Mercari’s new “Instant Pay” feature set to launch

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Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely… Read more
  • Casual selling app set to launch new payment system
  • Instantaneous payments possible for users in the US – although transfer limits and fees exist
  • “We see our biggest opportunity in influencing U.S. consumer behavior versus taking share incrementally from established competitors”, says Mercari spokesperson


A new payment system is now available from major casual selling name Mercari.

The firm has announced that it will launch Instant Pay, an online money transfer feature which offers payment services with settlements in just a one- or two-minute timeframe.

Vendors who receive cash from customers will be able to move it from their Mercari account to a nominated debit card right away. However, there will be some hurdles that vendors have to jump through before that will be possible.

Users will need to be verified first before this feature will be offered to them. They will also have to pay a $2 processing fee. Large scale businesses may find that this feature is not suitable for them given that there is a monthly transfer limit of $500.

The process for signing up for Instant Pay reflects the seriousness with which many businesses like Mercari take their legal obligations against money laundering and other crimes. Customers will need to add an image of an identification document issued by the government, and they will also need to send a photograph of themselves. The team at Mercari will then verify that the image on the ID matches the image on the photo before the customer is able to proceed to the site. This could require a timeframe of up to two days.

Only American customers will have access to the Instant Pay feature.

According to a Mercari spokesperson, the firm has a vision for an overhaul of the casual selling market.

Bradford Williams, who is head of communications at the firm, told TechCrunch that it aimed to repeat for sellers what “Uber and Lyft” did for drivers.

“Uber and Lyft made instant payments table stakes for U.S. drivers; we’re extending that to casual sellers”, he said.

“Mercari U.S. is focused on casual sellers (versus power sellers); therefore, we’d like to attract sellers from all marketplaces/platforms”, he added.

“Frankly, we see our biggest opportunity in influencing U.S. consumer behavior versus taking share incrementally from established competitors.”

Mercari was launched in Japan and offers everyday sellers the chance to casually list their items – such as old clothes. It has 150,000 or so listings added to its site every day, and it is believed to have been downloaded around 45 million times as an app. The firm exists in the same space as major sites for selling like eBay, as well as apps which offer the same service – including Depop.

It has been involved in the US market since 2014, although the firm as a whole recently went through an initial public offering in its native Japan.

Remain up to date with the latest happenings in the money transfer services sector over at our magazine page.

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