Klarna goes crypto: BNPL fintech dips toes into crypto waters with Safello partnership

By Aisling Finn on Friday 19 February 2021

Alternative LendingDigital Banking

Safello will use Klarna’s open banking-powered payment solution to let its users buy crypto.

Klarna goes crypto: BNPL fintech dips toes into crypto waters with Safello partnership
Image source: Frank Schuil/Safello

Buy-now-pay-later giant Klarna has made its first foray into crypto by teaming up with Swedish cryptocurrency broker Safello.

Through the new partnership, Safello will use Klarna’s open banking infrastructure, giving the brokerage access to over 5,000 banks in 18 countries across Europe.

Safello’s 180,000 customers will now use Klarna’s open banking-powered payment system to buy cryptocurrencies without needing to leave Safello’s platform.

Frank Schuil, CEO of Safello, said: "This is a match made in heaven. Klarna shares our vision of offering a superior user experience without compromising security and compliance.”

“Besides, open banking is an exceptionally exciting area that will play a key role in our future plans."

The move marks Klarna’s first foray into the world of cryptocurrencies as it works to create a financial ‘super app’.

Philippe Rousseau, senior commercial manager at Klarna, added: "For over 15 years, Klarna has developed a mature and secure financial ecosystem that opens up a range of opportunities for increased innovation and competition.”

“Safello is a textbook example of consumer-centric innovators who can leverage the strength of our developer-friendly open banking infrastructure and we are very much looking forward to the partnership."

Just last week, Klarna launched bank accounts for a limited number of its German customers as it moves closer to becoming a one-stop-shop for all its users’ financial needs. 

Klarna already holds a full Swedish banking licence that it was granted back in 2017, so has been gearing up for this new deposit-taking product for some time now. 

The launch of the Klarna bank account comes just over six months after the fintech launched its first savings accounts in Germany, in partnership with fellow fintech Raisin, taking its first tentative steps into the world of digital banking. 

Raisin’s German customers could access Klarna’s attractive savings rates through Raisin WeltSparen, with Klarna’s 1-year rate seven times higher than the average savings account in Germany at the time of its launch. 

It has also been rumoured that the fintech is in the process of closing another massive $500m funding round, seeing its valuation skyrocket to anywhere between $25-30bn. 

At the new valuation, Klarna will become the second European fintech to have tripled its valuation after payment processor Checkout.com did so twice, first in June 2020 and more recently in January of this year. 

It seems that Klarna is looking to spread into other areas of finance as scrutiny around the BNPL sector hots up. 

Klarna and other BNPL fintechs have been under the microscope as of late as calls to introduce tighter regulation in the sector gain more traction, largely thanks to the Woolard Review published earlier this year suggested more stringent restrictions on the operations of BNPL firms.

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