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Catch Group to offer LatitudePay

E-commerce company Catch Group has joined Harvey Norman as the latest major retailer to back LatitudePay, a new buy now pay later offering launched last month by Latitude Financial.

Led by former Australia Post CEO Ahmed Fahour, Latitude Financial has pitched its product as being more merchant-friendly than other platforms, such as Afterpay and zipPay, which had several years’ headstart in the buy now pay later market.

LatitudePay doesn’t charge any merchant service fees for transactions under $250, and says its fees for transactions between $250 and $1000 are “segment leading”.

The Australian Financial Review reported Latitude’s fees as being around 2 per cent of the cost of goods, compared to the 5 per cent rival Afterpay charges for mostly small purchases.

The service debuted last month, with Harvey Norman already on board. Last week, the company announced a new partnership with the Lux Group’s online booking site LuxuryEscapes. (The company did a deal with Catch Group in 2017 to buy the discount site’s online booking business, BonVoyage, and travel-based deals site, ScooponTravel, and sell its own online retail businesses BrandsExclusive and TheHome.)

Fahour said in a statement on Tuesday that Latitude would unveil other merchant partnerships in the coming weeks.

Catch Group CEO Nati Harpaz said in a statement that the company was excited to be partnering with LatitudePay and that the move would provide its customers more choice and value when it comes to choosing how they pay.

“LatitudePay allows our savvy shoppers to spread payment over ten weeks and responds to the growing demand we’ve seen for buy now later services,” he said.

Catch currently offers ZipPay, and said LatitudePay would go live at checkout this month.

The buy now pay later concept, which generally enables consumers to split the cost of an item into several interest-free instalments, first emerged with the launch of Afterpay in 2015.

Since then, a slew of fintech companies have introduced their own versions of this modern-day form of lay-by.

Besides Afterpay, some of the bigger buy now pay later players in Australia today include ZipPay, Openpay and Humm.

And just last month, New Zealand-based player Laybuy launched in Australia.

But while retailers have largely embraced buy now pay later technology, saying it boosts sales, calls for greater regulation of these services is growing.

The corporate regulator ASIC is watching the sector closely, and a senate inquiry recommended the Federal Government consider regulation, including making these providers subject to the National Credit Act and its code.

ABC News in August reported the Australian Financial Complaints Authority had received more than 250 complaints about buy now pay later services in the eight months to June.

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