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Exploring the Competitive Landscape of the BNPL Industry: Afterpay Klarna Zip and More

Afterpay’s Overview

Imagine being able to buy what you want, when you want it, without having to worry about paying everything upfront. This is exactly what Afterpay offers.

With its Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) platform, Afterpay has become one of the most popular payment options around. In this article, we will take a closer look at what Afterpay is, how it works, and its various features.

Afterpay’s Founding and Presence

Afterpay was founded in 2015 by Nick Molnar and Anthony Eisen, who identified a gap in the market for BNPL services. The company started in Australia and has since expanded to the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and New Zealand, with plans to expand globally.

Today, Afterpay has over 16 million active customers and works with over 100,000 merchants, making it one of the most prominent players in the BNPL industry. Afterpay’s Installment Plans and Credit Limit

One of the primary benefits of using Afterpay is the ability to pay for purchases in installments.

Customers can choose to pay for their items in four equal payments, spread over six weeks. If you’re shopping, for example, clothing or accessories and you’re unsure if you have the money to fully pay for it, this can make it easier to manage your budget.

Afterpay’s credit limit also ensures that customers can’t overspend, and it is determined based on various factors such as your credit score and payment history. Afterpay’s Easy Approval and Fees

Another benefit of using Afterpay is the easy approval process.

Unlike traditional credit applications, Afterpay does not require a credit check for purchases worth up to $500. This makes it a popular option for people who may not have a good credit score or those who simply don’t want to go through a lengthy credit application process.

However, customers need to be careful not to miss payments, as Afterpay charges late payment fees and this could cause harm to one’s credit score.

Afterpay Card and Browsing Features

In addition to its BNPL platform, Afterpay also launched a virtual “card” that lets customers use their BNPL service in physical stores. Customers add their Afterpay Card to their mobile wallet and simply scan it at checkout to use their BNPL account.

Meanwhile, the “Browsing” feature allows you to add items to your wishlist while shopping online and are not yet ready to commit to a purchase. You can save these items and receive alerts when they become available for purchase on the Afterpay platform.

Founders and History

Nick Molnar founded Afterpay when he was a university student in Australia. He started out selling jewelry on the internet and noticed that a majority of his customers were using credit cards to make purchases.

However, he also saw that his customers preferred a BNPL option. This inspired him to create Afterpay.

Anthony Eisen, Nick’s friend, was already working for an investment company at the time. When Nick presented the concept of Afterpay to him, Anthony saw the potential of such a platform.

What initially started as casual talks led to the creation of Afterpay, the listing on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), and eventually the global success of the company.



In a world where everyone is always on-the-go, Afterpay has truly revolutionized online shopping. With easy approval, installment plans, and a credit limit, Afterpay is a convenient option for people who are looking for an alternative to traditional credit.

While Afterpay may not be for everyone, it’s essential to remember to not overspend and to always be aware of payment dates to avoid late payment fees. With an expanding customer base, an array of partner merchants, and its founders’ entrepreneurial foresight, Afterpay seems to be on track to become an even more prominent player in the BNPL space.

Afterpay’s Expansion and Acquisitions

As Afterpay continues to dominate the BNPL industry, it has made significant acquisitions and merged with other companies to extend its reach even further. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of Afterpay’s key expansions, acquisitions, and financial performances.

Merger with Touchcorp and Clearpay Acquisition

In 2017, Afterpay merged with Touchcorp to form the Afterpay Touch Group. The merger created a financial technology giant with the ability to offer end-to-end payment processing services to consumers and merchants.

In 2020, Afterpay went on to acquire Clearpay, a UK-based BNPL competitor for $325 million. The acquisition marked a significant move for Afterpay into the UK and European markets, providing access to Clearpay’s network of over 13,000 merchants and 6 million active customers.

These acquisitions have undoubtedly helped Afterpay expand its presence across the globe and significantly increase its customer base.

Financial Performance and User Statistics

In its most recent annual report released in 2020, Afterpay reported a 78% increase in revenues, contributing $7.3 billion worth of transactions throughout the year. Afterpay’s user base has also seen significant growth, with the company reporting over 16 million active customers globally and more than 100,000 merchant partners worldwide.

