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4 startups are changing the way millennials pay for brands like Casper and Warby Parker and have attracted investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Snoop Dogg



  • Online shoppers have a new option when it comes time to check out: Buy now, pay later.
  • Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna, and QuadPay are offering low-cost alternatives to credit cards for shoppers that don’t want to pay all at once.
  • While Affirm charges between 0 and 30% interest, startups like Afterpay, Klarna, and QuadPay offer no-interest installment plans — so if shoppers pay installments in full and on time, there’s no cost.
  • Instead of customers bearing the cost of the financing, retailers pay the startups a percentage of the transaction.
  • Click here for more BI Prime stories.

A buzzy cohort of startups are trying to redefine how shoppers take out credit at checkout.

Retailers have traditionally offered discounts and promotions in store and online for shoppers who sign up for a store’s credit card. And retail-branded credit cards, like those offered by Amazon and Gap Inc., come with rates as high as 30%, according to’s 2019 retail-card survey.

But the number of these cards in circulation has declined steadily since 2009, especially among millennial shoppers. Of those who signed up for a store card, only 19% were millennials ages 18 to 34, according to the survey.

Now a number of well-funded startups are offering subscriptionlike installment plans to appeal to millennial shoppers who might not want to apply for credit cards from their favorite stores.

Afterpay and Klarna, for example, offer no-interest installment plans at retailers including Casper, Delta Air Lines, and H&M. Some, like Affirm, charge interest based on a user’s credit worthiness.

And their ads are everywhere. Like many startups, these buy-now-pay-later players have taken to New York’s subways to reach the masses.

Klarna launched a campaign last year with one of its investors, Snoop Dogg, renaming him “Smoooth Dogg” and advertising “smoooth payments.”

These installment options have proven attractive to shoppers, especially online.

Affirm reported over $2 billion in loans in 2018. Afterpay issued over $5 billion in loans in a year and has 4.6 million users globally, according to its 2019 financial year-end results. And Sweden’s Klarna, which launched in the US in 2015, said it was adding 6 million US customers every year.

Retail cards may be losing popularity, but general credit and debit cards are still prominent. Payments made with debit and credit cards grew 9% every year between 2015 and 2018, according to the Federal Reserve

Here’s a look at some of the startups that are raking in venture-capital money and trying to change the way consumers spend online.

Affirm offers short- and long-term loans based on a user’s credit history at the point of sale

Affirm, founded by PayPal cofounder Max Levchin, offers a no-fee point-of-sale (POS) financing option at retailers like Casper, Delta Air Lines, Warby Parker, and Walmart. 

Affirm partners with e-commerce retailers to offer POS loans during online checkout. And if Affirm isn’t set up with a retailer, users can use Affirm credit or its app. Affirm is similar to a credit card in that it charges interest at an annual percent rate between 0 and 30%, depending on a user’s credit. 

And because it charges interest, Affirm is subject to US regulations like the Truth in Lending Act, which requires transparency from lenders around the terms and cost of credit.

Affirm doesn’t charge late fees, and there is no deferred interest, but it does report to credit bureaus, so late payments can affect users’ credit scores. Depending on the size of the purchase and a user’s credit profile, Affirm’s loans are typically offered in 3, 6, or 12 month terms, but longer-term loans are available at select merchants.

Affirm has raised $800 million to date from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Spark Capital, and has a $2.9 billion valuation, according to an Affirm spokesperson. TechCrunch reported last year that Affirm was raising as much as $1.5 billion.

No-interest options

Afterpay, Klarna, and QuadPay offer shoppers the ability to split online purchases into no-interest installments.

In a crowded market, they all compete for retailer partnerships. By offering the installment plans, these startups say that retailers can increase sales and minimize cart abandonment. None of these startups charge interest, which means the cost of the financing is shifted onto merchants, who pay the installment provider a percentage of each transaction.

And they seem to be everywhere in online retail, giving shoppers the option to finance things like art, apparel, and makeup.

