Crypto Trading Could Make its Way Onto Australian ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Platform

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In Brief
  • Australian buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm Zip wants to enable cryptocurrency trading for its customers.

  • Zip is trying to even the playing field with larger rivals in the BNPL sector.

  • After expanding into the U.S. last year, Zip is making movies in Europe and the Middle East.

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According to co-founder Peter Gray, Australian buy now pays later (BNPL) firm Zip wants to enable cryptocurrency trading for its customers.

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Gray highlighted how cryptocurrency trading using Zip digital wallets had been one of the most requested new product features from users. However, he did not go into further details about how the trading would work.

Cryptocurrency trading aspirations

Zip said it would likely launch the new service in Australia and the United States in the year. With sales in the U.S. driving fourth-quarter growth in 2020, it’s soon set to become Zip’s biggest market by volume.

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BNPL companies enable retailers to offer their customers more flexible payment options, similar to layaway. Zip is eager to close ranks with bigger rivals Afterpay and Klarna, as they expand into more countries and plot new offerings. Earlier this month, Afterpay said it would launch a banking app in October. 

The BNPL sector has been increasingly attracting higher-profile names like PayPal and reportedly Apple. The influx of big-name platforms demonstrates the popularity the sector accrued over the pandemic. “We know our younger generation of customers seek additional products and services that are relevant to them,” Gray said.

Gray said that Zip would soon offer a broader range of products such as budgeting tools for its users. These will likely be launched in Australia first, due to the maturity of the market there. For instance, around 30% of adults have a BNPL account.

Zip’s expectations

Zip also announced that its U.S. unit, Quadpay, would be rebranded and consolidated under the single Zip brand name. The company’s bid to purchase Quadpay in the U.S. last year was only the beginning of Zip’s global expansion. This momentum is still picking up pace with deals for firms in Europe and the Middle East. 

Despite doubling its fourth-quarter volume and revenue, shares of Zip fell 7% after missing some analysts’ expectations. Group transaction volumes reached A$1.76 billion ($1.29 billion) in Q2. However, this was shy of UBS and RBC Capital Markets estimates, even as U.S. volumes quadrupled.

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Nick is a data scientist who teaches economics and communication in Budapest, Hungary, where he received a BA in Political Science and Economics and an MSc in Business Analytics from CEU. He has been writing about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology since 2018, and is intrigued by its potential economic and political usage. He can best be described as an optimistic center-left skeptic.

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