Revolut will have to compete with Klarna and a growing number of other players as it rolls out its BNPL service in Europe.
Revolut has jumped on the buy now, pay later (BNPL) bandwagon and is now rolling out a service in Europe, starting with Ireland.
The UK neobank is launching its BNPL product, called Pay Later, in Ireland from today (24 June). It will be competing with established players in the space such as Swedish fintech Klarna, which launched its services in Ireland last November.
Pay Later will allow Revolut users to spread the cost of online and in-store purchases up to €499 across three instalments. A fee of 1.65pc per purchase will then be charged and repaid as part of the final two instalments.
The company, which has 1.9m customers in Ireland, plans to offer the product in additional markets later this year.
“Revolut Pay Later gives our customers more control and flexibility over their personal finances, in a responsible way, by enabling them to spread the cost of purchases over three instalments,” said Revolut Europe chief executive Joe Heneghan.
“This encourages people to pay within two months, rather than calling on overdrafts and credit cards which don’t carry the same emphasis on quickly paying back the amount borrowed.”
BNPL has seen growing interest from start-ups and established financial companies alike, such as UK fintech Zilch, US-based Square (which acquired Afterpay), Italy’s Scalapay, Mastercard, PayPal (which acquired Japan’s Paidy) and even Apple.
But it remains to be seen if the BNPL space can hold on to its current momentum or if it will face new regulations. It is also becoming an increasingly crowded market, and here are just some of the players Revolut may have to compete with.
This Swedish fintech has been making ripples in the tech world on its way to becoming Europe’s most valuable privately held fintech company. Last year, the BNPL start-up hit a valuation of $45.6bn after securing another major injection of capital.
Based in Stockholm, Klarna surfed on a wave of interest among young online shoppers looking to spread payments out in instalments. While definitely the biggest player in Europe, it competes with US rivals such as Affirm, which floated on Nasdaq last year.
When it launched in Ireland last November, Klarna co-founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said the Irish market was “really exciting” because of the popularity of debit cards in the country. “As the older-style financial institutions exit the market, we’re here to create more competition, which is in the best interest of the consumer,” he said.
Last month, however, Klarna announced plans to lay off 10pc of its workforce “across all domains” of the company due to headwinds arising from increased inflation, a volatile stock market and the war in Ukraine.
Earlier this month, Apple revealed at its developer conference that it is also diving into the BNPL space with its own offering.
Apple Pay Later will let customers split a purchase, online or otherwise, into four equal payments over six weeks, with no interest or fees to pay. The service is built into the Apple Wallet app and can be used when making payments through Apple Pay.
While not available in Ireland yet, Apple Pay Later will be available to “qualifying applicants” in the US when iOS 16 launches this year.
What’s unique about Apple’s play for the BNPL space is that all financing for loans will come internally thorough a wholly owned subsidiary – which may not be hard for the first company to cross $3trn in value.
Mastercard, Playter and Monzo
Mastercard also made a play for the crowded BNPL space last September, when it launched its Instalments service for customers in the US, UK and Australia. The move enables banks, lenders, fintechs and wallets to offer flexible instalment options to consumers.
“At the heart of it, payments come down to choice – and people want more from their money with greater flexibility and control in how they pay and where they shop,” Mastercard product chief Craig Vosburg said at the time.
Meanwhile, a London-based fintech called Playter that helps small and medium-sized business scale with BNPL just announced the closing of a $55m round earlier this week. Led by investors who backed Klarna, this investment follows a $1.7m funding round in March.
And finally, another UK fintech fuelling competition in Europe’s BNPL space is Revolut rival Monzo, which launched its own service last September. Monzo Flex allows users to spread the cost of their purchases over three months interest-free. It also offers a six-month and 12-month option at a 19pc interest rate.
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