Billease: A One-Stop App for On-Demand Consumer Credit with Zero or Minimum Interest Plans

Kurt Molina, Head of Merchant Products, Billease

Big BNPL players around the world are facing headwinds from profitability to regulation. BNPL players in developed countries are significantly advanced and operate in markets where credit infrastructure is mature. That’s why they have a different business model and operating metrics compared to BNPL players in developing markets. BillEase, for example, operates in a market where less than 4% of adult Filipinos are uncarded and credit infrasture is at its infancy. Our business model is focused on leveraging machine learning technology in building financial products and global best practices in credit underwriting to meet the needs of unbanked Filipinos.

After observing the lack of availability of credit for online consumers and the low bank penetration, particularly in the younger generation in the Philippines, we felt that traditional consumer finance products were not consumer-friendly enough and were not effectively structured and designed to facilitate ecommerce.

It was eventually realized that technology could have a significant impact in solving this problem and with this in mind, the company founders launched a technology-based financing product in September 2017 initially in partnership with ecommerce giant Lazada

In August 2019, the product officially became available for other online retailers through the BillEase Merchant API.

Unlike other BNPL providers, BillEase is an on-demand consumer credit app that provides different types of financial services such as personal loans, e-wallet top-ups, prepaid load, and gaming credits as well as buy now, pay later which allows customers to pay for their purchases online and offline in interest-free or interest-bearing installment plans. It is currently accepted as a payment method by over 1,000+ major brands and small businesses and is offered by 6 major payment gateways in the country.

We primarily provide merchants and channel partners with our customizable buy now, pay later and accept payments made through via BillEase. Currently, we offer merchants and their customers three ways to pay via BillEase: Pay Later in 10 or 20 days and Pay in 4 installments for small-to-medium ticket purchases, and Pay Monthly over three, six, nine, or 12 months for big purchases which can be interest-free or interest-bearing.

We started offering BillEase in partnership with Lazada using vouchers and at the time the user experience was completely different from what we have today. We’re glad the customers understood how the voucher-based loan product worked which pretty much led us to developing a Payment API that now allows us to easily connect to different merchant platforms and offer BillEase as POS financing at checkout. It is much easier for us to onboard customers now through our merchant partners compared to when we were just starting out.

Our major partners include Lazada Philippines, Philippine Airlines, Primer Group of Companies, Focus Global Inc., Terry SA. Inc, and brands like Samsung, Vivo, World Balance, Cole Haan, Kimstore, among others. We also treat payment gateways as key strategic clients which include 2C2P, Xendit, Paynamics, Bux, and Dragonpay.

Now that the economy has fully re-opened, we’re bullish on consumers’ pent up demand to go and shop in-store. It’s been a while since consumers are stuck at home. That’s why we’re working on a few products that could also help them enjoy shopping offline through our own contactless, QR Payment option. We launched this product in early Q2 and we now have close to a 1,000 shops offering BillEase in-store.

When we were starting our product, the fintech landscape in the Philippines was completely different. 5 years ago, the key challenge for fintech was building infrastructure and making sure that your product is scalable. Today, competition is fierce and more players are available in the market. However, we think that the market is huge for players to co-exist. The key challenge is how you can differentiate and at the same time create value for your customers enough for them to stick with your platform.

We’re experiencing rapid growth across key metrics. This year, we’ve breached our app downloads to more than 1M+ and our H1 2022 volumes up 5x compared to the same period last year with over 300,000+ transactions per month. We can attribute our growth to the rising brand awareness and our merchant network.

We’re rolling out a new integration stack for large merchants who would like to offer installments/BNPL at checkout. This is a first-of-its-kind in the Philippines for a fintech company to offer a software development kit (SDK) for technical teams and integrate our solution at their checkout in 0-3 days. We’re launching this solution to help merchants save more time and focus on selling with our alternative payment method.

Our team is continuously launching new and exciting products. In the short-term, we’ll launch more features that could improve customer experience and encourage more re-transaction behavior within our platform. For merchants, we’re also working on some features that could help them further capture the value of our point-of-sale financing.


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