Meet Alma, a French startup that helps you offer a new payment option for your expensive goods. Like Klarna, clients can choose to pay over three or four installments. But the comparison stops here, as Klarna isn’t available in France. Alma just raised a $ 14.1 million (€12.5 million) funding round.
As a merchant, when you integrate Alma in your payment flow, your customers can choose Alma to make it less intimidating. Instead of getting charged when you pay, you can choose to buy now and pay over three or four installments. Merchants get paid instantly.
“We handle risk and cash advance in house,” co-founder and CEO Louis Chatriot told me. “When it comes to the risk of non-payment, we have implemented a series of verifications, filters and algorithms in order to detect fraud and high-risk profiles.”
The company creates multiple categories depending on your profile. It can ask for more information if Alma has some doubts, such as API access to your bank statement. Assessing risk is particularly difficult in France, as there’s no central credit scoring system.
Merchants can choose to pay the processing fees in full — 3.8% of the transaction for a payment in three intallments, 4.2% for a payment in four installments. But they also can share the processing fees with the end customer.
Alma is compatible with most e-commerce platforms, such as Shopify, Magento and Prestashop. Merchants can also offer Alma as a payment option in retail stores.
Over 1,000 merchants are using Alma already — the startup processes tens of millions of euros of transactions per year. Clients include Bobbies, Asphalte, Cowboy, Weebot, The Cool Republic and The Socialite Family.
With today’s funding round, the company wants to attract more merchants and launch two new payment options — pay later and a more traditional option to pay now. In addition to that, Alma currently redirects customers to its own checkout page. The startup wants to integrate its payment widget directly on e-commerce websites.