Sunday , October 1, 2023

Buy Now, Pay Later Kingpin Klarna Opens a U.S. Waiting List for Its Visa Card

Klarna AB, the Sweden-based buy now, pay later giant with a major stake in the U.S. market, has opened a waiting list for its Klarna Card in the United States. The cobranded Visa card, to be issued by Salt Lake City-based industrial bank WebBank, follows Klarna’s convention of allowing users to pay in four installments across eight weeks online or in physical stores.

The move follows Klarna’s launch in November of its Pay Now service in the U.S. That service allows users to pay in full using Klarna at checkout.

The company is vague about when the card will launch in the U.S. market, saying it will be available “in the very near future.” But Klarna is clearly aiming to capitalize on its fast-rising popularity in the U.S. It says its American customer base has reached 25 million, increasing 70% in the past year as consumers increasingly turn to the buy now, pay later alternative for shopping, particularly at online stores. The Klarna app alone accounts for 6 million monthly active users in the U.S., according to information released this week.

The new Klarna card bears a Visa mark.

A similar launch of the card last month in the United Kingdom yielded a waitlist totaling 450,000 persons “within days,” Klarna said in its announcement. The company has also introduced the card in Sweden and Germany, touting its cost advantages compared to the interest charged on conventional credit cards, as long as users follow the prescribed payment schedule. “The Klarna Card provides consumers with a real alternative to high-cost credit cards and lets them take the power of Pay in 4 everywhere they go,” said Sebastian Siemiatkowski, cofounder and chief executive at Klarna, in a statement.

The company also touted the availability of its loyalty program, Vibe, for the new card. The “Vibes” users earn through spending on the card can be exchanged for rewards at Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, Target, and other retailers, Klarna says. The company recently announced promotional partnerships with the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association and the Angel City Football Club of the National Women’s Soccer League.

Worldwide, Klarna claims more than 100 million active users performing 2 million daily transactions. Its service is available at some 250,000 retail companies across the globe.

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