Six new ways to ‘buy now, pay later’ in the UAE

Six new ways to ‘buy now, pay later’ in the UAE

Bank cards are a tempting method to impulse purchase and fear concerning the prices later. But when that bank card invoice is available in and it can’t be paid off, the late charges and curiosity shortly rack up, resulting in a scenario of spiralling debt.

A brand new “purchase now, pay later” pattern rising internationally – and now within the UAE – permits customers to make purchases with out paying the total quantity upfront, with out being charged hefty curiosity and and not using a bank card. Retailers are nonetheless protected by credit score danger checks, late charges and blocks on clients who’ve defaulted.

These should not massive purchases, like automobiles and houses, however on a regular basis splurges on trend, magnificence, furnishings, electronics and journey.

The inspiration for postpay was being fed up with the monetary establishments charging charges and curiosity on the charges.

Tariq Sheikh, postpay

Latest FinTech start-ups within the Emirates providing month-to-month instalment plans or delayed funds for purchases as small as a brand new pair of sneakers – embody postpay, Tabby and Spotii.

“Our ethos is to unravel an present drawback available in the market, as a result of on the one hand you might have clients who’re … screaming for some form of alleviation of prices and so they need instalments with out APRs [annual percentage rates] and with out all of the hidden charges,” says Tariq Sheikh, founder and chief govt of postpay. “And on the opposite aspect you might have retailers who’re battling to drive conversion, common order values, and cut back return charges as effectively.”

Each postpay and Tabby unveiled their companies earlier this yr and have every partnered with round 20 retailers to this point. Postpay, which raised $500,000 (Dh1.eight million) in seed funding, is within the midst of a brand new funding spherical, whereas Tabby simply raised $7m in funding, bringing the full to $9m, to gas progress and develop to Saudi Arabia.

Spotii went stay in April, has 11 retailers on its web site and might be saying a funding spherical within the coming weeks.

The idea is gaining in recognition within the UAE, particularly within the Covid-19 period, when private funds are fragile as a result of international financial recession and retailers want to capitalise on the surge in on-line buying as individuals keep away from going out to forestall the unfold of the virus.

Worldwide gamers within the buy-now-pay-later house embody Australia’s Afterpay, which additionally operates within the US, UK and New Zealand; San Francisco-based Affirm, began by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin; and Swedish funds tech unicorn Klarna, which has 7.85 million clients within the US.

Nonetheless, customers must be conscious that “there is no such thing as a such factor as a free lunch”, says Steve Cronin, founding father of

“The hazard is that you just weaken the psychological hyperlink between buying and paying, so you may go on a giant spending spree, purchase issues you do not actually need or cannot afford, after which remorse it later,” Mr Cronin says.

“It is essential to just remember to will have the ability to pay the instalments in full and on time, in any other case you’ll incur charges.”

He recommends solely shopping for one thing when you’ve got a minimum of 50-75 per cent of the acquisition value available in money or different property. Clients also needs to be assured they’ll make funds within the occasion of job loss or a pay reduce.

“Such issues can simply tip you right into a debt spiral, particularly in case you are already making bank card funds,” Mr Cronin provides.

Right here we define six new buy-now-pay-later choices within the UAE:

Tariq Sheikh started postpay a year ago after'being fed up with the financial institutions charging fees and interest on the fees'. Photo courtesy postpay
Tariq Sheikh began postpay a yr in the past after ‘being fed up with the monetary establishments charging charges and curiosity on the charges’. Photograph courtesy postpay


“The inspiration for postpay was being fed up with the monetary establishments charging charges and curiosity on the charges,” says Mr Sheikh, an entrepreneur and former administration marketing consultant, who cofounded the corporate in July 2019 with chief expertise officer Dani Molina.

Postpay presents a number of choices relying on the retailer, together with splitting funds in two – half in the present day and half subsequent month – or in 4 instalments, both each two weeks or on a month-to-month foundation, with no curiosity. Funds are robotically collected.

House-grown native retailers featured on the positioning embody Squat Wolf, Dubai Audio, House and Soul and Eggs & Troopers, spanning sports activities attire, high-end audio gear, trend, house furnishings and mom and child merchandise. Mr Sheikh says they may even be saying some “greater retailers” quickly.

Splitting funds in half is well-liked with cash-strapped millennials and Technology Z, says Mr Sheikh. Clients solely want a debit or bank card and an Emirates ID, and are given an prompt approval choice.

“There are ‘disincentive charges’ for not paying on time, however they by no means quantity to greater than 25 per cent of the acquisition value – and that’s actually within the worst-case state of affairs,” Mr Sheikh says.

