Romanian fintech Beez launches in the UK
Romanian fintech Beez, which offers online shoppers services like cash-back and interest free credit, has launched in the UK.
The Beez platform provides an alternative to the “buy now, pay later” model with no interest, no late fees and no commission to users.
Beez, which has its UK base in London’s Canary Wharf, announced its plan to expand into the UK following a successful €250,000 funding round in June this year.
Co-Founders Lucian Cramba and Tamas Vasile had both started their careers in marketing, and so were aware of the large budgets allocated to acquire customers and keep them loyal.
“At the same time, we saw 70% of credit card owners end up paying interest and often at eye-watering levels in order to buy products from these same retailers.
“We believed there was a way to help retailers decrease their marketing spend, and at the same time help their customers reduce the cost of financing,” says Lucian Cramba, Co-Founder, Beez.
Beez, which has over 110,000 users and more than €2.5m in transactions completed through the platform to date, raised finance to support its international expansion, with the UK as its first target market.
The startup has already established partnerships with over 2,000 shops [including Asos, booking.com, Ali Express, Qatar Airways and Kauffmann] in the UK and from its base at Level 39, Canary Wharf, the team are in the process of raising a new round of UK funding with the ambition of becoming a Romanian unicorn such as UIPath.
The firm said the UK was the obvious choice for its next stage expansion.
Beez was founded in September 2018 in Alba Iulia, the historical capital of Transylvania (Romania), with many contributing factors: a mature ecosystem in terms of e-commerce and credit card usage; the growth of online spending, driven by the proliferation of smartphones and tablets; card payments overtaking cash as the most popular form of payment and the growing use of credit cards to shop online, which is estimated to be worth £220 billion, the firm said.
“In general, though, APR rates are still very high (compared to the UK’s very low interest rate) and although consumers seem to be getting smarter about how they spend on credit cards, using them for the rewards and protections and repaying balances before incurring interest, the default rate on UK credit card debt (in April 2019) was at its highest for two years”, said Vasile Tamas, Co-Founder, Beez.
Slicing the cost of credit finance
"In our model, we provide access to credit and rewards to the credit card user. This eliminates the cost of financing and means that the consumer receives 5-10% from the retailer as a commission for a purchase that will add up to 30-60% yearly on loans capital.”
Beez has been designed to be easy to use. Shoppers search for a store or a product on the Beez platform and are redirected to the retail partner’s website where they complete the purchase and are then notified that the cashback sum has been saved in their Beez account.
Beez supports the financing costs of these loans by working directly with a retailer who passes on a wholesale discount to Beez.
In addition, the Beez Pay feature, which is based on the amount of money already accumulated in the Beez platform, allows users to buy products and pay in 60 days whilst Beez pays the retailer directly for the item purchased.
At the same time, Beez’s scoring mechanism uses proprietary algorithms which considers nearly 100 data points to determine in real-time whether consumers qualify for credit.