Bill Me Later’s claim that its solution is the first new payment
method since credit cards to be so broadly available in the US has
been reinforced by the decision by online retailing giant
Amazon.com to make its service available on its website. Amazon
joins 700 merchants offering Bill Me Later’s service on their
Commenting, Amazon’s vice president of payments Matt Swann
said: “Bill Me Later has developed a very customer-centric
method to make online shopping even easier. We are pleased to make
the convenience of Bill Me Later available to our tens of millions
of Amazon customers.” Indicative of the potential user base Amazon
represents, in its 2006 financial year it reported total North
American sales of $5.87 billion.
An attraction of Bill Me Later is that it enables customers to
undertake online purchases without disclosing their credit card
information. To complete a purchase they select Bill Me Later,
answer two questions – date of birth and the last four digits of
their social security number – and the credit decision is made by
Bill Me Later in about three seconds. Customers are billed by Bill
Me Later by mail or email and decide on a payment method. Bill Me
Later pays merchants immediately and assumes the full credit
Enjoying remarkable success
As an alternative means of payment, Bill Me Later has enjoyed
remarkable success, growing from about 80 online merchant clients
in early 2005 to the current 700. According to online marketing
service provider Brulant, 21 percent of US online merchants had
adopted Bill Me Later at the end of 2007 followed by PayPal (19
percent) and Google Checkout (10 percent).
A number of high-profile investors have also thrown their weight
behind Bill Me Later including payments processors First Data and
ChasePaymentech, US bank Citi, and asset management firms Legg
Mason and T. Rowe Price. Joining them will be Amazon which has
announced that it is to make an equity investment in Bill Me Later.
No amount was specified.