Amazon.com Buying Bill Me Later Stake
Wolfe, Daniel, American Banker
Hoping to turn browsers into buyers, Amazon.com Inc. has agreed to buy a minority stake in the payment company Bill Me Later Inc. and to offer the service on its Web site.
The Seattle online retailer announced the deal Tuesday, but did not give a price.
Bill Me Later targets people who want to shop online but are reluctant to use their credit cards. Shoppers enroll in the service, receive credit for online purchases, and are sent a bill by e-mail or standard mail, which they can pay by check or with a credit card.
"Hopefully," offering Bill Me Later at Amazon.com "will entice some customers who might not have shopped with us to do so," said Patty Smith, Amazon's director of corporate communications.
She said the service would be made available as soon as possible, and that Amazon may eventually combine Bill Me Later with Amazon Flexible Payments Service, its merchant service payment option, though there are no plans to do so.
Several other large online retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Toys 'R' Us Inc., already offer Bill Me Later.
Bill Me Later, of Timonium, Md., did not respond to interview requests by deadline.
Jennifer Roth, a senior analyst with the global payments practice at TowerGroup Inc. …