eBay Snaps Up Online Invoice Service BillSAFE

By David Knight |

There was just time for one last exit before Christmas for the German tech scene, with BillSAFE being snapped up by eBay for an undisclosed sum. The Internet giant had already taken a minority stake in BillSAFE, a leading provider of purchase-via-invoice technology, in October 2010.

Berlin-based BillSAFE provides a safe and easy way for merchants of all sizes in Germany to let shoppers buy goods via invoice. Once the customer has selected the BillSAFE method of payment, the startup then checks their identity and creditworthiness in real time, allowing it to give a direct guaranty.

The goods are sent out and the customer pays the bill when they have safely arrived. BillSAFE passes the money on to the seller weekly, and agrees to pay the full amount even in the event of a default.

By combining the service with PayPal, which has more than 15 million accounts in Germany, eBay is looking to provide a comprehensive payment service for merchants and consumers. Purchase on invoice is the most popular form of payment in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands, with 19.6 percent of German e-commerce payments billed via invoice.

Alexander Ey, CEO of BillSAFE, said: “Security-conscious shoppers can receive and inspect the merchandise they bought online before paying for their purchases. And merchants can sell to customers who were previously sceptical of buying online. It’s an ideal match.”

Arnulf Keese, managing director of PayPal Germany, said: “German customers are extremely security-conscious, and they enjoy the convenience and safety of invoicing when they shop online. One of PayPal’s greatest assets is the security of our system, and we’re glad that we can now offer customers even more peace of mind with a payment method that they already know and prefer and that drives more sales for the merchants.”