Bad Credit

“Buy now, pay later” is the new normal for online shoppers

There are a lot of things in the Disney movie Raya and the last dragon where a child tells the long-extinct dragon Sisudatu that she doesn’t have to pay for things now – because of credit! So, disguised as a human, the dragon goes to a village bazaar and steals everything she wants, chanting to everyone: “Don’t worry… credit!”

The reverse is happening en masse in real life, as vendors such as Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy and more are offering shoppers instant “credit” in the form of BNPL: buy now, pay later. Retailers want to people to buy with this new form of layaway – where you get the product immediately and pay it back in installments – because of the fees that make money for them.

Amazon instituted the option(Opens in a new window) buying anything over $50 using BNPL through third-party finance company Affirm last year. Amazon offered even longer financing for PCs and PC parts.

The BNPL has grown thanks to the pandemic and because of people with large loans (former students) trying not to take on longer term debt. Still, using BNPL could impact your credit(Opens in a new window)but that doesn’t stop people from trying it.

In a new survey of 1,000 online shoppers, 700 of whom had used BNPL’s services, in a new window) found that 60% of people feel pretty good about BNPL options, especially older people. Baby boomers (aged 57-75) have been using BNPL for way before it was cool, well over a year.

PayPal is the most common BNPL app, despite its late arrival to the BNPL party. It is ahead of Amazon, followed by services such as Afterpay, Klarna and Affirm.

The use of BNPL has nothing to do with a buyer’s economic status. The survey shows that it is not the most modest who use it the most. These folks tend to buy now and pay later every few months, but high-income buyers use it more often. Of all budget demos, 44% say they use it weekly or more.

Why? Inflation, according to 63% of respondents. They don’t seem to care about the resulting fees and 84% admit to accumulating additional BNPL fees. People in the Gen Z category seem to be really in debt, reporting an average of $483 from using BNPL services.

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The average BNPL item costs $422. Among recent purchases, respondents had used the option to purchase electronics, health and personal care items, and home/garden equipment. Among the 300 respondents who had never used the BNPL’s services, 34% said they would probably do so to obtain a major household appliance.

BNPL is not going away. Below you can see the items that people wish they had more BNPL options for in the future, such as health care, airfare, and groceries.


Consumers view the option as a major benefit, along with convenience and relatively low interest rates. And almost anyone can do it, regardless of their bad credit. Just keep an eye out for these costs(Opens in a new window). Check out more treats in the full report at consumer affairs(Opens in a new window).

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