Apple Looks to Create Partnerships in the ‘Alternative Payments Ecosystem’

As growth in the alternative payment space, including buy now, pay later, fast payments, cryptocurrency and digital wallets, only continues to expand, Apple is looking for a lead in alternative payments partnerships to join its team.

According to a job listing posted earlier this week, the business development manager will work with Apple Pay teams to bring a “deep knowledge of the alternative payments ecosystem” and will be responsible for “developing and executing strategic and tactical plans across many organizational partners.”

The team, states the listing, needs help forming partnership framework and commercial models, defining implementation paradigms, identifying key players and managing relationships with strategic alternative payment partners,” as Apple negotiates partnerships and launches new programs.

Notably, the listing states that screening potential partners will fall under the new hire’s scope. For BNPL, this will likely include companies such as Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna, Sezzle, SplitIt, Quadpay and PayPal. When asked what Apple’s move in the space may mean for the future of growth in the digital wallet, executives from the companies agreed it was a great opportunity for all involved, including consumers.

“Finding partnerships in the alternative payments space makes sense for Apple on a number of levels,” said Charlie Youakim, Sezzle chief executive officer and cofounder of Sezzle. “First, the world of payments is a significant Total Addressable Market opportunity, which is underpenetrated in terms of market share from alternative providers. Second, a partnership would allow Apple to avoid credit risk on its balance sheet. And third, it would be a natural extension of some of the products Apple already provides such as its iPhone Wallet, Apple Pay, and Apple Card.”

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Moreover, Brad Paterson, chief executive officer at Splitit, said, “Apple’s news is another positive sign for the buy now, pay later industry. Payments expertise is a growing need for retailers as consumers demand more flexibility, including how they pay overtime. For example, many consumers prefer to pay in installments using their existing cards instead of obtaining new debt via traditional point-of-sale financing. Appointing a payment specialist will help companies such as Apple solve for the different and evolving needs of consumers.”

According to Zahir Khoja, head of North America at Afterpay, it’s important to note that its customers of Millennials and Gen Z represent a massive shift to debit spending, with more than 90 percent of transactions being made with a debit card.

“Unlike other BNPL products, which are just a new form of a credit card, Afterpay gives shoppers the ability to avoid expensive interest, hidden fees and pernicious debt,” Khoja said. “Afterpay’s current partnership with Apple represents a significant change in the way young people want to pay.

Affirm, Klarna and Quadpay withheld comment for this story.


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