MUFG partners with POS finance startup | Bank Innovation | Bank Innovation

MUFG partners with POS finance startup

Signage for MUFG Bank Ltd., a unit of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. (MUFG), is displayed outside a branch in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, May 13, 2020. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

On the heels of scoring an investment from MUFG Innovation Partners, point-of-sale finance platform ChargeAfter is exploring further partnership opportunities with the $2.8 trillion Japanese bank as it gears up for market expansion, according to ChargeAfter CEO Meidad Sharon.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based startup declined to disclose the amount of the MUFG funding, but said it would be used to build out its decisioning engine, which connects consumers shopping online with financing options from multiple partner lenders at checkout. Specifically, ChargeAfter will hone the platform’s personalization efforts, which are used to create consumer profiles, to improve the company’s 85% approval rate, Sharon said. The startup, a participant in Bank Innovation’s sister accelerator INV Fintech, will also focus the investment on bank integration technology in order to expand its lender network.

While the MUFG partnership is the first between the two companies, ChargeAfter is in “constant discussions” to find opportunities for cooperation with MUFG, Sharon said, noting the bank’s global presence, specifically in Asia, presents a big opportunity for the startup. MUFG has a U.S. presence through its wholly-owned Oregon-based Union Bank.

“When we met MUFG I think we have learned that our vision is similar and MUFG, outside of the financial investment, can be also a great strategic partner,” Sharon said. “We’re trying to have investors that, beside the actual money, will be able to contribute strategic value to the company.”

ChargeAfter currently has 12 U.S. lenders on its platform, including Synchrony, Genesis Credit and Progressive, and has secured investments from BBVA, Synchrony Bank and Visa.

According to Mayank Shiromani, vice president at MUFG Innovation Partners, ChargeAfter’s platform solves a hurdle lenders and merchants face with real-time POS financing. “Most single lender solutions finance only a small segment of the merchant’s customers,” he said in a statement. “Therefore, to find a solution that works [with] all the customers, the merchant needs to search, negotiate and integrate with multiple lenders,” though ChargeAfter’s approach provides “an optimized offer to each customer without requiring any additional efforts from the merchant.”

The startup is also prepping for international market expansion and is slated to launch in Canada within two months, and in the U.K. by yearend, Sharon said. ChargeAfter has processed hundreds of millions of financed dollars through its platform and has experienced 100% growth in POS finance volume quarter over quarter, he added.

“Expanding into new countries is not only about growth, but also about our value proposition,” Sharon said, which is “placing the power of payments and flexibility back into the hands of the consumer.”