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Full-scale launch of AirCASH — the Financial Service that Allows Businesses to Cash Out Future Sales

Apr 1, 2022 | Recruit

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Today, Recruit announces the full-scale launch of AirCASH — a financial service allowing businesses to assign to Recruit expected accounts receivables made through Air PAY — which Recruit launched on a trial basis last fiscal year. AirCASH is a service that enables businesses to access funds in a quick and hassle-free way by simply selecting the necessary amount to be funded and deduction plan. Eligible users are those who have used AirPAY — the payments service for stores that accepts credit cards, e-money, QR, and points. Since the amount withdrawn is linked to the AirPAY settlement amount, businesses can access capital suited to their business needs.

About AirCASH (in Japanese): an external site


1. Background

Businesses are hesitant to take out small loans and tend to delay taking action

Recruit's Air BusinessTools, such as AirREGI, AirPAY, and AirSHIFT, help business owners run their businesses with functions designed to streamline operations and administration. In addition to these services, Recruit has identified a common need for small investments. For example, the funds needed for equipment repair and replacement, employee recruitment costs, and publicity and advertising.

Forced closures and shortened business hours due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the situation and resulted in a sudden increase in financial risk for many businesses. In response, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has taken action to provide new forms of assistance, including the Special Finance Support for Business Revival measure, a fund to help businesses recover.

In this environment, businesses find themselves needing small amounts of immediate, short-term additional funding — not just medium- to long-term investments, and many Air BusinessTools users have voiced their desire for both kinds of financing. Additional requests include a call for a system that allows online reservations and pre-payment tool to shorten the waiting time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and a means to supplement cash reserves until they receive the government’s cooperation fund payment to compensate for closure or shortened hours of operation. It is clear that the pandemic has created the need for relatively small yet essential investments.

At the same time, some businesses express reluctance to borrow or procure small amounts from others, even if they are short of cash. We heard that “I need to buy a new laptop to attract customers via social media, but I've put it off because I'm tentative to borrow money." "I want to purchase tablets our customers can use, but I'm hesitant to take out a loan." This psychological hurdle to procuring funds leads to lost investment opportunities and many businesses struggling with cash flow. Recruit developed the AirCASH service to help those businesses solve this problem and support the growth and improvement of operations and productivity.

Boosting business operations with a financing service that converts tomorrow’s sales into cash today

AirCASH is different from a standard lending service because it allows users to access cash in advance of future sales. Businesses that have used AirPAY — the payments service available at stores that accepts credit cards, e-money, QR, and points — are invited to use the service. This invitation system is entirely online with a hassle-free application process. Since the amount of consideration is determined based on the prediction of each businesses' sales for a certain period of time that Recruit makes by using accumulated sales data collected via AirPAY, each business can access the funds they need to operate their

business. Recruit’s Air BusinessTools aim to eliminate multiple challenges of business operations. The addition of AirCASH to Air BusinessTools can provide support to a broader range of businesses by offering much-needed financial assistance – the backbone of running a business.

2. Overview of AirCASH

AirCASH is a financial service that allows users to access cash in advance of their future sales. This method of supplementing funds is straightforward, with just a two-click process to choose the necessary amount to be funded and deduction plan. There are no complicated forms to fill out and no paperwork to submit. Deposits are made in as quick as two days, so users can access the funds quickly. And since the funds are automatically deducted from any AirPAY sales, there is no need to check bank balances or transfer funds. AirCASH differs from standard borrowing services, and many restaurants, beauty salons, retail shops, and other businesses have found it suits their individual needs. Users commented, "I received my money soon after applying, and it was easy to use." "Now I have extra cash on hand, so I don't have to worry so much." "At first, I just tried it out to see how it worked — I like how I don't have to register with a credit bureau."

