Bill Me Later Inc., the Timonium company that offers a credit-card-free way to shop online, announced yesterday plans to expand its Maryland employee count by about 25 percent and add office space in Hunt Valley as it moves into a new stage of growth.
The company said it's in the process of hiring 70 "customer service, help desk and transaction management operations" people to work in the 26,000-square-foot Hunt Valley space. Bill Me Later currently employs about 265 people.
The company, founded in September 2000, also has plans to open information technology offices in San Francisco and hire 25 people to operate them.
Its Bill Me Later service, which allows people to buy now and pay later at online retailers, has been steadily multiplying across the World Wide Web. About 900 brands - including US Airways.com and Walmart.com - now offer the payment method.
Last week, Bill Me Later announced that booksellers Borders.com had added the service, and Amazon.com is expected to do so soon. In December, Amazon announced that it had invested in Bill Me Later and soon planned to offer the payment alternative.
The service works like this: Customers click the "Bill Me Later" option at an online site's checkout, fill out some basic information, and they're extended a line of credit. Bill Me Later picks up the tab, and the shoppers pay them later. If customers pay on time, there are no fees. But if they carry a balance, interest charges apply.
Unlike other shop-online payment methods, users don't put in their credit card information, making them less vulnerable to theft, analysts say.