In what is seen as the latest marriage between tech and Wall Street, Amazon has partnered with Goldman Sachs to launch a digital credit line for U.S. merchants, CNBC has learned.
Here’s how it would work: small and medium-sized business (SMB) sellers on the eCommerce website can access Goldman’s Marcus revolving credit up to $1 million at a fixed annual interest rate of between 6.99 percent to 20.99 percent that can be drawn and repaid like a credit card, sources told the network.
“Our team exists to fuel seller growth, period,” Ragui Selwanes, head of Amazon Lending, said in a statement. “Marcus is the right partner for us because they share this commitment.”
The application process is digital and can be done in minutes, and approval is typically completed in real time. The credit availability is not without fees. If users fail to make timely minimum payments, they will be assessed late fees. In addition, if they don’t use at least 30 percent of their credit line, a maintenance fee will be added.
The collaboration is a coup for Goldman Sachs because it gives it access to thousands of Amazon merchants as the New York-based financial services group fuels its push into Main Street finance.
Originally, Amazon considered creating an online marketplace where lenders would compete to offer SMBs credit, CNBC was told. But the strategy was dropped in favor of working solely with Goldman.
The deal represents the first time Amazon will let a financial institution make underwriting decisions for its sellers, CNBC reported.
“We’re super excited about embarking on this journey with Amazon, and thrilled that they chose to partner with us,” Omer Ismail, head of Goldman’s U.S. consumer business, told the network.
In January, Goldman CEO David Solomon said the firm hoped to become a banking-as-a-service provider for giant companies.
In February, the Financial Times reported the two mega companies nearly signed a deal to offer small business loans, but the negotiations fell apart.
While Goldman has only offered retail finance for a short time, the bank has $80 billion in deposits and $7 billion in loans.
“On the one hand, we are a bank with a balance sheet, with the ability to lend, and manage risk effectively,” Ismail told the network. “On the other hand, we’re doing this with all the benefits of being a start-up, i.e. no legacy technology, no legacy business models.”