What You Need To Know About Buy-Now-Pay-Later Plans

What You Need To Know About Buy-Now-Pay-Later Plans, If you didn’t already know, you may now make purchases online without using a credit card every time. Nowadays, many retailers work with third-party lenders like Affirm, Afterpay, Bread, Klarna, and others to offer buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) plans and point-of-sale installment loans that you may apply for at the cash register to assist clients to pay for online purchases.

Point-of-sale loans are structured like traditional installment loans but are approved more quickly. They may also have more flexible terms than personal loans and frequently have lower interest rates than credit cards. You can take out small installment loans from companies like Affirm to pay for items from partners like Adidas, or you can join up for an interest-free, buy-now, pay-later deal from Afterpay to finance a shirt from Urban Outfitters.

In contrast to point-of-sale installment loans may sound enticing since you’ll have more time to pay for your online purchases, they may not be right for everyone. Consider these benefits and drawbacks, and learn how they work, before deciding to sign up for this type of store financing.

Point-of-Sale Loan Pros and Cons

Point-of-sale installment loans, which are intended for quick gratification, make it simpler for you to purchase something now and pay for it later without having to wait for a personal loan or 0% APR credit card to be mailed to you or for money to be placed into your checking account.

But some point-of-sale loans might be very expensive. Here are some things to think about while choosing whether or not to apply for an installment loan at the register.

How Point-of-Sale and Buy Now, Pay Later Installment Loans Work

Interest-based loans and “buy now, pay later” no-interest loans are the two main types of point-of-sale installment loans.

Most interest-based point-of-sale loans are only offered by a few particular internet businesses. Some lenders, like Affirm, offer reloadable “virtual Visa cards” that you may use anywhere, though.

An installment loan will be available as a payment option at the time of checkout when you shop online with participating merchants. Some merchants will also give a prequalification link on their product sites so you may check your purchasing power before deciding which item to buy.

After deciding on an installment loan as your preferred payment method, you’ll be asked for personal and financial data before a decision is made. If you’re granted, you can use your new financing to finish your project right away purchase.

You could even use a partner’s point-of-sale software to make a purchase in a physical store, depending on the retailer.

You can apply for as many point-of-sale loans from some lenders as you’d like (assuming you maintain good credit). But you’ll have to reapply every time you want to finance a new buy.

If you decide to buy now and pay later, your loan will cover the cost of the acquisition. The lender will often divide the purchase into four payments. At checkout, your first payment is payable; the next three are spread out over three months.

Point-of-Sale Loan and Buy Now, Pay Later Rates, Terms, and Fees

Point-of-sale loans can be reasonably priced for consumers with fair to exceptional credit. The minimum annual percentage rate (APR) on some point-of-sale loans, for instance, could be 10%, which is lower than the typical interest rate on credit cards.

When applying for a smaller loan or line of credit, consumers with less favorable credit may have greater success than they would if they had been applying for a larger loan or line of credit.

Through buy-now-pay-later alternatives, some customers might even be able to completely avoid paying interest. For instance, Afterpay and Klarna do not impose any interest. Only late fees that result from missed payments or payments that are less than the statutory amount will be charged to you.

However, if you have less-than-perfect credit, some point-of-sale financing choices may be incredibly pricey. Many popular lending choices have maximum APRs of up to 30%, which is several percentage points higher than what the majority of credit cards charge. Therefore, the financing expenses will quickly build up if you use point-of-sale installment loans to pay for multiple large purchases.

However, the majority of point-of-sale lenders levie little to no costs. Compared to alternative loan options, which might have origination fees as high as 8%, this is a significant improvement. Point-of-sale loans typically have short terms, with terms frequently falling between three and 12 months. Therefore, it could be challenging for you to pay back your loan so quickly if you have a restricted budget.

keep going in mind that while buy-now-pay-later options don’t charge interest, late fees can end up costing you more than interest payments. For example, if you pay one late fee during a two-month payoff of a $200 purchase, your fee payments would be equivalent to an APR above 100%.

Point-of-Sale Promotions

Additionally, some shops provide longer-term installment loans with interest-free financing. These packages are safer than many shop credit card options because they often include 0% APR offers rather than deferred-interest financing.

Point-of-sale specials are frequently used by retailers to make products seem more inexpensive. For instance, Casper mattresses tuck a 0% installment loan from Affirm beneath its “Add to Cart” button, while Sephora lists an interest-free offer from Klarna beneath an item’s sales price. Similar to this, Noemie lessens sticker shock by presenting a customer’s anticipated monthly payments if they were eligible for Bread’s lowest APR.

Popular Point-of-Sale Loan and Buy Now, Pay Later Lenders

Before making a significant purchase, it’s a good idea to examine your options even though you might not be able to choose which loan provider partners with your preferred merchant. The list of well-known lenders may be useful to you if you aren’t tied to a specific retailer in choosing where to shop. APR and loan terms are current as of November 30, 2020, but they could change.

Point-of-Sale Installment Loans

Lender APR Loan Terms Fees Reports to Credit Bureau Sample Retail Partners
Affirm 0% to 30% 3, 6, or 12 months (longer terms may be available) None Reports some purchases to Experian, Peloton, Purple, Casper, Saks Fifth Avenue, Reverb
Bread 0% to 29.99% Six weeks for SplitPay, 3 to 48 months for installment loan Not disclosed Reports to TransUnion Noemie, Create Room, Hublot, Newton Baby, Digital Storm
MarcusPay 10.99% to 25.99% 12 or 18 months None Not disclosed JetBlue Vacations

Buy Now, Pay Later Loans

Lender APR Loan Terms Fees Reports to Credit Bureau Sample Retail Partners
Afterpay None 3 payments, plus a down payment, or 4 payments paid every 2 weeks No service fees; up to $8 for late payments outside of grace period (usually 10 days) May report missed payments to credit bureaus Levi’s, Urban Outfitters, American Eagle, Ulta Beauty, Steve Madden, Sunglass Hut, Origins, Jimmy Choo
Klarna None 4 payments, paid every 2 weeks Up to $7 for late payments Not disclosed Sephora, The North Face, Abercrombie and Fitch, Rescue Essentials, Sedona Wellness
PayPal Pay in 4 None 4 payments in 6 weeks Late payments depend on state regulations Not disclosed Online stores that accept PayPal.
My Chase Plan None 3 to 18 months Monthly fee (varies by borrower), late fee equal to credit card late fee Not disclosed Available where Chase credit cards are accepted

The Bottom Line

It doesn’t hurt to look into the interest rate you could obtain for a one-time shop financing loan and compare it to the payments you’d have to make with a buy-now-pay-later option if you’re thinking about a point-of-sale installment loan or buy-now-pay-later offer.

While some point-of-sale loans have high maximum APRs, several lenders provide outstanding offers. If you require interest-free financing but lack the patience to wait for a new 0% APR credit card offer, a point-of-sale installment loan can be a fantastic option for you. Though not all retailers and purchases provide 0% financing, keep in mind to organize your buying around the retailers and lenders offering the greatest offers.

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