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Data snack: The rise of BNPL and what consumers want from installment pay options

  • The BNPL industry continues to gain momentum, but what will it look like as a mainstream form of payment?
  • A recent survey from SplitIt sheds some light on the topic, from BNPL’s relation to credit cards, to demand for flexible installment plans.

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Data snack: The rise of BNPL and what consumers want from installment pay options

BNPL is kind of like a baby: you can see that it’s growing, but you can’t quite yet figure out what it will look like when it’s all grown up.

Installment payments continue to grow in popularity among consumers. But the shape this payment method will take in consumers’ lives is still questionable, according to a recent survey by BNPL company SplitIt.

One data point is that 60% of consumers say they would use their credit cards more if they could pay in smaller interest-free installments. 

But that’s not to say consumers are poo-pooing credit cards. 83% are happy with their credit cards and 71% see them as a healthy part of their financial lives.

Credit card perks, for example, are still important to consumers. 83% describe things like cashback, points, and miles as very important to them, while 48% even go as far as to say it’s the reason they use their credit cards in the first place.

“Many of our peers are putting the nail in the coffin for credit cards, but the data shows this is not entirely the case,” said Adam Mawdesley, chief revenue officer at SplitIt.

Another point the survey emphasizes is the level of consumer interest in BNPL. Lots of shoppers don’t just see this payment method as a perk, but rather a viable reason for paying more. 60% of consumers are willing to either upgrade or increase their payments to be able to pay over time.

Then there’s the case of how consumers want their installment plans to look like.

The higher the cost of a purchase, the more installments consumers want, it seems:

  • For purchases under $300, 60% don’t mind a max of four payments
  • For purchases over $500, 66% prefer +4 payments
  • For purchases over $1000, 75% prefer +4 payments

According to Mawdesley, the findings ultimately point to a demand for personalization within the BNPL space.

“The key takeaway for us is validating that all Buy Now, Pay Laters are not created equal. Merchants and shoppers have a wide range of needs that just aren’t addressed with a ‘one size fits all’ approach,” he said. “Not all consumers want a new line of credit and they want more flexibility in how and when they pay.”

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