This increase in revenue and user base is due in part to Afterpay’s ability to capitalize on the surge in e-commerce sales during the COVID-19 pandemic. Afterpay’s Valuation and Competitors’ Ranking Methodology

Afterpay’s impressive financial performance has also translated into its market value.

As of 2021, Afterpay is valued at over $25 billion, cementing its position as one of the most valuable tech companies in Australia. Additionally, Afterpay has frequently been ranked against its competitors, such as Klarna and Affirm.

Many of these rankings are based on factors such as revenue, number of users, and market share.

Competitors – Klarna

Klarna is a Swedish fintech company, founded in 2005, that offers BNPL services. What sets Klarna apart is its early success as well as its integration with a wide range of online and offline merchants.

Klarna’s BNPL plan provides customers with the option of paying for purchases in four interest-free installments. Klarna conducts a soft credit check against the customer to determine their creditworthiness.

Klarna’s user base has grown to around 90 million users and 250,000 merchants globally. In 2020, Klarna reported $1.1 billion in revenue, representing a 40% increase compared to the previous year.

Its valuation has also significantly increased, reaching $31 billion after its latest funding round in June 2021.


Despite the BNPL industry being highly competitive, Afterpay has emerged as a market leader in the space. With acquisitions and mergers with other companies, the company has been able to expand its presence and increase its user base globally.

While Klarna is one of the most notable Afterpay competitors in the market, Afterpay’s substantial market growth, financial performance, and high valuation indicate that the company’s BNPL services are here to stay.

Competitors – Zip

Zip Co Limited is another BNPL platform, founded in 2013 by Larry Diamond and Peter Gray. The company started in Australia and has since expanded to New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with plans to expand further.

In this section, we’ll dive into Zip’s history, features, and financial performance. Zip’s History and Acquisition of Pocketbook

Zip’s first acquisition came in the form of Pocketbook, a budgeting platform, in 2016.

The move was strategic as it enabled Zip to offer customers more than just a BNPL platform but an all-in-one financial management tool. Another key development came in 2019 when Zip launched its “Tap & Zip” feature, allowing customers to make purchases with Zip’s BNPL service at selected retailers.

Zip’s Features, Repayment Options, and Fees

Zip’s BNPL platform offers customers the flexibility to make purchases without having to pay everything upfront. Zip also includes a digital wallet, integration with online vendors, and a cashback program.

The repayment options available to customers include four interest-free payments or installment plans over six to twelve months with interest. Zip charges various fees such as establishment fees, late payment fees, and account-keeping fees.

Zip’s User Base, Revenue, and Valuation

Zip has seen its user base grow rapidly in recent years. As of 2020, the company reported having over 6 million customers across its four operating regions.

The company also reported $465 million in revenue in FY2020, a 92% increase compared to the previous year. Zip has seen a similar increase in its market valuation, with the company recently surpassing a $3 billion market cap as of 2021.

Competitors – Affirm

Affirm Inc., founded in 2012 by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, is another major competitor in the BNPL market. The company operates primarily in the United States.

Affirm’s Founder and Background

Max Levchin, a Ukrainian-born entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Affirm. Levchin is renowned for his success in the tech industry, being one of the founders of PayPal.

He is a highly respected figure in the fintech industry, with Forbes naming him among the world’s most powerful people in 2020. Affirm’s Loan Approval Process and Credit Terms

Unlike many other BNPL platforms, Affirm offers loans instead of simply facilitating payments.

The company conducts a soft credit check on customers when they apply for a loan, and loans are approved based on several factors such as credit score, loan size, and repayment history. Affirm’s loans typically come with fixed repayment terms, which means that customers know what to expect when it comes to their payments.

The repayment terms range from 3 to 36 months, with interest rates varying based on a customer’s creditworthiness. Affirm’s User Base, Revenue, and Valuation

Affirm has over 5.6 million active users, which is a testament to the platform’s popularity in the United States.

