BNPL firm Zilch has Klarna, Afterpay in its sights with US launch

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm Zilch, has plans to take on the sector’s giants Klarna, Clearpay and Affirm by opening up access to its service to any merchant.

The UK-based fintech offers a BNPL solution via a virtual Mastercard that can be used in-app, online at the physical point of sale.

Zilch is up against some of the most valuable fintechs in the world, but the company’s CEO Philip Belmont said that his company’s direct relationships with customers would help it stand out amongst its rivals.

Customers who shop with Zilch select the retailer they wish to purchase goods or services at before receiving a spending limit for the transaction.

Users are able to opt in to pay the first 25% of the transaction at the time of purchase and pay the rest in a total of four instalments.

Customers can also pay in full and receive cash back and rewards points on their purchases.

Both choices can also be changed retroactively after a purchase, giving the consumer more control.

Despite hot competition, rising levels of inflation and interest rates and incoming regulation, Belamont said he’s confident in his brand’s launch into the US market.

“We look at this and we go, ‘What better time than now to come to the market?'” Belamant said. “To really go and make sure customers understand and know that they’ve got a free way — zero interest, zero fees — to actually defer the cost of some of these items and to better manage their cash flow,” he told Business Insider.

Belamant pointed out the fact that Zilch’s virtual Mastercard allows shoppers to use Zilch at a larger selection of retailers than many of its BNPL competitors, whether online or in store, because of its direct-to-consumer strategy.

About 55% of Zilch transactions happen in person, the company has said.

Zilch’s successful model has prompted the heavyweights to take notice, with Klarna recently announcing a deal with Brookfield Properties to bring its BNPL services to retailers like H&M, Sephora, and Abercrombie & Fitch in over 150 US malls.

Belamant’s company has nearly 2.5 million users in the UK and says it is adding 250,000 users every month.

Before its US launch, the company announced it had amassed a waiting list of over 150,000 potential shoppers.

According to Belamant, some Zilch customers are using its product as much as 20 times every month.

“We are not mandating how people should manage cash flow,” he said.

“What we’re doing is providing them the opportunity to earn some form of value on each and every transaction they make, whether that’s debit or credit.”

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