An Internet user buys Valentine's Day gifts online, in Madrid Spain, February 9 2021.
Jesús Hellín—EPA/AP

A few years ago, only a handful of online stores would have listed Klarna as a payment option. Today, the buy-now-pay-later company is a fixture alongside digital-­payment titans like Mastercard—and itself a giant, valued at $45.6 billion. Over the past year, it has extended its reach to 45 countries, launched a physical Visa card in the U.S., and increased net operating income by 38% to $1.6 billion. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, however, is probing Klarna and similar firms over concerns about consumer debt; the company is cooperating.

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