From The Information:
"The ambitious fintech venture backed by Walmart is planning to launch buy now, pay later loans as soon as next year, three people familiar with the matter said. That could put the world’s largest retailer in competition with fintech lenders like Affirm and Klarna, as well as Apple, another consumer giant set to launch its own installment loans.
"Walmart has been pushing deeper into financial services with a majority-owned joint venture that’s hoping to expand by targeting Walmart’s 1.7 million employees in the U.S. and its vast number of existing customers. Offering installment loans would be the latest phase of that growth, following the introduction of checking and savings accounts and debit cards."
The Information notes that while Walmart already offers some access to financial services, such as through its in-store Money Centers that provide transfer and check cashing services, its fintech venture - which is called One - seems designed to allow it to compete more effectively and extensively with both traditional financial services companies and other digital entities.
One goal - a so-called "super app" that would allow users to manage all the aspects of their financial live sin one place.
- KC's View:
I've been writing about this business for a long time, and it seems to me that Walmart's aspirations in the area of financial services has been a constant. "Walmart Bank" is a term that has come up more than a few times over the years, but the company always has faced resistance from well-funded lobbyists from the traditional financial services sector who wanted to do everything and anything possible to keep Walmart out. I've always believed it would be immensely disruptive - not to mention entertaining -to have a company like Walmart get into the business and start challenging traditional ways of doing business and charging consumers. This fintech vehicle may allow Walmart CEO Doug McMillon to accomplish something about which his predecessors only could dream.
At the same time, the "super app" concept is one that has a lot of fans. Just the other day, The Information reported that "Microsoft recently considered building a 'super app' that could combine shopping, messaging, web search, news feeds and other services in a one-stop smartphone app, in what would be an ambitious move by the software giant to expand further into consumer services, according to people with direct knowledge of the discussions. Microsoft executives wanted the app to boost the company’s multibillion-dollar advertising business and Bing search, as well as draw more users to Teams messaging and other mobile services.
There's also been speculation that Elon Musk might like to use Twitter as a foundation for some sort of "super app" that would be involved in the payments business, especially since his approach with Twitter to this point seems to be doing little more than alienating sponsors - he seems to approach Twitter's business by taking a throw-spaghetti-against-the-wall strategy, except the problem is that at least some of the spaghetti is toxic.