Philip Belamant: Paving the Way for BNPL 2.0 Through Payments Leader Zilch
London, UK — ( NewMediaWire) — September 2, 2022 — Philip Belamant’s revolutionary payments provider Zilch continues to take the world by storm. Over the past 18 months, the company has built a base of more than 2.5 million users growing twice as quickly as some of its competitors. Currently, around 250,000 users sign up to use the company’s services every month. As one of Europe’s newest “unicorns” (a startup valued at more than $1 billion), Zilch is rapidly expanding its presence, and, on May 17, 2022, the company hopped across the pond to start operations in the United States.
Mayor Frances Suarez welcomed Zilch to the Brickell neighborhood in Miami, Florida, where the future-focused company is launching its BNPL 2.0 and payments services. Scaling its unique, consumer-focused services to U.S. markets will allow Zilch to continue setting itself apart from big-name competitors like Klarna, Afterpay, and Affirm.
Zilch: A BNPL 2.0 Company
Zilch’s CEO and co-founder Philip Belamant has creatively billed the company a “BNPL 2.0” provider. BNPL 2.0 is an innovative strategy that attempts to eliminate the stigma associated with BNPL services, which have become tarnished by traditional providers that charge high interest rates and fees. Zilch has distanced itself from this model to protect consumers’ financial welfare. Instead, it offers a direct-to-consumer (DTC) approach that allows shoppers to benefit from making purchases without going into debt. This approach is a game-changer for millions of savvy shoppers who are moving away from predatory traditional credit and lending services.
Why BNPL 1.0 Is Outdated
The original model, BNPL 1.0, is fast becoming outdated. Many modern customers, especially Millennials and Gen Z, are pivoting away from outdated financial products that come with penalties and are moving toward safer financial solutions such as Zilch, which doesn’t charge any interest or hidden fees and instead provides financial rewards for shoppers. While many traditional credit card companies profit from these kinds of fees, Zilch makes its profits through merchant commissions. This model, which puts consumers rather than merchants first, has come at a pivotal time given the increased cost of living and rising consumer debt, both worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Credit Karma Study
To put this into perspective, a September 2021 Credit Karma study reveals that 34 percent of American BNPL users have fallen behind on at least one payment. Of those individuals, 72 percent believe their credit score declined because of these missed payments.
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Inquiry
On top of this, research from the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that Americans paid approximately $120 billion in credit card interest and fees in both 2019 and 2020. In December 2021, the CFPB launched an investigation into common concerns associated with BNPL and payments services, such as regulatory arbitrage (a practice whereby firms capitalize on loopholes in the system to circumvent unfavorable regulations), debt accumulation, and data harvesting in the consumer credit market. These concerns are especially troublesome since the market constantly changes as new technologies emerge.
Zilch-YouGov Survey on BNPL Trends
In March 2022, Zilch partnered with YouGov to survey BNPL trends in the United States. Two thousand respondents completed the survey, demonstrating that, despite the rise in the use of BNPL products, many consumers don’t understand how they work, how they compete with credit card companies, or how they serve consumers.
Of respondents with a minimum household income of $35,000, 43 percent think BNPL providers make money on the interest they collect from shoppers. In addition, 31 percent don’t know how BNPL providers even make money. Finally, 26 percent believe products sold through BNPL providers have marked-up prices so providers can collect the difference in cost. Of this same group of respondents, 25 percent think BNPL providers don’t offer rewards points or cash back; 21 percent think BNPL companies earn money by charging secret or unadvertised fees that the consumer pays; 20 percent think their credit card interest rate is lower than BNPL interest rates; and 16 percent think BNPL isn’t regulated.
By spreading the word about how Zilch can protect consumers through its payments and BNPL 2.0 approach, Belamant hopes to help shoppers worldwide avoid paying unnecessary costs to use fintech products. Instead, consumers can use Zilch’s safer payment solution and save money at a time that is so critical for many.
How Belamant Is Leading the Way for BNPL 2.0
By launching this payments and BNPL 2.0 company, Philip Belamant plans to create a fintech solution that overcomes the flaws of traditional credit card companies and supersedes their outdated and often dangerous payment products. Following this consumer-focused approach, shoppers can use Zilch, both in person and through the app, to pay for a percentage of their purchase upfront and spread the rest of the cost over three additional installments. Alternatively, they can pay in full and receive 2 percent cash back in rewards points. This way, Zilch allows shoppers to earn value with every transaction they make.
Three facets of Zilch’s model pave the way for BNPL 2.0.
1. Zilch’s Affordability Assessments
Zilch helps consumers manage their cash flow with pioneering open-banking technology that performs per-transaction affordability assessments. These assessments are proportionally evaluated for each customer and determine a unique spending limit based on the customer’s financial data and payment history. This limit updates every time the customer completes a Zilch transaction, meaning the spending limit can increase much more frequently than a credit card, which usually only increases a few times a year, if that.
This year, Zilch partnered with global information services provider Experian to make even better-informed decisions about consumer spending limits. This partnership gives Zilch access to Experian’s data, which will integrate with its open-banking data in a proprietary algorithm to generate each shopper’s spending limit. This way, Zilch will expand its unique blend of open banking, credit reporting agency (CRA), and behavioral data, giving the company a 360-degree view of a shopper’s affordability at any time.
By uniting their technologies, Zilch and Experian have made it possible to measure user affordability through reciprocal reporting of BNPL credit information. With this partnership, Zilch can get a much broader picture of each shopper’s financial situation to approve a spending limit they can afford. As Zilch deepens its understanding of consumer affordability, the company continues strengthening its role as a fintech company that encourages its users’ financial health.
2. Zilch’s DTC Model and Mastercard Partnership
While most large players in the BNPL industry deal with merchants, Zilch has opted to connect directly with consumers by allowing them to buy goods from any merchant that accepts Mastercard. Zilch’s partnership with Mastercard allows consumers to use Zilch when shopping with many more merchants than most other payments and BNPL providers. So, while Klarna is available to 250,000 merchants, Affirm to 100,000 and Afterpay to 86,000, Zilch is available to 37 million merchants!
3. Zilch’s User Benefits
Consumers can use Zilch to receive benefits, deals, and discounts every time they transact. As a result, many shoppers use Zilch up to 20 times a month, which may be more than they use Amazon. While the success of other BNPL providers relies solely on their merchant integrations, Zilch’s success thrives on the purchasing options and value it offers consumers, as well as the value it provides merchants. Belamant believes this unique selling point will pave the way for change in the United States, as it has in the United Kingdom.
Zilch: Expanding Into the United States
Zilch connects buyers and sellers in the most sophisticated way available today. Having already experienced rapid growth in the United Kingdom, the payments provider is in a solid position to offer its unique solution in the United States and tap into this newfound market. With its Miami headquarters now up and running, Zilch is looking to recruit employees for its new office.
About Philip Belamant
Philip Belamant, the 2021 British Entrepreneur of the Year, has planned and launched several groundbreaking initiatives to empower consumers worldwide financially. From his efforts to support underfinanced populations in South Africa to his success with Zilch, which has transformed the way Millennials, Gen Z users, and other modern consumers make payments, he has cultivated and crafted solutions to support the financial health of countless individuals, all without damaging existing ecosystems.