The pandemic economy has put a financial strain on many individuals and families across the globe, giving way to a buy now, pay later (BNPL) service boom in many countries.
In Egypt, where rising inflation has further put pressure on consumer finances, the ability to spread payments over several installments is rapidly catching on with shoppers.
It comes as no surprise, then, that Sympl, an Egyptian FinTech company, has been growing in popularity since its launch five months ago, while attracting investors in the process.
In a Thursday (Dec. 9) TechCrunch report, the company announced a $6 million seed funding raise led by the UAE’s Beco Capital, which is aimed at broadening its merchant network and expanding its footprint across Egypt and internationally, starting in Saudi Arabia.
“[…] There is a huge opportunity for buy now, pay later here in Egypt, given its very populous market,” Mohamed El-Feky, the company’s founder and CEO, told TechCrunch. “It’s a consumer purchase-driven market where we have a lot of accessibility to consumer products and services, online or offline.”
Sympl offers customers a zero-interest pay later plan in three to five installments, after charging users an upfront fixed fee of 100 Egyptian pounds ($6.36). To simplify the process, payment plans are approved at checkout with no pre-registration required, and merchants can also sell directly to consumers on short-term, zero-interest payment plans.
The firm targets Egypt’s 50 million-plus debit and credit cardholders. As part of its launch, the company signed an exclusive, week-long partnership deal with Tradeline, the largest reseller of the iPhone 13 in Egypt, so that customers could only purchase the phone via Sympl.
The startup has also adapted the BNPL offering to appeal to the local Egyptian market, instead operating a save your money, pay later model that discourages unsustainable spending and helps customers save money while making purchases.
“The platform is an evolution of customers’ checkout experience. Rather than promoting purchasing, it gives customers more choices at the checkout and promotes customer saving, flexible cash flow management, and a better matching of income and expenditure, without compromising their lifestyle,” the company said in a statement.
El-Feky added that “instead of spending all your money right now on a single transaction, you can walk out of the store having the product and having your money in your pocket while paying on three to five equal payments. It can be on a monthly, bi-weekly or weekly basis.”
Since launch, the firm has onboarded about 240 merchants offering a wide range of products, from electronics and appliances to furniture, travel and jewelery. In terms of the number of platform transactions, the company said it is currently growing 25% week on week and has plans to hit 1,000 stores by mid-2022.
Another firm that has been looking to tap into the BNPL boom in the North African country is Jumia Egypt. For this year’s Black Friday campaign, the company, one of the leading eCommerce platforms in Egypt, partnered with National Bank of Egypt and other banking institutions to offer a BNPL service to consumers at zero interest.
Through the deal, consumers using JumiaPay, the FinTech’s electronic payments platform, were able to spread payments over 24 months using credit cards from institutions including Banque Misr and Alexandria Bank. Jumia also offered a 10% discount on both Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and Banque Misr ATM cards.
The company has gone a step further to team up with valU, a leading BNPL platform in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, in a partnership that will enable valU to become a payment solution via Jumia and JumiaPay. The deal will link valU and JumiaPay for electronic payment services, offering clients nine months of interest-free installments when shopping on the Jumia platform.