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What is Hoolah?

What is Hoolah

What is Hoolah?

Hoolah is a Singaporean financial technology (fintech) company that initially focused on providing a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service for online and offline retail purchases. Founded in 2018 by Stuart Thornton, Arvin Singh, and John Tan, Hoolah aimed to make shopping more affordable and convenient for consumers by allowing them to split their purchases into interest-free installment payments.

Hoolah allowed shoppers to divide their payments into multiple installments, typically three or four, which helped consumers manage their budgets and make larger purchases without the need for credit cards. The service gained popularity in Singapore and other markets.

In 2020, Hoolah underwent a significant transformation and rebranded itself as “ShopBack.” ShopBack is a well-known cashback and rewards platform that offers users cashback on their online purchases across a wide range of categories, including fashion, electronics, travel, food delivery, and more. ShopBack partners with various online retailers and merchants, allowing users to earn a percentage of their purchase price as cashback, which can be redeemed or withdrawn.

The transition from Hoolah to ShopBack reflected the company’s shift in focus from BNPL to cashback and rewards. ShopBack has expanded its services to multiple countries in Southeast Asia and is considered one of the leading cashback and rewards platforms in the region.

 

Who are Hoolah’s competitors? BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later Competitors)

Hoolah, when it operated as a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service, had several competitors in the BNPL and fintech space. Some of its competitors included:

Afterpay

AfterPay is a digital payment platform that offers a “buy now, pay later” service, allowing customers to purchase goods or services immediately and pay for them in installments, typically over a few weeks. It’s particularly popular in the online retail space.

When a customer makes a purchase using AfterPay, the service pays the retailer upfront for the product. The customer then repays AfterPay in a series of installments, usually four, spread out over six weeks. One of the key features of AfterPay is that it does not charge interest on these payments, making it an attractive option for consumers who want to spread out their spending without incurring the costs associated with traditional credit.

The process to use AfterPay is straightforward. Customers choose AfterPay as their payment method at checkout on a retailer’s website. They then provide some basic information and get an instant decision on their purchase. If approved, they pay the first installment immediately, usually 25% of the total purchase price, and the remaining amount is paid in three additional installments.

AfterPay makes money primarily through merchant fees. Retailers pay a fee to offer AfterPay as a payment option, betting on the fact that the service can increase average order values and conversion rates by making purchases more accessible to customers. There are also late fees for customers who miss payments, but AfterPay emphasizes its efforts to keep these fees reasonable and to support customers in managing their repayments.

The service is particularly popular among younger consumers, especially millennials and Gen Z shoppers, who are more reluctant to use traditional credit cards and are attracted to the flexibility and simplicity of installment payments. AfterPay’s popularity has grown rapidly, and it is now available in several countries, including the United States, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, among others.

In response to the growing demand for flexible payment options, many other companies have entered the “buy now, pay later” space, making it a highly competitive market. However, AfterPay remains one of the prominent players in this field, known for its user-friendly interface and widespread acceptance among online retailers.

 

Klarna

Klarna is a global payment service provider that originated in Sweden and operates primarily in the field of “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) services, alongside other types of payment solutions. It’s become particularly prominent in the e-commerce industry, offering flexible payment options to consumers.

Klarna allows customers to shop online and choose to pay for their purchases either immediately, later, or in installments. This flexibility is a key aspect of Klarna’s appeal. When a customer chooses to pay later or in installments, Klarna pays the retailer upfront for the purchase. The customer then repays Klarna, either in a single payment at a later date or over time in a series of installments.

The company offers several payment plans. The most popular is the ‘Pay in 4’ option, where the cost is split into four equal payments, with the first due at the time of purchase and the remaining three due every two weeks. Klarna also offers a ‘Pay in 30 days’ option, allowing customers to receive and evaluate their goods before paying. For larger purchases, Klarna provides financing options with longer repayment periods.

One of the distinctive features of Klarna is its smooth user experience and seamless integration with online retailers. Customers can use Klarna’s services through the Klarna app or directly at the checkout of partnered retailers. The app also offers features like tracking spending, managing payments, and even browsing retailers and exclusive deals.

Klarna generates revenue through fees paid by retailers and, in some cases, through interest on longer-term financing plans and late payment fees. However, many of Klarna’s payment options are interest-free, which appeals to consumers who are cautious about accumulating debt.

The company has experienced rapid growth and is now available in multiple countries, with a strong presence in Europe and the United States. Klarna’s services cater particularly to younger consumers, like millennials and Gen Z, who often prefer alternative payment methods over traditional credit cards.

Klarna has also made efforts to position itself as more than just a payment service. The brand emphasizes lifestyle and consumer experience, evident in its marketing campaigns and collaborations with influencers and high-profile brands.

As the BNPL market continues to grow, Klarna faces competition from other companies offering similar services, such as AfterPay and Affirm. Despite this, Klarna maintains a significant market share due to its early entry into the market, extensive merchant network, and strong brand identity.

