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LONDON  Swedish fintech firm Klarna said Thursday that it raised $639 million in a new funding round led by SoftBank, valuing the company at $45.6 billion.

Klarna  is one of the largest providers of “buy-now-pay-later” services, which  let people finance their shopping purchases interest-free over a period  of monthly instalments. These services have become particularly popular  since the coronavirus pandemic began.

The latest investment in Klarna, which was led by SoftBankÎs Vision Fund 2,  cements its status as EuropeÎs top fintech unicorn, and the  second-biggest fintech start-up by valuation after Stripe. Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management and WestCap Group also invested, Klarna said.

“Consumers  continue to reject interest-and fee-laden revolving credit and are  moving toward debit while simultaneously seeking retail experiences that  better meet their needs,” Sebastian Siemiatkowski, KlarnaÎs founder and  CEO, said in a statement Thursday.

“More transparent and convenient alternatives align with evolving  global consumer preferences and drive worldwide growth,” he added.

Klarna,  a regulated bank, touts itself as an alternative to credit cards, an  industry the company