Online platforms that provide ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) short-term financing have got an entry into the kingdom with the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) issuing new rules.
Amendments to the CBB Rulebook Volume 5 (Type 3: Financing Companies), primarily add within its scope new and innovative business models for financing of consumer products, as part of short-term financing activities to keep pace with developments in the business environment and consumer needs for financial services, the CBB said.
These amendments will facilitate the entry of new companies into the market in this field such as online platforms that provide short-term financing ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL).
The changes made to the CBB Rulebook provide the following key amendments for this category of financing companies: Reducing the restrictions on the ownership percentage of controllers;
Suitable management structure to meet technology-based business models; Capital based on the nature, scale and size of operations with the minimum capital requirement of BD5 million not applicable to them as is the case for the current financing companies.
Shireen Al Sayed, director in the regulatory policy unit, said: “I am pleased to announce the amendments to the CBB Rulebook to cover within its scope innovative business models using digital technology and platforms to provide small value consumer loans especially for medium and small enterprises and individuals. Consumers and small businesses are expected to benefit from such new business models.
“These amendments are part of a series of amendments made recently by the CBB to the CBB Regulatory Framework and regulations governing licensed financial services to keep pace with the developments in the industry, especially in the field of financial technology (fintech).”
According to Nerdwallet.com, an online financial information provider, buy now, pay later, or BNPL, is a type of instalment loan.
“It divides your purchase into multiple equal payments, with the first due at checkout or point of sale. The remaining payments are billed to your debit or credit card until your purchase is paid in full. These plans can come with interest and late fees, though some plans, depending on the provider, charge neither. You’ll mostly see BNPL payment plans when you shop online, although some plans are available in stores,” the site says.
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