Affirm

Affirm is a financial technology company based in the United States, known for its role in the burgeoning “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) market. Founded by Max Levchin, a co-founder of PayPal, Affirm has made a name for itself by offering transparent and consumer-friendly payment alternatives to traditional credit.

Affirm’s primary service allows customers to make purchases and pay for them over time. Unlike many other BNPL services that focus on short-term installments, Affirm offers a range of repayment periods, from a few weeks to several months or even years, depending on the purchase amount and the merchant. This flexibility is a significant draw for customers making both small and large purchases.

When a customer shops at a retailer that partners with Affirm, they can choose to pay with Affirm at checkout. The process involves a quick eligibility check, which doesn’t impact the customer’s credit score. Once approved, Affirm presents multiple repayment plan options, showing the total amount to be paid over time, including any interest. Unlike many BNPL providers, Affirm is transparent about interest charges, ensuring that customers know exactly what they will owe. For many purchases, Affirm offers 0% financing, but for others, interest rates can vary depending on the customer’s credit and the purchase details.

The customer then selects a repayment plan that suits their budget. Payments can be made monthly, and Affirm sends reminders to help customers stay on track. One of the key aspects of Affirm’s service is the lack of hidden fees; they don’t charge late fees, service fees, or prepayment fees.

Affirm generates revenue through the interest on some of its loans and through fees paid by merchants. Merchants are willing to pay these fees because offering flexible payment options can boost sales, increase average order values, and improve customer satisfaction.

The company has also ventured into other financial services, including a savings account offering with no minimum balance and no fees, emphasizing their aim to be more consumer-friendly than traditional banks.

Affirm’s target market is broad, ranging from budget-conscious consumers who appreciate the ability to spread out payments for everyday purchases to those making larger, more significant investments, like furniture or travel. The service is particularly popular among millennials and Gen Z consumers who are often more hesitant to use traditional credit cards and appreciate the straightforward, no-hidden-fees approach of Affirm.

As the BNPL sector becomes increasingly competitive with players like Klarna and AfterPay, Affirm distinguishes itself with its longer-term payment options, commitment to transparency, and expansion into a broader range of financial products. Despite the competition, Affirm has maintained a strong presence in the market, partnering with major retailers and consistently innovating in the financial technology space.

Zip Co

Zip Co, formerly known as ZipPay and ZipMoney, is an Australian financial technology company that operates in the “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) space. It provides a payment platform that offers a flexible and user-friendly alternative to traditional credit and debit payment methods.

Zip Co’s core service allows customers to make purchases and then pay for them later, either in full or through installments. This service is designed to provide consumers with more control over their spending and budgeting. Zip Co typically offers two main products: Zip Pay and Zip Money.

Zip Pay is targeted towards smaller, everyday purchases. It allows customers to buy items immediately and pay for them later, usually within a month, without incurring interest. Customers get a line of credit up to a certain limit, which can be used at a variety of retailers. After the interest-free period, a minimal monthly account fee is charged if there is an outstanding balance.

Zip Money, on the other hand, is designed for larger purchases. It offers longer repayment periods and higher credit limits, but unlike Zip Pay, it may include interest charges after an initial interest-free period. Both services involve a quick and straightforward application process, often completed at the point of sale, either in-store or online.

The company makes money primarily through merchant fees and, depending on the product, customer fees. Retailers pay Zip Co to offer its services, hoping to increase sales by providing customers with flexible payment options. For customers, while there are no interest fees for Zip Pay, they may incur a monthly account fee if they carry a balance past the interest-free period. Zip Money might include interest charges after the initial interest-free period ends.

One of Zip Co’s strengths is its wide acceptance; the service is available at a large number of retailers across various sectors, including fashion, home goods, and electronics. This extensive network makes it a convenient option for many shoppers.

Zip Co has expanded beyond Australia, entering markets in the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. This expansion reflects the growing global interest in BNPL services.

The target demographic for Zip Co, similar to other BNPL services, includes millennials and Gen Z consumers who often prefer more flexible and transparent payment options compared to traditional credit cards. Zip Co’s user-friendly platform and the ability to split payments appeal to these consumers, who are increasingly looking for better ways to manage their personal finances.

In the competitive BNPL market, Zip Co differentiates itself with its dual offerings of Zip Pay and Zip Money, catering to a wide range of purchase sizes. The company’s growth and expansion into international markets indicate its strong position in the evolving landscape of digital payments.

Sezzle

Sezzle is a digital payment platform that offers a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service, enabling customers to make purchases and spread the cost over a period of time without incurring interest. Originating in the United States, Sezzle has gained traction in the online retail sector, especially among younger shoppers.

Sezzle’s BNPL service works by allowing consumers to purchase items immediately and pay for them in installments. Typically, this involves splitting the total purchase amount into four equal payments spread over six weeks. The first installment is paid at the time of purchase, and the remaining three are due every two weeks. This setup is particularly appealing to those who want to manage their cash flow more effectively or avoid the high interest rates associated with traditional credit cards.

