StanChart invests US$500 Million in Asia’s largest BNPL platform Atome

Atome Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered Bank is investing US$500 million (S$675 million) in Atome, Asia’s largest buy now pay later (BNPL) platform.

Standard Chartered and Singapore-based fintech Atome Financial, a unit of Advance Intelligence Group, said the 10-year multi-product regional partnership combines their financial and technology expertise to improve access and product choice to consumers across Asia.

Atome Financial operates BNPL platform Atome as well as digital lending platform Kredit Pintar in Indonesia.

In what Standard Chartered said was one of its largest strategic investments in a fintech to date, the financing will support Atome’s regional expansion. The BNPL fintech is already across nine markets in Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and mainland China.

More BNPL services will be rolled out in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in the next few months under the new partnership. At the same time, Atome customers gain access to more innovative financial services via their mobile phones.

Judy Hsu, chief executive of consumer, private and business banking at Standard Chartered, said the investment in Atome helps the bank access the rapidly-growing digital consumer finance ecosystem.

“Our deep knowledge of Asia’s markets coupled with Atome Financial’s experience in digital consumer finance will allow us to reach even more customers and drive greater financial participation of those underserved and underbanked,” she said in a statement.

It is hoped that Atome’s cost-efficient, scalable platform, combined with Standard Chartered’s extensive banking footprint, will reach more than 16 million customers by 2025.

The bank-fintech partnership is chasing a much bigger share of the digital lending market, estimated to be worth US$92 billion by 2025 in South East Asia alone.

Jefferson Chen, co-founder and chief executive of Advance Intelligence Group, and chief executive of Atome Financial, said the Standard Chartered support builds on Atome’s mission of using technology to help people lead a better life.

“By providing consumers with easier, simpler, and more convenient access to a full suite of digital-first financial services, we can accelerate broader financial inclusion across both developed and emerging markets in Asia,” he said.

“At the same time, this partnership with Standard Chartered will allow us to expand our merchant network and help retailers increase their customer base and basket sizes, contributing to economic growth across the region.”

The 10-year partnership with Atome is part of Standard Chartered’s move to accelerate strategic investments in innovation and digitisation. The British-based international banking group said it aims to achieve 50 per cent of income from digital initiatives and innovation in the medium term.