Under scrutiny, Klarna launches mobile banking app in Germany

Klarna has launched a new mobile banking app service in Germany, as the Swedish ‘Fintech unicorn’ seeks to diversify beyond its ‘buy now, pay later’ services.

Announcing the ‘soft launch’ of its new app in Germany, Klarna has allowed limited users to register for its new banking services, stating that a full launch will follow in the coming months.

The mobile banking app sees Klarna use VISA as its debit card issuer, with its services allowing for standard Google Pay and Apple Pay integrations.

Mirroring European digital banking counterparts Monzo, Revolut and N26,  Klarna provides its users with an account budgeting tool, expense tracker, savings tool and incoming alerts on outgoing invoices.

On its launch notes, Klarna cited that its banking app provided no access or tie-ins with its flagship buy-now pay-later product.

Klarna maintains a EU banking licence, granted in 2017 by ‘Finansinspektionen’, Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA).

However, the company’s buy-now pay-later services have come under regulatory scrutiny by EU and UK FSA, who have accused the company of bypassing consumer credit checks – offering customers unsecured credit lines.

The FSA has promised the UK Treasury that it will draft new laws and proposals governing the rules and standards of  ‘point-of-sale’ loans provided by firms such as Klarna, Affirm and Afterpay.

Klarna Founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski has previously said that buy-now pay-later services serve as the firm’s initial product offering, but it aims to branch-out by developing wider financial services to provide its users with a ‘super app’.

During 2020, Klarna launched its new SME business solutions and consumer savings account within its home market of Sweden.

“Our focus is to provide a superior shopping experience to our consumers at the intersection of retail and banking,” said Siemiatkowski. “And we know that there’s still massive room for improvement to the way many people bank and save their money today. 

“Users are demanding more seamless, intuitive and transparent services to meet their daily needs, but many banks still do not cater for this. We are very excited to introduce Klarna Banking today, bundling shopping and banking in one app and allowing our consumers to bank in the same seamless way as they shop with Klarna.”