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Mahmood Kapustin
Mahmood Kapustin

Get Now Buy Later [CRACKED]

Concerned about consumer debt levels, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has demanded information from five of the biggest names in the buy now-pay later arena. Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna, PayPal and Zip have until March 1 to comply.

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If you've done any online shopping recently, you may have seen an option that would allow you to pay a little bit now and the rest later, interest free. Buy now, pay later companies have exploded in popularity during the pandemic. Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm are just a few of them. Now Apple is getting into the game with Pay Later. So what's behind this trend, how does it work and who's actually paying? For that, we've called Planet Money's Alexi Horowitz-Ghazi. He looked into buy now, pay later services in a recent Planet Money episode. Alexi, welcome.

HOROWITZ-GHAZI: Sure. So buy now, pay later is a form of consumer credit - like credit cards or payday loans or other things we've seen - but it's in kind of a new form. So the way this works is you'll be shopping online or, increasingly, in more and more stores IRL, and instead of paying the total price with a credit card or a debit card or something, you'll be offered a buy now, pay later option. Usually it's this pay-in-four model, which means they'll ask for installment payments. You'll pay the first installment immediately using, you know, whatever bank account or credit or debit card you wish. They'll take that initial payment, and then you'll pay them back in regular installments. And it's all interest-free. It works kind of like old-fashioned layaway, except with buy now, pay later, you get whatever it is you're buying immediately.

HOROWITZ-GHAZI: Right. So usually, lending money is profitable because of some combination of interest and fees or maybe collateral. There isn't collateral with these things. They're not going to, like, repossess your Nike sneakers and try to resell them to recoup, you know, your missed payments or anything. And there isn't any interest, as you mentioned. And the fees, while there are late fees and there are kind of forms of interest that kick in if you repeatedly don't pay, the fees really aren't that high. And that isn't kind of the center of the business model. The way these companies are making their money is they're actually taking fees from the merchants - so the companies that are selling you the goods you're buying online or in person. And they're charging somewhere between 4 and 9.5%, which can be a lot higher than what credit cards usually charge, which is between 2 and 4%.

HOROWITZ-GHAZI: Presumably, that is happening to some degree, but it's still kind of early days for this model. And for the most part, it seems like the model actually works for everybody involved because what the buy now, pay later companies are offering these merchants is the promise of a lot more sales. So they're bringing in a bunch of new customers, people who might not have used credit cards or who might be kind of allergic to the idea of using credit at all - so like, a lot of Zoomers and millennials who grew up in the wake of the financial crisis and just don't want to use credit cards - and people who, you know, might have thin credit histories or bad credit and might not otherwise get access to things like credit cards and other forms of loans. So they're bringing in new people, and then also, there's something about the psychology of kind of breaking down the total price into these installment - into these smaller installment prices that make people a little less hesitant to complete their order - you know, to click buy when they're at the end of their purchase, when they're in the checkout.

HOROWITZ-GHAZI: Right. So, you know, it is - these payments are interest free, which means it can be pretty cheap money, you know, if you live up to all the terms and conditions of the loans. The problem with these is kind of the flip side of being outside of the normal credit-reporting system. It means it's easier to get these buy now, pay later loans in the beginning. But it also means that each of these loans is not being reported to any sort of central repository, which means that you can take out, you know, five or six different loans from five or six different companies without any of them knowing about it. It means you can get into this whole whirlwind of payments and get into trouble pretty quickly.

And this is one of the things that's raised red flags for, you know, consumer advocate groups and regulators. Last fall, the Congressional House Financial Services Committee held a hearing looking into all of this. And right now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has an open inquiry into the buy now, pay later industry. They're looking at the risk to consumers of overextending themselves, what kinds of data are being gathered by these companies and how it's being used and how these services fit into existing regulations for other kinds of credit products.

