ASX announcements today: Afterpay card launched as share price tipped to rise

Buy-now-pay-later giant Afterpay has introduced a new in-store payment option for Australian shoppers.

Customers can now make a purchase in stores by tapping the card icon in the Afterpay app, which activates the Afterpay card in the digital wallet app, which can be used to make purchases with Apple Pay or Google Pay.

Just like using Afterpay online, customers can pay for their in-store purchases in four installment payments, without the need to take out a traditional loan or pay upfront fees or interest.

Afterpay first introduced its in-store barcode solution in 2016 in ANZ and has been one of the only online payment providers to successfully offer its service in physical stores, with in-store accounting for 22% of Afterpay’s overall GMV in ANZ.

The Afterpay card. Credit: Supplied

Co-CEO and Co-Founder of Afterpay, Nick Molnar is excited for the evolution of Afterpay’s in-store offering: “Over the past five years we have built a strong in-store offering, with tens of thousands of merchants currently offering Afterpay in-store in Australia.

“The new Afterpay virtual card, which will sit in a customers digital wallet, is an evolution of our offering, making it even easier for millions of our Australian customers to split their in-store payments in four instalments without incurring interest – ever.

“There is enormous opportunity to reach a new customer, who out of habit or preference, opts to shop in-store, to easily and seamlessly utilise Afterpay at the point of checkout.”

Best week in almost two months

Investors have had their best week on the ASX in the past seven, while the surging buy now, pay later sector may be the best indicator of any effect on shares from the end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy.

The S&P/ASX200 benchmark index closed up 33.6 points, or 0.49 per cent, to 6824.2 on Friday.

Investors have been reluctant to push the index much higher than 6800 points in the past couple of months.

The All Ordinaries closed higher by 40.5 points, or 0.58 per cent, to 7063.1.

City street activity, ASX trading displays.
The ASX was higher and there were modest gains in most sectors. Credit: AAP

The materials sector, which includes miners, made a key contribution and rose 1.24 per cent.

There were gains of more than one per cent for telecommunications and information technology.

For the week, the ASX200 rose 1.73 per cent.

The increase came after ASX investors were largely untroubled by the prospect of a third coronavirus wave in Europe, and mid-week comments by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen about possible tax hikes to fund economic stimulus.

These matters unsettled investors in European and US markets.

A lower Aussie dollar also helped the ASX, as shares became cheaper for those overseas.

Domestically, Treasury officials have estimated up to 150,000 people may lose their jobs after Sunday with the expiry of the government’s JobKeeper subsidy.

Economists have forecast the unemployment rate to rise.

JobKeeper was introduced last year to help employers retain workers during the pandemic.

People are seen queuing outside the Centrelink office.
It is unclear how many people will switch to income support as the JobKeeper wage subsidy ends. Credit: AAP

CMC Markets chief strategist Michael McCarthy was unsure whether the subsidy’s expiry would affect investors.

“A bellwether for whether the end of JobKeeper impacts the market will be the buy now, pay later sector,” he said.

These stocks, such as Afterpay, Zip and Openpay have a high rate of retail investor ownership.

“It’s the sector that would best reflect a change in investment behaviour because of the end of JobKeeper,” Mr McCarthy said.

NAB chief economist Alan Oster did not expect JobKeeper’s end would matter to corporates.

He said research showed JobKeeper contributed about 0.2 per cent to revenue growth among the bank’s corporate clients.

On the ASX, AMP denied media reports chief executive Francesco De Ferrari has resigned and said there was no change to his position.

An Afterpay sign on a shop window.
PayPal announced last week that it will offer a buy now, pay later service to Australians from June as it tries to catch up with the likes of Afterpay and Zip.

Credit: AAP

However, the company said Mr De Ferrari and the board were discussing leadership after AMP’s portfolio review.

AMP shares resumed trading, after being paused on Thursday, and closed higher by 0.94 per cent to $1.34.

TPG Telecom’s David Teoh resigned, having steered a merger between the company he founded and Vodafone last year.

Mr Teoh had resigned as chairman and a director. His son Shane also resigned from the board.

Shares fell to a record low of $6.23 and closed down 6.7 per cent to $6.41.

Telstra said it will delist from New Zealand’s share market in June after shareholder numbers on the Kiwi register declined.

Shares were up 2.4 per cent to $3.41.

In mining, BHP gained 0.42 per cent to $45.07, Fortescue rose 3.81 per cent to $20.15 and Rio Tinto increased by 2.16 per cent to $110.33.

In banking, there were gains of less than one per cent for each of the big four except for the Commonwealth. The latter fell 0.62 per cent to $86.00.

There will be shortened trading next week due to the Good Friday public holiday.

International trade figures for February will be published on Thursday.

Australia posted the biggest monthly trade surplus in its history, $10.1 billion, for January as the economy rebounded from recession.

The Australian dollar was buying 76.24 US cents at 1724 AEDT, higher from 75.99 US cents at Thursday’s close.

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