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Dvara Analysis Weblog | ‘Purchase Now, Pay Later’: What’s it, and the way does it have an effect on buyer safety?


Srikara Prasad
Sarah Stanley[1]

Purchase Now, Pay Later (BNPL) lending is rising quickly in India, permitting clients to entry BNPL credit score simply in comparison with bank cards or private loans. Sadly, this straightforward credit score can come at excessive prices and dangers for purchasers. This submit summarises how BNPL lending capabilities and highlights buyer safety considerations that may put in danger the promise of higher credit score entry.

BNPL is rising quickly in India, and it’s projected to develop ten-fold within the subsequent 4 years (Reside Mint, 2022). It holds the promise of bringing thin-filed clients within the fold of formal credit score (Mukherjee, 2021). Nonetheless, its advertising as a deferred funds product, the paradox round its implications for purchasers’ credit score scores, and the shortage of transparency about prices to the client increase essential buyer safety considerations (Monetary Conduct Authority, 2021).

This submit first explores the back-end technique of BNPL lending. It then unpacks the BNPL income mannequin, detailing varied prices for retailers, regulated entities (REs), and clients, and concludes with a dialogue on rising considerations for buyer safety.

What’s BNPL lending and the way does it work?

BNPL is a type of short-term credit score financing that permits clients to defer funds for purchases (Monetary Conduct Authority, 2022). Sometimes, BNPL suppliers step in to pay retailers for any purchases made by the client, whereas the client repays the BNPL supplier later. Repayments may very well be structured as one instalment (normally with out curiosity) or via equated month-to-month instalments (EMIs) (which can carry curiosity). The credit score restrict and the reimbursement tenure fluctuate throughout BNPL suppliers (Bhargav, Shetty, & Nayar, n.d.; Narayanan, 2022; Khatri, 2020).  

The worth chain of BNPL sometimes includes 4 gamers (Determine 1):

  1. RBI-regulated entities (REs)

    like banks and NBFCs that supply credit score strains to clients instantly or via mortgage service suppliers (LSPs).[2]

  2. Unregulated LSPs

    like BNPL cell software suppliers that associate with REs and supply clients a front-end for accessing credit score. 

  3. Retailers

    that present items and providers.

  4. Prospects

    who borrow BNPL credit score (Saxena, 2021; Iyer, 2021).

Determine 1: How BNPL lending works

BNPL lending is obtainable via two main channels –

  1. Cell software or web-based lending

    : On this channel, credit score is normally supplied via cell functions and web sites of BNPL suppliers. These suppliers are additionally embedded in internet and cell functions of retailers say e-commerce, trip hailing and so forth. Suppliers akin to PayTM Postpaid, Simpl and ZestMoney make use of this channel.

  2. Card

    -based lending: On this channel, clients entry BNPL credit score via a pay as you go card backed by a credit score line from an RE. Suppliers akin to Slice, Uni and Dhani supply this product (Bose, 2022; Manikandan, 2022).

What’s the BNPL lending enterprise mannequin?

The foremost sources of income for BNPL suppliers embody:

  1. Commissions from REs:

    LSPs cost REs a fee after they originate BNPL credit score for them.

  2. Commissions from retailers:

    BNPL suppliers cost retailers a proportion of their transaction quantity with clients as charges. These transaction charges are among the many major sources of income for BNPL suppliers (Khatri, 2020; Kumar N. , 2021).

  3. Prices on clients:

    The fees that clients might pay the BNPL supplier could be broadly divided into –

    • Prices on the time of availing the mortgage,

      which embody subscription charges, activation charges, digital clearing service (ECS) mandate prices, and BNPL card-related prices. For example, some suppliers cost subscription charges that offers clients a zero-interest fee credit score line (Ramanathan A. , 2021). Others cost a one-time activation price for activating the credit score line (Alawadhi, 2021). Suppliers that supply card based mostly BNPL credit score cost clients for quite a lot of providers, together with card substitute, money withdrawal, and cost slip retrieval (Slice, 2021). Suppliers may cost curiosity and processing charges if clients go for an extended reimbursement tenure via EMI (Amazon Pay Later, n.d.).

    • Publish-default prices,

      which embody late charges, prepayment prices, ECS bounce penalties, and curiosity. Late charges are levied when clients don’t make well timed repayments (Dubey, 2021; Kumar N. , 2021). The quantum can differ throughout suppliers based mostly on the quantity due from the client. Suppliers may cost curiosity on the late charges for each day of default (Makwana, 2021). Some suppliers levy prepayment prices if clients pay their dues earlier than the scheduled interval (Kaushal, 2022). Suppliers may cost curiosity on the quantities due if the client defaults on their reimbursement (Kumar N. , 2021).

