Buy now, pay later — the most preferred payment method in the region: Fintech panel

DUBAI: Buy now, pay later, a financing option that allows customers to pay flexibly, has become the preferred payment method in the region, major fintech players have said.

Speaking at a panel discussion on the evolution of BNPL during DIFC Fintech Week from June 28-29, industry leaders highlighted how the funding option has revolutionized the fintech industry .

Leaders present at the roundtable were CEO Tamara Abdulmajeed Al-Sukhan, CEO Tabby Hosam Arab, Srinath Hariharan, Head of Product Management, Amazon Payment Services; and Melissa Guzy, co-founder, Arbor Ventures.

During the discussion, Al-Sukhan said that Tamara is not just a BNPL product or a silent banking solution; instead, he still represents his clients and serves them when they need help.

For his part, Arab said there is a lot of work to be done beyond just building a technology solution to checkout. Arab added that mass adoption is a success factor because there is apparent adoption on both the consumer side and the provider side.

“We earn our money from the traders we work with. However, getting a business that stands on its own and can create real value for investors and stakeholders is the hardest part,” Arab added.

Hariharan explained that BNPL is not one size fits all.

Guzy said BNPL is quite a different category around the world and warned that start-ups that think they will raise funds in the next few months will be disappointed.

Looking for talent

Guzy revealed that hiring the right talent in the fintech industry is quite a tricky task and entrepreneurs need to be creative and strategic during the hiring process due to the shortage of professional skills.

Tabby’s Arab, however, noted that the company is looking for new graduates to improve local fintech.

During the discussion, Al-Sukhan noted that Tamara has hired people from all over the world.

Hariharan said that in terms of talent acquisition and retention, people associate growth with vertical growth. “One aspect is how do you make sure there’s sustainable career growth?” he asked, adding that “another aspect is work-life balance and harmony.”

Risk factor

Speaking of risks, Al-Sukhan said Tamara has a full risk assessment team other than the data team.

“With the data we have, we’re reorienting and making sure we’re not underwriting like six months ago,” Sukhan added.

Arab noted that Tabby took a different approach by not looking for growth to avoid risk.

“Our customers are largely debit card consumers,” he added.

The path to follow

Regarding future plans, Hariharan said Amazon Payment Services is engaging in multiple industries and hosting multiple experiences for merchants and customers.

Tabby, on the other hand, invests quite heavily in virtual cards that customers can use offline to purchase in stores.


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Elaine R. Knight