DENVER (KDVR) — ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ services continue to grow in popularity among consumers online.
A recent survey from Credit Karma found about 44% of shoppers used a Buy Now, Pay Later option to acquire an item they needed during the pandemic.
A study from LendingTree reveled two-thirds of consumers who used a BNPL service said they spent more on items than they normally would have.
“Among people who have used these loans, about half of them say they used it at least five times. That’s an awful lot of times,” said Matt Schulz, Chief Credit Analyst at LendingTree.
Typically, BNPL services break down the cost of an item into four loans where you pay in equal installments over a period of several (usually six) weeks.
Financial experts tell the Problem Solvers, more often than not these services are interest free.
“With some bigger purchases you can end up financing things for three months up to 12 months. And those can be interest free, but they can also end up having interest rates as high as 25-30% that are competitive with credit cards. So it’s really important you understand what you’re getting into before you apply,” said Schulz.
Roughly a third (34%) of consumers who used ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ services report falling behind on one or more payments.
“A lot of these buy now pay later loans work by auto drafting your checking out. And in some cases a credit card account, but generally it’s a checking account. And the more of these you take out, the more of these you have simultaneously the more difficult it is to manage them to make sure you have enough money in your account to pay these bills,” Schulz added.
According to experts, if you’re late on payments you’ll either be reported to a credit agency or the company issuing the Buy Now, Pay Later loan will decide to not loan you anymore money for future purchases.