Adding BNPL services and a personal digital lending portfolio can also help it compete with neobanks.

To expand its mass-market reach and scale in Asia, an international bank has announced a 10-year deal with a fintech to offer Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and digital personal banking services.

This announcement marks one of Standard Chartered’s largest strategic investments in a fintech to-date. The digital-first approach is underpinned by digital acquisition and new partnership models. Atome Financial is a business unit under Advance Intelligence Group, and operates Asia’s largest buy now pay later platform in addition to digital lending platform Kredit Pintar.

The partnership will initially include buy now pay later services targeting to roll out in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam in the next few months, later expanding to include digital lending products. By providing financing of US$500m to Atome, Standard Chartered aims to improve product access and financial inclusion for consumers across the region. At the same time, Atome Financial’s customers will gain access to more innovative financial services, easily accessed via their mobile devices.

According to the bank’s CEO (Consumer, Private and Business Banking), Judy Hsu: “This partnership with Atome Financial gives us the opportunity to be part of the rapidly growing digital consumer finance ecosystem and provides convenient and relevant digital financial products to complement and enrich clients’ digital lives,” noting the goal of driving greater financial participation of the underserved and underbanked.

The co-founder, Group Chairman and CEO of Advance Intelligence Group, and also CEO of Atome Financial, Jefferson Chen said: “By providing consumers with easier, simpler, and more convenient access to a full suite of digital-first financial services, we can accelerate broader financial inclusion across both developed and emerging markets in Asia.”