Apple Inc is working on a service that will allow users to pay for their purchases in installments, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, sending shares of Afterpay Ltd and other “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) companies down sharply .
The U.S. tech giant will use Goldman Sachs, its Apple Card credit card partner since 2019, as the lender for the loans, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
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Shares of Australia-listed Afterpay, the country’s largest BNPL provider, slipped nearly 10% in Wednesday’s trading. Smaller competitors Zip Co Ltd and Sezzle also fell sharply. Affirm Holdings Inc, listed on the Nasdaq, fell more than 14% on Tuesday before closing down 10.5%.
The BNPL industry has exploded over the past year due to an increase in online shopping brought on by a pandemic. The trend has also caught the attention of traditional companies such as PayPal Holdings Inc.
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The prospect of going up against a company the size of Apple, along with other potential entrants, would be a major test for pure BNPL companies that have so far gone largely undisputed.
The Bloomberg report said Apple Pay users would be allowed to split their payments into four installments without interest, or over several months with interest.
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A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs declined to comment. Apple was not immediately available for comment.
Such an offering would compete with similar services from Klarna, Afterpay, Zip’s Quadpay and Affirm in the United States, the main growth market in the fiercely competitive industry.
PayPal launched its BNPL service in Australia on Wednesday, challenging Afterpay in its territory where the U.S. payments giant said it would remove late fees, an area that has earned Afterpay nearly A $ 70 million over the past year. ‘fiscal year 2020.
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A spokesperson for Zip said Apple’s move was “validation that what Zip has done is resonating with customers and merchants” and that it is increasing the number of customers despite increased competition.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru and Byron Kaye in Sydney; Montage by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Subhranshu Sahu and Kim Coghill)