Own Afterpay (ASX:APT) shares? Here’s how the big banks are honing in on the BNPL sector

More big banks chasing a new generation of spenders are moving into Afterpay’s space.

| More on:
A man in a suit looks serious while discussing business dealings with a couple as they sit around a computer at a desk in a bank home lending scenario.

Image source: Getty Images

Owners of Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT) shares might want to keep an eye on the big four banks as they edge closer into the buy now, pay later (BNPL) provider’s space.

This week, Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) brought out its own BNPL-esque offering.

Westpac’s new offering, named Flex, is aimed at a younger market wanting smaller bites of interest free debt. It adds to the list of emerging big-bank BNPL services.

As of Friday’s close, the Afterpay share price is $126. That’s 0.2% lower than it was at the end of Thursday’s session but 2.6% higher than it ended the week before.

Let’s take a closer look at Afterpay’s increasing competition from big banks.

Is this the next challenge facing Afterpay shares?

The Afterpay share price performed well last week despite the announcement of a new competitor.

Westpac’s Flex is a zero-interest credit card. It gives users access to $1,000 of credit at a flat monthly rate of $10. Notably, the $10 fee will only be charged to users who don’t pay off the previous month’s charges on time.

The application process for Flex will be entirely online. A digital card will be available minutes after a person’s application is approved.

Flex is expected to be launched by the end of the year. According to Westpac, it might come just in time.

The bank has found that 53% of gen Zs, 48% of millennials, 32% of Gen Xs, and 21% of Baby Boomers think traditional credit cards are losing their relevance.

Westpac’s Flex adds to the increasing list of big banks moving into the BNPL and interest fee credit spheres.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) both have similar offerings, respectively named Neo and StraightUp Card.

CBA also has a BNPL offering named StepPay and broke into Afterpay’s future purchaser, Square Inc‘s (NYSE: SQ) space this week with the launch of its Smart terminal.

Right now, Afterpay shares are trading for 5% more than they were at the start of 2021. They’ve also gained 23% since this time last year.

Should you invest $1,000 in Afterpay right now?

Before you consider Afterpay, you'll want to hear this.

Motley Fool Investing expert Scott Phillips just revealed what he believes are the 5 best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Afterpay wasn't one of them.

The online investing service he’s run for nearly a decade, Motley Fool Share Advisor, has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.* And right now, Scott thinks there are 5 stocks that are better buys.

*Returns as of August 16th 2021

The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of and has recommended AFTERPAY T FPO and Square. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

More on BNPL shares