Mercari’s new Instant Pay feature transfers verified sellers’ balances to their debit cards within minutes

For online sellers, waiting three to five days for e-commerce platforms to transfer their balance is one of their biggest pain points. Mercari is going after rivals with its new Instant Pay feature, which deposits money in a few minutes. Once sellers are verified, they can instantly transfer up to $500 per month of their Mercari balance to a debit card for a $2 processing fee.

Bradford Williams, Mercari’s head of communications, told TechCrunch in an email that the new feature is a first for peer-to-peer selling apps. “Uber and Lyft made instant payments table stakes for U.S. drivers; we’re extending that to casual sellers. Mercari U.S. is focused on casual sellers (versus power sellers); therefore, we’d like to attract sellers from all marketplaces/platforms,” he said. “Frankly, we see our biggest opportunity in influencing U.S. consumer behavior versus taking share incrementally from established competitors.”

To use Instant Pay, sellers need a debit card and to register for ID Check, Mercari’s new verification system. The feature, currently available only through Mercari’s mobile app, involves uploading a government-issued ID and a selfie. Mercari checks to see if the user’s selfie matches the ID’s photo before verifying them, a process that can take up to 48 hours.

Mercari, which has been downloaded about 45 million times in the United States and currently has 150,000 new listings every day, is typically used by people looking to declutter or make extra cash by offloading items they no longer need. It competes with eBay and Amazon, but its most direct rivals are apps designed for peer-to-peer transactions like Poshmark, Depop, OfferUp and LetGo, as well Facebook Marketplace. Mercari competes with a low selling fee, easy listing process (it says most items can be listed in about three minutes). Its Instant Pay feature will help it attract sellers who want to make quick cash.

The platform also offers free direct deposit for transfers over $10, with a waiting time of up to five days, in-line with its competitors.

Mercari was founded in Japan, where it raised $1.1 billion in its initial public offering last year (Instant Pay will be available only in the U.S.). The company entered the U.S. in 2017.

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