When Alma launched in 2018, it set out to make its buy now, pay later service as seamless as possible for businesses and their customers. It also wanted to avoid charging late fees. Although buy now, pay later has become an increasingly popular payment method, it’s a complex process behind-the-scenes: A service provider has to work out the customer’s credit score, decide whether to lend them money, and allow them to pay in instalments – all before the customer clicks “buy”. This meant Alma needed to get its lendability criteria right and resolve payment issues quickly.
“99% of people just want to pay back what they purchased in instalments,” said Simon Shohet, Alma’s finance manager. “So we needed a payment partner to make the purchasing spend as simple and as smooth as possible for everyone, and avoid being blocked by fraudsters.”
Right from the start, Alma worked with Stripe as its payment provider, which meant having a dedicated customer success team and a technical support team available to answer any questions Alma’s team had.
“It works amazingly well for us,” says Shohet. “The engineering and product teams enjoy working with Stripe because it's simpler. They find like-minded people. It's easy to implement, and it's easy to work with them.”
According to Shohet, Alma’s working relationship with Stripe feels like a real partnership. As a finance company, Alma works with many payment service providers (PSPs), but Stripe remains Alma’s main payment partner due to its technical excellence and financial expertise.
Because Stripe is so well-known, the partnership has allowed Alma to increase its own brand recognition among businesses and customers. Using Stripe has also improved the customer experience, since customers could easily switch credit cards or postpone payments.
Stripe has helped smooth Alma’s expansion too, meaning it could move into countries such as Italy without much effort. “When we launched in Italy, we didn't even have to launch anything specific for Italy,” said Shohet. “We just plugged in different businesses and it worked.”
Alma has grown rapidly in the five years since it launched, attracting over 12,000 businesses in seven countries, and tripling its acquiring volume between 2021 and 2022. It also recently signed major new clients such as
Maisons du Monde and train operator SNCF, and Shohet is certain his team will deliver. “We can be serene and calm, because we know that the payment side at least is being handled,” he said.
Next up is a direct integration with Stripe, meaning any business using Stripe will be able to offer Alma as a buy now, pay later option.
Stripe isn’t a vendor any more. It’s a partner. We partner to build payment services with them. And we grow our business thanks to what Stripe can do or not do. That's more like a partner than a vendor.