Sellers rejoice! Amazon to offer loans now

Amazon is soon going to launch a business loan program to help small sellers later in 2015.

The program will be launched in 8 countries including Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Until now, the e-retailer has offered the service only in the United States and Japan.

Amazon Lending, founded in 2012, now plans to offer short-term working capital loans in other countries where it operates a third-party, seller-run marketplace business.

The service is on an invite-only basis and is not open to all sellers on Amazon’s platform.

Other large retailers including eBay Inc’s PayPal and Alibaba Group Holdings, which run third-party marketplaces, are also turning to credit to boost their vendor base.

Some lending industry officials, who help lenders assess credit risk, say these retailers are taking on risky loans because they don’t know the shape of the credit market in which the sellers are operating.

Amazon said it can safely offer loans based on internal data and because it takes loan payments out of the sales proceeds it pays sellers.

PayPal spokesman Josh Criscoe said eBay merchants who use PayPal are eligible for the working capital loans and credit is offered to only those customers that have a strong PayPal sales history. PayPal has provided more than $500 million (roughly Rs. 3,200 crores) in capital since September 2013, with an average loan disbursement of $2 million (roughly Rs. 12.7 crores) per day.

A spokeswoman for Alibaba’s financial services arm Ant Financial, which offers these loans, said credit is offered to Taobao, Tmall merchants and other small business owners who meet certain conditions. The company also offers such loans to customers in some countries like the United States and Britain.

Amazon said it has offered hundreds of millions of dollars in loans since 2012, with more than half of its sellers opting for a repeat loan.

The company declined to provide specific figures and also did not say how much it plans to lend this year.

Amazon’s Faricy said the company has become better at understanding the inflection points in a small or medium business where capital can make a difference.


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