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Klarna CEO accuses media outlets of "hypocrisy" over treatment of BNPL

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO and co-founder of the Swedish fintech, believes Klarna is getting unfair media coverage by media outlets compared to credit card firms.

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Sebastian Siemiatkowski/Klarna.

The CEO of Klarna has accused big news outlets of promoting credit cards while denigrating the buy now, pay later sector.

In a tweet, Sebastian Siemiatkowski, CEO and co-founder of the Swedish fintech, said the “hypocrisy was crazy!”

He tweeted: “Large media outlets promote credit cards (for money of course) that puts ALL your spending on credit.

“While warning for BNPL where credit is only used on selected purchases.”

The Klarna boss linked the tweet to an article by US tech website CNET on tips to spend “smarter” over the shopping season.

On credit cards, the article says that a “0 per cent Introductory APR card might be a good pick” if you are applying for a new credit card and need time to cover the balance.

It also tells its readers to “try a rewards card, which can help you earn cash back or points for each dollar you spend”.

But on buy now, pay later, the article warns readers to “tread carefully”. 

It names Klarna and other buy now, pay later firms and says there are “pitfalls” to their services, “especially if you pay late”.

It adds: “If you suspect you won’t be able to cover the cost of your gift on schedule, think twice about using a buy now, pay later plan.”

It is unclear if the Klarna boss is accusing media outlets of promoting credit cards which advertise in their outlets.

Amid its ballooning growth, Klarna has been public in its criticism of credit card firms.

David Sandström, Klarna’s chief marketing officer, has accused credit card firms of “cheating” and “taking advantage” of people.

Sandström told Verdict: “Credit card companies have made an astounding amount of money by essentially cheating and taking advantage of people with bad terms and conditions, high rates and extremely disadvantageous interests.”

And in a submission into a consultation into how to regulate the buy now, pay later sector, Klarna said that traditional credit card providers posed a greater threat to consumers than buy now, pay later firms.

In its submission, Klarna said: “The best consumer for Klarna is one who uses BNPL for a purchase and then pays on time and in full. 

“This is the absolute opposite of credit card providers and revolving credit products, whose most profitable consumers are those who stay in debt.”

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