Subsequently, even when BNPL is marketed as a zero-interest credit score product (Singh, 2022), it may impose completely different sorts of prices on clients.

What are the considerations arising for buyer safety?

Regardless of its potential to extend entry to credit score, BNPL lending can pose urgent considerations for buyer safety. On this part we lay out a few of these considerations rising from using BNPL merchandise. A few of these considerations might not be distinctive to BNPL lending. Nonetheless, they’re amplified by the handy and hassle-free processes of accessing credit score which can be embedded within the buy of the product. These processes can typically make clients overlook the debt they’ll incur by utilizing BNPL credit score:

  1. Danger of misconduct:

    BNPL lending is marketed below completely different labels, however they’re principally embedded as a fee possibility, which could be deceptive. The debt obligations of consumers, that come from utilizing BNPL credit score, are normally detailed in prolonged and sophisticated disclosures. Prospects are more likely to ignore these disclosures or low cost their obligations to acquire credit score rapidly (Busara Middle for Behavioral Economics, 2021). Experiences from extra mature BNPL markets, like the UK, counsel that clients are sometimes unaware that they’re buying credit score that have to be repaid (Monetary Conduct Authority, 2021; Jones, 2022). In India, there have been cases of a BNPL supplier sanctioning a big line of credit score within the clients’ title with out the purchasers’ information (Ramanathan & Kalyanaraman, 2022). There are additionally considerations of aggressive debt assortment practices by brokers in opposition to clients (Pinapala, 2021). Insights from complaints on Twitter in opposition to three BNPL suppliers[3] indicated that clients who’re overdue for small quantities for a brief time period, and even clients who’ve repaid dues, typically face points from assortment brokers.

  2. Heightened danger of unsuitable debt because of misconduct:

    As mentioned above, the credit-like options of BNPL – curiosity on late funds, obligations to repay – should not sufficiently emphasised on the time of providing the product to the client. That is identified to affect clients to borrow greater than they will afford (Busara Middle for Behavioral Economics, 2021; MicroSave Consulting, 2019; Johnen, Parlasca, & Musshoff, 2021). Prospects might pile up debt which they could both discover distressing to repay or might default (Pinapala, 2021), incurring excessive prices in fines and penalties (Kumar N. , 2021). For example, buyer experiences in the UK counsel that greater than 40% of BNPL clients struggled with repayments. In Germany, BNPL clients typically misplaced monitor of their BNPL money owed (BEUC, 2022).

  3. Excessive and hidden prices:

    One different concern is that the prices of BNPL may very well be excessive and infrequently not clear upfront. For example, a buyer might should pay as much as Rs 200 in penalties and late fee charges if they don’t repay a transaction price Rs 250 inside 80 days (Ola, 2021). Late fee charges can quantity to a excessive proportion of the transaction measurement.

  4. Information safety considerations:

    Like different digital monetary service suppliers, BNPL suppliers course of in depth quantities of non-public knowledge collected instantly from the client (Financial institution Bazaar, n.d.). Different kinds of knowledge are not directly accessed via third events for making danger assessments, together with credit score info, clients’ transaction historical past, social media knowledge, and academic {qualifications} (Kaushal & Adhikari, 2022). Consequently, this will make clients weak to quite a lot of knowledge safety dangers. Whereas these dangers should not distinctive to BNPL lending, they could be extra related in its context. Provided that BNPL suppliers sometimes don’t search collateral in opposition to small ticket loans, they depend on know-how to establish dangerous debtors. These algorithms and analytics parse via transactions to generate wealthy credit-behaviour profiles (Ghosh, 2017).

  5. Dangers to credit score scores:

    There are three main dangers to credit score scores that may floor –

    • Insufficient disclosures

      about BNPL lending can lead to clients being unaware of how utilizing BNPL lending can have an effect on their credit score scores. In lots of circumstances, clients might not know they’re buying a credit score product after they use BNPL lending. This might mechanically masks the chance that BNPL lending can have an effect on clients’ credit score scores. On the similar time, it’s unclear if BNPL suppliers report clients’ BNPL lending transactions to credit score bureaus. Our assessment of the phrases and circumstances of ten distinguished BNPL suppliers in India suggests that almost all of them accumulate credit score info.[4] Nonetheless, they don’t make clear if additionally they report back to the credit score bureaus. There may be combined proof that utilizing BNPL lending, or of defaulting on repayments, can have an effect on credit score scores (Kumar N. , 2021).

    • Antagonistic impact on potential clients’ credit score scores.

