Afterpay under threat as Visa comes after ‘buy now, pay-later’
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If you’ve entered a shop or purchased something online in the last year or two, you would have noticed signs announcing the option of using Afterpay (ASX:APT).
The Australian “buy now, pay later” service allows shoppers to purchase their items in-store (or online) and then pay for them over four installments. Afterpay allowed shoppers to bypass the hassle of applying for a loan or credit card before purchasing an item, but now credit card giant Visa is jumping on board with the payment scheme.
Visa announced a pilot program where certain retailers would allow shoppers to pay for their items in “smaller, equal payments” over a set period of time using the Visa card they already had. The payments can be made on particular items instore, online or while travelling abroad.
Sam Shrauger, Visa’s senior vice president and global head of issuer and consumer solutions, said the company’s instalment solutions were “changing the game” by allowing shoppers to use it without having to download an app or get a credit card.
“We expect installments to become a foundational method of payment at checkout for both domestic and cross-border commerce payment transactions,” he said, according to Reuters.
Payment instalment services have gained popularity around the world. Euromonitor International found that in 2017, installments had grown 15 percent year on year – twice as fast as credit cards.
Sean Sequeira, chief investment officer at fund management company, Australian Eagle said threats from large companies like Visa, were “making some investors think twice about Afterpay”, Reuters reports.
In June, Afterpay announced plans to raise a minimum $300m from investors to support its international growth plans.
However, this came after the company was investigated by Australian financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC for potential non-compliance with anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing laws.
The Reuters report added that the majority of Afterpay’s customers didn’t have a credit card account and Visa would likely take a long time to get its card issuers to sign up to its instalment service.
Visa plans to have the new instalment option available in 2020.