One, Backed by Walmart, Unveils Buy Now, Pay Later Option Ahead of Expanded Lending Initiative


Walmart’s Fintech Arm One Enters Buy Now, Pay Later Arena, Rivaling Affirm

Walmart’s fintech venture, One, has launched buy now, pay later (BNPL) loans for high-value purchases at select U.S. stores, marking its entry into a competitive field dominated by players like Affirm.

The move pits One directly against Affirm, which has been Walmart’s exclusive provider of installment loans since 2019. This development suggests a brewing battle in both physical stores and online platforms, with various players vying for dominance, including fintech firms, card companies, and traditional banks.

One’s expansion into lending reflects its ambition to evolve into a comprehensive financial superapp, offering a wide array of services encompassing saving, spending, and borrowing. With former Goldman Sachs executive Omer Ismail at the helm, One has attracted attention for its disruptive potential in the banking sector.

Despite operating discreetly from a Manhattan WeWork space, One has been steadily building its offerings, including the launch of a debit account in 2022. Now, it is directly challenging Walmart’s existing partners like Affirm, which helped the retail giant amass $648 billion in revenue last year.

During a recent visit to a Walmart store in New Jersey, advertisements for both One and Affirm competed for attention in the electronics section, highlighting the intensifying competition between the two platforms. Both offer loans ranging from around $100 to several thousand dollars, with interest rates between 10% to 36%.

While BNPL services have gained popularity among consumers, with significant growth in online spending, Walmart and One declined to comment on their latest move.

The expansion of One’s role at Walmart raises the possibility of displacing existing partners like Affirm and Capital One, signaling a strategic shift for the retail giant. Walmart’s broader strategy includes diversifying revenue sources beyond traditional retail, mirroring rival Amazon’s approach with ventures into finance, healthcare, and advertising.

In the realm of finance, One represents Walmart’s latest attempt to penetrate the banking industry. Unlike previous endeavors that faced regulatory hurdles, One operates through a joint venture with investment firm Ribbit Capital, leveraging talent from across the finance sector.

While One currently lacks a banking license, its partnership with Coastal Community Bank enables it to offer debit cards and installment loans. The startup’s ambition to become a major player in financial services aligns with Walmart’s vision of providing innovative solutions to its customers.

Looking ahead, One’s expansion into lending beyond BNPL loans suggests a broader strategy encompassing credit cards and savings accounts. With licenses to operate in nearly every U.S. state, One is poised to challenge incumbents and fintech disruptors alike, leveraging Walmart’s vast customer base and physical presence to drive growth.