HOROWITZ-GHAZI: Well, buy now, pay later companies started out in places like Australia and Scandinavia, and they've been kind of growing momentum over the years. They came to the U.S. largely around 2015, and they kind of were at this, like, critical mass moment just as the pandemic started. They were starting to be taken up by larger and larger companies, eventually places like Amazon and Walmart and Target, which exposed them to a lot more people. And this happened just as a lot of lockdowns were happening, and a lot of people were turning to the internet and online shopping as a form of retail therapy or just a place to find basic essentials as they scrambled to figure out how to work from home. And it kind of rode this huge explosion in online shopping that's happened over the years since the pandemic started. It just became a new, ever-more-convenient way for people to do their online shopping.

Here's how it works: If you buy, say, patio furniture with Afterpay, you'll pay the first installment right at the point of sale. Then the patio furniture will be sent to you. Two weeks later, you'll pay the second interest-free installment. Two weeks after that, the third interest-free installment is due. Four weeks later, you'll pay the fourth and final interest-free installment.

For instance, Walmart uses Affirm if you want to buy now and pay later, and Target uses Sezzle, Affirm and Zip, previously Quadpay. In both cases, you can use the BNPL program online or as a payment at the register inside the store.

It really depends on your opinion. Just make sure you read the fine print and understand how the "buy now, pay later" concept works and which services may have higher fees or spending requirements.

He sees the main downside is that it could cause you financial stress later. "It means keeping track of another bill and another account on top of mortgage payments, home equity payments, auto loans, student loans, credit cards and a host of other bills," Gupta says.

On the other hand, don't forget Gupta's warning that buy now, pay later installment plans mean that you'll add another financial obligation to your short-term future. If the purchase is something that can wait, you probably should listen to Goldberg's students.

Some existing online payment systems provide buy now, pay later short-term financing similar to what Apple Pay Later is offering. PayPal's Pay in 4 program works very much like Apple Pay Later, except that purchases are limited to between $300 and $1,500.

BNPL app Sezzle also uses a system of four payments over six weeks, but permits users to reschedule one payment for up to two weeks later at no cost and postpone further payments for an additional fee.

NAB Now Pay Later is our new buy now pay later account. It's a simple way to split your everyday purchases into four equal repayments so you can stay in control of your cash flow. When you pay with your digital NAB Now Pay Later card, you get your purchase now and pay just the first repayment upfront.

Buy now, pay later, or BNPL, is a payment option where a customer pays for a purchase over time in installments, while merchants get paid in full. With Afterpay, Square merchants can let customers pay in four interest-free installments over six weeks.

The buy now, pay later payment method from Afterpay is available to many businesses in the US and Australia. To see if you are eligible for Afterpay and to enable it for your business, log into your Square Dashboard and review your Payment Methods.

Looking to buy flights but pay later? Prefer to pay for your flight tickets weekly, bi-weekly or monthly? Alternative Airlines can help.With Alternative Airlines, you can book flights now on over 650 airlines such as United, British Airways and American Airlines and pay later with different payment plan options available. Check out with either PayPal Credit, Affirm, Klarna, Zip, Laybuy, Afterpay, Clearpay, Postpay, Tabby or Spotii and pay for your flights later.A Fly Now Pay Later plan is a convenient and easy way to buy flights that helps you manage your budget. It allows you to spread the cost of flights on airlines such as United Airlines or Virgin Atlantic to destinations like Las Vegas, Tokyo, Bogotá, Delhi, Rome, Copenhagen or ANYWHERE in the world that you'd like to go.Even if you're on the go, in a hurry and catching a last-minute flight, Fly Now Pay Later doesn't require any pre-planning. You can book today and fly tomorrow without having to pay until a later date. See all the Buy Now, Pay Later options available at Alternative Airlines.

Fly Now Pay Later (or Buy Now Pay Later) is a way for you to spread the cost of flight bookings into small interest-free payments or over instalments with Alternative Airlines. Instalments can be paid back monthly, weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the payment provider and plan you choose. You can choose from over 10 different Fly Now Pay Later payment providers, including PayPal Credit, Afterpay, Klarna, Affirm, Laybuy, Zip and many more. The payment provider available to you will differ depending on which country you're buying from. View all the available options of our pay-later plans for airline tickets. 041b061a72


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