Wal-Mart Nears a Pilot Deal to Offer Customers Installment Loans

The upstart financing firm is in talks to offer installment loans to some Wal-Mart shoppers

Affirm’s loans will be largely geared to costlier Wal-Mart items like tires and other purchases over $200, a person familiar with the matter said. The financing at first would be available in select locations and to certain customers online, though it could expand later if the program proves successful enough.  Photo: Elise Amendola/Associated Press

By AnnaMaria Andriotis

Upstart financing firm Affirm Inc. is in talks to offer installment loans to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. WMT +0.20% customers, said people familiar with the matter.

The development is the latest sign of retailers’ desire to reach new customers with limited credit histories, and of the intensifying competition facing credit-card providers such as Synchrony Financial , SYF +0.44% the exclusive issuer of U.S. credit cards for the world’s largest retailer.

Affirm, based in San Francisco, is run by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin. Affirm and Wal-Mart, which is based in Bentonville, Ark., are nearing an agreement on a pilot in which Affirm would offer installment loans to some Wal-Mart shoppers in the U.S. as soon as this fall, the people said.

The financing at first would be available in select locations and to certain customers online, though it could expand later if the program proves successful enough. Affirm’s loans will be largely geared to costlier Wal-Mart items like tires and other purchases over $200, a person familiar with the matter said.

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