SYDNEY, AAP – Afterpay is raising money to increase its stake in its US operations on the same day it posted a first-half loss.

The buy now, pay later provider on Thursday said it would raise up to $1.5 billion so it can increase its stake in Afterpay US from 80 per cent to about 93 per cent.

The company said the US market was its biggest opportunity.

Americans comprised 62 per cent of Afterpay customers who made at least one purchase in the past 12 months, as of December 31.

US venture capital firm Matrix Partners will sell 35 per cent of its stake in the US operation.

Afterpay shares on the ASX were in a trading halt.

Despite the popularity of its service, the company is yet to make a profit. Its first half net loss after tax was $79.2 million.

Co-founders Anthony Eisen and Nicholas Molnar listed Afterpay on the ASX in 2017 and sold shares for $1 each.

The payments service provides credit to consumers and charges late fees, if applicable, rather than interest.

Young people have taken up the offer in droves in preference to credit cards.

However Afterpay makes most of its money by charging businesses a fee for each sale using its service.

Shares last traded at $134.36.

They fetched a record $160.05 earlier this year.