The question of how to earn revenue from their online content has dogged publishers since the advent of the internet.

The models that have emerged are typically either advertising- or subscription-based. But German company LaterPay thinks it has found a way to bridge the two – by focusing on readers and how they consume content.

“We think the industry needs user-centric models, which place convenience in the center and allow frictionless access to content,” Cosmin Ene, founder and CEO of LaterPay, told

The problem with the current models is that they don’t address what Ene calls “cherry-picking” – the tendency of readers to browse content across multiple publications. Only the most loyal readers are likely to subscribe, leaving potential revenue from occasional readers on the table.

“Someone who occasionally browses your site won’t subscribe, no matter what you do, but they may be inclined to buy a few articles if it is an effortless process,” he said.

The LaterPay system enables users to defer payment for the articles they read, agreeing right on the page they’re reading to pay later. LaterPay aggregates the purchases across their network and leads the user to register and pay once they’ve reached a $5 threshold.

This process helps clients gain incremental revenue and complements a subscription-based model, Ene said.

“There is a whole universe living between ads and subscriptions. LaterPay focuses on servicing that space in between,” he said.

LaterPay describes itself as a SaaS payment infrastructure. Ene said the company works with a U.S. bank partner to handle the transactions.

“We have chosen this model because it allows us to work with regulated institutions, providing the highest financial security for our customers and users. It also allows us to focus on the technology component of our business,” he said.

LaterPay enables its clients to set up the payment option directly on the content page in several ways depending on whether they are looking for control and detailed analytics or simplicity. They can use the LaterPay Connector, which is JavaScript the customer embeds on their page, a WordPress plugin or the LaterPay API.

The Munich-based company announced its expansion into the U.S. with the opening of a New York office earlier this month.