By ET Bureau - November 17, 2021 5 Mins Read
Smartpay K.K. today announced the launch of its new “Buy Now Pay Later” (BNPL) service, which combines an all-in-one payment experience and interest free payment solution, designed to solve Japanese consumer payment issues and improve merchant conversion rates.
Built out of a passion for enabling Japanese merchants to succeed in e-commerce, Smartpay aims to remove the anxiety of shopping online for Japanese credit card users with the first completely free and secure, seamless, fully automated, online payment experience.
The company is backed by several high-profile investors including SMBC Venture Capital (SMBC-VC) and Global Founders Capital (GFC), the largest global investor in BNPL.
A series of new BNPL innovations for consumers and merchants in Japan
Japan has an e-commerce cart abandonment rate of over 80%, which is one of the highest in the world. Smartpay aims to increase the conversion rate for Japanese merchants by removing the friction that exists between cart and order completion.
Smartpay has redefined the e-commerce payment experience by addressing Japanese consumer anxiety about interest, hidden fees, sharing personal data and the time needed to fill in online forms to complete the transaction.
Smartpay is the first free of charge BNPL payment option for Japanese consumers who have credit cards. There are no sign-up fees, interest fees, settlement fees, or late charges. The payment experience is also Japan’s first cross-merchant, cross-platform, and single-click checkout BNPL service, allowing consumers to checkout in as little as 10 seconds.
The BNPL payment solution is simple to understand, structured on 3 equal installments over 8 weeks. This means that unlike the existing BNPL services in Japan, customers do not need to go to the convenience store to make payments or pay any bank transfer fees.
For merchants, Smartpay also addresses key cost and administration pain points by covering all payment fraud risks and managing all consumer-led chargebacks. Smartpay integration has been built to reduce merchant integration time and therefore resource cost and can be integrated onto merchant websites in one day with the highest quality SDKs and APIs. In addition, to specifically help small and medium sized merchants, Apple Pay and Google Pay are automatically integrated into the Smartpay solution. Research shows that Smartpay will improve sales conversion for e-commerce merchants by more than 10% over a 12-month period.
Built specifically for Japan
Smartpay was co-founded by Pieterjan Vandaele (ex-Paidy) and Sam Ahmed (ex-Facebook). The Smartpay team brings together 80 years of e-commerce, Fintech and payment experience specifically relevant to Japan. Brought together by a passion for the quality, precision, and creativity of Japanese merchants, as well as an understanding of the unique obstacles that Japanese merchants and consumers face with online retail, Pieter and Sam formed Smartpay to unleash the potential of e-commerce in Japan.
Pieter has held roles at Fintech companies including Stripe and Coiney. He specifically leverages the experience from his former role as Head of Engineering for Paidy, the BNPL service which was acquired by Paypal earlier this year, to identify the pain points that no BNPL service in Japan has addressed until the creation of Smartpay.
Sam is a Harvard Business School Alum and in 2018 was recognised on the Digerati APAC list of the top 50 people in the digital industry by The Drum. He was formerly Head of Payments and Fintech APAC and Japan at Facebook, held senior roles at Mastercard and Standard Chartered Bank. In 2015, Sam wrote a white paper on e-commerce in Asia/Japan where he identified that the key to success for Japanese merchants was about making the online check-out experience as smooth as possible. Smartpay addresses this through its single-click, multiplatform checkout function.
The company is led in Japan by Naoya Otsubo, a highly recognized and experienced digital and FinTech leader. As Japan Country Manager for AppsFlyer, he built the team and the business from scratch and expanded the market share from 0 to 51%. As Director of Mid Market, APAC at Critero, Naoya created and managed teams in Japan, Korea and Australia, and at Yahoo! Inc. (Overture) and Yahoo! Japan he led multiple teams including Online Sales, Key Accounts and Global Sales.
SMBC Venture Capital (SMBC-VC) has invested in Smartpay as its BNPL service of choice in Japan. As a leading banking institution in Japan, the investment by SMBC-VC enables Smartpay to help Japanese merchants succeed with e-commerce.
Global Founders Capital (GFC) are the global leaders in BNPL and consumer finance investments and provides Smartpay with deep operational support to build to scale. Smartpay and GFC will work together to bring global BNPL best practices to Japan in order to accelerate the growth and success of e-commerce across the country.
Accelerating e-commerce in Japan
Naoya Otsubo, Smartpay Country Manager explains that “Smartpay recognizes the anxiety of merchants in Japan will cause some retailers to potentially invest in the wrong areas. We believe that we can help merchants increase online sales conversions and revenue by 10 to 20% without having to invest in costly advertising or infrastructure builds.”
Co-founder Sam Ahmed added that “Our team has been passionate about Japan and its e-commerce journey for many years. We are seeing more consumers enjoying purchasing online and we’d like to help connect these consumers to the merchants in a more efficient manner.”
Co-founder Pieterjan Vandaele said that “We are extremely proud to have built an exciting and unique service specifically for Japan. For consumers, we focused on taking away the worries around fees, providing simplicity for signups, and delivering the smoothest user experience. For merchants, we provide an accessible service that focuses on revenue growth.”
Smartpay’s purpose is to enable all Japanese merchants to succeed in e-commerce. From December 2021, Smartpay will be providing a free e-commerce training for 10,000 Japanese merchants to learn e-commerce best practices for onsite conversion, attracting new customers and revenue expansion.
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