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Payment Assist acquired by Australian BNPL specialist Openpay

Payment Assist has been acquired by Australian-based fintech Openpay, in a move that is expected to boost the availability of buy now pay later (BNPL) finance in the UK automotive sector.

The deal, worth more than £11m, will give Openpay access to Payment’s Assist’s 177,000 active customers and network of 7,000 garage partners; including well known chains such as Halfords, Pendragon Group, Stratstone and National Tyres.

Payment Assist has helped half a million motorists with unforeseen car repair costs, since it was established in 2013.

The transaction will catapult Openpay into the UK Automotive service and repair sector, building on its established Retail operation and recent entry into the Healthcare sector.

It plans to drive growth in the UK and strengthen its offering to consumers, providing them with longer, larger and more flexible, interest-free monthly payment plans.

Michael Eidel, managing director and CEO of Openpay, said: “In Payment Assist, we saw a unique opportunity to acquire a profitable, market-leading player in the £26.7 billion UK addressable automotive market.

"The proposed acquisition of this fast-growing business accelerates our automotive market entry and secures a significant foothold for Openpay in the UK.

"Material growth synergies exist between Openpay and Payment Assist. We also have shared values and a common vision to become the leading BNPS provider in our verticals, globally.

"We want to be a responsible provider of alternative payment and credit solutions to our customers - importantly, it's a core tenet of our strategy to embrace regulation in all of its forms.

"With this proposed acquisition, Openpay joins with a business that is already embracing UK Financial Conduct Authority regulation and brings a responsible approach to its customers and merchants.

"I look forward to welcoming Payment Assist into the Openpay family.”

Payment Assist founders Neil Jeffery and Colin Ellard will stay and continue to work for Openpay’s UK subsidiary, running the automotive operation.

Jeffery, said: “By teaming up, Payment Assist and Openpay bring combined expertise and market knowledge which is unrivalled in the UK automotive industry.

"We are delighted to be joining with Openpay and look forward to the benefits we can bring to merchants and customers.”

British motorists spend an average of £695 each year on vehicle repairs or maintenance and the UK market is valued at more than £26 billion per annum. 

Research from Halfords has shown that one in five consumers will put off vehicle repairs or maintenance because of the cost.

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