Swedish payment processor Klarna has announced the test phase of its Bitcoin implementation following a review of its stance on the digital currency.
The company, which operates its Checkout service in several European markets and the US, allows customers to pay for items by inputting only an email address and postal code, the idea being to increase conversion rates especially for mobile payments.
Speaking to Swedish news portal di.se, CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski said that the development of an in-house solution meant that experimenting with Bitcoin could now be done with little cost.
“If it had cost us millions to test Bitcoin we would never have been able to prioritize it. But now, we have created the technical flexibility that allows us to experiment at a reasonable cost,” he said.
- Sebastian Siemiatkowski
Siemiatkowski had not always seen Bitcoin as a necessary step, having described it as a “bubble” in an interview with Bloomberg in February. His stance has since altered slightly, seeing flexibility as key to customer motivation and hence Klarna’s international expansion.
“I'm still skeptical about the future of the currency but this solution should be seen in a different light,” he continued. “We want to offer all popular payment methods, regardless if it is invoices, cards or Bitcoin. Anything to help our customers sell more online.”
Once sufficiently tested and compliant with relevant legal mechanisms, Klarna intends to roll out the Bitcoin tool across its international market. This would effectively allow customers to use Bitcoin to receive goods then have a 14-day grace period in order to send payment, in line with existing payment methods.
Partners using Klarna Checkout come from a wide range of industries and currently include IBM, Asos, Adyen, Spotify and Wiggle. Additionally, the added ease of completing transactions could well provide some early competition for PayPal’s Bitcoin experiment in its core markets.
Separately, Hong Kong based startup CoinCola is seeking to create an eBay-style multi-seller store featuring Bitcoin payment, while offering added customer protection and a streamlined checkout process.
The fledgling competitor currently features 12 merchants, but the number is expected to grow significantly in the coming months. A Bitcoin vendor map feature will also be included, allowing customers to seek out the nearest alternative should they not wish to use the site itself.
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