PayPal Co-Founder Levchin Launches PayPal Rival Affirm

Max 'Beast from the East' Smolaks covers open source, public sector, startups and technology of the future at TechWeekEurope. If you find him looking lost on the streets of London, feed him coffee and sugar.

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Max Levchin is yet another man who wants to revolutionise mobile shopping

Max Levchin, one of the founders of e-commerce business PayPal, has launched his own mobile payment platform, called Affirm.

Affirm wants to “liberate abandoned carts from an eternity in mobile shopping cart limbo,” by allowing customers to pay for any mobile retail experience with just two taps.

Levchin’s start up will compete with PayPal’s own ‘Here’ smartphone app, as well as solutions from Visa and Jack Dorsey’s Square.

Tap. Tap. Buy.

Levchin, Elon Musk, Luke Nosek, Ken Howery and Peter Thiel created PayPal in 1998. The online payment platform was sold to eBay in 2002 for $1.5 billion, and currently accounts for about 40 percent of its revenue.

Affirm ScreenshotLevchin spent several years as PayPal’s CTO, before leaving to found Slide, a personal media-sharing service for social networking websites. Slide was sold to Google in August 2010 for $182 million, with Levchin joining the company as VP of Engineering. A year later, Google announced it was shutting down Slide, and that Levchin was leaving the company.

Now, the young entrepreneur has launched Affirm, a mobile payment platform that streamlines online shopping check-out process. It securely stores personal and card details, so the users don’t have to type them in every time they want to pay for goods or services.

The company says that the faster the payment process, the more likely it is that customers will actually buy something. And with Affirm, any payment can be made with just two taps on the touchscreen. “No fumbling with a credit card, battling autocorrect on a billing form, or downloading any apps. It’s time to turn your phone from a mobile shopper into a mobile buyer,” trumpets the Affirm website.

The platform uses Facebook to confirm the users’ identities, and gives users 30 days to pay for the purchases, which means it can also double up as an emergency credit card. Similarly to a credit card, it will also charge for missed payments.

Affirm will make money by charging merchants small amounts for every transaction, much like PayPal does.

According to Reuters, eBay is currently looking at ways to make its payment service more user-friendly, or “brain-dead simple,” in the words of CFO Bob Swan.

Last month, PayPal was awarded a place in the Government’s framework for Identity Assurance, allowing UK citizens to use their PayPal credentials to prove their identity and gain access to government services.

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