NEW YORK — Forget Bill Me Later, and say hello to PayPal Credit.
PayPal today announced that it’s rebranding Bill Me Later, its credit arm that was acquired in 2008, to the much more obvious PayPal Credit as part of an overall effort to refocus its credit business. The company also revealed that its Working Capital program, a lending program for businesses that launched last September, is now lending more than $150 million to more than 20,000 U.S. businesses.
Additionally, PayPal is expanding PayPal Credit to the UK and Germany, as well as two more countries by the end of the year. The rebrand has certainly been a long time coming for PayPal, but it makes sense now that the company seems to be on a roll with new products and announcements, including revamped mobile apps and a better overall experience for developers. And for the first time, PayPal is also publicizing its products to mainstream consumers (you may have noticed its recent wave of TV commercials).
At a press luncheon today, PayPal representatives said the new focus on PayPal Credit can increase engagement with customers and potentially boost sales. After all, you’re more likely to buy that giant TV if you knew that you could easily spread out the payment.
“We want to bring credit closer to the center [of PayPal],” said Steve Allocca, PayPal’s head of global credit, at the luncheon today. He also noted that we’re going to see PayPal’s credit products broaden in the future.
For businesses, PayPal credit gives them a simple way to offer financing options to customers without collecting loads of personal information and being thrown into potentially uncomfortable conversations. At the luncheon today, Jack Murray, the owner of Jack & Adam’s Bicycles in Austin, noted that he potentially lost some customers for life when they got rejected for previous credit offerings.
And while PayPal Credit makes it easier for consumers to get credit, the Working Capital program similarly simplifies the process of getting a loan for businesses. PayPal says it’s now increasing the limit of Working Capital loans up to $60,000, and it’s also doubled the amount of eligible merchants. The program is still invite-only, and it’s only available to merchants who’ve had more than $20,000 in volume on the PayPal network in the past year. PayPal (and its parent company eBay) manage the loans, but they’re issued by its partner WebBank.
So what took so long to rebrand Bill Me Later? Allocca, who joined PayPal in January 2013 to lead its credit program, said that it likely took longer than expected to fully integrate Bill Me Later’s product into PayPal. The new credit focus is a remnant of former PayPal president David Marcus’s reign (he recently made a surprise jump to Facebook), who also pushed PayPal to act more like a startup and modernize all of its products.