ChargeAfter, a Ramat-Gan, Israel-based startup whose software allows consumers to get tailor-made credit options at the point of sale, said it has received a “substantial” investment from and set up a strategic partnership with credit card provider Visa Inc.
The Israeli firm, founded in 2017 by CEO Meidad Sharon, did not reveal the amount invested, but Sharon said “it is a strategic investment and a substantial one.” The firm had raised, prior to the Visa funds, some $9.5 million in seed and series A funding.
The Visa investment comes on the heels of its other investment, in 2018, in Israeli startup Behalf, to support small business growth through easy-to-access capital and financing.
The partnership will see Visa marketing and distributing ChargeAfter to its more than 16,000 issuing banks, merchant acquirers, merchants and cardholders globally, Sharon explained in a phone interview.
The strategic partnership with Visa will help provide Visa cardholders with more choice and flexibility in payments when buying goods and services in-store or online, ChargeAfter said in a statement on Wednesday.
Through the partnership, Visa’s network of sellers, acquirers and issuing banks will have the option to distribute a broad range of point of sale financing and credit instruments to eCommerce and in-store sellers worldwide using ChargeAfter’s software, the company said.
The collaboration will also enable Visa’s global network of issuing banks to participate in ChargeAfter’s network as direct lenders, the statement said.
The startup aims to create tailor-made credit options for consumers at the time of their purchases, whether online or in stores.
“Traditional banks such as BBVA, Synchrony and now VISA all realize that consumers are demanding alternative payment methods, or APMs, and payment options that are elastic and dynamic,” Sharon said. “One of the reasons for the rapid growth in alternative payment methods is the fact that 63% of millennials do not own credit cards and by the end of 2020, 40% of consumers will be of the millennial and ‘gen z’ cohorts of demographics who expect payment methods other than credit in the form of plastic. Merchants, both online and retail, must prepare accordingly and ensure that they have the tools and payment methods for their consumers to pay at checkout.”
When a consumer seeks a credit card, the issuing entity can either approve or decline the application. But once the credit card is issued, then “you are tied to that one credit line for each purchase,” he said.
“This is not cost effective for the consumer,” he said. “We are changing all of that.”
What ChargeAfter does is enable consumers to decide at the store or e-commerce website (point of sale) how they want to pay: in cash or in credit payments.
On a website, consumers get a message saying that “financing is available” for that product. If the consumers are interested in the financing, they can click on the option and fill in four data points: cellphone, date of birth, social security number and annual income. ChargeAfter checks the data and then goes to the banks it works with to get a number of financing options.
“It isn’t one suit fits all anymore,” Sharon said. Each consumer gets credit offers, such as installment loans or open revolving line of credit, that best suit them, he said.
In a store, the person at the check-out counter would ask if they are interested in credit financing, and if they are, they’d provide their cellphone number and then get a link via which to enter their details.
“We present the credit options in a clear way,” said Sharon.
Both merchants and consumers shows that they see “value” in ChargeAfter’s offering, he said.
The investment from Visa and the strategic partnership formed “is probably the best testimonial about our financing platform,” Sharon said. “This is the next wave of credit.”
ChargeAfter’s other investor include VC funds such as PICO Venture Partners, Propel Venture Partners, BBVA, Synchrony and Plug and Play VC.
The startup has its headquarters in Sunnyvale, California, and offices in New York and Tel Aviv.
“Consumers increasingly demand more choice and flexibility when making a payment, whether for their everyday needs or high-value items. Working with ChargeAfter, we aim to make it easier for sellers and financial institutions to offer a range of tailored, personalized financing options at the point of sale, allowing consumers to manage their payments in a way that works for them,” said Shahar Friedman, head of Visa Innovation Studio Tel Aviv.
The startup is seeking to triple its Israel workforce in size by the end of the year, Sharon said. The firm currently employs 30 workers in Israel and 10 in the US.
(This updated version corrects the amount of funds raised to $9.5 million)