It’s not just shoes and jewelry anymore
These days, it’s hard not to be in any way associated with the fintech world and not hear about Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL). What started as a way for consumers to purchase mostly higher-end items (fashion, jewelry, shoes, home goods) in installments has become a massive industry on its own – and the source of much debate. With increased regulations looming and more and more customers taking advantage of BNPL options, the landscape of BNPL providers is changing. Not only are more organizations offering BNPL as a payment option, the types of goods and services offered are rapidly expanding.
Here we explore 15 companies who are changing the way we look at Buy Now, Pay Later.
- Uplift – Headquartered in California, with a rapid growth plan that is seeing international office locations opening, Uplift’s mission is to help people purchase what matters most – in their case, travel. With international partners ranging from cruise lines and resorts to airlines and vacation package dealers, their buy now, pay later options come at a crucial time. With the travel industry decimated by Covid-19, Uplift hopes their buy now, pay later plans will “be the economic kickstarter needed to ignite the travel industry.” Uplift works directly with merchants to reinforce brand loyalty, offering customers a simpler way to pay for travel by selecting Uplift options at checkout, without driving consumers to their own proprietary marketplace.
- Fly Now Pay Later – The UK’s Fly Now Pay Later is expanding into the travel-starved US market, while hoping to increase operations in the UK and Germany. With a mission to make travel affordable and flexible, the company is hoping to capitalize on post-pandemic recovery by offering travel payment plans that work for everyone – destinations and customers. With an easy-to-use booking app, Fly Now Pay Later pays for your holiday with your selected travel provider, leaving you to pay them back with flexible payment options over time.
- Jungle – Based in the Philippines, Jungle offers local consumers BNPL options on virtually anything. Featuring a revolving credit line that replenishes every time you make payments, consumers are able to continuously use the Jungle app to purchase and repay, without having to undergo loan applications or credit checks for each purchase. The company even offered a temporary service in 2020, called “Grocery Now, Pay Later,” to help offset the hardships of the Covid-19 pandemic – enabling consumers to purchase food, health products, PPE and other essentials without requiring a credit card (something many Filipinos don’t have access to).
- Hokodo – Buy now, pay later is becoming increasingly popular among retail merchants, so offering payment options for B2B purchases is a unique twist. Today, B2B merchants are essentially forced into offering payment terms to their customers with outdated methods of credit management – including paper-based applications, manual credit checks and painful invoicing programs. Enter in Europe-based Hokodo, which aims to make selling to business buyers easier. Business buyers shop on selected merchant’s sites, with real-time offers of payment terms, “powered by Hokodo’s trade credit APIs.” They claim that the wrong payment options are one of the biggest reasons that B2B buyers drop out of a sales funnel – will BNPL help increase that conversion rate? Hokodo thinks so.
- Sunbit – BNPL isn’t just for wish-list clothes and vacations. Sunbit aims to help consumers pay for everyday items that some of us take for granted, including automotive, optical and dental services. The organization’s model is to offer back-end services to the businesses where these essential transactions take place – like your local dentist or optician’s office or the dealership that already has your car up on a hoist. “Sunbit’s flagship product allows businesses to guide customers through the financing process, which is integrated with their own point-of-sale systems” for a more seamless customer experience.
- PrimaHealth Credit – In countries without government-funded healthcare, both necessary and elective health treatments are out of reach for many. A report from Financial Technology Partners notes that only 23% of Americans can afford a medical bill of over $2000. Subprime credit scores, or individuals without any credit history at all, means significant market opportunities for BNPL services in healthcare. PrimaHealth Credit’s mission is “helping more patients say yes to treatment,” with simple, transparent payment options offered by healthcare providers at point of care. Giving people more affordable options to access the healthcare they need can always be considered a win.
- Deferit – As with healthcare and other medical services, there are certain essential items that we all need to pay for. Deferit, an Australian-based organization, lets customers split utility, telco, car registration or childcare bills into installments. With a vow to empower customers, including options to change payment terms, Deferit has created an easy budgeting tool for payments, eliminating interest and annual fees.
- Flex – While we’re talking essential services, housing comes to mind. Many people face hard choices on where their money goes each month – rent or food or other essentials – especially in today’s uncertain economy. There are estimates that $5 billion in late fees goes to landlords every year. Flex understands these challenges (and the stress they cause!) and aims to get you out of paying late fees by covering your rent for you and offering flexible options to pay them back, without any hidden fees or interest.
- QuadPay – One of the leaders of BNPL, QuadPay offers payment options for retail giants, including Apple, Amazon, Walmart and Target as well as exclusive retail partnerships. With categories covering everything from education and pets to shoes and travel, QuadPay is available on a variety of platforms as well as in physical retail locations, providing you with options virtually anywhere you want to shop.
- Sezzle – A relative newcomer to the BNPL industry, Sezzle offers typical installment payment plans, but also features some products exclusive to their users that they call strategic differentiators. Sezzle Up for example, lets a shopper build their credit rating by enabling the company to report payment history to credit bureaus. They’ve also partnered with Ally Bank to offer longer-term financing options, proving again that flexibility in payment options may be a key driving factor in growth.
- Splitit – Headquartered in New York, Splitit is unique in the BNPL space in that it actually allows consumers to leverage their existing credit. By using their own credit or debit cards with its installment program, customers will see installment charges on their bills, effectively evening out cashflows. The ability to break down payments into smaller pieces without additional interest, applications or fees and build credit at the same time makes Splitit an attractive option for consumers, while being a safe option for merchants.
- Simpl – Indian startup Simpl has a straightforward mission – make it easy for people to purchase what they like, when they like, with installment payment terms. In a country with complicated financial systems that often makes it difficult for people to obtain credit, Simpl allows its users to buy now and pay at a more convenient time later. With a full-stack, mobile-first platform for credit-based payments, Simpl enables one-click purchases and promises full transparency to its users and merchants alike.
- Twisto – Featuring a different ‘twist’ on BNPL, European company Twisto offers a monthly credit limit for your payments once you register with them. Shop online or in stores up to this set amount each month and then receive your invoice. Once invoiced, you can settle up the full amount with Twisto or pay 10% and defer the rest to a later date. Twisto also offers return options and varying monthly plans, with features like personal finance management and family travel insurance.
- Tymit – Different than the typical pay-in-four installment plans many BNPL providers offer, Tymit allows you to select varying installment plans as you make your purchase – including repaying over 3 months with no interest, or even longer (up to 36 months) with transparent pricing quoted upfront. Tymit also allows you to change your repayment terms mid-plan without any additional penalties or fees and offers a user-friendly app with neat features that monitor your spending, group your purchases and simulate the cost of potential spending.
- Paidy – In Japan, many consumers prefer not to use credit cards for online payments, leaving massive opportunities for alternative options like BNPL. Japanese tech startup Paidy allows consumers to shop at a variety of online retailers with a convenient mobile app that only requires your email address and phone number – repayments in installments can happen via bank transfer, direct debit and even in convenience stores, all by just showing the app.
The state of Buy Now, Pay Later is changing rapidly and new players enter the scene frequently. While the future may seem uncertain (What will the economy do in a fully post-Covid-19 world? What impact will increased regulations have on providers and consumers?) one thing is clear – the concept isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
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