Cross border BNPL in APAC with Airwallex x Atome union?
Amidst a flurry of major announcements at the Singapore Fintech Festival last week, Australian international cross-border payments platform Airwallex unveiled its first ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ transaction option in partnership with leading Asia Pacific (APAC) BNPL platform, Atome Financial.
Part of a global boom of BNPL service providers who established themselves during the pandemic as instalment-based payment alternatives to traditional financing options, Atome has planted a firm foothold in the fast-growing Southeast Asian (SEA) region.
Despite a rapid growth rate, SEA has traditionally been slow to adapt to traditional financial institutions, with low penetration of credit and debit cards, or even possessing a bank account. The issue is compounded by increasing numbers of young millennials and Gen-Zs who are digitally savvy and are looking for affordable, digitally-enabled financial options to supplement their online and offline buying behaviors.
Atome is active in SEA territories like Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, as well as China and Taiwan. Airwallex, on the other hand, has gone global in recent years, expanding its cross-border payments reach beyond native markets in Australia and Hong Kong. Airwallex has a growing presence in SEA too, particularly in Singapore and Malaysia, as well as a growing cross-border footprint in the US, UK, and Europe.
As part of its global cross-border payments strategy, Airwallex presently offers a business account that features cards and international collection & transfer solutions in a range of currencies for small to medium-sized merchants, plus an API for larger enterprises that require embedded payments and other financial services.
Now for the first time, Airwallex merchants will be able to expand their range of international payment options with BNPL functionality, diversifying their partner portfolio with a flexible deferred payment methodology. The Atome collaboration will complement the multi-currency card-based payment facilities Airwallex offers with Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay, along with the more than 20 localized payment methods across Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Atome as we continue to find ways to better support businesses across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong,” commented Arnold Chan, Airwallex General Manager for Southeast Asia and Hong Kong. “We want to give businesses access to all the benefits of BNPL, which will not only help them increase revenues, but also create a more seamless customer experience for the longer term that will enable them to unlock new market opportunities.”
Besides supplying future-ready cross-border payment solutions and revenue diversification possibilities for its merchants with this collaboration, Atome will enable Airwallex to provide BNPL as another payment alternative in Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand in the very near future.
Following Airwallex’s early-2022 entry into the Singapore and Malaysia markets and the subsequent offering of globalized payment methods, the cross-border transaction facilitator continues to scale globally, raising US$100 million in its recent Series E2 fundraising round after being backed by Tencent Holdings and Sequoia Capital China initially. Standard Chartered invested US$500 million in Atome in a 10-year partnership late last year.
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