In fiscal year 2020, Affirm reported $509.5 million in net revenue and a net loss of $112.6 million. However, the company has seen a significant increase in its valuation in recent years, with its IPO pricing its shares at $49 in January 2021.

The company is currently valued at over $28 billion.


Zip and Affirm are two prominent players in the BNPL space, both offering distinctive features and benefits to their customers. With Zip’s cashback program and Pocketbook acquisition, customers can manage their finances as they use Zip’s BNPL platform to make payments.

Meanwhile, Affirm’s loan approval process and the ability to offer loans with fixed repayment terms provide consumers with greater flexibility. Overall, these companies’ growth and increased valuations compared to previous periods show that they have promising futures in the BNPL industry.

Competitors – Openpay

Openpay is a BNPL platform that differentiates itself in the market by focusing on larger purchases and catering to business-to-business (B2B) transactions. In this section, we’ll explore Openpay’s unique features, its expansion into Central America, and its financial performance.

Openpay’s Focus on Larger Purchases and B2B Transactions

Unlike some BNPL platforms that primarily target smaller purchases, Openpay positions itself as a solution for larger, high-value transactions. This makes it an attractive option for customers who are looking to finance bigger ticket items such as furniture, electronics, or home renovations.

Openpay also caters to B2B transactions, enabling businesses to offer their customers flexible payment options for their services or products. Openpay’s Presence in Central America and Partnership with Alipay

In addition to its operations in Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand, Openpay has expanded into Central America.

The company entered the market in 2015 and has since established a significant presence across countries like Mexico and Colombia. Openpay has also formed a strategic partnership with Alipay, a leading digital payment platform in China.

This partnership allows Openpay to leverage Alipay’s extensive merchant network and provide its BNPL services to Chinese tourists visiting these Central American countries. Openpay’s User Base, Revenue, and Valuation

Openpay has experienced steady growth in its user base.

As of 2020, the company reported approximately 3.1 million customers globally. Its partnerships with popular retailers and its appeal to customers seeking larger financing options have contributed to this growth.

However, specific revenue and valuation figures for Openpay are not readily available to the public, as the company is not listed on any stock exchange.

Competitors – CBA StepPay

StepPay is a BNPL platform launched by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) as part of its response to the growing popularity of the BNPL industry. Let’s explore StepPay’s launch, features, and its relationship with Klarna.

StepPay’s Launch and Relationship with Klarna

CBA introduced StepPay in 2021 as its own BNPL offering, aiming to provide its customers with convenient and flexible payment options. The launch of StepPay is part of CBA’s strategy to compete with other established BNPL platforms.

Interestingly, StepPay is developed in partnership with Klarna, one of the leading players in the global BNPL space. This partnership leverages Klarna’s technology and expertise to offer a seamless BNPL experience to CBA customers.

StepPay’s Features, Credit Checks, and Repayment Options

StepPay offers customers the ability to make purchases in four equal payments, interest-free. The BNPL platform also conducts credit checks on customers before approval, ensuring responsible lending practices.

StepPay provides customers with repayment options over six to nine weeks. Furthermore, StepPay integrates seamlessly with the CBA mobile app, making it easy for customers to manage their payments and keep track of their purchases.

StepPay’s Parent Company NAB’s Financial Information

It’s important to note that StepPay is part of the CBA, one of Australia’s largest banks, and not its direct competitor, National Australia Bank (NAB). The NAB does not currently offer its own BNPL platform but has instead formed partnerships with third-party BNPL providers.

As for the NAB’s financial information, the bank reported a statutory net loss of AUD $2.7 billion in FY2020 due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the bank has shown resilience and is actively managing its financial position to support its customers and stakeholders.


Openpay and CBA StepPay are two significant competitors in the BNPL industry, each bringing its own unique features and market approach. Openpay’s focus on larger purchases and B2B transactions sets it apart, while StepPay benefits from the backing of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and its partnership with Klarna.

As the BNPL industry continues to evolve and gain traction, competition among these platforms will continue to drive innovation and provide customers with more flexible payment options. Competitors – PayPal’s ‘Pay in 4’

PayPal, a global leader in digital payments, has entered the BNPL space with its offering called ‘Pay in 4’.

