Atome rolls out new credit card with Mastercard

Singapore-based BNPL brand Atome has partnered with Mastercard to launch the Atome card in the Philippines, with accessible via mobile and no minimum income needed.

The Atome card provides cardholders with an Atome line of credit that can be used to pay online and in-store retailers by simply presenting their Atome Card during checkout.

It noted that the credit card contains a credit line of USD 3,576 payable in 45 days. It will not charge annual fees, sign-up fees, or other hidden charges. Using a virtual or physical Atome card, holders can shop in-store or online wherever a Mastercard is accepted.

In a statement, Mastercard’s officials stated that they are happy to partner with Atome on this innovative product that will contribute to building a cash-lite society and drive financial inclusivity by serving more than 70% of Filipinos who are unbanked or underbanked, and do not qualify for credit cards.

An application, available on the App Store and on Google Play, also makes it possible for holders to track consumption and payment schedule.

Atome launched in the Philippines in October 2021, with over 600 online and offline retail partners, which include SM Store, Zalora, Suyen Corp., Primer Group, Agoda, Converse, Giordano, Rustan’s, Timex, National Book Store, Time Depot, Anker , Garmin, Uratex, Fitness First, Skechers, Toby’s, Bayo, Pretty Looks, and Boozy.

In the region, it is also affiliated with over 15,000 online and offline retailers in nine other markets, namely: Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and Japan.

The BNPL space in Asia

While BNPL is seen as a rising global movement, even in the face of a softer macro landscape, it’s important to note that the BNPL use case and models across regions vary significantly. Asia is highly fragmented (eg. Credit profile, shopping behavior, culture, smartphone type), with a large unbanked and underbanked population, especially in emerging markets such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. For example, in the Southeast Asia region (SEA), only 27% of the total population of 670 million inhabitants has a bank account.

As BNPL matures in Asia, it has evolved from its basic model of offering interest-free monthly payments to a more end-to-end user experience that includes a wider range of deferred payment options like 6- or 12-months, greater industry adoption , social commerce, open loop card services, and broader financial products.

Physical shopping in SEA also remains a key social activity, never truer especially post-pandemic. Shoppers in the SEA region still value an omnichannel retail shopper experience, one that allows them to shop and purchase seamlessly online and offline, simply by using their smartphone. What this means for retailers and BNPL players in this region is that the physical store experience is critical when it comes to increasing in-store conversion, basket size, and the overall brand and shopping experience.

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