The process of using Sezzle is straightforward. At the checkout of a participating online retailer, the customer selects Sezzle as the payment method. They then complete a simple sign-up process, and Sezzle immediately assesses the application with a soft credit check that doesn’t impact the customer’s credit score. Upon approval, the customer can proceed with the purchase under the agreed installment plan.

For customers, one of the main attractions of Sezzle is that it charges no interest on the installments. However, it’s important to note that late fees may be applied if a payment is missed, though Sezzle emphasizes its flexibility and willingness to work with customers to reschedule payments if needed.

Sezzle earns revenue primarily through merchant fees. Retailers pay Sezzle a fee to offer their payment solution, as it can lead to increased consumer purchasing power and potentially higher average order values. Sezzle’s service is designed to integrate seamlessly with online stores, providing a smooth checkout experience for customers.

A key market for Sezzle is younger consumers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, who are often more cautious about taking on traditional credit debt but still seek the flexibility of installment payments for their purchases. Sezzle’s user-friendly platform and transparent payment structure cater well to this demographic.

Sezzle has also made strides in promoting responsible spending and financial wellness. The company offers educational resources on personal finance and works to ensure that its payment plans are manageable for consumers, aligning with a growing consumer preference for ethical and transparent financial services.

As with other players in the BNPL sector, such as AfterPay, Klarna, and Affirm, Sezzle faces a competitive market. However, its focus on customer education, financial responsibility, and a straightforward, interest-free payment plan helps it to maintain a strong presence in the expanding world of digital payment options.

Splitit

Splitit is a unique player in the “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) market, offering a distinct approach to installment payments. Founded with the idea of making it easier for consumers to manage their cash flow, Splitit allows customers to use their existing credit card to pay for purchases in installments, without needing to apply for a new line of credit or undergo a credit check.

The core feature of Splitit is that it enables customers to split the total cost of a purchase into monthly payments, using their available credit card limit. Unlike traditional BNPL services that provide a new line of credit, Splitit leverages the customer’s existing credit card. When a customer makes a purchase, Splitit reserves the total purchase amount on the customer’s credit card and then charges the card in smaller, monthly installments. This setup reduces the risk of non-payment and allows consumers to use credit they’ve already been approved for.

Here’s how it works: At the checkout of a participating retailer, a customer selects Splitit as the payment method. They then choose how many monthly installments they want to pay, typically ranging from two to 24 months. Splitit then places a hold on the total purchase amount on the customer’s credit card and charges the first installment immediately. With each monthly payment, the hold on the card is reduced until the purchase is paid in full.

One of the major advantages of Splitit is that it doesn’t charge interest or fees to the customer, provided they pay their credit card balance in full. This can make it a more attractive option compared to other BNPL services that may charge late fees or interest on longer-term financing.

Splitit generates revenue by charging merchants a fee to offer their service. Merchants are willing to pay this fee because offering Splitit can lead to increased sales, as customers may be more willing to make larger purchases if they can spread the cost over time without incurring additional charges.

A significant benefit of Splitit’s model is that it can potentially help customers build or maintain their credit score, as payments are made through their existing credit card. This aspect can be particularly appealing to financially savvy consumers who are mindful of their credit scores.

Targeting a broad market, Splitit appeals to a range of consumers, especially those who are wary of taking on new debt but are comfortable using their credit cards responsibly. It’s also attractive to those who prefer to utilize their existing credit lines instead of applying for new financing options.

In the competitive BNPL space, Splitit differentiates itself with its use of existing credit lines and interest-free model. Its approach addresses a niche in the market for consumers who prefer not to open new lines of credit but still want the flexibility of installment payments for their purchases. Despite the presence of larger players like AfterPay, Klarna, and Affirm, Splitit maintains its unique position by offering a straightforward, accessible, and responsible spending tool.

Is Afterpay bigger than Shopback?

Afterpay and ShopBack are two different companies operating in the fintech space, but they have distinct business models and focus on different aspects of the e-commerce and payments industry.

Afterpay is an Australian-based buy now, pay later (BNPL) service that allows consumers to split their purchases into interest-free installments. It has gained significant recognition and a strong user base in various countries, including Australia, the United States, and others. Afterpay’s market capitalization and global presence were notable in the BNPL sector.

ShopBack, on the other hand, is a Singaporean-based cashback and rewards platform. It partners with various online retailers and offers users cashback on their online purchases across multiple categories. While ShopBack provides financial incentives to users, it does not offer BNPL services.

Comparing the size or success of Afterpay and ShopBack directly may not be straightforward because they serve different market segments and have different revenue models. Afterpay’s market capitalization and valuation are based on its position in the BNPL market, while ShopBack’s success is determined by its ability to attract users seeking cashback and rewards.

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