Competition Heats up in Southeast Asia’s Buy Now Pay Later Market

Competition Heats up in Southeast Asia’s Buy Now Pay Later Market

by January 19, 2021

In Southeast Asia, buy now pay later (BNPL) is becoming an increasingly popular way for shoppers to pay for purchases and players including Grab, GoJek, Razer and Oriente have all jumped at the opportunity.

BNPL allows customers to make purchases and pay them off over time in weekly, bi-weekly or monthly installments. These products often come with appealing features including 0% interest, pay-in-instalments and ease of use.

Globally, BNPL is a booming market that’s set to grow from US$7.3 billion in 2019 to US$33.6 billion in 2027 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.2%, Coherent Market Insights estimates.

In this timeframe, Asia-Pacific is forecast to be the fastest-growing region owing to increasing Internet users. 40 million new users joined Southeast Asia’s digital economy in 2020 alone, bringing the total number of Internet users in the region to 400 million, according to e-Conomy SEA Report 2020.

In Singapore, an October 2020 consumer survey by Finder found that an estimated 1.1 million people, or 38% of the population, have used a BNPL service, suggesting that the trend is gathering steam in Asia amid COVID-19 uncertainties, an accelerated shift to e-commerce, and rising mobile payments adoption.

Hoolah, a Singaporean BNPL solution provider for online e-commerce platforms, told Yahoo Finance Singapore in October 2020 that transaction volume had increased sevenfold over the past six months as e-commerce boomed. The company added that the number of partnered retail stores jumped 280% to 1,000 between October 2019 and October 2020, showcasing that merchants are eagerly adopting BNPL options.

hoolah Launches Singapore’s Leading Buy Now Pay Later Physical Retail Store Solution

Hoolah, which currently operates in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, is now working towards expanding into other Asian markets.

Atome, an another local BNPL player, reported in November 2020 that its 1,000+ merchants had seen a 20-30% increase in conversions, and as much as a 30% increase in average order size amid the pandemic. A subsidiary of, Atome launched its BNPL product in July 2020.

Razer Fintech, the fintech arm of Singaporean gaming hardware and software firm Razer, is amongst the latest players to join the BNPL craze, announcing a partnership with local BNPL service provider Rely in December 2020.

Through the collaboration, Southeast Asian merchants registered under Razer’s business-to-business (B2B) solution, Razer Merchant Services (RMS), will be able to provide interest-free BNPL solutions to their customers.

Within the next couple of months, a new BNPL solution provided by Mastercard and Pine Labs will hit no less than five Southeast Asia markets, providing consumers with the flexibility of zero-interest instalments on purchases.

The “pay later” solution, which has been live in India and Malaysia, will be rolled out in Thailand and the Philippines in February, followed shortly by Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia, Mastercard said in December 2020.

Grab Financial Secures Over US$300 Million in Series A Funding Round

Singapore-headquartered super app Grab has been providing an BNPL option since 2019. The PayLater solution is a payment method that allows customers to order Grab rides, GrabFood, GrabExpress and purchase from selected online merchants and make a single consolidated payment for them at the end of the month.

GoJek, Grab’s biggest competitor, offers a similar product in its home country of Indonesia where other players like Kredivo and Traveloka have also been providing BNPL options. Kredivo specializes in BNPL while Traveloka is a Southeast Asia online travel company that launched its PayLater product in 2018, allowing customers to pay for their purchases in a period of one to 12 months.

In the Philippines, BNPL specialists include BillEase, Jungle and TendoPay. Consumer lending mobile app Cashalo unveiled its PayLater product in 2019, announcing simultaneously a partnership with Cebu Pacific. Cashalo is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based fintech company Oriente.


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