Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) startups are proliferating around the world and the Philippines is no exception. Today, one of the largest BNPL providers in the country, BillEase, announced it had raised $11 million for Series B. The round was led by BurdaPrincipal Investments, the growth capital arm of Hubert Burda Media. Other participants included Centauri, a joint investment vehicle between MDI Ventures and KB Investment, and Tamaz Georgadze, CEO and co-founder of Raisin DS.
Operated by fintech First Digital Finance Corporation BillEase was launched in 2017, with shopping marketplace Lazada as its first trading partner. It can now be used at over 500 merchants, including consumer electronics retailer Kimstore and Philippine Airlines. Its BNPL is also available through Xendit, Paynamics, 2C2P, Dragonpay and BUX payment gateways, and offers an app with personal loans, top-ups for digital wallets such as GCash, PayMaya, Coins.ph, GrabPay and Shopee Pay, and mobile and credit game.
As the Philippine payments industry is fragmented, customers can repay their BNPL loans in a variety of ways, including digital wallets, bank transfers, direct debit, linking their bank account, or over-the-counter payments at physical stores like 7-11.
The new financing brings BillEase’s total to about $15 million in equity and will be used for customer acquisition, new product development and contracting.
One of the main ways BillEase sets itself apart from other BNPL services in the Philippines is by allowing customers to create formal credit records.
Georg Stegier, co-founder and CEO of First Digital Financial Corporation, told Ploonge in an email that BillEase’s target segment is the Philippines’ emerging middle class, specifically Gen Z and early-career millennials. “About 80% of our customers are new to the formal credit system and do not have a credit record.
For these customers, BillEase also serves as a gateway to the financial system – we are the only credit app in the Philippines that is a member of TransUnion.” It is also part of the state-owned Credit Information Corporation.
Another differentiator is that BillPay has built and owned their credit, fraud and payment software stack, and can approve over 90% of BNPL loans instantly with their template. This means shorter payment times and also allows BillEase to offer lower interest rates, at around 3.49% compared to 7% to 12% for other BNPL loans, Stegier said. It offers merchants customizable installment plans. For example, they may offer BNPL payment terms of 10 to 30 days for smaller purchases, payment in four installments or monthly payments for larger purchases, and decide whether these loans will be interest-free or not.
Because most of BillEase’s customers are credit-less, it uses “a wide variety of alternative data sources to triangulate and get a good picture of our customers,” including telecommunications usage, phone metadata, network data, and points. of behavioral data. said Steger.
“The credit score is also something that we constantly tinker with,” he added. “As new data arrives or new variables become available, we update our models. At any given time, we usually run some A/B tests to test new models or process improvements.”