Cashew, a UAE-based BNPL Platform Raises $10M from Mashreq Bank to Expand into Egypt, Gulf Markets

Cashew, a UAE-based BNPL Platform Raises $10M from Mashreq Bank to Expand into Egypt, Gulf Markets

Cashew Payments, a buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) platform based in the United Arab Emirates, has secured a $10 million investment and a strategic partnership with Dubai-based Mashreq Bank to expand its service to Egypt and the entire gulf region, as first reported by The Media Line.

Buy now, pay later is an e-commerce service that allows customers to spread payments for a product or service over time, similar to an installment plan. Based on the customer’s risk profile, the e-commerce company guarantees the retailer payment.

Commenting on the deal, Ahmed Abdelaal, CEO of Mashreq Bank Group said “Our partnership with Cashew will lead the way for the future of financial services in the region. We will leverage the full network of Mashreq merchants and consumers to provide our ecosystem with the most ubiquitous and flexible BNPL options in the market.”

Mashreq Bank, the UAE’s oldest privately held bank, is committing up to $10 million to Cashew Payments, which currently provides BNPL services to customers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Mashreq Bank will integrate Cashew Payment as an option on the bank’s paytech subsidiary, NEOPAY, as part of the strategic investment, and will provide support for Cashew’s launch in Egypt.

“BNPL as a payment option is gaining prominence globally,” says Fernando Morillo, Mashreq Bank Senior Executive Vice President and group head of retail banking, “with UAE BNPL volumes slated to grow by 71% in 2022 versus last year.”

“Through our collaboration with Cashew, customers can enjoy greater flexibility when meeting their payments. We eagerly await the roll-out of further services as we continue to empower our customers with more choice and convenience in the UAE and, in the future, across Egypt,” Morillo added.

Mashreq Bank

Cashew ’s Founders Comment

According to Ammar Afif, co-founder of Cashew, the BNPL service is typically associated with retail shopping and luxury consumption in the United States and Europe. “This is what gave it a boost in the beginning.”

“However, here in the UAE, we see people using it for a broader range of purposes, such as travel, furniture, and insurance.” It’s a significant difference because in GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries, insurance fees, including health insurance, must be paid in advance, whereas BNPL allows people to better insure themselves,” he explained.

Cashew co-founders Afif and Ibtissam Ouassif have a different vision for for the BNPL scheme from the commonly associated, product consumption.

“We have a vision of financing consumers on different levels, including things that have a higher value. What about education? If we extend the period on which we spread payments, students could use the service to fund their time in university. It’s a service that could empower consumers and help them develop themselves,” Afif said.

However, providing large amounts of credit to consumers who are unfamiliar with it may be harmful. Cashew is also available to expats and poor migrant workers in GCC countries.

” We try to address this in a variety of ways, such as by educating people about responsible consumption. Our system can also detect when a customer exceeds their usage and is having difficulty paying the full price,” Afif explained.