      Prospects might typically not realise that BNPL suppliers can question bureausfor their credit score info. This may trigger clients’ creditworthiness to lower, even when their request for credit score is rejected (Kumar A. , 2019; Singh, 2022; Ramanathan & Kalyanaraman, 2022).  This may very well be unfair to clients, particularly when info disclosures don’t conspicuously point out querying their credit score bureau information, and that it might not be instantly obvious to clients {that a} question of their information may adversely have an effect on their credit score rating.

    • The shortage of formal requirements for credit score bureaus for recording BNPL loans leads to suppliers both not reporting BNPL transactions or reporting them inaccurately

      (Anand & Phartiyal, 2021; Carrns, 2022; Ramanathan & Kalyanaraman, 2022). At present, BNPL suppliers report the general credit score quantity supplied to a buyer via a line of credit score. They don’t report the credit score quantity disbursed i.e.; the quantity utilised by the client. Subsequently, this credit score line (even when unutilised) seems as a ‘mortgage’ on the client’s credit score report till the client deactivates their account. It seems that leaving the credit score line unutilised may additionally decrease credit score rating (Singh, 2022). Nonetheless, credit score bureaus have began creating requirements for reporting BNPL transactions (Carrns, 2022), which may assist make credit score reporting processes extra correct.     

  6. Insufficient grievance redress:

    Our assessment of the phrases and circumstances of ten distinguished BNPL suppliers means that grievance redress insurance policies could be troublesome for purchasers to search out. The insurance policies are normally embedded deep inside web sites or inside wonderful textual content. This places the onus of discovering and understanding a BNPL supplier’s redress coverage on the client. Some suppliers direct clients to contact the RE that financed the BNPL credit score. Nonetheless, clients might face sharp info asymmetries in understanding such a course. Prospects might hardly ever perceive if they’re participating with an LSP or with an RE, which makes it troublesome to method the right discussion board for redress (Chivukula, 2021). Additional, the phrases & circumstances might not all the time explicitly point out the BNPL supplier’s partnership with an RE. This problem may foreclose redress totally for purchasers. Prospects may should navigate a cumbersome redress course of (Wang, 2021).

BNPL lending holds potential to bettering entry to credit score for individuals who don’t qualify for bank cards. Nonetheless, BNPL lending must be introduced below the fold of buyer safety frameworks for this entry to understand higher buyer outcomes.


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[1] The authors thank Shreya R (Coverage Analyst, the Way forward for Finance Initiative, Dvara Analysis) and Hritika Parekh (Intern, the Way forward for Finance Initiative, Dvara Analysis) for his or her helpful contributions within the preliminary levels of this text.

[2] Lending Service Suppliers (LSPs) are unregulated entities within the monetary sector which associate with REs to offer completely different providers together with buyer acquisition, underwriting help, pricing help, disbursement, servicing, monitoring, assortment, liquidation of particular mortgage or mortgage portfolio for compensation from the stability sheet lender. See Reserve Financial institution of India, Report of the Working Group on Digital Lending together with Lending via On-line Platforms and Cell Apps, 2021.

[3] In March 2022, Dvara Analysis analysed complaints made by clients on Twitter, which surfaced 7 classes of complaints: (1) Difficulties in utilizing the service, (2) Insufficient redress mechanisms, (3) Issues in processing repayments, (4) Wrongful billing, (5) Fraud, (6) Complaints about excessive prices and costs, and (7) Aggressive debt assortment.

The dataset comprised complaints in opposition to three distinguished BNPL suppliers – Simpl (3980 tweets), Amazon Pay Later (1558 tweets) and Lazy Pay (9191 tweets) – for the interval January 2021 to February 2022. Python was used to gather the tweets, and phrase clouds and subject evaluation had been used to establish the problems expressed by BNPL clients. Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) algorithm was used to reach on the seven classes of buyer complaints.

[4] The ten BNPL suppliers whose phrases and circumstances we reviewed embody Ola Cash Postpaid, PayTM Postpaid, Amazon Pay Later, Slice, LazyPay, Simpl, Unicard, Capital Float, EPayLater and Zestmoney.

Cite this Merchandise:


Srikara Prasad, S. S. (2022). ‘Purchase Now, Pay Later’: What’s it, and the way does it have an effect on buyer safety? Retrieved from Dvara Analysis.


Srikara Prasad, Sarah Stanley. “‘Purchase Now, Pay Later’: What’s it, and the way does it have an effect on buyer safety?” 2022. Dvara Analysis.


Srikara Prasad, Sarah Stanley. 2022. “‘Purchase Now, Pay Later’: What’s it, and the way does it have an effect on buyer safety?” Dvara Analysis.



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