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Bill me later gaining traction

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Wednesday January 30, 2008 )

I first made mention of Bill Me Later back in 2004 …then promptly forgot about them. The company has been making great strides and it seems they now have the highest merchant adoption rates among alternative payment services.

If you haven’t struck the company before; Bill Me Later is a service that gathers basic information from the client at a participating merchant at the point of checkout and the real-time credit decision is made. Once the purchase is authorized and settled, the merchant gets their cash pretty much immediately and Bill Me Later sends the customer a bill with flexible payment terms.

This feature gives merchants access to a ton of potential customers who don’t have credit cards, may not wish to provide those details in an online environment or who just don’t have their credit card available at the time.

According to this blurb on Internet Retailer, consumers more than doubled their use of the Bill Me Later deferred billing service in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared to the previous year.

I noticed that consumers are also searching for merchants using Bill Me Later as this Google Trends graph shows:


Back in early 2004 when I first mentioned them, they weren’t even on the radar – and then in first quarter of 2005 – bam. You need to have fairly hefty search volume to appear in Google Trends.

In December 2007, Amazon jumped on board the Bill Me Later bandwagon by buying a stake in the company and adding a Bill Me Later option to the retail website. The amount of cash involved was not disclosed.

In an “I want it now” society; I can certainly understand its popularity. The company claims a 50%+ increase in average order value, up to 150% when combined with promotional financing.

I have no idea what the costs involved are and I’m not even sure if they accept small businesses as they do allude to a rather stringent selection process; but it might be worth checking out for your own business. Over 700 retail web sites, including many major players, currently offer the Bill Me Later functionality.


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