For retailers that don’t have one of these startups embedded in their checkouts, shoppers can still access installment financing through the startups’ apps.

Australia’s Afterpay is growing fast in the US

The Australian startup Afterpay is growing fast and establishing partnerships with retailers like Adidas, J.Crew, and the Urban Outfitters group that includes Anthropologie and Free People.

Afterpay doesn’t run a credit check to determine a user’s eligibility, and it doesn’t disclose exactly how it makes its decisions. However, according to its website, a user’s payment history with Afterpay can influence whether a transaction gets approved. 

With Afterpay, if a user misses a payment, they are unable to make any more purchases with Afterpay until the payment is settled. Afterpay offers a grace period, which is typically about 10 days, according to its website, and it charges users a late fee if payments aren’t made within the grace period.

A fee of $8 is applied to each late installment, but total fees don’t exceed 25% of the total purchase.

Afterpay has grown fast. It launched in Australia in 2015 and went public in 2017. In 2018, it launched in the US, where it now has over 2 million customers. According to its 2019 financial year-end results, about 5% of transactions incur late fees, which made up 19% of Afterpay’s income, down from 25% in 2018.

Klarna, the unicorn backed by Snoop Dogg, has raised over $1 billion

Klarna was founded in Sweden in 2005 and launched in the US in 2015. It partners with Asos, Bose, and H&M, among others, to offer customers the ability to repay in interest-free installments within 30 days. Klarna also offers an app for users to secure credit at nonpartner retailers.

With Klarna, if you are late on a payment, it offers a two-day courtesy period. If you’re then still unable to pay, you’ll be in default and won’t be able to use the service again, according to its website.

Klarna has raised over $1 billion to date, with its latest fundraise of $460 million in August last year, bringing its valuation to $5.5 billion. Investors include Dragoneer Investment Group (Chime and Compass), Snoop Dogg, and Visa.

QuadPay is one of the newer players on the scene

QuadPay, like Afterpay, offers four-piece installment plans for online purchases. There’s no interest, but a $7 late fee is charged for an overdue installment payment. 

QuadPay is offered at retailers like Fashion Nova, Ugg, and S’well.

QuadPay doesn’t check a user’s credit report, so credit scores aren’t affected by applying. But the company does not disclose any information about how it assesses a user’s eligibility, according to its website

Late payments can be reported to credit bureaus, so not paying on time could influence users’ credit scores.

QuadPay was founded in 2017 and raised its seed round from Global Founders Capital in 2018.



Visualizing the Countries Most Reliant on Tourism



While COVID-19 is dominating headlines, another kind of emergency is threatening the lives of millions of people around the world—food insecurity.

The two are very much intertwined, however. By the end of 2020, authorities estimate that upwards of 265 million people could be on the brink of starvation globally, almost double the current rate of crisis-level food insecurity.

Today’s visualizations use data from the fourth annual Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC 2020) to demonstrate the growing scale of the current situation, as well as its intense concentration in just 55 countries around the globe.

Global Overview

The report looks at the prevalence of acute food insecurity, which has severe impacts on lives, livelihoods, or both. How does the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) classify the different phases of acute food insecurity?

  • Phase 1: Minimal/None
  • Phase 2: Stressed
  • Phase 3: Crisis
  • Phase 4: Emergency
  • Phase 5: Catastrophe/Famine

According to the IPC, urgent action must be taken to mitigate these effects from Phase 3 onwards. Already, 135 million people experience critical food insecurity (Phase 3 or higher). Here’s how that breaks down by country:

Country/ Territory Total Population Analyzed (Millions) Population in Crisis (Phase 3+, Millions) Share of Analyzed Population in Crisis
Afghanistan¹ 30.7 11.3 37%
(24 communes in 3 provinces)
0.9 0.6 62%
(Cox’s Bazar and host populations)
3.5 1.3 37%
Burkina Faso¹ 21.4 1.2 6%
Burundi 11.5 0.2 2%
Cabo Verde 0.5 0.01 2%
(7 regions)
16.1 1.4 8%
Central African Republic¹
(excluding Lobaye)
4.4 1.8 41%
Chad¹ 14.3 0.6 4%
(Venezuelan migrants)
1.6 0.9 55%
Côte d’Ivoire 19.8 0.06 0%
Democratic Republic of the Congo¹
(109 territories)
59.9 15.6 26%
(Venezuelan migrants)
0.4 0.3 76%
El Salvador¹
(Eastern region)
1.4 0.3 22%
(rural population)
0.9 0.2 25%
(selected areas in 6 regions)
28.7 8 27%
Gambia 2 0.2 10%
Guatemala¹ 16.6 3.1 18%
Guinea 10.1 0.3 3%
Guinea-Bissau¹ 1.3 0.1 10%
Haiti¹ 10.5 3.7 35%
(13 departments)
5.1 1 18%
Iraq 39.3 1.8 5%
(Arid and Semi-Arid Lands)
13.9 3.1 22%
(Syrian refugees)
0.9 0.3 29%
(rural population)
1.5 0.4 30%
Liberia 4.3 0.04 1%
Libya 6.7 0.3 5%
(Southern, south-eastern and eastern areas)
4.6 1.3 28%
Malawi¹ 15.3 3.3 22%
Mali¹ 20.5 0.6 3%
Mauritania¹ 4.1 0.6 15%
(39 districts)
5 1.7 34%
Myanmar 54 0.7 1%
Namibia 2.4 0.4 18%
Nicaragua 6 0.08 1%
Niger¹ 21.8 1.4 7%
(16 states and Federal Capital Territory)
103.5 5 5%
(Balochistan and Sindh drought-affected areas)
6 3.1 51%
Palestine 5 1.7 33%
Rwanda 12.6 0.1 1%
Senegal¹ 13.2 0.4 3%
Sierra Leone¹ 8.1 0.3 4%
Somalia¹ 12.3 2.1 17%
South Sudan² 11.4 7 61%
(excluding West Darfur)
41.9 5.9 14%
Syrian Arab Republic 18.3 6.6 36%
(Syrian refugees)
2.7 0.5 17%
Uganda 40 1.5 4%
(Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts, and IDP)
6.1 0.5 9%
United Republic of Tanzania¹
(16 districts)
4.8 1 20%
Venezuela¹ 28.5 9.3 32%
Yemen² 29.9 15.9 53%
(86 districts)
9.5 2.3 24%
(Rural population)
9.4 3.6 38%
Total populations 825.1 million 134.99 million

Source: GRFC 2020, Table 5 – Peak numbers of acutely food-insecure people in countries with food crises, 2019
¹ Include populations classified in Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4)
² Include populations classified in Emergency (IPC/CH Phase 4) and in Catastrophe (IPC/CH Phase 5)

While starvation is a pressing global issue even at the best of times, the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is projected to almost double these numbers by an additional 130 million people—a total of 265 million by the end of 2020.

To put that into perspective, that’s roughly equal to the population of every city and town in the United States combined.

A Continent in Crisis

Food insecurity impacts populations around the world, but Africa faces bigger hurdles than any other continent. The below map provides a deeper dive:

global food crisis 2020 africa

Over half of populations analyzed by the report – 73 million people – are found in Sub-Saharan Africa. Main drivers of acute food insecurity found all over the continent include:

  • Conflict/Insecurity
    Examples: Interstate conflicts, internal violence, regional/global instability, or political crises.
    In many instances, these result in people being displaced as refugees.
  • Weather extremes
    Examples: Droughts and floods
  • Economic shocks
    Macroeconomic examples: Hyperinflation and currency depreciation
    Microeconomic examples: Rising food prices, reduced purchasing power
  • Pests
    Examples: Desert locusts, armyworms
  • Health shocks
    Examples: Disease outbreaks, which can be worsened by poor quality of water, sanitation, or air
  • Displacement
    A major side-effect of conflict, food insecurity, and weather shocks.

