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Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Advanced, user-friendly platforms helping BNPL scale

Fueled by advanced technologies and data analytics, buy now, pay later (BNPL) is an increasingly popular checkout option online and in stores. Experts attribute BNPL's rapid growth to demand for tech-driven, extended payment solutions that drive approvals and customer satisfaction.

The Economic Impact of Buy Now, Pay Later in the U.S., a September 2021 study by Accenture and commissioned by BNPL provider Afterpay, found a 230 percent increase in U.S. BNPL spending and 17 percent increase in average ticket size since the start of 2020. Researchers estimated that U.S. BNPL adoption has grown by more than 300 percent since 2018.

"Consumers prefer to use BNPL as a payment method for a variety of reasons, the most prevalent being because it allows them to pay in installments rather than a lump sum up front," Accenture researchers wrote. "This ability gives a consumer more control over their finances and enables them to make purchases in a way that fits within their own accounting needs, for example to align with salary pay periods or other bills and expenses."

Investment growth

Meidad Sharon, CEO and founder at ChargeAfter, disclosed his company raised $44 million in a Series B funding round on March 22, 2022, and noted it was a reflection of BNPL's soaring popularity. "Investor interest in ChargeAfter is a testament to the growing need for a network-driven financing platform made for merchants, banks, and financial institutions," he said, adding that BNPL providers are shifting from single-lender, low-approval models to multi-lender platforms where approval ratings are 85 percent and higher.

Sharon noted that ChargeAfter offers personalized financing from multiple lenders to consumers and a brandable BNPL platform to distribution partners. The company's network of service providers offers a range of BNPL products in a single integration, including card-based installments, split pay, long and short-term installments, 0 percent APR financing, revolving credit, B2B financing, lease to own, and more, he added.

Ashley Korody, vice president, business development at ChargeAfter, agreed BNPL is evolving. "The concept of buy now, pay later began as a way to pay for something and has evolved so much that, at this point, almost every type of financing is called buy now, pay later, which is not completely accurate," she said. "But it has also opened a door to evolve and create new products and bring new light to the market."

Advanced technology

T. T. Gambrell, sales director at PAX Technology, pointed out that advanced technology is paving the way for in-store BNPL offerings at the POS. "At PAX, we're leveraging our broad POS payment application to give the consumer different payment options at the point of sale," she said. "Once they present the card, the terminal will show the available options to them, and when the consumer hits 'Accept," from that point on, everything is done on the device itself."

Another cool feature of the PAX application, Gambrell added, is that merchants can set a floor limit to control the minimum amount allowable for a financing option. This capability helps set expectations for consumers, merchants and lenders, she stated.

Eric Lookhoff, CEO at QuickFee, stated that digital technologies power real-time approvals that personalize consumer checkouts and merchant implementations. "Whether you're an ISO looking for a low-friction, high-residual solution or an enterprise client that wants control, customization and optionality, it's important to guide someone to the right solution," he said.

Aubrey Amatelli, chief revenue officer at QuickFee, noted that QuickFee was founded around the concept of low-risk merchant bank lending solution and continues to expand and evolve. "QuickFee offers a comprehensive suite of electronic payment and funding solutions, including debit and credit card processing, ACH processing, financing, and BNPL plans," she said. "The scalability of QuickFee products allows firms of all sizes to add an instant arsenal of intelligent payment technology solutions to their businesses without significant infrastructure investments."

Consumer-centric

Silvana Hernandez, senior vice president, digital payments at Mastercard, agreed that modern BNPL is seamless, intuitive and tech-driven. Mastercard's approach to BNPL, set to launch in April 2022, will not be linked to any existing card network, she stated, adding that the solution is designed to be simple for lenders, consumers and merchants.

"Mastercard Installments will leverage our acceptance network to help scale BNPL," she said. "Merchants will have innovation without integration; lenders will have simplicity; consumers will have flexibility and trust."

Korody emphasized customer experience is critical to success in BNPL deployments. "At the end of the day, the person using this product is the consumer and that's who BNPL providers are targeting," she said. "Afterpay and other leading providers have really focused on that consumer and that's why they've been so successful."

ChargeAfter, PAX Technology, QuickFee and Mastercard executives will continue discussing BNPL in a panel discussion, hosted by the Northeast Acquirers Association and moderated by The Green Sheet's Dale Laszig. Join us Thurs., April 7, 2022 at 4:30 p.m. at Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown. For more information or to register for the NEAA conference, visit northeastacquirers.com/ end of article

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