Practical Ecommerce

Online Payment Alternative: Bill Me Later

Vince Talbert is the vice president of marketing for I4 Commerce (pronounced “eye four commerce”), a company offering the online payment alternative Bill Me Later at.

PeC: What does Bill Me Later provide to customers?

Talbert: “It is a payment option designed so customers can make purchases online without having to use credit cards. A customer simply checks the Bill Me Later option, and he will be sent a bill in the mail.”

PeC: If the billing comes later, how does the merchant know he/she will be paid for the product purchased?

Talbert: “When the consumer is approved by Bill Me Later, the merchant knows that he is covered for that transaction. The merchant will get paid by Bill Me Later for that transaction, so he will go ahead and ship those goods to the consumer. That night, when the merchant settles his transactions through his existing payment processor — much as he would do with Visa and Mastercard transactions — he will get full payment for that purchase, minus the transaction fees associated with it.”

PeC: Is the merchant at risk if the customer doesn’t pay for the product?

Talbert: “We take the credit risk associated with that transaction. If a customer failed to pay, we would pay the merchant, and Bill Me Later would go about collecting the money from the person who made the purchase. As long as the merchant has shipped the goods and the customer is satisfied in that sense, it is our responsibility to go collect.”

PeC: Are merchants’ customers hassled by Bill Me Later for payment?

Talbert: “We send out a bill to the customer in five to seven days. A customer typically has 30 days to pay that bill without incurring any additional cost. However, for the sake of convenience, a customer can choose to pay for purchases over time. This incurs a small interest charge, and a minimum payment due is assigned. At that point, the arrangement works very much like a credit card does in the sense that a customer gets a monthly bill with a minimum due and interest accrues if the balance is not paid in full.”

PeC: Can offering Bill Me Later really help boost my sales?

Talbert: “If it is used and promoted correctly, merchants can see a double-digit share of their sales occurring through Bill Me Later. What we find is that, of the sales that occur through Bill Me Later, about half those customers will be incremental new customers that merchants would not have gotten otherwise.”

“Third-party research studies have validated that about 50 percent of customers would not have purchased without Bill Me Later. Because you provide instant buying power through the instant credit process we facilitate, it gives people more buying power. As a result, they spend more.”

“Typically, the average order value is 50 percent to 75 percent higher than the average transaction at a site without the feature. So, you see higher average order values, you see incremental customers and you see customers return to your website more frequently. There is typically 46 percent higher repeat usage by a consumer in the first 90 days of his relationship with you.”

PeC: What would it cost a merchant to implement?

Talbert: “It is really based on the amount of sales volume the merchant does. Bill Me Later costs typically 30 to 40 percent less than what merchants pay for Visa and Mastercard fees. It varies, and it depends on the size of the merchant.”

PeC: If I am a multichannel merchant, will integrating this system work?

Talbert: “Yes. About 40 percent of our retailers who sell online also utilize us in their call centers.”

PeC: If the consumer purchases from multiple sites that use this feature during a given month, does the consumer get multiple invoices from Bill Me Later?

Talbert: “All the transactions the consumer makes with Bill Me Later are aggregated on one bill, and there is no preset spending limit.”

Practical Ecommerce

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  1. Legacy User May 25, 2007 Reply

    Overall, we've had good results with BML, and, quite honestly, we would be able to drive additional incremental sales if we were able to promote the service to a greater degree on our own site. We have had much more positive results with BML compared to PayPal, both in terms of the percentage of total orders, as well as average order value.

    — *Paul Hollowell*

  2. Legacy User May 24, 2007 Reply

    The minimum for Bill me later is huge. Small and even medium ecommerce sites will not be able to use the bill me later services. We do several million a year in online sales, and we weren't even close to what bill me later required when we looked into it last year. Definitely was disappointing as the service would fit perfectly with our products and our customers. Everything looked great then as it still does not, but it's just not usable for the majority of online merchants.

    — *Jestep*

  3. Legacy User May 24, 2007 Reply

    How much sales volume do you need to do get approved for Bill Me Later? I've heard that it is a minimum of $10M – 20M per year? Also, can we go through Authorize.net to get a Bill Me Later account?

    — *Nancy*

  4. Legacy User May 24, 2007 Reply

    We saw a 5 percent decrease in overall sales. We promptly shut it down. Turns out, people were having problems adhering to the strict BML guidelines for the fields in the checkout process.

