Affirm founder Max Levchin on American Airlines deal, crypto

·Anchor, Editor-at-Large
·2-min read

And the wins keep piling up for buy now, pay later outfit Affirm. 

The company announced this week it has inked a deal with American Airlines that will allow consumers to pay for their travel in installments. 

"It's there to help travelers. Lots of people are going to try to go to a family getaway and not everyone is capable of paying for it instantaneously in cash," said Affirm founder and CEO Max Levchin on Yahoo Finance Live.

For Affirm, the American Airlines tie-tup is the latest in a series of wins that have powered the stock higher by about 61% year-to-date.

Shares of Affirm exploded more than 48% on Aug. 30 after unveiling a new partnership with Amazon. Under the deal, Affirm will help Amazon consumers finance large purchases.

In early August, Affirm scored a financing deal with Apple for purchases of the tech giant's products in Canada. In July, Affirm landed a deal with Shopify to power financing options for the platform's U.S. merchants. 

Meanwhile, the company told investors at an event in September it will soon debut a new debit card and teased a foray into crypto.

'Still fairly skeptical'

Levchin — a co-founder of PayPal — is still a touch skeptical of cryptocurrencies. But he acknowledges how important they have come in society and in financial services.

"As crypto and more established coins like bitcoin become part of the vernacular in the retail investing industry, I think it can orient as an asset class," Levchin explained. "I am still fairly skeptical of a rapidly appreciating asset class being used as medium of exchange. So I don't think it lives up to the currency name just yet, although as we know things are changing pretty rapidly."

The volatility of crypto hasn't stopped others in financial services to enter the waters.

Bakkt shares soared earlier this week after announcing a partnership with Mastercard to offer crypto debit and credit cards. The tie-up is alleged to make it easier for consumers to pay using digital coins, according to Yahoo Finance cryptocurrency reporter Jennifer Shoenberger.

"You are probably not going to see an Amex crypto-linked card anytime soon," said American Express CEO Squeri at Yahoo Finance's All Markets Summit on Monday. Squeri said he views the major cryptos such as bitcoin and ethereum as more of an asset class like gold.

Added Squeri, "I don't see it as really something that's going to make inroads with a credit card perspective in terms of payments. Why? Number one, there are still tremendous fluctuations. Number two, you have the service with it. You don't have the dispute rights with it. You're not getting rewards and you are not extending credit."

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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