficiency in navigating psychological complexities and statistical methodologies. Her dedication to education continued at Wellington School, a prestigious academic institution that shaped her entrepreneurial spirit significantly. The school environment, combined with her dedication, was critical in fostering holistic development. This solid academic foundation served her well in her entrepreneurial endeavors, most notably as co-founder of NOW Money in Dubai.

Unveiling her extensive journey, beginning as a lead analyst at Aimia Inc. and ending as a data scientist at Nectar Card and Cardlytics. Her time at Aimia Inc. demonstrated her exceptional ability to use data to gain strategic insights. As she transitioned to Nectar Card, she assumed a pivotal role at the intersection of technology and finance, honing skills critical to her later entrepreneurial venture with NOW Money. Katharine brings over ten years of experience in data and analytics to her company. Her dual role as a dynamic entrepreneur and data scientist is crucial in shaping the company’s innovative solutions and strategic direction.

The Beginnings of NOW Money

It aims to bridge the banking gap for the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) unbanked population. Their appearance indicates a determination to revolutionize financial inclusion. Katharine Budd and Ian Dillon hope to empower low-income earners through innovative digital solutions, fostering economic inclusion in the GCC. NOW Money’s approach to mobile banking technology redefines financial accessibility, allowing for seamless account creation and instant access. Their dedication extends to providing low-cost remittance services, enabling users to conduct affordable financial transactions. It is a Middle Eastern financial inclusion beacon, offering tailored services that provide low-income migrant workers with convenient and accessible banking solutions. The company’s commitment reflects a transformative approach to closing the financial gap in the region.

NOW Money’s Strategic Expansion and Financial Milestones

Anthemis Exponential Ventures invested $7 million in NOW Money in March 2021, positioning the UAE-based fintech for GCC expansion. This funding validates the company’s innovative approach to addressing regional financial inclusion challenges, boosting investor confidence. The company has raised $11 million in total funding since its inception, solidifying its position as a key player in digital banking for low-income migrant workers. The company strategically positions itself as a pioneer in the field, operating robustly in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. With innovative financial solutions for underserved populations beyond the GCC, fintech aims to have a global impact. This expansion aligns with NOW Money’s commitment to fostering global financial inclusion, leaving a lasting impact on those in need. 

Katharine Budd’s Advocacy and NOW Money’s Financial Inclusion Innovations

NOW Money provides basic financial services to the “unbanked” through innovative mobile banking solutions. With user-friendly smartphone applications and competitive exchange rates, it transforms the financial landscape, increasing access for the unbanked. Katharine Budd emphasizes the transformative power of mobile banking in driving global financial inclusion. Her expertise as a payments innovator shines through in her discussion of using technology to bridge gaps in traditional banking and make financial services more accessible. Katharine’s diverse roles as an entrepreneur, lobbyist, data scientist, and innovator demonstrate over 15 years of experience in high-growth technology startups, significantly contributing to technology, advocacy, and data-driven innovation. Her TEDx award shows her commitment to positive change in the financial technology landscape.

Katharine Budd’s Insights and NOW Money’s Digital Banking Solution

NOW Money, which is revolutionizing Gulf digital banking, disrupts the financial landscape with comprehensive services. Their login rate exceeds industry standards, reshaping accessibility and setting new benchmarks in the region. Through her diverse certifications, Katharine, a key advocate for inclusion, breaks down barriers in traditionally male-dominated fields. Her dedication to simplicity and accessibility, rooted in the democratization of financial services, is in line with the mission of the company. Katharine’s advocacy, which envisions a future of data-driven decisions, fits in perfectly with NOW Money’s goal of achieving universal financial access.


“Trust your gut! It tends to be right more often than not.”

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