Pakistan-based Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) fintech, QistBazaar has agreed an equity and Shariah-Compliant embedded finance partnership with Bank Alfalah.

The partnership is worth PKR500m ($1.7m) and includes Bank Alfalah taking a 7.2% equity stake in QistBazaar. In addition, the Pakistan-based bank becomes the fintech’s embedded lending partner.

According to the firms, the transaction represents a milestone for Pakistan’s fintech landscape. Specifically, the organisations claims that it represents the first time a bank has taken an equity stake in a BNPL fintech.

Bank and BNPL fintech deals are not however unknown. For example, UK-based Zopa acquired DivideBuy earlier this year. And in 2017, Westpac acquired a stake in BNPL fintech Zip, subsequently selling the stake in 2020.

QistBazaar: delivered 20,000+ products since 2021

QistBazaar is a fast-growing, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) licensed, BNPL, non-bank financial company (NBFCs) platform. The Company caters to all Pakistanis. This includes the unbanked and consumers with little to no financial history, up to those banking at established institutions. It is unique in various ways including that since day one of trading, it has been EBITDA positive.

Since inception in 2021, QistBazaar’s platform has delivered over 20,000 products to unbanked consumers. With 30+ years of historic data, spanning 250,000+ individuals, QistBazaar claims to have revolutionised the scoring process for instalment-based purchases.

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QistBazaar sales: delivered on a 12-month plan

The Company’s eligibility criteria is simple – “Every Pakistani”. Unlike other BNPLs, QistBazaar’s sales are on a 12-month plan, and include an element of extra profit on every sale.

QistBazaar will benefit from enhanced digital financing products, via Bank Alfalah, within its platform to offer embedded consumer durables financing. It claims this deepens its ability to serve customers with limited/no access to formal credit. The partnership also aims to enhance the overall customer experience, improving financial inclusion, and providing innovative solutions.

Atif Bajwa, president and CEO, Bank Alfalah, said: “Bank Alfalah is committed to working with partners to address the needs of customers with limited access to credit and lower purchasing power. Our collaboration with QistBazaar through an equity investment and Islamic-embedded financing deal marks a significant step forward. This partnership aims to provide inventive financial solutions, creating new opportunities for growth and support for these underserved customers.”

QistBazaar: served 17,000 customers in its first 18 months

Arif Lakhani, CEO of QistBazaar, added: “QistBazaar has been on a mission to democratise purchasing power. In our first 18 months of existence, we have served over 17,000 Pakistanis. Most of those customers do not have bank accounts, and could not have completed their purchases without going through us. Our milestone achievement with Bank Alfalah – coming in as our equity and embedded financing partner – and with their guidance and experience, makes our work and mission much easier to execute. We look forward to the future with great confidence.”

Bank Alfalah operates over 900 branches in Pakistan with an international presence in the UAE, Bangladesh, Bahrain, and Afghanistan.