Alif, a FinTech based in Tajikistan, is seeking to further penetrate the FinTech space in Pakistan to help the unbanked, according to a report published Sunday, April 24 by The News International which quotes Mahmood Shamsher Ali, the country representative of Alif.
Alif was established in 2014 as a microcredit organization, and the company is one of about 20 that applied for a license after the State Bank of Pakistan launched a digital banking framework.
“The central bank’s initiative has generated huge interest from stakeholders around the world,” said Ali, introduced as the CEO of Alif Digital Bank after the license was approved. “Rumour has it that over 20 nominations were submitted on March 31, 2022.”
In the report, Ali said the company is looking to offer buy-it-now, pay-later (BNPL) and month-to-month short-term lending services, as well as B2B finance and remittance services. Alif said it would create “interesting times” as traditional banks have changed their operations, especially with the pandemic.
Additionally, FinTechs have innovated with payment methods and other means of banking. Alif’s position is that Pakistan’s unbanked population and its small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been neglected, and the report notes that banks have access to around 6-7 trillion rupees, with 17-18 trillion billions of still paperless transactions.
PYMNTS wrote that, in other Pakistan-related news, FinTech startup TAG is also working to help the unbanked, having raised $12 million in a funding round last year.
Related: Pakistan’s TAG Raises $12M in Seed Funding
The report notes that there are around 100 million adults in Pakistan who do not have a bank account – one of the largest such populations in the world, according to the World Bank. At the time, TAG CEO and founder Talal Ahmad Gondal said demand for his services had been greater than expected.
“In addition to many retail customers still on the waiting list, we have also been approached by several organizations to digitize its payroll system that have been processing cash until now,” he said, according to the report.