PayPal Founder’s New App ‘Simplifies’ Mobile Shopping (Feb. 28, 2013)
Feb. 28, 2013
A new startup from PayPal co-founder Max Levchin is aiming to improve the process of making online purchases via mobile device—an improvement he says is a boon to customers and retailers alike. Known as Affirm, the new company is the brainchild of Levchin’s tech incubator Hard, Valuable, Fun and is launching a beta test with 1-800-Flowers signed on as merchant partner.
Affirm’s goal is to make shopping on mobile as easy as doing so on a computer, by simplifying the process to just a few clicks and eliminating the need to enter credit card information or fill out lengthy billing forms. Instead, shoppers at participating merchants’ mobile sites can simply tap a special “pay with Affirm” button at checkout, then tap again to confirm the order. Affirm will then fund the purchase and give consumers 30 days, interest-free, to pay the money back via credit card, debit card or check. In a bit of corporate synergy, another of Levchin’s startups, Stripe, will reportedly process card payments on the back end.
Shoppers are charged no fee for the service; Affirm instead charges merchants, who benefit from the increased likelihood that a sale begun on a mobile device will actually be completed, rather than abandoned midway through due to the frustration of entering data on a smartphone. “In mobile, it has become an imperative to be able to buy it now, or you lose a customer quickly,” Levchin told All Things D.
To authenticate users and to an extent evaluate credit risk, Affirm requires users sign up using a legitimate Facebook profile via the Affirm Facebook app. The company says it will begin enabling signup through other services at some point soon.