September 9, 2004, 12:00 AM

For some, Bill Me Later merits pre-holiday consideration, says Forrester

With Q4 approaching, the window for implementing new systems is closing for most online retailers. But with a short implementation schedule, the payment alternative could still benefit high end retailers this year, suggests a Forrester report.


With Q4 approaching, the window for implementing new systems before the holidays is closing, and most online merchants from October onward will stay with what’s already in place. But high-end retailers and those that anticipate a high volume gift business might still realize benefits from adding an alternative payment option pre-holiday, according to a new report from Forrester Research, “Bill Me Later: A Promising New Option for Retail Payment.”

The service, managed by 14 Commerce, uses data provided by the customer at payment to run an instant credit check. If the customer qualifies, 14 Commerce instantly pays the merchant for the purchase and bills the customer within two weeks. If the transaction is declined, merchants can ask the shopper to pick another payment option in real time.

Forrester`s report notes that with an implementation schedule that typically runs four to eight weeks, Bill Me later is still worth considering for certain types of merchants even this close to the fourth quarter. Associated transaction fees are 1.5% of the order amount plus 15 cents per transaction, lower than fees typically associated with other types of payment. For merchants who have higher-value transactions, the payment alternative may help close sales with shoppers hesitant to buy big-ticket items with credit cards online, according to Forrester. The same goes for consumers and corporations buying large volumes of holiday gifts.

Other types of online retailers should review the prospects for adding payment alternatives after the holidays, Forrester notes.


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