The ASX 200 slid 0.72% lower today

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX:XJO) finished lower ?% today. It drifted lower despite positive updates from the buy now, pay later sector.
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ASX 200

The S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) finished lower today by 0.7% to 6,185 points after sliding downwards during the afternoon.

Here are some of the main highlights from the ASX:

Afterpay Ltd (ASX: APT)

The leading buy now, pay later (BNPL) business announced today that it is linking up with Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) to offer savings accounts.

The two financial businesses have signed a collaboration agreement to introduce Afterpay savings accounts and cashflow tools. It is being facilitated by Westpac’s new digital banking as a service platform which will offer additional, customer-centric alternatives to traditional banking products.

Afterpay customers will be able to use their new savings account to conduct the majority of their money management activities, including paying bills, withdrawing cash and budgeting. Further services and tools will be introduced over time for customers.

The BNPL company said that linking the new services to a user’s existing Afterpay account will deliver further insight into how customers prefer to manage their finances, what their savings goals are, and how responsible spending behaviour can be further encouraged and rewarded. These insights are aimed to deliver a more tailored user experience and more mutually beneficial consumer and retailer connections.

Afterpay CEO and managing director Anthony Eisen said: “The introduction of savings accounts and budgeting tools offers new customer benefits that continue to build on our core principle of encouraging responsible spending and enabling financial wellness.

“In deepening our relationship with our customers we will gather greater insights into how they prefer to manage their finances and better understand their savings goals. This will allow us to assist them to budget more effectively and avoid debt traps.”

The Afterpay share price shot higher by 4.5%, though it was up to $105.20 earlier in the day. It was one of the top performers in the ASX 200. 

Zip Co Ltd (ASX: Z1P)

Zip announced today the launch of ‘Tap & Zip’. This is a new product that will allow customers to use Zip Pay users to shop anywhere that accepts Visa.

The move will see Zip expand into more every expenditure categories and management are excited about the significant instore payments opportunity. Zip said that just 13% of stores in Australia are able to accept buy now, pay later options. Management believe that this new product addresses this significant customer need.

For customers, Zip said it will mean that they can use Zip Pay to shop everywhere and pay later, always interest-free. For merchants it will mean greater access to new customers, bigger basket values and increased sales volumes.

Zip’s co-founder and CEO, Larry Diamond, said: “BNPL has seen phenomenal growth over the last few years, as customers switched traditional forms of credit for flexible, digital alternatives. However, until now that growth as been restricted by a clunky instore checkout experience and limited acceptance.

“We continuously hear from Zip customers that they want to use their digital wallet to pay for everyday purchases like groceries and petrol, or to buy products and services from merchants that don’t accept BNPL.”

Zip has been granted a principal issuer licence from Visa. Zip will earn interchange revenue on transaction volume processed on its cards.

The BNPL business also announced today that Zip customers can use Apple Pay and Google Pay.

The Zip share price went as high as $7.42 in reaction to this news, though it finished down by 0.2% to $7.07.

Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH)

The ASX 200 hearing device business released its first quarter trading update today.

It said that cochlear implant revenue (in constant currency) was 94% of the first quarter of last year. Unit volumes declined by 14% with developed markets growing by low single digits while emerging markets were down around 40%.

Cochlear also said that services revenue continues continue with first quarter revenue (in constant currency) at around 86% of the level of the first quarter of last year.

Acoustics revenue in constant currency for the first FY21 quarter was around 89% of the first quarter last year. There was a “strong” uptake of the Osia 2 system in the US and there has been a resumption of acoustics surgeries in the UK.

The Cochlear share price rose by 2.3% in reaction to this update.

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Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. owns shares of Cochlear Ltd. and ZIPCOLTD FPO. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of AFTERPAY T FPO. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Cochlear Ltd. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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