Philippine ‘buy now, pay later’ start-up BillEase wins $11M in Series B – TechCrunch
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 that it raised an $11 million Series B round. 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 commercial marketplace Lazada as its first merchant partner. It can now be used at more than 500 merchants, including consumer electronics seller Kimstore and Philippine Airlines. Its BNPL is also available through payment gateways Xendit, Paynamics, 2C2P, Dragonpay and BUX, and it offers an app with personal loans, recharges for digital wallets like GCash, PayMaya, Coins.ph, GrabPay and Shopee Pay and a mobile phone and game credits.
Since the payments industry in the Philippines is fragmented, customers can repay their BNPL loans in a variety of ways, including digital wallets, wire transfers, direct debits, linking their bank account, or over-the-counter payments in different ways. physical stores like 7-11.
The new funding brings the total raised by BillEase to approximately $15 million in equity and will be used for customer acquisition, new product development and hiring.
One of the main ways BillEase differentiates itself from other BNPL services in the Philippines is that it allows customers to create formal credit files.
Georg Steiger, co-founder and CEO of First Digital Financial Corporation, told TechCrunch in an email that BillEase’s target segment is the emerging middle class in the Philippines, particularly Gen Z and Millennials who are at the start of their career. “About 80% of our clients are new to the formal credit system and don’t have a credit history.
For these customers, BillEase also serves as a gateway to the financial system. We are the only credit application in the Philippines member of TransUnion. He is also part of the state-owned Credit Information Corporation.
Another differentiator is that BillEase has built and owns its credit, fraud and payment software stack, and can instantly approve over 90% of BNPL loans with this model. This means shorter payment terms and also allows BillEase to offer lower interest rates, at around 3.49% compared to 7% to 12% for other BNPL loans, Steiger said. It offers merchants customizable installment plans. For example, they can offer BNPL repayment terms of 10 to 30 days for small purchases, payment in four installments, or monthly payments for larger purchases, and decide whether these loans will be interest-free or not.
Since most of BillEase’s customers don’t have a credit history, it uses “a wide variety of alternative data sources to triangulate and get a good picture of our customers,” including telecom usage, phone metadata, network data, and behavioral data points,” says Steiger.
“The credit rating is also something that we are constantly changing,” he added. “As new data comes in or new variables become available, we improve our models. At any time, we usually run a few A/B tests to test new models or improve processes. »