There’s a payment upon non-payment after which one other payment after 10 days, as much as the utmost 25 per cent.

Postpay takes on the danger of buyer non-payment, but additionally reaps any late charges and takes a share of the transaction from its retailers.

“We pay [retailers] earlier than we gather all the cash, so it’s an unbelievable quantity of worth for them,” Mr Sheikh says. “If a buyer doesn’t pay, there’s no implication on the retailer.”

Mr Sheikh says its clients are “usually fairly good” about paying on time and stresses that folks ought to “use postpay as a budgeting device”.

If clients aren’t positive concerning the longevity of their earnings, “they need to be taking the shorter buy-now, pay-later choices”, moderately than taking over debt for 3 months or longer, he says.

Hosam Arab, co-founder and chief executive of Tabby, was previously the chief executive of online fashion retailer Namshi. Photo courtesy Tabby
Hosam Arab, co-founder and chief govt of Tabby, was beforehand the chief govt of on-line trend retailer Namshi. Photograph courtesy Tabby


Tabby permits clients to buy merchandise on-line utilizing solely their cell phone quantity and e mail handle. They will try with out getting into their credit score or debit card particulars and might select to pay inside 14 days or conform to interest-free instalments for as much as six months.

“It’s interest-free on the client,” says Hosam Arab, co-founder and chief govt of Tabby. “Who finally ends up paying for that is the service provider. Each product may have a special fee charge. The longer the tenures might be a bit dearer for the retailers, however in addition they drive historically dearer transactions.”

Tabby allows customers to purchase products online without the need to enter credit or debit card details, and pay after 14 days or in monthly interest-free instalments. Courtesy Tabby
Tabby permits clients to buy merchandise on-line with out the necessity to enter credit score or debit card particulars, and pay after 14 days or in month-to-month interest-free instalments. Courtesy Tabby

If a buyer misses a fee, a late payment of Dh15 or 15.35 Saudi riyals is charged 15 days after the order is delivered. The charges then double for each two weeks till the overdue fee is settled, however it’s capped on the third late payment.

“We’re not within the enterprise of being profitable off late charges,” Mr Arab says. Along with setting a cap, “we don’t enable a brand new buyer to make a second transaction earlier than we all know they’re in a position to pay their first one”.

The concept for Tabby got here from among the “obstacles” Mr Arab – previously the chief govt of on-line trend retailer Namshi – encountered working an e-commerce enterprise up to now.

The largest challenge is cash-on-delivery (COD), a fee technique nonetheless utilized in over 70 per cent of transactions, Mr Arab says, which ends up in poor money stream and a excessive return charge.

One other drawback is driving buyer conversion and lowering dropout charges. Making the fee course of smoother “is less expensive than the opposite two choices, that are discounting and advertising and marketing”, Mr Arab says.

The corporate has partnered with over 20 e-commerce retailers on its web site, together with Abdul Samad Al Qurashi within the magnificence sector and for insurance coverage.

It lately signed an settlement with Attire Group, which incorporates manufacturers reminiscent of Tommy Hilfiger and Aldo.

Spotii was co-founded by siblings Ziyaad Ahmed (L), chief operating officer, and Anuscha Iqbal (R), chief executive. Photo courtesy Spotii
Spotii was co-founded by siblings Ziyaad Ahmed (L), chief working officer, and Anuscha Iqbal (R), chief govt. Photograph courtesy Spotii


The title “Spotii” advanced from “spot me” – slang for “lend me”, as in “spot me some money”. Co-founded by siblings Anuscha Iqbal, the chief govt, and Ziyaad Ahmed, chief working officer, the positioning went stay with retailers in April.

Spotii permits customers to separate their purchases in 4 interest-free instalments with the primary 25 per cent paid instantly. Clients have to enter an e-mail, debit or bank card, and a cell quantity, and so they get prompt approval.

The platform earns income from the retailers, who pay a share of the order worth. Mr Ahmed claims the late charges charged by Spotii, capped at both 25 per cent or Dh40 (whichever is decrease), are “the bottom available in the market”.

“You do not need to finish up profiting off of individuals’s dangerous behaviour…You need to have the ability to encourage accountable spending,” says Mr Ahmed, who beforehand served because the interim US chief monetary officer for Afterpay in San Francisco.

Spotii’s retail companions are primarily homegrown manufacturers with a deal with trend, magnificence and life-style. They embody attire model Khaadi, which has three million instagram followers; pre-owned luxurious trend market Riot; and Moroccan house décor model The Folks of Sand.

