(Bloomberg)—Affirm Holdings Inc., known for its “buy now, pay later” options, beefed up its app as the firm works toward a crypto offering.
The company’s new app puts all of its offerings together in one place, while a new Google Chrome extension allows customers to use Affirm at a variety of retailers even if the service isn’t integrated into their checkout options, according to a statement Wednesday. The revamped app is also an “architectural decision” that will help the company innovate even faster, chief executive officer Max Levchin said.
“You should expect more innovation to be faster-paced as this app becomes available to consumers,” Levchin said in an interview.
With its latest move, Affirm becomes the latest financial upstart seeking to become a “super app,” or one-stop shop for consumers to manage their finances, make purchases and even invest. The changes will help Affirm attract customers beyond those reached through current retail partnerships. The San Francisco-based company, which went public last year, has deals with companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Verifone.
Affirm also has been working on a crypto offering, which the firm has previously said would allow customers to buy and sell digital currencies including Bitcoin from the Affirm app. That offering is still in the works, Levchin said, without giving an exact time frame for its availability.
“Crypto, the current volatility notwithstanding, has been one of the best-appreciating asset classes,” Levchin said. “For most rank-and-file Americans, I think it’s still pretty difficult to enter this ecosystem.”
Some fintechs, including SoFi Technologies Inc., have sought in recent years to purchase their own banks. Levchin said that ownership increases complications related to regulation, and that Affirm, which has a partnership with Cross River Bank for offerings such as its savings account, would consider having its own bank only if that were needed to create a product that Affirm eventually wanted to offer.
For now, Affirm is still focused on features such as its crypto offering and building out its existing products, such as the savings account, which has attracted more than $300 million in total deposits since it was added to Affirm’s app.
“Overall, the demand for the savings product has remained very strong,” Levchin said.
With regard to the buy now, pay later space, Levchin said in a separate interview with Bloomberg Television that it’s important regulators look at the products. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau opened an inquiry into the deferred payment option in December, citing concerns including consumers amassing debt.
“It is important that regulators look at buy now pay later and create a rule book, especially around things like credit reporting,” he said. “Rules of engagement in BNPL are long overdue.”Favorite