Affirm Launches Buy Now, Pay Later Debit Card

The Affirm Card will be the first of its kind in the US to let users access BNPL from debit accounts.

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Need to Know

  • The Affirm Card is the first debit card in the US to offer buy now, pay later financing.
  • Cardholders can pay for purchases using money from their account, as with a traditional debit card, or they can select buy now, pay later financing when they check out.
  • As is the case with Affirm’s existing BNPL tech, there are no late fees or hidden charges for Affirm Card customers who use the pay-over-time option.

Analysis

Affirm, the buy now, pay later tech provider, has launched the Affirm Card, the first debit card in the US to offer BNPL financing.

The fintech is launching the Affirm Card partly in response to an uptick in customer preference for debit or pay-over-time financing over credit payments. “We know consumers are looking for financial control and flexibility,” Max Levchin, Affirm’s founder and CEO, said in a statement. Levchin added that Affirm combines debit and BNPL, allowing Affirm “to meet consumers where they are and empowering them to pay on their own terms.”

The Affirm card will allow cardholders to choose to either pay for a purchase using their checking account, or by paying over a period of time, in just a couple of taps at the point of purchase. The card, which will be widely available later this year, will come with no hidden fees or late charges, as is the case with Affirm’s existing BNPL financing option.

Affirm’s current customers include retail giants such as Walmart and Nordstrom, as well as brands such as Peloton, Adidas, and Dyson. In addition to facilitating BNPL financing, Affirm also offers a mobile savings account.

Affirm’s debit offering comes just months after Venmo, the PayPal subsidiary, announced it would be releasing a credit card, which is now available to all of its 65 million users. Affirm, which acquired leading Canadian BNPL provider Paybright in December, announced earlier this month that it has hit 4.5 million users. The company is also currently in beta testing mode with more than 100 Shopify merchants, as Affirm was recently tapped to power Shopify’s Shop Pay Installments solution.

Buy now, pay later financing emerged as one of the major financial trends of the COVID-19 pandemic, as more customers sought flexible purchasing options due to increased financial instability. Etsy, Target, and Gap are among the brands and retailers that included BNPL options in 2020, while major banks and financial institutions, including Capital One, RBC, and Citi also introduced their own buy now, pay later programs.

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