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Max Levchin, founder of Affirm, aims to eliminate credit cards

Reinventing Payments: Max Levchin’s Journey with Affirm and Buy Now, Pay Later

Max Levchin, the co-founder of PayPal, had a dream of buying a car after his company went public and he became a multi-millionaire. However, his credit card debt stood in the way of achieving this goal. Levchin, who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine as a teenager, had struggled with personal finance education and accumulated debt in his college years, leading to a low credit score that haunted him for years.

Frustrated with the traditional lending system, Levchin decided to take matters into his own hands and founded Affirm, an online buy now, pay later service in 2014. His own experience with debt and late fees inspired him to create a platform that would be more consumer-friendly and transparent. Affirm does not charge late fees, but may charge interest if a payment is severely past due, aligning its success with the financial well-being of its users.

While Levchin believes that Affirm is a better alternative to credit cards, critics argue that buy-now-pay-later services like Affirm may not be as revolutionary as they claim. Studies have shown that many users of BNPL services have experienced issues such as overspending, missing payments, and regretting purchases. Additionally, some users have fallen behind on other debts due to their spending habits with BNPL services.

Despite the controversy surrounding BNPL services, Levchin remains steadfast in his belief that these platforms can help consumers make better financial decisions. He argues that if more consumers switched to using BNPL products instead of credit cards, the nation would be in a healthier financial position. While regulators are starting to take notice of the potential risks associated with BNPL services, Levchin remains optimistic about the future of Affirm and its impact on the financial industry.


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