BillEase gets $5-million investment to expand credit facility to $40 million

CONSUMER FINANCE and buy now, pay later (BNPL) application BillEase has received a $5-million investment from Saison Investment Management Private Ltd. (SIMPL) to expand its credit facility that funds its operations, it said on Thursday.

“This latest funding round expands BillEase’s existing Helicap-led credit facility from $20 million to $40 million, which had already included participation from various investors such as the Helicap Income Opportunities Fund, several institutional credit investors, and high-net-worth individuals,” BillEase said in a statement.

BillEase offers personal loans, e-wallet top-ups, prepaid load, gaming credits, bills payment, and BNPL solutions on its app.

SIMPL is the offshore lending arm of Saison International Pte. Ltd., the parent of Japan-based lending conglomerate Credit Saison, it added.

“This investment from SIMPL is a tremendous vote of confidence in BillEase’s mission and future growth potential. Coming off a year where we achieved profitability and doubled our revenues, we are extremely well-positioned to scale our consumer loan offerings and expand access to affordable financial services across the Philippines,” BillEase Chief Financial Officer Garret Go said.

BillEase said it served over 800,000 customers last year, with its return on equity standing at 47%.

The company added that the new investment will allow BillEase to grow its loan portfolio and roll out new credit products to service the needs of its users, which have reached over one million.

“Our investment in BillEase represents our only exposure to the growth in the Philippines’ credit sector at this moment, and aligns with our commitment of providing financial solutions for the underserved segments of markets globally.

The Philippines is emerging as one of the fastest-growing countries in Asia post-COVID, with a huge population that is rapidly digitizing. With this as a backdrop, we hope to build our presence in the market, and play a catalytic role in enlarging Philippine’s digital financing ecosystem, to unlock greater economic opportunities for individuals and households,” said Kosuke Mori, chief executive officer of Saison International.

“We are impressed by the growth trajectory that BillEase is experiencing, and its innovative approach to going beyond a pure BNPL platform into a comprehensive mobile lifestyle app. With 65% of the population unbanked and more than 80% of the country’s transactions still paid with cash, our partnership with BillEase through Helicap is driving financial inclusion by building a credit history for a large share of their customers, and creating meaningful impact for a broader segment of the population in the Philippines,” Claudia Rojas, head of SIMPL, added.

Helicap Co-Founder David Z. Wang likewise said SIMPL’s investment in BillEase will accelerate the company’s growth and serve more customers.

“We are thrilled to have SIMPL as an investor in BillEase. Their investment underscores the immense potential of BillEase to drive financial inclusion and uplift underserved communities in the Philippines. With this additional capital, BillEase can accelerate its growth and bring affordable financial services to even more customers across the country. This partnership exemplifies our shared vision of leveraging technology to create economic opportuni-ties,” Mr. Wang said.

The central bank wanted 50% of the total volume and value of retail transactions done online by the end of 2023. Officials earlier said they are confident they met this target, driven by the increased use of e-wallets and online banking platforms in the country.

In 2022, the share of online payments in the total volume of retail transactions rose to 42.1% from 30.3% a year earlier, latest central bank data showed. — AMCS