LAHORE: The first State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) licensed private, digital credit bureau, operating with the brand name Tasdeeq and corporate name Aequitas Information Services Limited (AICL), has announced the closure of its Rs500 million (~$3 million) Series-A financing.
Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN), Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA), and Venture Capital firm 47 Ventures Investments participated in the round along with company sponsors as well as multiple individual investors.
Tasdeeq is part of the Aequitas Group which has experience in the rating services industry through ownership and management of PACRA, the largest credit rating agency in Pakistan. The group also has ownership in Media Monitors, the largest electronic media monitoring and rating service in Pakistan.
Lahore-based Tasdeeq is the first B2B product launched by Aequitas which offers credit information reports (CIRs) to banks in order to facilitate their credit decision-making process.
“Privatizing credit information processing and reporting services is an innovative measure by the SBP and opens the door for introducing transformative innovation into these services,” said Mumtaz Syed, CEO of Aequitas.
Private credit bureaus were allowed to operate after the National Assembly of Pakistan passed the Credit Bureaus Act (CBA) in 2015. Following the legislation, in November 2018, the SBP granted the first license to Aequitas Information Services Limited, which launched Tasdeeq.
In January 2019, the central bank granted another license to Data Check Limited (DCL). AISL and DCL are the only two licensed and operational private credit bureaus in Pakistan.
According to the State Bank’s directives, every credit institution is required to be a member of at least one private credit bureau and Lahore-based Aequitas says that it has already secured data-sharing contracts with all commercial and microfinance banks and processes the data of over 15 million banked consumers through its machine learning-based analytics platform. It claims to be furnishing 20,000 to 30,000 credit information requests every day and aims to secure data from other sources like utility companies and telcos as allowed by its license to strengthen its analytics.
Credit information is the most common service provided by credit bureaus. Other value-added services provided by private credit bureaus include anti-fraud tools and fraud detection services, portfolio monitoring services, debt collection services, and marketing services.
Tasdeeq also plans to use the funds to develop and introduce new, innovative consumer and business products into the market. “With our cutting edge analytics platform, and feedback from the market, we plan on introducing several new products for consumers, banks, and SMEs in the coming months,” Mumtaz said.
“The digital lending space is about to explode in Pakistan and a reliable credit information processing and reporting service is a necessary catalyst to enable that growth. Aequitas is by far the most technologically advanced, thorough, and inclusive service led by a world-class management team and we are happy to fund the company’s growth to the next level,” said Khurram Zafar, founding partner at 47 Ventures Investments and a director on the board of Aequitas.