Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) plans to provide US$500 million (S$677 million) in financing to Singapore-based buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) fintech Atome Financial, under a 10-year partnership to be rolled out in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.
In what appears to be the first bank-fintech BNPL tie-up in the region, the partnership will initially include BNPL services and later expand to digital lending products.
It aims to reach more than 16 million customers in Asia by 2025 and gain access to multiple financial ecosystems to capture a share of the digital lending market, estimated to be valued at US$92 billion by 2025 in South-east Asia alone, said StanChart and Atome in a joint statement yesterday.
The funding will enable Atome to grow and connect a wider ecosystem of merchants to a larger customer base, improving product access and financial inclusion for consumers across the region.
At the same time, Atome's customers will gain access to more innovative financial services via their mobile devices.
Atome Financial - which comprises BNPL platform Atome and digital lending platform Kredit Pintar in Indonesia - is a business unit under Advance Intelligence Group, which recently closed a US$400 million Series D financing round from a consortium led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and Warburg Pincus, valuing the company at more than US$2 billion.
StanChart said the latest partnership marks one of its largest strategic investments in a fintech to date.
It supports the bank's ambition to expand its reach and scale within the mass market segment via a digital-first approach, underpinned by digital acquisition and new partnership models.
Ms Judy Hsu, StanChart chief executive of consumer, private and business banking, said: "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."
Mr Jefferson Chen, chief executive of Advance Intelligence Group and Atome Financial, said: "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 BUSINESS TIMES