    — *Keith*

  5. Legacy User June 3, 2007 Reply

    Wow, I just took a look at the form to sign on and the first question asks whether your sales volume is greater than $20M.

    But I see one of my competitors http://www.planetgrind.com offers the service. Somehow I doubt these dudes are doing $20M/year selling scooters.

    Mitch, can you give some insight as to what the minimum requirements are? You cannot even complete the form for BML unless you are doing over a million per year!

    Harvey

    — *Harvey Braswell*

  6. Legacy User June 5, 2007 Reply

    I work for Bill Me Later. I wanted to let your readers know that our CNP online sales volume is not $10M-$20M as suggested. We actually are working with mid-market merchants today. I would be happy to talk to anyone interested in learning more. I can be reached at heather.fields@i4commerce.com or 443.921.1961. Please know that I am at the Internet Retailer Conference from June 4-7 but will respond to inquiries immediately thereafter. Alternatively my colleagues in our Inside Sales Group can also answer questions. They can be reached at 443.921.1949 or salesinquiries@i4commerce.com.

    — *Heather Fields*

  7. Legacy User June 2, 2007 Reply

    I do a lot of weekend traveling around the midwest, and to florida for vacation. I am a business owner and recent college graduate. I book all my flights, hotels, and traveling needs online. I have booked through some sights (sometimes at a higher price for airfare or a hotel room) specifically because they offered Bill Me Later.

    I don't like using my debit card to book these things as it can tie up cash flow at times. Using a credit card would be easy, but using them for everything can forms a liberal spending habit which can lead to problems, as well as being difficult to seperate business expenses from personal. Obtaining business debit and credit cards as well as personal is annoying because you have so many accounts to manage cash flow through.

    Bill Me Later allows me to track these expenses for tax purposes as an independent contractor just as good (if not better) as a credit or debit card, while providing a convenient, reliable, and efficient means of payment for a specific function.

    — *Chris Sabey*

  8. Legacy User June 15, 2007 Reply

    Anyone considering alternative form of payment, check out e-gold.
    Backed by Gold Metal

    http://www.e-gold.com/e-gold.asp?cid=4512006

    — *Bhong*

  9. Legacy User June 1, 2007 Reply

    This article was really worthy of Impractical Ecommerce rather than your site/magazine.

    In order to signup with Bill Me Later you need over $20M of revenue per year so how practical is that for the average ecommerce site?!?!?!

    — *Frank*

  10. Legacy User July 26, 2007 Reply

    Folks, I recommend using a decent pay per phone company called http://www.daopay.com

    No annual fees, no minimum sales required, just plain good service and customer service. Fast and anonymous (definitely not furious ;-)) payments.

    — *Frank Zeisel*

  11. Legacy User August 8, 2007 Reply

    I am building 2 websites and so far I have a shopping cart and a good company to process future clients credit cards for full payments PayPal, but I like the idea of offering a pay late plan or small pay plan for products, what I would like to do is have the pay later option next to pay pal, so the customers can choose towards the end of visits to any of my sites is this possible???

    — *Reynaldo R Rodriguez*

  12. Legacy User September 3, 2007 Reply

    Check out this free merchant account letting customers pay via mobile phone on your website. http://www.getpaidbyphone.com

    The customer actually doesn't get billed until later on their phone carrier's billing cycle.. like deferred billing.

    The merchant is guaranteed payment by the phone carrier.

    — *Lee Tran*

  13. Legacy User December 26, 2007 Reply

    I have had someone use Bill me Later and now I have bill collectors calling and Bill me Later does not seem to care that I did not request this service. And what really ticks me off is someone purchased a Continental Airline ticket to it would not be hard to figure out who used my identification. Instead, Bill Me Later seems to enjoy harrassing me!!!!
    This is a really ridiculous service that can be used in a very wrong way!!!

    — *Angry*

  14. Legacy User January 9, 2008 Reply

    Bill me later is a total scam. You unknowingly get signed up with an account and then all of a sudden get harassing calls from rude collection people. When you ask simple questions they act like trained robots rather than humans, charge outrageous fees and I would NEVER use them for my business or as a consumer ever again. They should be shut down for what is tantamount toloan sharking.

    — *Busby*

  15. Legacy User January 21, 2008 Reply

    They did not properly credit a return. I called them on it several times and got correction assurances each time. Never happened. Finally a supervisor promised to solve it. I moved on.

