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Katapult Adds Direct-Apply Lease Feature

eCommerce leasing company Katapult on Monday (Aug. 23) added a direct apply feature that allows customers to apply on the company’s website for their approved lease amount rather than doing it through one of its merchant partners.

“Having a pre-approved lease gives customers peace-of-mind to then visit Katapult’s store locator and select their preferred retailer, shop with confidence, and experience Katapult’s simplified return customer checkout process,” according to the company announcement.

The direct apply feature “opens consumers to a new way to obtain what they need from the brands they want to shop,” the announcement says. Katapult’s hundreds of partners include merchants in automotive, mobile devices, gaming, furniture, outdoor goods and fitness equipment.

“It is exciting to offer an option that makes the shopping experience become more streamlined for consumers,” Orlando Zayas, CEO at Katapult, said in the company announcement. “Making it easier for customers to continue on their path to ownership echoes Katapult’s vision to ‘create a world where financial barriers no longer exist by providing disruptive technology that empowers and simplifies the shopping experience.’”

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Katapult Holdings Inc. and special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) FinServ Acquisition Corp. in early June closed the merger they announced at the end of 2020.

Katapult’s lease-to-own model resembles buy now, pay later (BNPL) offerings in many ways, Zayas told Webster in an interview, but it is designed to be more flexible and targets sub-prime consumers.

“We’ve had to learn how to tailor our models to better capture that data, make a determination on that consumer within five seconds and do it the right way so we [mitigate risk],” Zayas told Webster. Katapult sees about 45 percent of their consumers coming back after their first purchases, he said.

That’s because his company’s strength lies in its ability to get customers the items they need quickly in a way they can afford and manage.

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