UAE's Haifin Sets Sights for AI-Powered Trade Finance Fraud Detection

UAE-based financial technology company UAE Trade Connect unveiled a rebrand this week as Haifin, announcing plans to expand its blockchain-powered invoice-checking platform beyond the UAE. Haifin's tool is designed to address the persistent issue of duplicate financing fraud in trade finance.

“By comparing invoice data submitted from multiple banks, Haifin's artificial intelligence system flags potential duplicate financing requests. Since the platform was introduced in the UAE in 2021, over AED 200 billion ($54 billion) in transactions have been screened,” said Haifin CEO Zul Javaid. He noted banks have been surprised by the high rate of duplicates detected.

"Our banks believe this is a blind spot they could not fix alone," Javaid said. "They need multiple banks and a trusted third party with cybersecurity and no vested interest."

The platform does not outright label matches as confirmed fraud, but Javaid said “Banks have acted on its alerts in various ways, including blacklisting customers. He emphasized that Haifin serves as an unbiased third party.”

Markets with similarities to the UAE are initial expansion targets, including Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where Haifin has held advanced talks.

Haifin's parent company, e&, has existing operations across North Africa and Africa. Other potential targets are Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and South Africa.

Haifin started in 2019 as a collaboration between Etisalat and First Abu Dhabi Bank. By its 2021 launch, Emirates NBD, Mashreq and 5 other major UAE banks had joined.

Since then, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Al-Arabi Investments and 3 other banks have signed up.

Haifin continues to develop additional platform uses with member banks. It currently serves commercial invoicing transactions like documentary trade, open account and factoring.

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