Credit card penetration in Egypt is low, with just over 4 million cards used in a population of over 100 million people. As such, people in the country have little or no access to credit given the other few options available on the market.
One of these options, consumer loans, is being explored by Blnk, a fintech launched last October. The digital lending platform partners with Egyptian merchants, enabling them to insure customers at the point of sale and provide them with financing to purchase items such as electronics, furniture and car services in 6-36 month installments.
Blnk said it has raised $32 million across several phases and funding types: $12.5 million pre-seed and seed equity rounds (led by Abu Dhabi’s Emirates International Investment Company [EIIC], Sawari Ventures and other investors), $11.2 million in debt financing and $8.3 million in securitized bond issuance. It plans to “accelerate financial inclusion in underserved communities across the country” and be “AI-powered” loan infrastructure.
Customers using Blnk at the point of sale require first-time buyers to have a National ID, after which they can get financing within three minutes, the company said. “It’s a very fast service,” said Amr Sultan, co-founder and CEO, in an interview with ukbusinessupdates.com. “And by being present at the point of sale, we help increase conversion rates and provide affordable products to significantly disadvantaged populations. We have a strong focus on financial inclusion, especially insuring people who have no credit history.”
Sultan, who started the company with Tarek Elsheikh, said Blnk does this through its proprietary credit underwriting system and risk scoring model that assesses customers’ risks and ability to service their debts. So far, Blnk claims to have paid out more than $20 million in loans through a network of more than 300 merchants (half of which are active) to more than 60,000 customers paying an average monthly interest of 2.6%.
Joseph Iskander, head of investments at lead investor EIIC, speaks about the investment: “We are convinced that the Egyptian market and startup ecosystem offers an attractive opportunity for regional and international investors, and we are committed to identifying and investing in value-added companies. We are excited to partner with Blnk to drive financial inclusion and economic development in Egypt, and we look forward to working with the team to achieve their goals.” Other fintechs offering loans and other financial services in Egypt include MNT-Halan, MoneyFellows and Khazna.