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Buy now - pay later

PA Consulting's financial services expert, Frode Lervik, comments on the rise of super apps in Finansfokus. 

Super apps aim to keep users with them for as long as possible. Apps that combine payment services with a number of other services, present a challenge to the financial industry and the large technology companies.

The article outlines how super apps have become huge in China. Users of WeChat and Alipay, which have one billion and half a billion users respectively, can do "everything" in a single app.  Similar super apps have also emerged in other Asian countries, Paytm in India, Grab in Singapore, GoTo in Indonesia and Cocoa in South Korea which all collect huge amounts of data about each customer and use it to tailor their services and offers.

Data privacy laws and the dominance of major technology platforms mean super apps have not taken off in Europe and the USA. However, some variants of the super apps have emerged such as American PayPal, Swedish Klarna and British Revolut. Klarna is the most famous in Norway and has around 90 million users and collaboration with around 250,000 online stores and has made "Buy now pay later" (BNPL) a buzzword in online shopping.

The American company PayPal, in its latest version of the app, enables users to carry out financial services such as bank account, payment of bills, account-to-account transfer, cryptocurrency trading and shopping. Another challenger is Britain’s Revolut which started as an independent online bank with account services, payment services and investments but is now offering users the option to book trips through the app.

Frode says that today Paypal, Revolut and Klarna have their core business in financial services, but with a growing user base, they are developing clearer value propositions for traders, both for consumers and retailers.

“As part of the “Open Banking” trend, there is reason to believe that these services will continue to be further developed, but not necessarily as competitors to the current trading mechanisms. They have succeeded in being a growth partner for digital commerce, at the same time as  triggering an opportunity to establish their own platforms and secure a larger share of revenues in the value chain,” says Frode.

He also sees another challenge for the banks.

“Both Klarna and Revolut are also licensed to conduct cross-border banking operations in Europe and are thus positioned to offer similar products that compete with the banks' core products,” adds Frode.

Read the full article in Finansfokus

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