Customer Experience

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Jan 26, 2023

What You Should Know About Buy Now Pay Later

by Gordon Polovin

Credit card companies (CCCs)—gigantic enterprises generating trillions of revenue dollars—helped popularize the notion that it’s easy to spend money you don’t have. Once consumers saw it was a lifestyle reality, they took to it like ducks to water. Traditionally, the CCCs introduce new customers to credit card dependency with a year and a half of zero interest on the debt balances recorded (i.e., under or up to the allocated credit limit). Aligned with the latter are low minimum payments every four weeks. However, once the eighteen-month-zero-interest initiation period elapses, the shock of 19 – 29% APRs instantly bursts the cardholders’ bubbles. By then, they’re deep in red ink and have little choice but to service the top-heavy loans with little to no leverage left for shopping. Moreover, once locked into the CCCs, debit balances can go as high as $40,000 per card, with exorbitant rates draining customers’ resources and no fast resolution to the dilemma. So around 2010, fintech entrepreneurs entered the consumer-lending arena with strategies to disrupt the CCC’s market domination. They categorized their activities as “Buy Now, Pay Later,” or BNPL. Indeed, companies such as the Swedish organization Klarna, Zip, Affirm, PayPal’s spinoff Pay-in-four, and Afterpay (to name a few) offered the buying public the somewhat startling benefit of credit with zero-interest payment plans. Right away, BNPL stood out as a compelling value proposition diametrically opposed to CCCs, thus attracting attention from the word go. How did they do it? By partnering with retailers across thousands of brands and […]

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