Two years in the making and US$5 million invested, digital finance platform cashew (Cashew Payments Technology) has finally launched in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, its starting points before making its mark in the rest of the Gulf next year.
‘Buy Now Pay Later’ is the central theme of cashew’s offerings, designed to support merchants and service providers to generate sales by allowing consumers greater purchasing power with fast and cost-effective payment solutions at the point of sale. This service is increasingly gaining popularity in other markets; Singaporean start-up hoolah is also serving the local market with a similar offering which is Shariah compliant in essence.
cashew’s model allows consumers to choose to split payments into installments or simply delay them to up to 14 days, all without any hidden fees, while merchants and service providers are paid in full upfront and do not assume any risk.
“Given the current economic environment, we saw a need for an easy-to-use, flexible and cost-effective solution to support both suppliers and consumers,” explained cashew’s founder, Ammar Afif. “Merchants and service providers are facing increasing challenges while consumers are demanding more payment flexibility and security in payment options that cater to their needs. Our platform provides a full suite of no-interest, flexible and transparent solutions at the lowest rates to consumers, which in turn empowers them with more liquidity, [and] higher purchasing power, allowing them to choose how they wish to finance their lifestyle needs from the convenience of their smartphones.”
The decision to appeal to Muslims and non-Muslims by offering both Islamic and conventional financing options perhaps comes as no surprise as Ammar has shown to have the inclination toward Islamic financing instruments. Ammar is also the managing director of Monami Tech, a Dubai-based fintech start-up which saw potential in the Islamic finance market as IFN Fintech previously reported.
It is understood that cashew is engaging local retailers as well as working on forming partnerships across different market sectors including healthcare, education, travel, home improvement and entertainment. “Our data-centric approach is helping create a robust ecosystem of banks, financial institutions, government agencies, consumer-facing businesses and consumers, which is used to gain deep insights on spending behavior. These data insights are incorporated into our platform to provide consumers with intuitive instant financing options with the lowest rates, all from the comfort of their home,” noted Ammar.