Consumer demand for buy now, pay later (BNPL) options is on the rise at physical and virtual points of sale, and BNPL providers are finding new ways to leverage existing infrastructures. Among new BNPL entrants are Apple Pay Later and a payroll solution powered by partners Atomic and Bond that enables consumers to pay BNPL installments directly from their paychecks. Apple unveiled its BNPL solution at its WWDC conference, held in New York on June 6, 2022, as part of ongoing efforts to own the customer experience.
The company noted it will not take a cut of the transactions. News outlets speculated on Apple Pay Later's impact on leading BNPL brands and the market at large. Retail Dive reporter Jonathan Berr, citing recent analysis, estimated Apple Pay's user base will grow from 45.,4 million to 56.6 million by 2026, and suggested Apple Pay Later will further accelerate that growth.
Peer-to-peer payments, once the exclusive province of consumers, have spilled over into small businesses, gig workers and various other micro merchants, according to survey data released June 13, 2022, by the Electronic Transactions Association and The Strawhecker Group. In fact, P2P payment methods accounted for 59 percent of total transaction volume among merchants accepting P2P payments, researchers found. Jodie Kelley, CEO of the ETA, attributed growing adoption to merchant efforts to improve the customer experience.
"Merchants are responding to consumer demand," she said. "P2P payments were traditionally used for friends and family to pay one another. But as their usage grows, we find that consumers are interested in utilizing them to pay merchants." Jared Drieling, senior director of market intelligence and insights at TSG, agreed that P2P usage is soaring.
"The future of P2P payments looks bright – especially among newer establishments and gig workers," he said.
Cash supporters are celebrating June 16, 2022, the day the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR-4395, the Payment Choice Act of 2022 (PCA). Designed to include cash among other payment options, the bill classifies cash as legal tender throughout the United States, noted Bruce Renard, executive director of the National ATM Council.
Renard thanked a long list of PCA supporters, beginning with Maxine Waters, D-Calif., chair of the House Financial Services Committee; HR-4395 co-sponsors Reps. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J., Chris Smith, R-N.J., and Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas; and other House members who led the effort to preserve cash as a payment option.
In addition, he commended several NAC affiliates. George Sarantopoulos, NAC board of directors chair and CEO of Access One Solutions, agreed with Renard, stating, the PCA is the culmination of years of effort.
Within days of Apple's introduction of Apple Pay Later, covered in this publication's breaking news story "Payroll, payment rails fair game for BNPL players," PayPal launched its latest BNPL play: PayPal Pay Monthly. It is intended for purchases between $200 and $10,000 that get paid down in monthly installments. Terms range between six and 24 months at annual percentage rates from 0 to 22.99 percent. PayPal joined the BNPL movement in 2020 with its Pay in 4 offering. With Pay in 4, consumers pay off purchases in four equal payments across six weeks, with zero interest and no fees.
PayPal also offers Easy Payments, a PayPal credit card feature that can be used to divide the total cost of purchases into equal monthly installments. According to PayPal Vice President Greg Lisiewski, 22 million PayPal customers have used its pay later offerings. "Pay monthly builds on our commitment to deliver leading payment solutions that offer customer choice to ensure checkout matches their needs and budgeting preferences," he said.
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