Saudi Arabian Central Bank (SAMA) recently approved two new FinTech companies bringing the total number of regulated companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to 38.
The two new enterprises - Lean Technologies and Mod5r - will provide open banking solutions and will operate under SAMAs Regulatory Sandbox, part of the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP). The prominent FSDP is an ambitious program that aims to promote and support economic growth, savings and investment activity as well as financial inclusion in line with the Vision 2030.
In further positive news, SAMA approved the licensing of a third digital bank - D360 Bank - with a capital of SAR 1.65 billion (USD 440 million). The Public Investment Fund (PIF), the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is among the investors of the new lender. The two other digital banks, STC Bank and Saudi Digital Bank were licensed last year.
Another important milestone for the ecosystem is the closure of the latest round of financing or funding by Tamara which raised SAR 375 million (USD 100 million). The buy now pay later (BNPL) provider has secured total funding of SAR 810 million (USD 216 million) since inception through a combination of equity and debt. BNPL as a mode of payment is rising in popularity among consumers in the region and beyond.
The most recent round was led by Riyadh based investment firm Sanabil Investments, a portfolio company of Saudi Arabia's PIF, with participation from Abu Dhabi based venture capital firm Shorooq Partners, as well as Coatue and Endeavor Catalyst.
Tamara was launched in September 2020 and has attracted three million customers and over 4,000 partner merchants, including major brands like Ikea, Adidas and Namshi, so far. According to a survey by checkout.com, over 50% of respondents across the region are expected to use BNPL this year.
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