Walmart’s One Takes on Affirm with New BNPL Offering

Walmart’s majority-owned fintech startup, One, is stepping into the buy now, pay later (BNPL) market with a new offering targeting big-ticket items at some of the retailer’s more than 4,600 U.S. stores. This strategic move positions One in direct competition with Affirm, a leader in the BNPL sector and Walmart’s exclusive provider of instalment loans since 2019.

The introduction of BNPL services by One signifies an emerging rivalry in the store aisles and e-commerce portals of Walmart, the nation’s largest retailer. This development could impact various stakeholders, from fintech firms to card companies and traditional banks.

One’s foray into the lending space highlights its ambition to become a comprehensive financial platform, aiming to be a mobile one-stop shop for saving, spending, and borrowing money. Since its inception in 2021, One has attracted attention within the financial industry, largely due to its CEO, Omer Ismail, a former Goldman Sachs executive. The startup has also recruited talent from well-established banks and payment firms, indicating its commitment to disrupting the financial landscape.

Despite operating in relative secrecy from a Manhattan WeWork space, One released its initial product, a debit account, in 2022. The new BNPL service represents a significant step in its evolution, bringing the startup into direct competition with existing Walmart partners like Affirm, which played a role in helping the retail giant generate $648 billion in revenue last year.

The BNPL sector has seen substantial growth in recent years, with consumers seeking flexible payment options for large purchases. By offering these services, One could capture a larger share of the market while simultaneously expanding its presence within Walmart’s extensive retail network.

The emerging competition between One and Affirm could lead to broader implications for the financial and retail industries, with potential impacts on customer choice, pricing, and the future of payment options in retail.

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