The Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) scheme is opening up new opportunities for both consumers and businesses in Qatar, according to a Doha-based fintech firm specialising in BNPL.
BNPL has become an attractive option for consumers, according to Khalifa al-Haroon, who is co-founder of PayLater. Al-Haroon, who is also the founder and CEO of Store974 and, noted that he is optimistic about the future of BNPL in Qatar.
“We haven’t even put our product out in the market yet, but we’ve already had almost 300 companies reach out to us,” al-Haroon told Gulf Times in an exclusive interview.
Because of the product’s simplicity and usability, al-Haroon said he is confident that PayLater will successfully cater to the needs of consumers and businesses in Qatar. He hopes that it will be instrumental in stimulating the market and give the company the needed foothold to expand in the region.
Al-Haroon explained that the company’s goal is to help people buy items within their means, without adding to their debt. He said PayLater allows customers to pay in four instalments over two salary cycles, with zero interest and minimal or no penalty fees.
“We’re looking at several objectives, such as being Shariah-compliant, zero-interest, and no penalty fees because our goal is to encourage people to be mindful of their expenses and provide a very simple solution,” he stressed.
Al-Haroon also underscored the significance of integration, particularly with organisations like the Qatar Credit Bureau and the Qatar Central Bank to provide quick background checks and big data for financial decisions that will benefit the economy and the country.
But implementing BNPL in the country also has its challenges, al-Haroon pointed out. He is hoping that the relevant agencies could address the lack of financial insurance in the country, as well as help streamline the processing time for business licensing.
On the other hand, setting up a new business in Qatar “is easier than before,” emphasised al-Haroon, who lauded the Ministry of Commerce and Industry’s efforts to automate and simplify the application process. However, there are still difficulties in working with multiple agencies and institutions that may not understand or support the vision of the entrepreneurs, he also said.
Nevertheless, al-Haroon stressed that these challenges do not impede plans to expand other businesses, such as Store974, which is looking to set its footprint in other GCC countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. With hopes to spread the business globally, al-Haroon said he is trying to raise QR50mn to take Store974 “to the next level.”
“These are the two GCC markets I’m looking at the moment, but specifically Saudi Arabia because the country is focused heavily on esports. And I would love to have Qatar and Saudi Arabia holding hands in the development of esports in the region,” al-Haroon revealed.
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