One severely impacted country is the Democratic Republic of Congo, where over 15 million people are experiencing acute food insecurity. DRC’s eastern region is experiencing intense armed conflict, and as of March 2020, the country is also at high risk of Ebola re-emergence.

Meanwhile, in Eastern Africa, a new generation of locusts has descended on croplands, wiping out vital food supplies for millions of people. Weather conditions have pushed this growing swarm of trillions of locusts into countries that aren’t normally accustomed to dealing with the pest. Swarms have the potential to grow exponentially in just a few months, so this could continue to cause big problems in the region in 2020.

Insecurity in Middle East and Asia

In the Middle East, 43 million more people are dealing with similar challenges. Yemen is the most food-insecure country in the world, with 15.9 million (53% of its analyzed population) in crisis. It’s also the only area where food insecurity is at a Catastrophe (IPC/CH Phase 5) level, a result of almost three years of civil war.

global food crisis 2020 middle east

Another troubled spot in the Middle East is Afghanistan, where 11.3 million people find themselves in a critical state of acute food insecurity. Over 138,000 refugees returned to the country from Iran and Pakistan between January-March 2020, putting a strain on food resources.

Over half (51%) of the analyzed population of Pakistan also faces acute food insecurity, the highest in all of Asia. These numbers have been worsened by extreme weather conditions such as below-average monsoon rains.

An Incomplete Analysis

As COVID-19 deteriorates economic conditions, it could also result in funding cuts to major humanitarian organizations. Upwards of 300,000 people could die every day if this happens, according to the World Food Program’s executive director.

The GRFC report also warns that these projections are still inadequate, due to major data gaps and ongoing challenges. 16 countries, such as Iran or the Philippines have not been included in the analysis due to insufficient data available.

More work needs to be done to understand the true severity of global food insecurity, but what is clear is that an ongoing pandemic will not do these regions any favors. By the time the dust settles, the food insecurity problem could be compounded significantly.

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How U.S. Consumers are Spending Differently During COVID-19



When times get tough, central banks typically act as the first line of defense.

However, modern economies are incredibly complex—and calamities like the 2008 financial crisis have already pushed traditional policy tools to their limits. In response, some central banks have turned to newer, more unconventional strategies such as quantitative easing and negative interest rates to do their work.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, central banks are once again taking decisive action. To help us understand what’s being done, today’s infographic uses data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to compare the policy responses of 29 systemically important economies.

The Central Bank Toolkit

To begin, here are brief descriptions of each policy, which the IMF sorts into four categories:

1. Monetary Policies

Policies designed to control the money supply and promote stable economic growth.

Policy Name Intended Effect
Policy rate cuts Stimulates economic activity by decreasing the cost of borrowing
Central bank liquidity support Provides distressed markets with additional liquidity, often in the form of loans
Central bank swap lines Agreements between the U.S. Fed and foreign central banks to enhance the provision of U.S. dollar liquidity
Central bank asset purchase schemes Uses newly-created currency to buy large quantities of financial assets, such as government bonds. This increases the money supply and decreases longer-term rates

2. External Policies

Policies designed to mitigate the effects of external economic shocks.

Policy Name Intended Effect
Foreign currency intervention Stabilizes the national currency by intervening in the foreign exchange market
Capital flow measures Restrictions, such as tariffs and volume limits, on the flow of foreign capital in and out of a country

3. Financial Policies for Banks

Policies designed to support the banking system in times of distress.

Policy Name Intended Effect
Easing of the countercyclical capital buffer A reduction in the amount of liquid assets required to protect banks against cyclical risks
Easing of systemic risk or domestic capital buffer A reduction in the amount of liquid assets required to protect banks against unforeseen risks
Use of capital buffers Allows banks to use their capital buffers to enhance relief measures
Use of liquidity buffers Allows banks to use their liquidity buffers to meet unexpected cash flow needs
Adjustments to loan loss provision requirements The level of provisions required to protect banks against borrower defaults are eased

4. Financial Policies for Borrowers

Policies designed to improve access to capital as well as provide relief for borrowers.

