By Karli Vezina
We’ve all been tempted at one time or another by the latest handbag or portable deep-fryer on the Home Shopping Network. Those 4 easy payments really sweeten the pot and now this deal-sweetener is growing outside of TV shopping.
Since the pandemic took hold in early 2020, our finances have changed along with the way we shop. With time on our hands to reconsider how we manage our money, it’s no surprise that new ways are emerging and younger consumers are leading the way.
You may have seen for yourself if you’ve done any online shopping in the last year. Many companies now offer a way to buy now, pay later, or BNPL. This is an interest-free installment method of payment that allows more people buying power while still staying financially in control.
Australia’s Afterpay already has Aritzia and Roots on its roster. Afterpay’s General Manager of North America, Zahir Khoja, says people are starting to see the value in using their own money, “but they still want the flexibility of being able to pay over time, which I think is afforded by buy now, pay later.”
Amazon India started ‘Amazon Pay Later’ during the pandemic and has now reached 2 million customers. This is another way for consumers to pay the following month, or in equal installments.
According to research done by PYMNTS.com, 48 per cent of BNPL users will not give their money to a business that does not offer a BNPL option. That report also noted that 21 per cent of millennial shoppers don’t have a credit card as of 2021, up from 14 per cent in 2020.
Sweden’s Klarna is another big one and has quickly become the most valuable BNPL company in the financial technology (FinTech) industry. Klarna’s Founder and CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski told PYMNTS.com that consumers “continue to reject interest and fee-laden revolving credit” and that Klarna’s “transparent and convenient alternatives align with evolving global consumer preferences.”
In an effort to promote more responsible spending, Afterpay announced a rewards program that awards those who pay their balances on time. This is in stark contrast to credit card companies that encourage increased spending with limited time offers and lower interest rates.
Consumers have a third party to finance the cost with no interest (if paid on time), businesses can grab consumers from a wider pool and the FinTech companies get their cut of the deal too. Where does that leave the credit card companies? The Financial Post says Visa is starting its own flexible payment option in August, partnering with Scotiabank. Visa plans to partner with merchants later in the year buy says, “payment terms depend on the cardholder’s eligibility and the merchant’s offering.”