Afterpay drops Westpac to merge its BNPL app with Block

afterpay block westpac
FILE PHOTO: The Afterpay app is seen on the screen of a mobile phone in a picture illustration taken August 2, 2021. REUTERS/Loren Elliott/Illustration

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Afterpay, the Australian payments firm bought by Jack Dorsey’s Block, and Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp ended a partnership after the firm cancelled a smartphone app it was running with the bank, the companies said.

Since Block’s $29 billion buyout last year, buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) star Afterpay said it decided to integrate its products with its new owner’s “ecosystem” instead, which meant closing the personal finance app that was run by the No. 3 Australian bank.

Partnership lasted less than two years

The decision pulls the pin on a high-profile tie-up less than two years since it began and closes off an avenue for Westpac to engage with younger customers who have opted for more smartphone-friendly, less regulated financial products like those offered by Afterpay.

It also clears the way for Block to start selling its Cash App service, which allows people to send money to each other, in Australia. In the United States and Britain, where Cash App operates, Block generates profit by collecting fees from people sending each other bitcoin.

“Our decision to move in this new direction is due to our exciting next chapter with Block, particularly as we think about Cash App opportunities here in Australia,” said Lee Hatton, head of the decomissioned app Money by Afterpay.

However, Block has not yet provided any details on when it will launch Cash App in Australia.

Afterpay will close app on October 10

An Afterpay spokesperson said the company would stop signing on new users of the app immediately and close the app down on Oct. 10.

A Westpac spokesperson said the bank was “proud of being first to market in Australia with our digital banking as a service business, and the work we’ve done with the Money by Afterpay team”.

Afterpay and Westpac have not revealed how many users Money by Afterpay signed up, or the dollar amount of deposits it holds.

(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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