• Sun. Oct 24th, 2021

Buy now pay later: cards and services accelerate to pay even a plane ticket in installments

Byeditorial

May 18, 2021

BNPLs are experiencing substantial growth connected to the need to pay in installments and defer even essential expenses, as well as the possibility of indulging in whims not immediately within their reach with the awareness of not needing to have the necessary budget immediately. The dizzying acceleration was given by the pandemic, which on the one hand moved shopping to the internet, and on the other hand saw hundreds of thousands of people in great economic uncertainty approach the delay even with ease. This is an increasingly popular payment method for leisure purchases, especially for travel. A few weeks ago the London startup Fly Now Pay Later totaled 45 million pounds in the first round of financing. And from the UK it has also expanded to the USA and Germany. American Express, given the reopening of post-pandemic travel, has decided to ride the wave, so as not to risk being snatched up such an important slice of the market. AmexTravel customers in the US will soon be able to pay in installments for airline tickets over $ 100 with a monthly installment system and a fixed fee. But, more often than not, it is the ecommerce itself that offers the installment. More and more online stores give the possibility to pay the purchase in installments without interest, dividing it into a small number of installments to be paid in the short term. Others, on the other hand, offer more deferred payments, but with higher interest rates and increasing costs for late payments. In Italy the “buy now pay later” model is less widespread, however in recent years the number of people who use to these installment payment solutions, and not just through your credit card. Amazon uses a proprietary service, others rely on intermediaries such as the Swedish Klarna, a reference platform in the sector, which with the explosion of online purchases and the decrease in purchasing power connected to the pandemic has seen its value grow in 31 billion, becoming the first fintech in Europe (and the second in the world). The Klarna formula, which is now also integrated on the ecommerce platforms used by small merchants, such as Shopify and Prestashop, is the same for everyone: you pay a third for the purchase, a third for 30 days and the rest at 60, without interest or additional costs. Other platforms with a similar service in Italy are Scalapay and Clearpay, with more or less homogeneous formulas and a monthly spending cap that protects ecommerce from insolvency and, hopefully, also the user from compulsive buying: according to the data Clearpay Italy, the default rate remains below 7%. It is, however, a new sector and not without risks. At the end of January in the UK, the FCA called for stricter regulation of BNPL systems due to a lack of not always complete information for users, which leads to the uncontrolled accumulation of debts. Not only that: the fact that the various platforms do not communicate with each other does not allow the creation of a shared record, and so, if a user is insolvent on one payment method, he can easily use another, creating a vicious circle of indebtedness.

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