    Then Penncro & Associates got on my case. This is a COLLECTION AGENCY going after me for a product that I returned for a full refund. Bill Me Later admitted their mistake but refused to address a charged-off account. I complained to their execs and got a call back today from a VP. Can someone please tell me how a company can collect on a debt that doesn't exist? I should note that the merchant involved, OfficeMax, agreed with my version of events and has been wonderful.

    Maybe I'll get some solutions soon.

    — *Brian*

  16. Legacy User March 3, 2008 Reply

    Do not use them. Their billing practices and late fee charges are questionable at best. They apply the payments in a way that if you have 3 different purchases 1 due immediatelly, 1 due in 3 months and 1 in four months they will split the payment between all 3 thus charging you late fees for no payment of the amount due immediatelly if you 1/3 does not cover the entire amount due immediatelly.

    — *P Robin*

  17. Legacy User March 12, 2008 Reply

    Has anyone out there heard about WideCircles.com. It seems like a way better service then wasting money on PPC. Apparently they are using refering websites ( forums, blogs, wiki, etc. ) and have a viral word of mouth distributed approach to it. My friend told me he got around 100 visits from single post which cost him $0.40c. I am going to give them a try today . In case you are intrested here is it. http://widecircles.com?s=imt1

    — *gayathriherat*

  18. Legacy User April 9, 2008 Reply

    I wasted a lot of money on PPC. I went with a company called FutureRanking.com. They guaranteed that they would get my keywords on the top 2 pages in the major search engines. It took about 3 months for them to get me there, but I was very pleased with the results. I'm getting a lot of traffic because of it. Hopefully I can get something like BML in the future later when my business grows. It will be a while before I see $10 million. Does anyone know about any direct competitors they may have?

    — *John Severson*

  19. Legacy User April 10, 2008 Reply

    Billmelater.com is totally untrustworthy and does not care about customers.
    They only care about taking your money. It is just impossible to get them to correct a mistake. Their reps and supervisors just repeat the same thing each and every time from some script. We are not responsible..call the merchant.
    Anyways, lets begin with this, I was entitled to a free product from Equiifax due to Hillis/Slack Settlement and picked the billmelater option without realizing that I was openning an account with billmelater.com. I realized I made a mistake in the payment option and cancelled the order 2 days later with the Equifax. Equifax told me I would not be charged. However, I received a email from billmelater.com that a bill was on the way. I called immediately called billmelater.com on it to inform them of the cancellation. billmelater.com keeps saying that they already paid Equifax the money and I would have to call Equifax and have Equifax refund the money back to billmelater.com. This did not make sense to me but I went along and called Equifax on it and told them that what billmelater.com told me, that billmelater.com wanted their money back from Equifax for the cancelled order. Equifax in turn, maintains that they never got money from billmelater.com for the cancelled order and to call billmelater.com to inform them that the order was cancelled and to adjust the bill. So here I am getting the run around calling billmelater.com and Equifax back and forth with each sticking to their story that we paid them tell them to give it back to use…no no we did not get any money, tell them to adjust your account…so and and so on. Now, I am so frustrated that I reported billmelater.com to BBB because I think billmelater.com is pulling a scam in trying to collect money they are not entitled to. I am thinking of reporting Equifax to the BBB too. They are just as guilty as billmelater.com because Equifax website promises to take care of their customers but all I got was run around. So a warning to you all out their…don't go pushing strange buttons because you never know where it will lead you.

    — *BillmelaterIsScammingMe*

  20. Legacy User June 10, 2008 Reply

    I learned about an alternative to PayPal and Bill Me Later called Moneta (latin for money). Apparently, Moneta's merchant fees are substantially lower than other credit card and payment seervices. Moneta debits payments directly from the consumer's checking or savings accounts, so there isn't the high credit car dprocessing rate. Their site is: https://www.monetacorp.com/enrollment/corp/index.jsp’ defer filler=’

    — *ilona*

  21. HannahMayfair August 19, 2008 Reply

    Online payment is a complex process. The content seems to be important for all users.

    __________
    GAYATHRI

    <a href="http://www.esteembpo.com">Social Media Marketing</a>

  22. Dennis October 10, 2008 Reply

    The whole payment industry trys to put the service they provide out in front, but they are very much similiar, if they are reputable they would provide a Vendor account and handle the bank details in house like G2S.com there is a difference.