MENA and CIS Buy Now Pay Later Platforms Boom as Consumers Seek Flexible Payment Options
MENA and CIS Buy Now Pay Later Platforms Boom as Consumers Seek Flexible Payment Options
BNPL solutions satisfying consumers' need for budget-friendly and responsible financing options will remain integral to digital payment landscapes across MENA and CIS.

The MENA and CIS Buy Now Pay Later Platforms industry in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) regions has seen tremendous growth over the past few years as consumers shift to more flexible payment options. Platforms providing BNPL services have disrupted traditional credit models by allowing shoppers to split the cost of purchases into simple installment plans. With millennials and Gen Z representing a significant portion of the population in these regions, demand for financial technology solutions tailored to digital native consumers continues rising.
According to a recent report by BNP Paribas, MENA and CIS Buy Now Pay Later Platforms transaction value totaled over $2.5 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25% through 2026. Leading fintech investment in the region have also fueled the expansion of companies offering BNPL solutions. In the CIS, Russia dominates BNPL adoption with the market valued at over $600 million last year. As e-commerce penetration increases across both regions on the back of rising smartphone and internet usage, BNPL is expected to account for a greater share of online sales.
Key Players and Business Models
Numerous startups have launched to tap into the vast opportunities presented by the growing BNPL segment. Among the prominent names, Tabby and PostPay have emerged as frontrunners in the MENA and CIS Buy Now Pay Later Platforms space. Tabby provides interest-free installment plans for purchases on partner retailers' sites and applications. Users create Tabby accounts to shop and receive electronic bills. PostPay partners directly with merchants to offer BNPL at checkout; it does not issue physical cards but instead settles transactions digitally.
In Russia, MarketPay and Twis took the lead in terms of transaction volumes and merchant reach in 2021. MarketPay works with over 4000 online stores across Russia and provides credit limits from 3000-300,000 rubles for terms between 2-36 months. Twis allows Russian customers to pay for purchases from over 700 merchant partners over 3-36 months depending on the order amount. Both platforms run hard credit checks and charge late fees to minimize losses.
Tajikistan-based Osoniq offers flexible deferred payment options popular among Central Asian consumers. By paying a 10% deposit, users get 30-90 days to repay the remaining cost of eligible online or brick-and-mortar purchases attracting interest rates under 1% per month. Such schemes have seen wide acceptance as traditional credit cards are unavailable to many.
Partnering with Banks and Institutional Investors
To fuel their lending capabilities, BNPL services in the regions are actively seeking cooperation from local banks and international investors. Tabby raised $150 million led by Abu Dhabi Growth Fund last year to scale lending through a bank partnership. Postpay partnered with Dubai Islamic Bank to launch sharia-compliant payment plans without interest charges.
In Russia, Sberbank joined forces with BiT to enable its 95 million clients to pay for e-commerce purchases via installments processed through Sberbank's digital channels. Global investors like PayU, Greyhound Capital and Target Global also participated in large funding rounds of Russian BNPL providers. Osoniq tapped the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to facilitate affordable credit access under a program supporting financial inclusion.
Regulatory Developments
With the surge in unsecured online lending fueling debt concerns, regulators are taking action. The Central Bank of Egypt recently issued rules for fintech companies involving consumer lending which would indirectly impact BNPL startups. The Russian government has set maximum interest caps payday lenders can charge to protect financially vulnerable groups.
In 2022, the Central Bank of the UAE unveiled draft guidelines around disclosure of BNPL repayment obligations, credit assessments, treatment of unpaid installments and late payment fees. Existing providers are reviewing systems and processes to ensure full compliance once the norms take effect. Given the scale of untapped opportunities, a balanced regulatory approach facilitating digital transformation while mitigating risks is expected across MENA and CIS nations.
Future Outlook
BNPL solutions satisfying consumers' need for budget-friendly and responsible financing options will remain integral to digital payment landscapes across MENA and CIS. With e-commerce and m-commerce volumes poised for strong double-digit growth over the medium term, buy now pay later propositions embedded at online checkouts present tremendous potential for merchants and platforms. Fintechs in the space will look to scale through open banking and embedded finance plays integrating with bank networks and super-apps. Strategic alliances for credit scoring and underwriting across borders will aid market expansion as cross-border trade and tourism rebound. Overall, supported by enabling regulations and investment, BNPL models tailored for the digital native population promise further disruption across retail and banking industries.

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