Swedish retail payments and shopping service Klarna is launching its service in Ireland today.

Klarna operates an app that enables people to shop online and split the payment into three equal monthly installments with no interest or fees.

It says it does not charge fees even if users fall behind on their payments.

It is billed as a low cost alternative to credit cards which are generally accompanied by hefty interest payments when consumers defer clearing their cards.

The service - which is used by 90 million consumers globally - makes its money by charging retailers who offer the service.

Payments can be managed and tracked within the app.

Klarna is a private fintech with a valuation of $45.6 billion.

Founded in 2005, it has over 4,000 employees and is active in 17 markets.

It has been backed by Sequoia Capital since 2010 and more recently by a range of other investors.

The company believes it can capitalise on a consumer market here that is shifting away from credit cards towards debit for most day-to-day spending.

Spending on debit cards here grew three times faster than credit cards between 2015 and 2020, according to data.

"As the older-style financial institutions exit the market we're here to create more competition, which is in the best interest of the consumer," Sebastian Siemiatkowski, Klarna's co-founder and CEO said.

"Traditional high-cost models like credit cards are built on charging interest and late fees to the rest. That's why we offer flexible, transparent and fair payment options without charging interest or fees," he added.