Klarna announced on Tuesday (Nov. 2) that it will acquire U.K.-based price comparison service PriceRunner for 1.06 billion Swedish crowns ($124.36 million) in a deal that expands the functionality for users of Klarna’s buy now, pay later (BNPL) service.
In a statement, Klarna Chief Product Officer David Fock said that “the acquisition will serve to strengthen our bank, card and payment services and support a competitive global landscape. It also further cements that Klarna will not be a marketplace, but a viable and competitive alternative for retail partners versus Amazon, Google and Facebook.”
PriceRunner CEO Mikael Lindahl said: “We have spent the last five years rebuilding PriceRunner from scratch to create a best-in-class comparison shopping service while helping retail partners improve their business. We see Klarna as the ideal partner to accelerate growth and achieve our long-term vision to become the most loved comparison shopping service in the world.”
This is the latest in a series of moves on the part of BNPL firms to differentiate their offerings in an increasingly crowded sector.
By positioning itself to compete with the Big Tech trio on retailing, Klarna opens a new front in the battle for consumer share in the connected economy of digital services. PriceRunner’s price comparisons will likely go over well with consumers using BNPL for budgeting and simplicity.
As PYMNTS found in Buy Now, Pay Later: The Financial Self-Care Revolution Report, done in collaboration with Sezzle, “BNPL users show high levels of affinity for the service. Our research found that 64% of consumers who mostly prefer one leading BNPL program believe that BNPL providers are more trustworthy service providers than banks or credit card companies.”
More BNPL Brands Are Diversifying
With the deal expected to close in Q1 2022, Klarna users will get access to independent products reviews, offers and 126 million daily price updates via the PriceRunner system.
BNPL has grown from a curious niche into a massive new industry segment in accelerated time. Players are now hurrying to build out the core of installment payments with value-adds as these firms angle to be much more than financiers of the 21st-century layaway plan.
As PYMNTS reported on Oct. 27, Affirm is introducing a decoupled debit card called Affirm Debit+ — which, according to the website, “has a flexible spending limit based on the available balance in your personal bank account you link to the Affirm Debit+ app. Your card has a maximum $2,500 daily limit and maximum $15,000 monthly spending limit.”
With BNPL brands viewing banks and card issuers as competitors, BNPL writ large is organizing into a group of full-featured financial services companies.
Klarna was granted a full banking license by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority in 2017.
In October, PayPal’s Honey rewards platform introduced cash back through PayPal. There’s more to it than meets the eye, however, as Honey’s integration with PayPal’s super app will bring a new level of seamlessness to BNPL while expanding its value beyond installments.
Calling the new app “a one-stop destination for our customers to take charge of their everyday financial lives, with new features like access to high-yield savings, in-app shopping tools for customers to find deals and earn cash-back rewards, early-access direct deposit and bill pay,” PayPal President and CEO Dan Schulman said users want more trust and less complexity.