Christie’s Partners With Fintech Start-Up for Art Payment Plans

April 16, 2024

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By 

Elle Yap

British auction company Christie’s has partnered with the financial start-up company Art Money that will continue its interest-free loans with the art dealer, allowing people to buy art with a payment plan. 

The company will continue to offer a buy-now, pay-later scheme for purchases in Christie’s, starting with an upcoming Prints and Multiples auction in New York. They will charge a fee of up to 10% of the cost’s final price, which will berolled into the final installment plan for the buyer. 

A building housing Christie's Auction. Photo by Tilo 2007. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
A building housing Christie’s Auction. Photo by Tilo 2007. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Interested applicants can apply with Art Money, who will give them a preapproved limit based on a background credit check. Prospective applicants can receive up to $1 million of credit from the company. 

The scheme is currently only available for buyers in the United States and Australia. Art Money does plan to roll out the program to different countries around the world based on regulatory approval. 

Financial Planning for Art Purchases

Art Money started in 2014 with founder and CEO Paul Becker at the helm. The company uses innovations in financial technology to make buying art easier to the masses. The company creates art payment plans where they can purchase a piece and pay for it interest-free over ten months. 

“By increasing access to art through fintech (financial technology) and a [win-win] business model, we’re all helping move the art world forward, building a sustainable creative economy that empowers art buyers, artists and art sellers,” Becker said in their website.

Its US debut in 2016 at Expo Chicago had made waves to the industry. In 2020, it received series A funding from Australian capital company AfterWork Ventures. They believed that the company helped people invest in things that “sparked joy and enriched people’s lives.”

“Art Money is an intrinsically customer obsessed [organization], and are differentiating themselves from other finance providers by creating more value for users through access and liquidity than they extract,” the venture capital company said.  

An auction house preparing for an an upcoming auction. Photo by Monica Arellano-Ongpin. Source: Flickr.
An auction house preparing for an an upcoming auction. Photo by Monica Arellano-Ongpin. Source: Flickr.

Connecting Artists to New Buyers

Currently, Art Money has partnerships with thousands of galleries and auction houses around the world. Among the galleries affiliated with them are the London-based VITRINE, The Hole in Los Angeles, and the Australian-based COMA. The company claims to have facilitated over 20,000 art purchases for over 8,300 collectors around the world. 

Visual artist and gallery director Knowledge Bennett has much to praise about the company’s draw to starter collectors. “Art Money has been a game changer for my practice and gallery. It allows someone like myself to help develop collectors rather than chase after those who’ve already been in the collecting space. It has [democratized] the acquisition of art in a way that I’m not sure we’ve seen before,” he said.

Modernizing Auction Purchases

Christie’s partnership with Art Money is no surprise. The auction house bought a minority stake in the financial company in 2023 through their venture capital arm Christie’s Ventures. 

A property auction. Photo by advokatsmart.no. Source: Wikimedia Commons.
A property auction. Photo by advokatsmart.no. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

“We were very impressed by the thoughtful approach Paul [Becker, CEO] and team took to building out a sustainable and integrated business model that we believe will usher in fully portable, dedicated financing for all participants in the art markets across all price points,” Christie’s Ventures head Devang Thakkar said. 

“We are delighted [that] Christie’s Ventures has chosen Art Money as one of their first investments in financial innovation,” Becker said in response. “This validation of our business model will accelerate our vision of increased access to art and an art world that helps shape tomorrow for the better.”

Related reading: Russian Billionaire Charged Double for Artwork, Accuses Sotheby’s of Fraud

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