In this section, we’ll explore PayPal’s introduction of BNPL, the credit terms and repayment options of ‘Pay in 4’, and its financial performance. PayPal’sof BNPL with ‘Pay in 4’

With the increasing popularity of BNPL services, PayPal recognized the need to offer a flexible payment option to its customers.

This led to the introduction of ‘Pay in 4’, PayPal’s own BNPL solution. ‘Pay in 4’ allows customers to split their purchase into four equal interest-free payments, paid every two weeks.

This gives customers the ability to manage their budget and pay for their purchases over time, all while using PayPal’s trusted platform. PayPal’s Credit Terms, Repayment Options, and Availability

‘Pay in 4’ is available to eligible PayPal customers in the United States.

To qualify, customers must have a PayPal account in good standing, meet certain minimum requirements, and undergo a soft credit check. The credit terms of ‘Pay in 4’ include making four equal payments, with the first payment due at the time of purchase, and subsequent payments made every two weeks until the balance is paid off.

Unlike other BNPL providers, PayPal does not charge late fees for ‘Pay in 4’ as long as the payments are made on time. PayPal’s User Base, Revenue, and Valuation

PayPal has an extensive user base, with over 377 million active accounts worldwide as of the second quarter of 2021.

This large user base provides PayPal with a significant opportunity to introduce its BNPL offering to a wide range of customers. However, specific revenue figures related to ‘Pay in 4’ are not readily available, as PayPal reports its overall financial performance rather than segment-specific data.

As of 2021, PayPal’s market valuation stands at over $330 billion, reflecting its position as a major player in the global payments industry.

Competitors – Visa Installments

Visa, a leading global payments technology company, has ventured into the BNPL industry with its offering called Visa Installments. Let’s dive into Visa’s entry into the market, the credit terms and payment structure of Visa Installments, and its financial performance.

Visa’s Entry into the BNPL Industry with Visa Installments

Seeing the growth and demand in the BNPL space, Visa recognized an opportunity to provide its customers with flexible payment options through Visa Installments. This offering allows cardholders to convert certain purchases into installment plans.

Visa Installments leverages the existing payment infrastructure and is available to eligible cardholders in participating countries. Visa Installments’ Credit Terms, Payment Structure, and Acceptance

Visa Installments allows cardholders to split their payments into equal installments over a specific period, typically with fixed interest rates.

The exact terms and conditions of Visa Installments vary depending on the participating financial institutions that issue Visa cards. However, Visa ensures that Visa Installments is a transparent and consumer-friendly offering by requiring clear disclosure of fees and payment terms.

Visa Installments is accepted at participating merchants that have integrated this feature into their point-of-sale systems. Visa Installments’ Transaction Volume, Revenue, and Valuation

As Visa Installments is a feature offered by Visa, specific transaction volume and revenue figures related to this offering are not publicly available.

However, Visa’s overall transaction volume was $11.6 trillion in 2020, and the company generated $21.8 billion in revenue during the same period. Visa has a strong market presence and is valued at over $490 billion as of 2021.


PayPal’s ‘Pay in 4’ and Visa’s Installments are formidable competitors in the BNPL industry, leveraging their established positions in the payments market to offer customers more flexible payment options. PayPal’s ‘Pay in 4’ benefits from its extensive user base and the trust customers have in PayPal’s platform.

Meanwhile, Visa’s Installments utilizes its vast network and partnerships with financial institutions to provide customers with installment payment capabilities. As BNPL continues to gain traction, these offerings from PayPal and Visa provide customers with more options to manage their finances and make purchases more conveniently.

Competitors – Splitit

Splitit is a unique player in the BNPL industry, specializing in business-to-business (B2B) transactions and business financing. In this section, we’ll explore Splitit’s focus on B2B transactions, its repayment terms, and its financial performance.

