Standard Chartered backs buy now, pay later firm Atome Financial

Standard Chartered invests $500m in Atome Financial to access new markets in Asia

Exterior of a Standard Chartered office building                                 
Standard Chartered’s headquarters in London – Photo: Shutterstock
                                

Standard Chartered has announced a 10-year multi-product partnership with fintech start-up Atome Financial as it targets the buy now, pay later market in Asia.

Both firms confirmed the partnership in a joint statement that explained how the businesses will combine their strengths in finance and technology to deliver a wide range of financial services to consumers and merchants across key Asia markets. 

Influence in new geographies

The deal will initially launch the combined buy now, pay later services in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in the next few months – and look to expand into offering digital lending solutions soon after.

The two companies aspire to reach over 16 million customers by 2025 and capture a share of the digital lending market, which is predicted to be valued at $92bn (£67.4bn) by 2025 in Southeast Asia alone, it confirmed.

Singapore-based Atome Financial also aims to fuel its market presence across new regions as it recently closed a $400m Series D financing round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Warburg Pincus, which valued the business at $2bn.

Through the partnership, Standard Chartered will also invest $500m to support Atome Financial’s growth and improve product access and financial inclusion for consumers across the region.

The buy now, pay later market

The buy now, pay later trend is booming right now among fintech start-ups, as more retailers look to offer instant approval of loans and aid flexible payments to help with larger purchases. And it hasn’t taken long for traditional financial firms to catch up with the demand – with more mainstream businesses now looking for a slice of the action in order to keep up with consumer spending habits.

Last month, Mastercard announced it will provide lenders with a variety of instalment payment options for digital purchases. Payments start-up Square made a bet on Australian start-up Afterpay to expand its BNPL offering, and challenger bank Monzo announced it will offer BNPL spending loans with its Monzo Flex product.

Rapid growth opportunity

“This partnership with Atome Financial gives us the opportunity to be part of the rapidly growing digital consumer finance ecosystem and provides convenient and relevant digital financial products to complement and enrich clients’ digital lives," said Judy Hsu, CEO of Consumer, Private and Business Banking at Standard Chartered Bank. 

”Our deep knowledge of Asia’s markets coupled with Atome Financial’s experience in digital consumer finance will allow us to reach even more customers and drive greater financial participation of those underserved and underbanked.”

Jefferson Chen, CEO of Atome Financial, added: “We are excited to have the support and partnership of Standard Chartered in building towards our mission of using technology to help people advance towards a better life. By providing consumers with easier, simpler, and more convenient access to a full suite of digital-first financial services, we can accelerate broader financial inclusion across both developed and emerging markets in Asia.”

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Further reading: Standard Chartered values BTC at $100k in 2022 and ETH at $26k

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