ShopBack Cuts 24% of Staff Amid BNPL Retreat


Singapore’s ShopBack is cutting a quarter of its staff as it exits the BNPL space.

CEO Henry Chan announced the cuts in a message to employees Tuesday (March 19), saying the layoffs — which will impact 195 workers, or 24% of staff — come after a sustained period of other cost-cutting measures, including salary freezes and leaving some roles unfilled.

“I made the mistake of pursuing too many directions as a company and expanding our team too rapidly,” Chan wrote.

“I take full responsibility for the decisions that have led to this situation. While these course corrections are painful, they are crucial and will set us up for success in the years to come. Because of this, we will be able to grow sustainably moving forward.”

Chan noted ShopBack had scaled its team from 550 employees to more than 900 in 2021 and early 2022, which he called “a period when the economy favored expansion over sustainability.”

According to multiple published reports, the layoffs come as ShopBack is ending its buy now, pay later (BNPL) offering in Singapore and Malaysia. The company entered the installment payment space in 2021 with its purchase of hoolah.

PYMNTS has contacted ShopBack for further information about its apparent move away from the BNPL market, but has not yet gotten a reply.

ShopBack’s roots are as a rewards company. Founded in 2014, it recently expanded into Germany and plans to set up shop in additional European markets.

The company’s move away from the BNPL space in Asia is happening as the payment method remains popular among consumers in the U.S.

As noted here Thursday, PYMNTS Intelligence data shows that in the 12 months prior to being surveyed, roughly 3 in 5 consumers said they used installment plans when shopping.

“This growing popularity has captured the attention of merchants,” that report said. “Seventy-eight percent of them told PYMNTS Intelligence that they plan to enhance their use of installment plans, while 39% of acquirers, the entities that enable merchants to offer these plans, said they plan to do the same.”

The report,, “Divided, Not Conquered: Acquirer and Merchant Confusion Clouds Split-Payments Landscape,” examined the three leading payment plans — general purpose credit card plans, merchant card plans and BNPL — each of which offers features that resonate with various consumer segments.

The report shows that 60% of shoppers overall used split payment options in the last year., with general-purpose card installment plans used by 45% of consumers, while merchant card installment plans and BNPL plans both appealed to 37% of consumers.