A $29B fintech acquisition deal in August saw Square purchase the Australian-based buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) company AfterPay. This astute acquisition has seen Square stock (NYSE: SQ) rally 225% in a booming and bullish fintech market. The company’s expansion into banking, digital payments, and financial services.
Square is the second FinTech to get a banking charter from the Federal government in recent weeks; Varo Money being the first to receive FDIC approval in February 2021. However, Square’s acquisition of AfterPay is prescient. Firstly, it gives Square access to almost 16 million AfterPay customers and more than 100,000 global retail partners. Secondly, this purchase makes the most of the new normal cashless society necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic, mandated lockdowns, and enforced social distancing.
In the US alone, BNPL usage has increased nearly 15% since 2019. This reflects the rapidly changing market dynamics, with financial institutions being forced to enter the 21st century with innovative products. Competition for BNPL is becoming intense and more widespread. For example, Citi Australia has created its BNPL product called ‘Spot,’ set to launch in October 2021. ‘Spot’ can be used in Australia in partnership with Diners Club and linked online or in-store with Mastercard. Spot undercuts Citi’s traditional credit card offering by removing restrictive fees and interest.
BNPL allows consumers to buy and receive goods and services immediately but pay for them over an agreed, timed schedule. Behind these applications are AI and IT that constantly change and adapt to the rapid advancement of technology. Youtap provides the resources and technology that allow these applications to be installed and utilized. BNPL is becoming a required part of any modern financing offering. Square has recognized this. Its acquisition of an ‘Aussie super star’ has created a bullish atmosphere within e-banking and stock exchanges.
BNPLs are on the increase—their simplistic algorithms appeal to Millennials and the Alpha segments of the market. The pandemic has changed payment preferences and practices. It pays to keep an ear to the ground, alert, aware, and pliant to the rapidly changing face of consumerism and finances. BNPLs aren’t going anywhere other than to an App Store near you and to the contented, ringing cash registers of the High Street.