Splitit’s Specialization in B2B Transactions and Business Financing

While most BNPL platforms primarily cater to consumer purchases, Splitit focuses on B2B transactions. Splitit allows businesses to provide their customers with the option to pay for goods and services in installments, which can be an attractive feature for businesses that want to offer flexible payment terms to their clients.

By specializing in B2B transactions, Splitit aims to enable businesses to increase sales, improve cash flow, and strengthen customer relationships. Splitit’s Repayment Terms, Credit Card Hold, and Payment Options

Splitit’s repayment terms differ from traditional BNPL platforms.

Instead of separate payments over time, Splitit links to the customer’s existing credit card and divides the purchase amount into interest-free monthly installments. Splitit does not require customers to undergo a credit check, as there is no extension of credit.

However, it does require the customer to have sufficient available credit on their credit card to cover the full purchase amount. While the purchase amount is blocked on the credit card, no interest or fees are applied.

Customers can continue using their credit card throughout the payment period. Splitit offers businesses the flexibility to choose the number of installments they offer their customers, typically ranging from 2 to 24 months.

Splitit’s User Base, Revenue, and Valuation

Splitit has seen steady growth in its user base, attracting both merchants and consumers in the B2B space. However, specific user base figures for Splitit are not readily available.

In terms of revenue, Splitit reported $6.7 million in revenue for the first half of 2021, representing a significant increase of 263% compared to the same period in 2020. As of 2021, Splitit has a market valuation of approximately $230 million.

Competitors – NAB Now Pay Later

NAB Now Pay Later is National Australia Bank’s (NAB) BNPL offering, which provides customers with a convenient and flexible payment option similar to Afterpay. In this section, we’ll explore NAB Now Pay Later’s introduction, its credit limit, and its financial performance.

NAB Now Pay Later’sand Similarities to Afterpay

NAB Now Pay Later was introduced by National Australia Bank in response to the growing demand for BNPL services. Similar to Afterpay, NAB Now Pay Later allows customers to make purchases and pay for them in four equal installments.

It provides customers with the flexibility to manage their payments and budget more effectively. NAB Now Pay Later’s Credit Limit and Territory Focus

NAB Now Pay Later offers a credit limit of up to $1,000 for customers, providing them with the purchasing power they need without requiring a traditional credit check.

The credit limit is determined based on various factors, including a customer’s transaction history and their relationship with NAB. NAB Now Pay Later is currently available to NAB customers in Australia and focuses on serving the local market.

NAB’s User Base, Revenue, and Valuation

As NAB Now Pay Later is part of National Australia Bank, specific user base figures related to this offering are not publicly available. However, National Australia Bank reported having over 9 million customers as of September 2020.

In terms of revenue, NAB reported a cash earnings of AUD $5.3 billion in FY2020, reflecting a decline influenced by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 2021, National Australia Bank has a market valuation of approximately $68 billion.


Splitit’s specialization in B2B transactions sets it apart from other BNPL platforms, catering to businesses that want to offer flexible payment terms to their customers. NAB Now Pay Later, on the other hand, offers NAB customers in Australia a convenient BNPL solution similar to Afterpay.

Both offerings provide customers with a flexible and convenient payment option while managing and budgeting their expenses. The financial performance of Splitit and NAB demonstrates their potential in the BNPL industry, as they capitalize on the growing demand for alternative payment solutions.

In conclusion, the article has explored various competitors in the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) industry, including Afterpay, Klarna, Zip, Affirm, Openpay, PayPal’s ‘Pay in 4’, Visa Installments, Splitit, and NAB Now Pay Later. Each competitor brings unique features and approaches to the market, catering to different customer needs and preferences.

From a focus on B2B transactions to partnerships with established players, these competitors have reshaped the way consumers and businesses make payments. The expansion of the BNPL industry highlights the increasing demand for flexible payment options.

As competition intensifies, customers can enjoy a wide range of choices tailored to their specific requirements. The key takeaway is that BNPL platforms provide convenience and flexibility, but it is essential for customers to understand the terms, fees, and responsible spending practices.

With the growth of the BNPL sector, innovation and competition will continue to drive the evolution of these payment solutions, reshaping the future of finance.

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