“Christmas now, pay later”

Tim Lines

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Would you eat a turkey in December and pay for it in the New Year? With the rise of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), this is likely to be the first Christmas paid for by instalments!

2021 has been a phenomenal year for BNPL. It has accelerated into our lives faster than you might have imagined, and is set to make its mark this Christmas. In fact, 42% of US shoppers plan to use BNPL during the festive period, rising to 60% of Millennials – according to NB client GoCardless.

As fintech continues to innovate, it really doesn’t get much more exciting than BNPL. Just look at the stats. Brits will be spending close to £40bn a year by 2026 with BNPL (Juniper Research). Over half of the biggest fashion, baby and child, and homeware retailers offer at least one BNPL scheme, according to Which? While, from an industry perspective, Zilch has just become the fastest European fintech ever, according to Sifted

While the promises of BNPL are enormous, we can’t get carried away. Scare stories and stark warnings are everywhere. Regulation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is looming and will likely land in the next few years. The core comms challenge facing the market may be large, but not insurmountable. It is important to build credibility, familiarity and understanding. To act responsibly. Look after your customers and they will continue to trust you, retailers and ecommerce players will buy you; and regulators will (in time) treat you fairly.

BNPL is set to be the story of Christmas 2021; with more merchants offering flexible payments than ever before. This “Christmas now, pay later” moment is a great opportunity, not only for record sales, but to consolidate and grow the industry’s reputation. If BNPL players deliver a good, safe and responsible Christmas, we’ve hit another major milestone for innovation in payments. And that is the best gift of all.