Fintech companies have brought back an old-fashioned way of lending, and now even Apple and Goldman are getting in on the action.
Stores are willing to pay because the programs make it easier for customers to say yes to items with price tags that might otherwise make them queasy. “We are in the business of turning browsers into buyers, which is fundamentally a merchant service,” Affirm Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Officer Max Levchin told Bloomberg TV in July. His company gets a bit under half its revenue from merchant network fees, with a smaller chunk coming from interest income. Americans spent an estimated $20 billion to $25 billion using deferred payments in 2020, according to a March report by analytics firm CB Insights. Worldwide, that same report projects that transactions through such plans could grow 10 to 15 times by 2025, topping $1 trillion.