Global pawn shop FirstCash is closing a deal to acquire the virtual lease-to-own firm American First Finance (AFF) to make traction in the buy now pay later (BNPL) space, according to a press release.
Based in Arlington, Texas and with over 2,800 retail pawn shops across the U.S. and Latin America, FirstCash is buying the Dallas, Texas technology-first retail finance provider AFF to bring BNPL services to underserved communities.
“Since our founding more than 30 years ago and through the merger of First Cash and Cash America in 2016, we have successfully executed on our growth strategy and established FirstCash as a leading retailer and provider of financial services to underserved consumers, while delivering significant value to shareholders,” Rick Wessel, FirstCash CEO and vice chairman of the board, said in the announcement.
“This transaction diversifies us beyond our core pawn business with the addition of a fast-growing segment that significantly expands our customer base and introduces a scalable, technology-driven product set into our organization,” Wessel added.
AFF targets underserved shoppers in the U.S. and is among the biggest providers of point-of-sale (POS) payment solutions to that segment of retail customers. Its nationwide network spans 6,500-plus active merchants in-store and online, primarily in furniture, appliances, mattresses and more.
FirstCash, too, has focused on underserved consumers, especially those who are cash-strapped and credit-constrained. The company operates thousands of pawn shops nationwide and in Latin America and has a workforce topping 16,000. The chain buys a cross-section of merchandise, including jewelry, electronics, tools and appliances.
AFF’s integrated technology also includes data and eCommerce functions. The firm is projecting estimated revenues this year of $600 million and next year of $800 million, up from 2020’s $350 million.