eBay has acquired the German online payment service BillSAFE, that allows customers to pay after delivery instead of straightaway. Two years ago, eBay had already bought one third of BillSAFE shares; now the company also bought the remainder for an undisclosed amount.
Purchase on invoice is "booming business"
"Purchase on invoice is an ideal addition to the payment options available with PayPal and makes it the most comprehensive service for consumers and merchants alike", says Alexander Ey, BillSAFE's managing director. "Security-conscious shoppers can receive and inspect the merchandise they bought online before paying for their purchases. And merchants can sell to customers who were previously skeptical of buying online. It’s an ideal match,"
Purchase on invoice is already the most popular form of payment in Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland. According to eBay, almost one in five German e-commerce payments was billed via invoice, while 84.8% of online shoppers in Germany have already used the method.
The acquisition is probably a move to counter the Swedish Klarna, that has offered the purchase on invoice service since 2005 and has just received 155 million dollar (almost 120 million euro) of financing "to accelerate global expansion". Last year, Klarna has handled over 2.5 billion dollar (1.9 billion euro) for almost 14,000 merchants in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Germany and the Netherlands. As Klarna is looking for opportunities to grow outside of Europe, it starts to pose a direct threat to eBay and its 2008 acquisition "Bill Me Later".