Atome is one of the top Buy Now Pay Later players in Singapore with multiple merchant partnerships.
The concept of splitting payments for purchases into instalments is nothing new. Many have used credit cards to enjoy interest-free instalment plans. However, the catch is that processing charges and late payment fees may apply depending on the credit card company.
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) providers such as Atome, Hoolah and Rely are causing ripples in the payments market by offering instalment payments with flexible conditions. This review of Atome explores what it’s all about, and how it compares with Hoolah and Rely.
Overview: What is Atome?
Atome was founded in 2019 to offer consumers innovative BNPL solutions when shopping. It aims to empower consumers to afford products and services over time.
Atome has affiliations with over 2,000 online and offline stores in Singapore, including big names such as Charles & Keith, Marks & Spencer, Aldo, Sephora, Furla, Pandora, Zalora and Shein.
It also has over 300 partners in Hong Kong such as Whirlpool, Xiaomi, HK Mall, CityLink, Bonjour and Sasa. Over 2,000 partners are spread in other markets in Asia in countries such as Indonesia, Thailand, mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam.
Over the years, Atome has had strategic partnerships with other companies to provide online and offline merchants with BNPL services to enable customers to split up their payments.
This brings us to the question, how does Atome make money? It charges the merchant a small fee for every transaction processed using Atome.
A benefit of Atome is its integration with a range of payment systems and partners, including Apple Pay, 2C2P and Fomo Pay.
How Atome's BNPL model works
Atome’s BNPL model is similar to other BNPL service providers whereby it breaks down your purchases into three instalments. The first instalment is to be paid when making the purchase, and the others will be spread 30 days apart. It's a free service, and you won't pay any interest when settling your balances.
With Atome, you can shop at top online and offline stores and brands, across products that include home electronics, furniture, beauty and fashion.
You can use the Atome app to sign up and make payment at offline stores. The Atome app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
To get started, you need to register with your details and set up your account. Usually, it takes less than two minutes to open an account and subsequently complete your first transaction. After that, payments will be deducted automatically from your account.
You can also use the app to track your instalments and spending.
If you’re shopping online, you’ll be able to select Atome as a payment option when checking out with participating merchants.
Comparison with Hoolah and Rely
The table below summarises the comparison of Atome, Hoolah and Rely.
|Buy Now Pay Later provider||Payment period||Late payment fee||Payment method||Perks|
|Atome||3 months||S$15||Debit card, credit card, Apple Pay||You'll get S$10 off the first online purchase. You can also enjoy merchant-specific vouchers when you use the app.|
|Hoolah||3 months||S$5–S$30 depending on order value||Debit card, credit card||Merchant-specific vouchers are available when you use the app.|
|Rely||3 months, or 4 payments made every 2 weeks||Up to S$40 depending on order value||Debit card, credit card||12% cashback is available on the first transaction.You can also enjoy merchant-specific vouchers.|
Atome imposes a S$15 late fee when you miss your payment and freezes your account until the outstanding payment and late fee have been settled.
Hoolah also charges a late fee if you delay paying the instalment on the due date. You'll be charged S$5 for order values of S$99.99 and below. For orders between S$100 and S$999.99, you'll be charged S$15. Orders of values above S$1,000 are charged S$30.
For Rely, the charges range between S$1 to S$40, depending on the order value.
Hoolah is a payment app from Singapore which offers a flexible and convenient method for merchants to enable their customers to split their transactions. Like Atome, the instalments are interest-free without any processing fee. As a Hoolah customer, you can split your purchase into three equal instalments payable every month.
Besides Singapore, Hoolah also operates in other markets in Asia, such as Hong Kong and Malaysia.
Is Hoolah legit? Yes, thanks to transaction encryption, the payment solution is available for online/offline stores seamlessly and is a highly secure process.
With Hoolah, you'll pay a third of the amount during purchase. However, the merchant receives the entire amount within four days. If a customer fails to pay, Hoolah bears the entire cost; hence the merchant will not suffer losses.
The Hoolah app is available on Google Play and the App Store to download for Android and iOS devices.
Rely is a company in Singapore that allows customers to shop in-store and at online stores and pay later. The company lets you split your purchases and enjoy zero interest upon paying on time. However, late payment fees apply if you fail to pay on time. Notably, the company sends email reminders to remind you when payments are due.
Unlike Hoolah and Atome, Rely allows you to make purchases and pay in four equal fortnightly instalments, in addition to the option of three monthly instalments.
As soon as your account is up and running, you can pay for purchases via your linked credit or debit cards. Additionally, you can earn rewards in the form of cashback.
Pros of Atome's BNPL model
In recent times, online shopping has taken over because of its convenience. In Singapore, there is a proliferation of online merchants who offer varying methods to check out.
Atome is one of the market players that utilise the BNPL model to allow customers to split their purchases in multiple instalments. With BNPL, you can pay the bill in easy instalments, which is a good idea if you are on a tight budget when making a purchase. Atome hence enables you to own things you desire but don't have enough cash to fully foot at the point of purchase.
You can also benefit from rewards, such as up to S$10 off your first purchase and merchant-specific vouchers.
When you use Atome's BNPL service, you can free up your money for other purposes such as savings, investment and insurance.
Drawbacks of Atome's BNPL model
Despite the numerous benefits offered by a BNPL model, some drawbacks may make it less attractive to some shoppers.
For example, if you fail to pay on time, you'll be charged late fees. In addition, it could affect your credit score and consequently your future borrowing.
The BNPL service also gives a false impression of affordability where you pay a smaller amount upfront and the balance later. In actuality, the cost of the item doesn't change regardless of whether you pay the full amount now or in future.
Which is the best? Atome, Hoolah or Relay?
From the above discussion, BNPL is an essential concept because it enables consumers to split their purchases and pay at a later date.
All three players are similar in many ways. For instance, you'll enjoy interest-free and zero transaction costs when you make your purchases. In addition, you get to pay a third of your bill at the point of purchase.
Other similarities include a monthly payment frequency and late payment fees when you don’t pay on time. Likewise, you can enjoy various rewards when you shop at specific merchants.
However, the fees differ depending on the provider. Between Atome and Hoolah, you’ll find that Hoolah’s late payment fee is lower since it starts at S$5. On the other hand, when you compare Rely and Hoolah, Rely is the most expensive at S$40.
Your best pick depends on the stability of the BNPL provider in terms of merchant partnerships. Atome has a wide network with over 2,000 online and offline stores in Singapore, therefore you’ll have many options for check out.
Atome is a leading BNPL player that offers buyers the possibility to split purchases and pay in easy instalments. It's a great option since you can buy products even when you lack cash at the point of purchase. Its wide network of merchants and integration with multiple payment partners also make it a BNPL platform that’s hard to beat.
If savings are on your mind when selecting payment options, besides BNPL, you can also consider cashback credit cards. Check out SingSaver’s comparison to see what might suit your needs.
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