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TymeBank to provide ‘buy now, pay later’ credit offerings

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TymeBank says it is on a big business development drive after securing a lucrative funding deal, with new credit offerings and insurance products on the cards.

The digital-only bank announced this week that it had attracted R1.6 billion funding from investors in the UK and Philippines.

The financial injection, which the bank says is one of the largest foreign investments any fintech company has secured in SA, was from Apis Growth Fund II, a private equity fund managed by London-based Apis Partners, and JG Summit Holdings, one of the largest investment conglomerates in the Philippines, owned by the Gokongwei family.

In a telephonic interview with ITWeb, Tauriq Keraan, CEO of TymeBank, explained that a chunk of the funding will be used to expand TymeBank’s range of banking products, specifically its lending portfolio locally, and will also be channelled towards funding the digital player’s offshore expansion opportunities.

The lending portfolio will entail a credit facility, among other loan solutions, which will allow customers to ‘buy now and pay later” for goods – enabled by the bank’s future partnerships with numerous merchants across the country.

“We are currently on a big business development drive and we want to expand our merchant points for this credit-based service, which we will manufacture ourselves. Our ‘buy now, pay later’ solutions will be premised on TymeBank signing up a number of retailers – with our first two retailers being Pick n Pay and Natal Wholesale Jewellers because we already have a relationship with them. We will look at expanding significantly beyond those two.”

The branchless bank’s majority shareholder is African Rainbow Capital (ARC), and it targets underbanked and underserviced South Africans through low and transparent bank fees.

The credit facility, based on a TymeBank credit card, will provide customers with access to SA’s shopping network, built on the bank’s partnership with third-parties.

The bank is also looking at expanding its insurance offerings after signing a bancassurance deal with Hollard last year, to offer customers funeral policy plans without any paperwork.

“Our approach to bringing new products to market is not to move quickly but to make sure we are giving customer quality products and the best experience, and that the company is getting the best commercial return for that.

“While It’s still early days for us, there is obviously opportunity to expand beyond that, and offer insurance that will cover a cash send (transfer of money), for example, or even offer something more generic, like vehicle insurance – all opportunities are there; it’s really a timing thing.”

In terms of the digital player’s international expansion plans, Keraan pointed out that while TymeBank will not be directly expanding globally, its shareholder TymeGlobal will be involved in the establishment of a new digital bank yet to be introduced by investors, JG Summit Holdings and Apis Partners.

TymeGlobal has operations in Singapore, Vietnam and South Africa, and owns the banking technology platform and intellectual property globally. The company operates digital banks for the mass market, with a particular expertise in serving the under-served and under-banked populations in these countries.

Along with the new investors, TymeGlobal has entered into an agreement to launch a digital bank in the Philippines.

“With Tymebank being a regulated bank in SA, it will not have direct involvement, but TymeGlobal will participate in the Philippines, taking a stake upfront in the new bank to be established there. While TymeBank and TymeGlobal are different entities, they have the same shareholders and ARC is the majority shareholder in both companies,” said Keraan,

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