The new Aramex Smart service allows customers to'Unbox First. Pay Later', 14 days after receiving a purchase. Antonie Robertson / The National
The brand new Aramex Sensible service permits clients to ‘Unbox First. Pay Later’, 14 days after receiving a purchase order. Antonie Robertson / The Nationwide

Aramex Sensible

Aramex has rolled out the brand new Aramex Sensible service with the tag line “Unbox First. Pay Later”, permitting clients to pay for a purchase order 14 days after receiving it.

“With Aramex Sensible, we purpose to help companies that want to develop their on-line gross sales channels, and enhance the web consumers’ general expertise, particularly in the course of the present unprecedented challenges introduced by Covid-19,” mentioned Bashar Obeid, chief govt of Aramex.

He mentioned the answer will assist “increase progress within the digital financial system and help resurgence in retail demand”.

The choice is obtainable for all e-tailers presently promoting into the area. Aramex is beginning the service in Saudi Arabia, adopted by the UAE subsequent month and others “sooner or later”, Arun Singh, head of Aramex Sensible, instructed The Nationwide.

E-tailers pay a transaction price for Aramex Sensible, whereas it’s free for customers so long as they pay inside 14 days.

Authorised clients do not need to enter their bank card particulars and will pay later utilizing both financial institution switch, bank card, debit card, PayPal or digital choices in Saudi Arabia, reminiscent of Sadad, Mada and STC Pay. In addition they have the choice to pay in money at choose Aramex shops.

If clients miss a fee, Aramex will levy an administrative cost of 10 Saudi riyals (Dh10) to comply with up and the identical cost after 4 weeks from the due date. After eight weeks, entry to Aramex Sensible might be placed on maintain.

Rise co-founder Milind Singh says their tie-ups with Carrefour and an e-commerce site in Pakistan focus on alleviating the financial burden on low-income migrants. Photo courtesy Rise
Rise co-founder Milind Singh says their tie-ups with Carrefour and an e-commerce web site in Pakistan deal with assuaging the monetary burden on low-income migrants. Photograph courtesy Rise


Based in 2016, Rise works with international companions to supply financial savings, credit score and insurance coverage merchandise focused in direction of low-income migrants.

The FinTech tied up with Carrefour in December to supply instalment plans for merchandise, reminiscent of electronics and home equipment, starting from Dh1,500 to Dh5,000. The curiosity depends upon the tenure, however clients often find yourself paying an “inexpensive” 10 per cent over a five-month interval, says Rise co-founder Milind Singh.

Clients don’t want a bank card, which is essential for migrant staff incomes lower than Dh5,000 who wouldn’t qualify for one.

Final month, Rise partnered with, an e-commerce market in Pakistan, to permit abroad Pakistanis to purchase items of their house nation by making funds in instalments of their nation of residence. An identical curiosity cost to the Carrefour merchandise applies.

“We’re extra centered on the migrant section, so our patrons should not shopping for lipstick or an costly bag,” says Mr Singh. “I imagine there’s a want on all sides of the spectrum.”

Customers opting for monthly instalments to pay for their car insurance will pay'processing fees', but they are significantly lower than credit card interest, says Ambareen Musa of Photo courtesy Souqalmal
Clients choosing month-to-month instalments to pay for his or her automobile insurance coverage can pay ‘processing charges’, however they’re considerably decrease than bank card curiosity, says Ambareen Musa of Photograph courtesy Souqalmal

Monetary comparability web site is providing month-to-month instalment plans on automobile insurance coverage for the primary time, as a substitute of getting to pay on an annual foundation. Instalments begin at Dh199 with the selection of paying over three, six or 12 months.

The total premium quantity is just not blocked on a buyer’s bank card, which implies it won’t have an effect on their credit score restrict.

“Within the present financial state of affairs, clients are actively searching for methods to protect money. However customary straightforward fee plans on bank cards could solely be a half-baked answer to their money crunch troubles,” says Ambareen Musa, chief govt of

“Even when they had been to transform a giant buy into an everyday instalment plan on bank cards, the credit score restrict out there to them could be lowered, based mostly on the full excellent quantity of their buy,” she says. “In the end, this leaves them with a extra restricted entry to credit score and lesser monetary freedom.”

The shopper pays a 25 per cent down fee of the full payable quantity, which incorporates the insurance coverage premium and a “processing payment”. For a 12-month tenure, for instance, the distinction between the upfront premium and the full quantity is 18 per cent.

Whereas that’s nonetheless fairly excessive, the typical yearly rate of interest on bank cards is round 40 per cent and automobile insurance coverage is “an unavoidable expense if you happen to personal a automobile within the UAE”, Ms Musa says.

Up to date: June 16, 2020 10:30 AM

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *