Summary 

  • The buy now, pay later (BNPL) movement is gaining traction in Asia, allowing customers to delay transactions and obtain credit.
  • Akulaku , Hoolah, and Atome are among the market’s major participants in SEA. 
  • Gen Z and millennial buyers have fueled the adoption of the payment option across Asia.

 

The ability to delay payment for something you want right now has always been a key selling point for credit cards. The concept revolves around convenience. In 2019, worldwide BNPL was worth US$7.3 billion, but by 2027, it is anticipated to be worth US$33.6 billion. In fact, during the Covid-19 stay-at-home orders last year, BNPL payment usage increased dramatically.

 

The five major firms leading this new payment are Hoolah, Akulaku, Atome, Paidy, and Pine Labs. Hoolah, based in Singapore, is the top omnichannel BNPL firm. In 2019, the BNPL provider entered Malaysia and has since formed partnerships with international and local businesses. Hoolah will expand its BNPL offering to include an in-store option. Akulaku is an Indonesian fintech firm that focuses on digital credit, investment management, and banking services. It began as a digital credit card issuer before expanding into other areas and developing its own e-commerce system.

Atome is a BNPL participant based in Singapore that enables customers to divide their expenses into 3 equal installments over the course of two months. Atome does not impose interest or service charges. It has developed into one of Asia’s major BNPL platforms since its inception. Paidy is a finance business based in Japan that offers finance to many Japanese customers, asking merely their name, email, and smartphone to make payments. Their main goal is to evaluate creditworthiness, insure payments, and guarantee payouts to retailers, the business does this by employing proprietary machine learning algorithms. Lastly, Pine Labs, an Indian retailer network business that specializes in finance and last-mile retail transaction technology, handles simple monthly installment payments among financial institutions and product lines. With a 95 percent market share in India, Pine Labs is the industry expert in offline BNPL operations. 

In summary, the BNPL market in Asia is made up of financial investors that have offered interest-free BNPL alternatives on top of credit card offers, e-commerce networks, and merchants that provide their own payment installment plans. However, independent startups are taking this new sector by storm.