Buy now, pay later firm Zip to raise fees amid surging inflation

Australian BNPL firm Zip annual loss widens as inflation chokes
Australian BNPL firm Zip annual loss widens as inflation chokes Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022
By Reuters
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– Australian buy now, pay later company Zip Co Ltd said on Wednesday it would raise fees for customers and merchants, as it tries to weather an onslaught from soaring inflation and rising interest rates on its business.

The company’s shares have cratered by almost 90% this year as higher rates and reduced consumer spending have pushed up the industry’s funding costs, while tighter regulation has made for trickier credit conditions.

Zip said it was well placed to offset the effects of rising rates through measures “including consumer fee increases, merchant repricing, increased customer repayment velocity”.

“We acknowledge that while we are not immune to market volatility, there remains significant opportunity for Zip and buy now, pay later products in a heightened inflationary environment,” it said.

The company, which is yet to post an annual profit, has also been cutting its cost base with the aim of turning a profit in fiscal 2024.

It aims for over A$30 million ($20.8 million) in benefit to profit from the initiatives, and said it would continue to review capital allocation for its Rest of World (RoW) businesses, which include Canada, Czech Republic and Mexico.

Zip’s shares, which are on track for their worst annual performance since debuting in 2009, closed at their lowest since April 2016 in a broadly weaker market, while U.S.-based Sezzle, which Zip plans to buy for $350 million, dropped almost 9%.

Zip also acknowledged recent comments about the potential regulation of BNPL products in Australia, saying that was supportive of “simple, fit-for-purpose regulation”.

It said it had A$303 million in cash and liquidity as of March-end, which it expected would see it through to cash flow breakeven in 2024.

($1 = 1.4472 Australian dollars)

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