About AirCASH (in Japanese): an external site

Three Types of Value AirCASH Offers

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How to use AirCASH

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Details of AirCASH

  • Launch: Friday, April 1, 2022

  • Signup process: 1) Review service introduction * 2) log in with AirID, 3) select plan and begin using service.
    * AirPAY users who have used the service for a certain number of transactions are eligible to use the AirCASH service and will receive an introduction. Promotions via email, phone calls, direct mail, and other channels to be utilized in the future.
    For more information about applications, check the AirCASH website (in Japanese): an external site

  • How we collect the purchased Expected Accounts Receivables: The amount of considerations funded as the businesses’ “expected accounts receivables” are, upon their sales actualization, automatically deducted from AirPAY settlement amounts. The amount deducted is 1% to 100% of the AirPAY transfer amount. (The amount varies according to the selected plan.)

  • Use of funds: unrestricted.

  • Handling fee: 0.5% or more of the amount.

  • Collateral and guarantors: not required.

  • Required paperwork: none.

  • Usable amount: 50,000 to 1,000,000 yen.
    The amount of funds provided is currently limited to 1,000,000 yen, but this may be raised in the future.

  • Time taken to access to funds: as soon as two days from application

3. Message from Issei Tomita, Product Manager of AirCASH

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After joining Recruit, he was involved in the part-time job market field, where he came into contact with small and medium-sized businesses in various industries and business categories. These included hotels/traditional inns, restaurants, beauty salons, and local stores. Through this experience, he realized that dealing with financial institutions and raising capital are significant issues for small and medium-sized business owners and decided to launch AirCASH in response.
*Available for interview

Expectations are high that small- and medium-sized businesses will need further small-scale financing in a post-COVID world

Our March 2020 survey found that about 85% of small- and medium-sized businesses that had experienced cashflow restrictions had relatively small (less than 1,000,000 yen) capital needs. More than ever before, businesses have been forced into making essential investments to enable them to operate in the "new normal" environment. Contactless systems, methods to avoid close contact, and accommodating new workstyles are all necessary alterations most businesses have to make in light of the pandemic. In addition, DX is picking up speed throughout industries, so an increasing number of businesses are willing to make positive capital investments — even if in small amounts. Therefore, expectations are high that the demand for small amounts of capital will increase, even as many businesses struggle with a shortage of immediate cash flow due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

In trialing the AirCASH service on a limited basis from last fiscal year, we were confronted with the reality that small and medium-sized businesses face a trade-off. They must choose between "making small positive challenges" and the "barriers to small-scale financing." We realized this was a significant challenge. If businesses can take on the challenges they want to take on without missing opportunities, they will be able to improve the quality of services they provide and their operations. AirCASH — which makes it possible to access capital quickly and in a way that is appropriate for each individual user — will play a role in helping businesses take on "small positive challenges."

4. What Are Air BusinessTools?

Air BusinessTools are Recruit's business and management support services including AirREGI, AirPAY and AirSHIFT. The tools reduce the time, effort, and costs associated with analog business operations, from reservation and reception management, accounting, and payment, to recruitment and shift management. With 617,000 accounts, *1 more stores use AirREGI than any other POS register app. *2 AirPAY is a payments service for businesses that supports 36 types *3 of payment brands. Meanwhile, other services continue to add yet more accounts and member stores across Japan. They come from a wide range of sectors, including restaurants, retail, and services. They also have cross-generational appeal, with users ranging from high school teenagers running a school culture festival to a fruit-and-vegetable shop owner in their 80s. With a single AirID, *4 a user can access all Air BusinessTools. This single, user-friendly service combines different apps and web services into one. Using the suite of services in Air BusinessTools can dramatically streamline daily operations. Recruit will continue to support business owners in running their business the way they envision it and creating a store that is uniquely their own.

*1 Recruit research (as of the end of December 2021)
*2 1) Survey commissioned by: Recruit Co., Ltd., 2) survey conducted by: Intage Inc., 3) Survey period: Thursday, November 11 – Monday, November 15, 2021, 4) Target: MF18-69 who will install or are currently using a register at a store or facility where they work, and are in the restaurant, retail, or service industry for a business with no more than 30 locations, 5) Sample size: n=1,063
*3 As of October 2021
*4 Some services not compatible

hereTo an external site to read the original press release.