Klarna’s ‘AI breakthrough’ driving profit for BNPL provider

Mats Wiklund, Shutterstock

Swedish fintech Klarna has outlined progress in its adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) tech following the adoption of an OpenAI-powered assistant.

The Stockholm-headquartered company has detailed particular improvements in how it engages with immigrants and expatriates via the AI tool’s language capabilities.

According to Klarna’s latest update, the tool is ‘doing the equivalent work of 700 full-time agents’ and has tallied up a total of 2.3 million conversations, accounting for two-thirds of the company’s customer service chats.

The firm has also found success in errand resolution as a result of using the tool, with a 25% drop in repeat inquiries recorded and with the time taken for a resolution to be reached falling from 11 minutes to two minutes per customer.

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Co-Founder and CEO of Klarna, said: “This AI breakthrough in customer interaction means superior experiences for our customers at better prices, more interesting challenges for our employees, and better returns for our investors.

“We are incredibly excited about this launch, but it also underscores the profound impact on society that AI will have. We want to reemphasize and encourage society and politicians to consider this carefully and believe a considerate, informed and steady stewardship will be critical to navigate through this transformation of our societies.”

AI has been taking on increasing importance for Klarna’s pan-European operations, with the company having emerged as one of the leading providers of buy now, pay later (BNPL) services in the continent.

In its financial results for 2023 published this week, Klarna reported a 22% increase in revenue from SEK 19.3bn (€1.7bn) to SEK 23.5bn (€2bn), driving a 60% growth rate for gross profit.

The report also contained a statement from Siemiatkowski, who emphasised the company’s utilisation of AI, noting that it has become the first to adopt ChatGPT into day-to-day operations.

Klarna’s AI-backed tools have been taken live in 23 markets as a 24/7 offering with communications in over 35 languages, and the company estimates that this has generated $40m in profit.

“Klarna is at the very forefront among our partners in AI adoption and practical application.” remarked Brad Lightcap, COO of OpenAI. “Together we are unlocking the vast potential for AI to boost productivity and improve our day-to-day lives.”