DUBAI: Buy now, pay later, a financing option that allows customers to pay flexibly, has become the preferred mode of payment in the region, said top fintech players.
Speaking at a panel discussion on the BNPL evolution at the DIFC Fintech Week from June 28 to 29, the industry leaders pointed out how the finance option revolutionized the fintech industry.
The leaders present during the panel discussion 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, it always stands for its customers and serves them when they need help.
For his part, Arab said that there is a lot of work to be done beyond just building a tech solution on checkout. Arab added that mass adoption is a success factor as there is apparent adoption on both the consumer and provider’s sides.
“We make our money from the merchants that we work with. However, getting a business that sustains itself and can build real value for investors and stakeholders is the hard part,” Arab further noted.
Hariharan explained that BNPL is not a one-size fit for all products.
Guzy said that BNPL is a category that is quite different worldwide and cautioned that start-ups that think they will raise money in the next few months would be disappointed.
Guzy revealed that hiring the right talent in the fintech sector is a pretty tricky task, and entrepreneurs should 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 fresh graduates to enhance local fintech.
During the discussion, Al-Sukhan noted that Tamara had hired people from worldwide.
Hariharan said that in terms of talent acquisition and retention, people relate growth with vertical growth. “One aspect is how do you ensure there is sustainable career growth?” he asked, adding that “another aspect is balance and work-life harmony.”
Talking about the risks, Al-Sukhan said that Tamara has a full risk assessment team other than the data team.
“With the data we have, we reroute ourselves, and we make sure that we are not underwriting like six months ago,” added Sukhan.
Arab commented that Tabby took a different approach by not chasing growth to avoid risks.
“Our customers are largely debit card consumers,” he added.
The way ahead
With regard to future plans, Hariharan said that Amazon Payment Services is engaging in multiple sectors and curating multiple experiences for merchants and customers.
Tabby, on the other hand, is investing quite deeply in virtual cards that customers can use offline to purchase at stores.