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Zilch reinvents instalment payments plans; launches in the US

By Edlyn Cardoza

May 18, 2022

  • API
  • BNPL
  • CRA
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Zilch, Instalment Payments, BNPL, Instant Cashback Rewards, Mastercard, Open Banking Technology, Soft Credit Checks, Experian, USAZilch, next-generation payments and Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) platform, has a BNPL 2.0 business model that works directly with consumers and features no fees or late charges and 2% instant cashback rewards launched in the US with over 150,000 pre-registered customers. Zilch is accepted everywhere, and Mastercard can be used.

Zilch’s arrival in the US comes after growing to over two million customers in the 18 months since it launched in the UK, making it one of the world’s fastest-growing FinTechs and largest BNPL providers. During that time, Zilch raised $400 million in debt and equity from Goldman Sachs and others, valuing over $2 billion at its last Series C funding round.

Utilising a blend of Open Banking technology combined with soft credit checks and its proprietary behavioural data each time a customer spends allows Zilch to develop a real-time view of a consumer’s financial health. That enables Zilch to create a 360-degree picture of a customer’s affordability profile and provide accurate, individualised spending recommendations.

Concurrent with its launch, Zilch is partnering with Experian to pioneer reciprocal reporting of payment plans to the credit reporting agency’s (CRA’s) data set. This is designed to help ensure consumers’ financial health by providing greater transparency and accuracy while rewarding customers for their responsible behaviour, allowing them to build credit scores.

“In 2020, US consumers paid $120 billion in fees and late charges to credit cards, which we believe is unacceptable and fundamentally misaligned with the interests of consumers,” stated Philip Belamant, CEO & Co-Founder of Zilch. “They are being set up to fail and need more flexibility, especially during a cost of living crisis and a time of surging inflation, to pay for goods and services how and when they want – with a system that avoids late payments and unnecessary, onerous fees.”

BNPL payment and financing programs have been gaining in popularity around the world, as they facilitate the ability of consumers to make purchases as needed, and to pay for them at a future date, often interest-free.

“Our experience in the UK, and the survey we conducted here in the US, make it clear that US consumers want much more from BNPL providers, what we call BNPL 2.0 – which removes what consumers dislike (lack of ubiquity/fees and/or late charges). Zilch also gives what consumers say they value – cash back, which can be used to discount larger purchases,” Belamant added.

Zilch customers can pay over six weeks, four instalments, or one lump sum. Notably, customers who pay in full benefit from deals and cashback, allowing consumers the freedom and perks of credit services without any of the cost. Through its partnership with Mastercard, Zilch can be used with 38.7 million retailers globally.

One of the keys to Zilch’s growth has been its successful partnerships with industry-leading firms across the spectrum of FinTech. These partnerships form the behind-the-scenes foundation that allows Zilch to provide consumers with a simple, seamless way to pay for goods and services in a way that best suits them.

“Zilch is emblematic of the innovative, disruptive, fast-growing fintech company we seek to build long-term relationships with,” stated Gilles Gade, Founder, President and CEO of Cross River. “Cross River’s technology unlocks opportunities for partners across the entirety of the fintech ecosystem, and a partner like Zilch is helping to foster financial inclusion and access to responsible credit.”

“Zilch has packaged the consumer experience of BNPL that has been so popular inside one easy-to-use virtual card, with spending controls tailored to each individual user,” said Vidya Peters, Chief Operating Officer at Marqeta. “We felt like their product was a close DNA-fit with Marqeta and the payments innovations our modern card issuing platform helps enable. We look forward to supporting them as they launch their product in the American market.”

Guillaume Pousaz, Founder and CEO at Checkout.com, said: “With a rapid rise to success in the BNPL space, Zilch has taken a bold and innovative approach to helping consumers afford the goods and services they need. As its exclusive cloud-based payments processor in the US, Checkout.com is proud to support Zilch’s regional expansion with our single API–and we’re looking forward to powering its global growth in the months and years ahead.”

To support the U.S. expansion and operations, Zilch has opened a Miami headquarters led by Zilch’s US CEO, Albert Periu. Periu and Zilch believe the US market for the company’s services could reach as many as 125 million people and plan to scale the company accordingly. Zilch expects to hire over 100 employees in the US within the following year.

“We’re thrilled to be fully operational from Zilch’s US headquarters in Miami, as the city’s entrepreneurial spirit and diversity of talent serves as an excellent home for the company’s growth in the US,“ said Albert Periu, Chief Executive Officer of Zilch US.

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