Klarna to debut $7.99 monthly plan as buy now, pay later firm seeks new revenue sources ahead of IPO

Swedish buy now, pay later firm Klarna unveils a $7.99 monthly subscription plan called Klarna Plus

Courtesy: Klarna

Swedish fintech firm Klarna is launching a monthly subscription plan in the U.S. to lock in its heaviest users ahead of an expected initial public offering this year, the company told CNBC.

The product is set to be announced later Wednesday and will cost $7.99 per month, the Stockholm-based company said.

Users of the subscription plan, named Klarna Plus, will get service fees waived, earn double rewards points and have access to curated discounts from partners including Nike and Instacart, according to Chief Marketing Officer David Sandstrom.

Buy now, pay later services such as Klarna and Affirm have surged in popularity in recent years as more Americans rely on a new, fintech-enabled form of credit. The services typically break up a purchase into four payments.

When Klarna users shop outside the firm’s network of 500,000 retailers — at places such as Walmart, Target, Amazon and Costco — they pay $1 to $2 in transaction fees.

“The main proposition of Klarna Plus right now is that you don’t pay any service fees,” Sandstrom said. “So if you love Klarna and if you love shopping at Target and Walmart, it makes a ton of sense financially.”

Potential IPO

Klarna’s monthly plan is the latest example of a fintech player building out its offerings to boost recurring revenue. Wall Street investors tend to favor subscription revenue because of its predictability versus one-time transactions. Rival Affirm has explored its own subscription plan, though it hasn’t released one yet.

The approach is especially timely as Klarna nears an IPO that could value it at more than $15 billion, Sky News reported in November. Klarna CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski told Bloomberg this week that a listing in the U.S., the firm’s largest market, was probably imminent.

Achieving that valuation would be a redemption of sorts for Klarna. The company was Europe’s most valuable startup before a collapse made it the poster child for so-called “down rounds” of funding. Klarna’s valuation sank 85% to $6.7 billion in 2022 as rising interest rates reined in high-flying fintech firms.

Klarna said in a statement to CNBC after publication that the timeline for a potential IPO hasn’t been set.

Klarna Plus could help persuade investors that the company can grow beyond its core product. The subscription, which was piloted in Utah for six months last year, is a “no brainer” for about 15% of the firm’s heaviest users, Sandstrom said. The company said it has about 37 million American customers.

“The thing we need to prove to ourselves and to the market is that we can add a new kind of revenue stream to Klarna,” Sandstrom said. “That’s something that a lot of companies have struggled to do.”

Klarna is 'pretty much ready' for an IPO, CEO says

Correction: This story has been updated to correct that Klarna’s subscription plan, Klarna Plus, was piloted in Utah after the company corrected information it had earlier provided. It has also been updated to remove mention of a high-yield savings account after Klarna retracted information about the product after publication.