Affirm introduces in-store capabilities; integrates virtual cards with Apple Pay
Affirm, a start-up in the US launched by PayPal’s co-founder Max Levchin, will partner with merchants to make Affirm financing available in-store.
The company, which aims is “to provide fair and honest financial products”, says shoppers can now use Affirm InStore in brick-and-mortar locations – “securing credit in just seconds before they even get to the cash register” – and pay for their purchase over time in straightforward, fixed monthly instalments.
Also, consumers will be able to automatically add Affirm’s new virtual card to Apple Pay via Affirm’s mobile app – and “immediately use it to make a purchase anywhere Apple Pay is accepted”.
The company cites research according to which 75% of consumers expect a retail experience to be consistent whether they are on a company’s website, social media channel, mobile site, or in a store.
“People’s shopping habits are evolving very quickly, beyond simply moving online-to-offline or offline-to-online when engaging with merchants,” notes Rob Pfeifer, chief retail officer at Affirm.
“Affirm provides a solution for this omnichannel experience in the form of transparent and honest finance.”
When customers use a card with Apple Pay, the actual card numbers are not stored on the device, nor on Apple servers. Instead, a unique device account number is assigned, encrypted and securely stored in the secure element on their device. Each transaction is authorised with a one-time unique dynamic security code.
To merchants, Affirm offers two options: they can integrate the Affirm InStore API with their POS system or use Affirm’s expanded virtual card experience.
“Regardless of the in-store integration method, the experience for consumers is virtually identical to the online and mobile product experience they’ve come to love,” Affirm says.
“To apply, shoppers complete a simple, five-field application for a real-time credit decision. Once approved, the consumer enters the amount they wish to spend and selects a payment plan – usually three, six, 12, 18 or 24 months.
“Affirm pays the merchant in full at the time of settlement and takes on all fraud risk for the purchase.”
Simply Mac, a US-based seller of new and used Apple products, has recently switched from offering a traditional private label credit card (PLCC) to Affirm InStore in its brick-and-mortar locations.
“It was a nightmare, and the lack of integration with our systems created a real potential for fraud,” says Tiffany Polmateer, Simply Mac’s director, purchasing and operations. Switching to Affirm “was kind of a no-brainer,” she adds.
Since introducing Affirm into their physical stores, Simply Mac has seen a 20% increase in average order values above what they saw previously. They’ve also seen better customer engagement, with 63% more applications and 34% more approvals per store.
Affirm now also accounts for about 81% of Simply Mac’s online sales.
“Affirm solved all of our headaches in one simple technology solution that was good for everybody,” Polmateer states. “And, not just for us on the backend, but most importantly for the customers, too.”