Affirm, a point-of-sale lending startup, has popularized the use of online installment loans to pay for big-ticket purchases like sofas and mattresses. Now the company is bringing its technology into brick-and-mortar retail, starting with a dozen existing merchant partners, including Peloton and Simply Mac. By the end of the year, Affirm expects to be in over a thousand stores.
In the past, stores offering installment loans required customers to fill out lengthy paper applications. Affirm replaces that process with a simple web form, accessible via the customer’s phone or the merchant’s point-of-sale system.
“You’re pulling this financial application back to the privacy of a cell phone,” which reduces the fear of rejection, says chief revenue officer Rob Pfeifer.
The company plans to use in-store signage to raise awareness of the offering. In addition, Affirm has designed its new system in such a way that it can associate transactions with individual sales representatives, ensuring that they get credit even if a customer completes the application form back at home.
Founded in 2012 by PayPal alum Max Levchin, Affirm has raised $620 million in venture funding and $100 million in debt. Its merchant partners include Casper, Expedia, Gilt, and Wayfair.