Policy Name Intended Effect
State loans or credit guarantees Ensures businesses of all sizes have adequate access to capital
Restructuring of loan terms or moratorium on payments Provides borrowers with financial assistance by altering terms or deferring payments

Putting Policies Into Practice

Let’s take a closer look at how these policy tools are being applied in the real world, particularly in the context of how central banks are battling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. Monetary Policies

So far, many central banks have enacted expansionary monetary policies to boost slowing economies throughout the pandemic.

One widely used tool has been policy rate cuts, or cuts to interest rates. The theory behind rate cuts is relatively straightforward—a central bank places downward pressure on short-term interest rates, decreasing the overall cost of borrowing. This ideally stimulates business investment and consumer spending.

If short-term rates are already near zero, reducing them further may have little to no effect. For this reason, central banks have leaned on asset purchase schemes (quantitative easing) to place downward pressure on longer-term rates. This policy has been a cornerstone of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s (Fed) COVID-19 response, in which newly-created currency is used to buy hundreds of billions of dollars of assets such as government bonds.

When the media says the Fed is “printing money”, this is what they’re actually referring to.

2. External Policies

External policies were less relied upon by the systemically important central banks covered in today’s graphic.

That’s because foreign currency interventions, central bank operations designed to influence exchange rates, are typically used by developing economies only. This is likely due to the higher exchange rate volatility experienced by these types of economies.

For example, as investors flee emerging markets, Brazil has seen its exchange rate (BRL/USD) tumble 30% this year.

In an attempt to prevent further depreciation, the Central Bank of Brazil has used its foreign currency reserves to increase the supply of USD in the open market. These measures include purchases of $8.8B in USD-denominated Brazilian government bonds.

3. Financial Policies for Banks

Central banks are often tasked with regulating the commercial banking industry, meaning they have the authority to ease restrictions during economic crises.

One option is to ease the countercyclical capital buffer. During periods of economic growth (and increased lending), banks must accumulate reserves as a safety net for when the economy eventually contracts. Easing this restriction can allow them to increase their lending capacity.

Banks need to be in a position to continue financing households and corporates experiencing temporary difficulties.

—Andrea Enria, Chair of the ECB Supervisory Board

The European Central Bank (ECB) is a large proponent of these policies. In March, it also allowed its supervised banks to make use of their liquidity buffers—liquid assets held by a bank to protect against unexpected cash flow needs.

4. Financial Policies for Borrowers

Borrowers have also received significant support. In the U.S., government-sponsored mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have announced several COVID-19 relief measures:

  • Deferred payments for 12 months
  • Late fees waived
  • Suspended foreclosures and evictions for 60 days

The U.S. Fed has also created a number of facilities to support the flow of credit, including:

  • Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility: Purchasing bonds directly from highly-rated corporations to help them sustain their operations.
  • Main Street Lending: Purchasing new or expanded loans from small and mid-sized businesses. Businesses with up to 15,000 employees or up to $5B in annual revenue are eligible.
  • Municipal Liquidity Facility: Purchasing short-term debt directly from state and municipal governments. Counties with at least 500,000 residents and cities with at least 250,000 residents are eligible.

Longer-term Implications

Central bank responses to COVID-19 have been wide-reaching, to say the least. Yet, some of these policies come at the cost of burgeoning debt-levels, and critics are alarmed.

In Europe, the ECB has come under scrutiny for its asset purchases since 2015. A ruling from Germany’s highest court labeled the program illegal, claiming it disadvantages German taxpayers (Germany makes larger contributions to the ECB than other member states). This ruling is not concerned with pandemic-related asset purchases, but it does present implications for future use.

The U.S. Fed, which runs a similar program, has seen its balance sheet swell to nearly $7 trillion since the outbreak. Implications include a growing reliance on the Fed to fund government programs, and the high difficulty associated with safely reducing these holdings.

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btc still long ( short term )

stop 9205 target 9650 +



btc still long ( short term ) for BINANCE:BTCUSDT by onatt — TradingView

stop 9205 target 9650 +


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