PayPal co-founder's installments firm, Affirm, rebrands, gets into travel

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PayPal co-founder Max Levchin has built a $1.8 billion business offering installment plans to American consumers. The problem: most shoppers have no idea they’re using his company, Affirm, when they choose how to pay at checkout.

Now, in an effort to make its name synonymous with online installment plans, Affirm is rebranding. Besides a new logo, the firm will list all the retailers it works with on its website. Affirm will also focus on travel, letting consumers pay for vacations over time.

“We’ve built this enormous audience, but a lot of them still don’t really know that much about us,” Levchin said in an interview. “They encounter us at the point of sale, they click on pay, but they don’t spend too much time figuring out what we stand for.”

Founded in 2012, the San Francisco-based online lender is one of several startups and existing players getting into the growing installments business. Affirm is on track to do more than $2 billion in loans this year, but that’s still tiny compared with the broader $1.04 trillion credit card market.

Right now, people largely hear about Affirm if they see a button on the website of one of the retailers it has partnered with, such as indoor cycling firm Peloton and mattress company Casper. The rebranding is part of the company’s larger effort to sell a range of lending products.

“It’s a chance to express who we are in a much more pointed way,” Levchin added. “The goal here is to create a sense of, these guys are friendly, they’re real, they’ve been around for a while,” he said.

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