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Tamara is a Saudi start-up fintech company, and one of the first financial companies in Saudi Arabia to offer the product of Buy now and pay later without interest charges or any hidden fees. Their objective is to facilitate online shopping in new ways in their operating regions, which enable safer, more transparent and more robust payment options for customers. Its inclusive solution is to secure payments with unique methods by eliminating cash on delivery (COD) for online shopping stores. Tamara allows customers to pay, either in three, six instalments or within 30 days, with zero fees or interest charges. Founded during the Covid pandemic, Tamara offered its Saudi users more options to manage their resource, shopping and payment needs, using advanced innovative technology to enhance economic growth, raise entrepreneurship, and create job opportunities in the region (SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth).
Tamara's journey started with the largest Series A round in MENA, with $110 million led by Checkout.com, after founders recognized a need to understand the new economic needs of consumers and merchants. Tamara's co-founder and CEO, Abdul Majeed Alsukhan, said: "Due to the pandemic, online retail and digital payments have reached mainstream consumers, so today more than ever, there's a need for more inclusive and diverse payment options" (Bloomberg, 2021).
In pre-Covid times, Saudi Arabia operated on a predominantly 'Cash-on-delivery' system, which was inherently flawed due to payment inconsistencies and inefficiency. During the pandemic, this method became even more problematic for both merchants and customers due to the necessity for face-to-face interaction. Tamara's innovative platform offered a safer option that was adopted by thousands in the region, and allowed users to make themselves more financially sustainable at a complex time for many.
Their purchase service offers the option for the customers of different e-stores and retailers to defer payments up to 30 days or through three or six easy payments. This helps e-stores and retail to overcome any challenges that would limit their economic growth, and develop a loyal customer base. Tamara helps their partners control fraud cases and provide easy and secure payment solutions for its online shopping stores. As said by Mr. Haitham when interviewed, the company serves "to provide value for both, providing value for the merchant and value for the customer. It's an economy where everyone wins - that is Tamara".
Self-titled as "a local start-up, going global" Tamara's identity has a local feel to its customers and partners and aims to reach out to the world. In 2020, Abdul Majid Al-Saikhan, and his partners Turki bin Zara and Abdul Mohsen al-Babtain launched Tamara as a team; the inspiration behind the three Saudi entrepreneurs' company was to digitalize the ledger "balance book", a sales note-keeping system usually found in neighborhood mini markets . Tamara started with the idea of offering a payment service as an electronic payment book for online stores. During their ideation, Mr. Abdul Majid studied international countries utilising the "buy now, pay later" installment payment methodologies and believed it would be a significant venture to bring it to Saudi Arabia. The first step was to prepare the "whitepaper"; an informational document which provides factual evidence about the innovation, and highlights the features of the venture and associated technology.
The vision held by the founders and the start-up venture has been central to their growth and resilience in recent years. As noted by Mr.Haitham during our interview, the company is very lucky to see people understand the Tamara concept in such a short period.
Tamara has revolutionized the fintech payments system in KSA, where alternate customers' payment systems were critically needed. They have significantly enhanced the shopping experience, helping partners grow their business, and have now expanded across the Gulf markets. In the longer term, they aspire increase their customers rate as well as partnerships internationally. Tamara today has 51-200 employees, and over 1000 merchants include Namshi, Floward, SACO, and Nejree.
It was evident how Tamara has positively succeeded after the global economic crises in 2020 in raising awareness economically and environmentally by helping businesses to boost their sale rate after the pandemic.
Some of the impacts noted by the company include:
Safer and more trusted processes for customers as Tamara handle any potential fraud cases.
Company partners (including small and local vendors) have seen a significant increase in purchases by 41% in average order value. In turn, vendors who could not offer cash-on-delivery services during the pandemic have found a robust trading alternative, saving countless businesses and jobs.
A higher number of repeated customers for the platform and vendors with an increase of 30% in cart conversion total.
Tamara is the first Saudi company in the field of fintech solutions that earned the permission of the Central Bank of Saudi Arabia to test its products within the legislative experimental environment, where it is also investing in technology to ensure an easy user experience. They are working to solve cash on delivery (COD) as a primary problem that customers face when buying online. Their (BNPL) solution aligns with the 2030 vision to reach economic growth NAGRA (2021) Saudi fintech Tamara expansion. Tamara has spearheaded growth in the Saudi fintech industry and has inspired many other companies to develop in the area.
Tamara has provided a much-needed solution to the main problems that customers face, resulting in several outcomes such as gaining customers, increasing stores sales and success in several cities, providing job opportunities, and increasing economic growth by their sales and buy now pay later solution.
Tamara has providing a BNPL solution to customers' pain point, which is cash on delivery, and delivered a new mechanism for financial management. It has enabled many smaller Saudi businesses remain profitable and visible during the pandemic.
Mr. Haitham Alturaigi, Marketing Director
Hedayah Alotaibi, Social Media Manager
Tamara is a Saudi fintech company, established in 2020 in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic as a "Buy now pay later" provider. They enable a new online payment method for customers, allowing users to pay for their online shopping 30 days post-purchase or by splitting the balance over three to six instalments.