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Affirm CEO: 'Buy Now, Pay Later' Becomes More Attractive in a Slump

With consumers grappling with rising rates and prices, the question of whether they’ll still buy now and pay later is open. Max Levchin thinks Affirm knows the answer.

Shortly after Affirm went public last year, CEO Max Levchin told Protocol that he saw “an ocean of opportunities” for the “buy now, pay later” pioneer. Wall Street agreed.

Affirm’s stock soared in its trading debut as the company blazed a trail for a fast-growing alternative to the credit cards that Levchin says consumers are increasingly rejecting.

But the picture has changed dramatically since then.

Rising prices and interest rates, along with waves of layoffs, highlight fears of another recession. There’s also growing scrutiny of “buy now, pay later” companies as critics say they’ve led to a steady rise of bad consumer debt.

Wall Street itself has soured on Affirm, whose stock has plunged more than 70% this year.

Levchin isn’t too worried.