AfterPay

The new standard for online payment in arrears

Trust and convenience are equally important when it comes to online shopping. As opposed to buying something in an actual store, with online shopping payment and delivery do not take place at the same time.

Not all online consumers like paying in advance, especially if they are not familiar with the shop or when they have to pay a relatively large amount. AfterPay allows the consumer to make a payment in arrears, while the online retailers do not have to worry about non-payment. This process has tremendous promise to become the standard procedure for payment in arrears on the web.

AfterPay is one of the leading solutions for online payment in arrears. It was launched in 2004 under the control of Transfair and, after a buy-out by Manon Harmelink and Stefan van den Berg in 2010, it has grown to become an established name in the field of payment in arrears. The company has claimed its place alongside other leading companies in the sector, such as PayPal, iDEAL and MasterCard/Visa. Not only in the Netherlands and Europe but also worldwide.

Online shopping, payment in arrears

"We offer added value to both the online retailer and the consumer," says Stefan van den Berg. "Major players like Bol.com and Wehkamp.nl have been providing the bank transfer payment method as standard service for years. Now AfterPay can offer payment in arrears services to every interested web shop, including major chains like Bart Smit, Scapino, Free Record Shop, Kleertjes.com, Mycom, but also the smaller, less well-known web shops or those just starting out in business. The consumer is only required to pay once the product or service has been delivered. AfterPay removes many of the obstacles to payment in arrears and helps increase turnover. Many of the more well-known online retailers are now beginning to use the payment in arrears option as their 'normal' method of payment. AfterPay is now the second largest online payment company in the Netherlands, after iDeal. That's something we're very proud of." In the past six months the company has made a number of deals with leading payment service providers, including Ogone, DocData, Worldpay and ABN AMRO Payment. Online retailers which have their payment services built into their web shop are given the option of using AfterPay as standard service if they wish.

AfterPay offers the online retailer the security they require with regard to payment services. The company takes care of the entire payment collection process, but also acts as guarantor for the payment. AfterPay makes a real-time estimate of the client's credit rating. Based on this check, the client can either pay through AfterPay or choose a different method of payment.

Outsourcing Billing

"Sending paper as well as digital bills forms an essential part of our service," says Stefan van den Berg. "However, we don't do this from our own premises, because it's not part of our core business. So we outsource it to a third party: AddComm. At AddComm they are familiar with our business and they understand the nature of billing. AddComm offers us an excellent and flexible platform. Hundreds of web shops now use AfterPay and we send out an incredible ammount of bank transfers every quarter, in both paper and digital format. All those documents must have the individual look & feel of the sender and the online retailer. AddComm is able to do that for us."

"When you outsource such an essential element, it's all about trust," Stefan van den Berg continues. "With AddComm we maintain extremely short lines of communication: I can also reach Ludolf van der Veen [managing director of AddComm] on the phone when I need to, for example. They are quick to react to every situation. That is essential whenever there's a hitch in the road of any kind."

DigiAccept

AfterPay offers online shoppers who wish to pay in arrears the choice between paper invoices with bank transfers or the digital form. For this purpose AfterPay uses AddComm's DigiAccept, the digital bank transfer per e-mail. "We are firm believers in DigiAccept. This digital bank transfer has a direct link with iDeal. This makes it much easier to pay. Customers do not need to fill in anything themselves and payments are also automatically scheduled. Consumers really appreciate these benefits."

Ideal for mobile shopping

Stefan van den Berg also sees a role for DigiAccept in paying via mobile phone. Shopping on a smartphone or iPad is becoming increasingly popular. But how can the customer be sure that their mobile payment is safe? Random readers are seldom available and sending credit card details via public hotspots is not exactly popular. "Paying in arrears via DigiAccept, however, really fits the bill," says Stefan. "This has been demonstrated by the pilots schemes which AfterPay has carried out for mobile payment. 75% of mobile shoppers chose DigiAccept over PayPal and credit card. Ordering via mobile phone and paying in arrears via DigiAccept has the potential to get bigger."

New payment standard

"Before DigiAccept can grow to become an established standard service, the phenomenon must first be brought to the attention of the consumer", says Stefan van den Berg. "I don't envisage any problems with regard to business to business. However, we have come to realise that many consumers still think that DigiAccept is a kind of pre-announcement of the 'real' thing - the bank transfer. This is a major challenge for AddComm: to ensure that DigiAccept becomes as widespread and well-known as paying with an ATM card. This is an absolute condition for success, because there are plenty of competitors and the market won't wait forever. What is going to become the new standard in digital bank transfers? As far as we're concerned: DigiAccept. AddComm has all the technology in place. We needed a helpdesk service through which we could send a DigiAccept directly and also see whether or not it had been paid. The solution is already in the pipeline."

Corporate Social Responsibility

"In my opinion DigiAccept represents the next generation in payment in arrears," says Stefan van den Berg. "And that is why we are promoting DigiAccept as the consumer's preferred method of payment. Of course, every web shop is free to make its own choice. But in the future DigiAccept will be the standard service and it is the consumer who will choose. This fits in with our vision on Corporate Social Responsibility, one in which we want to use as little paper as possible. The paper bank transfer will eventually disappear."