PayZen Wants to Bring ‘CNPL’ to Health Care

As we’ve written extensively here, buy now, pay later is no longer just for consumer goods like clothing and electronics. BNPL, which involves acquiring something today and paying it back in equal installments, has been spreading its wings for a while. Increasingly BNPL purchases involve bigger-ticket items like furniture and large appliances, travel, home repairs, and increasingly B2B transactions.

So applying BNPL health care seemed inevitable. After all, it’s the expense category that arguably gives American consumers the greatest anxiety.

Enter PayZen. The San Francisco company — which calls itself a “mission-driven fintech” — has raised a $15 million Series A to scale up what it calls “Care Now, Pay Later.”

BNPL Just Keeps Rolling, Going Vertical, and Raising Eyebrows

A quick aside. Increasingly, we’re seeing companies come up with cute variations on the term “buy now, pay later” as a way to differentiate. For example, we recently noticed an Egyptian BNPL startup call itself SYMPL. That stands for “save your money, pay later”. “Care now, pay later” is in the same camp. Don’t be fooled, it’s all the same thing.

Tackling Medica Debt

According to PayZen, U.S. medical debt stands at $300 billion. And cost concerns lead almost one out of three Americans to defer receiving medical care. PayZen was founded in 2019 to develop health care payment options that will allow more people to access care. We presume this is the “mission-driven” part.¬†PayZen says it uses AI to help health care providers to get a more accurate gauge of a patient’s ability to pay.

“Patient payment responsibility has more than doubled throughout the last two decades, placing a disproportionate burden on Americans who can’t afford large lump sum medical invoices,” said PayZen’s CEO and co-founder¬†Itzik Cohen, in a statement. “At PayZen, our mission is to address healthcare affordability for everyone, no matter the stage of care. With this fresh round of capital, we’re excited to improve the quality of more people’s lives, while serving as a trusted technology partner to medical providers across the country.”

The funding round was led by SignalFire. Also participating were Link Ventures and 7wireVentures. To date, PayZen has raised $2 million. The company plans to invest in its technology to expand access to “CNPL” to more consumers. It also plans to invest in marketing and business development.

PayZen isn’t making the medical debt problem go away. Nor is it fair to expect them to. However, making it easier to access medical care is a worthy mission. And it’s an easy call for health care provides. The beauty of the BNPL more for the merchant is that they get their money upfront, for a fee of course. PayZen’s challenge will be managing the default rate. That’s where the AI comes in, presumably. But medical bills seem riskier than shoes and dresses. We’ll see how that goes as PayZen scales.

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