When major market retailers want to offer financing to their customers, they have a variety of options, mostly in the card product arena.
Small and mid-sized players, on the other hand, don’t have any easy answers to offer here, since financing programs are both expensive to offer and complex to administer.
Which is where Blispay enters the equation.
Founded by Greg Lisiewski of Bill Me Later (which was acquired by PayPal for around $1 billion in 2008), the firm has just bagged $12.75 million in seed funding in a round led by FirstMark Capital, with participation from Accomplice, NEA and TriplePoint Capital.
Until now, Blispay has been operating in stealth mode but is now ready to open up to the general market.
Essentially, Blispay is a third-party financing platform for small merchants and one that requires nothing from those merchant partners. At present, merchants pay nothing to participate and don’t need to offer any special training to sales associates. The extent of their commitment involved hanging signage around their location that advertises the availability of financing.
Consumers who want to sign on for financing access with Blispay do so through their mobile phone, and after a few minutes of standard Q&A (name, DOB, Social, etc.), Blispay spits out a response on the application for financing. Customers that are accepted can purchase the item on the spot using their phone and get six months of interest-free time to pay back the loan. After six months, the interest gets more expensive — jumping to 19.99 percent — but still falls below the 26 percent or so that is common with big box retailer financing programs.
The user also receives, after making that first purchase, a Blispay Visa card, which offers the same interest-free financing for all purchases over $199. For smaller purchases, the card offers 2 percent cash back.
Lisiewski explained that Blispay accepts the majority of applicants. Despite that, Blispay notes that the majority of applicants will likely pay off their debt in the six-month window.
Blispay, according to Lisiewski, is now about to set up shop with a few dozen (less than a hundred) merchants, but the long-term goal is to be able to expand rapidly with bigger merchant and consumer adoption.