Let’s be real for a second; for most of the population, our salaries aren’t anywhere near enough to get most of the things we want to buy at once. Also, saving up to buy something expensive is impractical, since you’ll always find something important to do with the money along the way.
It’s no surprise that the idea of buy now and pay later became an instant hit among most people around the world. Especially in sub-Saharan African countries, the idea of getting something for almost free, only to pay in installments later is surreal.
However, these sites are here to stay. In this article, I’ll show you how buy now pay later works in most countries and also some of the best “buy now pay later” sites to get expensive items in installments.
How Does Buy Now Pay Later Work?
In developed countries with standard data collection systems, the idea of buying things to pay for them later isn’t entirely new. By providing some basic information about yourself, the company could run a simple credit check to see if your credit score qualifies you to get the item on credit.
However, in a developing country like Nigeria where the concept of credit scores is almost nonexistent, it’s much more complicated than that. A lot more goes into buy now pay later sites than simply running a credit check and giving out products.
In such countries, there are strict requirements for operating a buy now pay later site. Unless the owners are fine with going bankrupt months after starting up the business, they’ll typically require more assurance that customers can pay back the loan after shopping from the store.
Some of the information you may be required to provide when trying to access a buy now pay later site include months of stable salary statements, a bank verification number, a government-issued identity card, and proof that you’re working with a registered establishment.
With this, the site can confirm if you can repay your loans before offering you the item. The downside to this is obvious: it takes a lot longer to process your account and procure an item compared to in developed countries where the process is usually instant.
Top Buy Now Pay Later Sites
By now, you should already know what a buy now pay later sites means and how they work. If you’re fine with the idea of buying an item now and paying for it in installments later, your first step towards doing that would be to find the top buy now pay later sites.
Due to the challenges associated with running one, sites like this don’t work across multiple countries. You’ll need to find one that offers services in your country specifically. Here are some of the top buy now pay later sites worldwide, from United States to United Kingdom, to Nigeria to South Africa, to Kenya to Canada in no particular order.
If you’re looking for a way to buy now and pay later in the United States, PayPal’s Pay in 4 scheme is probably your best bet. As long as you’re shopping with a supported retailer, you can split the cost of the item into four different installments which you’re then required to pay within six weeks.
The Pay in 4 services is available in 44 states in the US and only at merchants that use PayPal. Since millions of sellers are connected to the PayPal network, the Pay in 4 scheme might just be the best among the buy now pay later sites available today.
When you take an item on credit using PayPal’s Pay in 4, the company doesn’t report it to any authority. In short, it doesn’t have any effect on your credit score, either positively or negatively. If you’re trying to buy an item that costs higher than $1,500, Pay in 4 will be unable to help.
Afterpay is just like Payflex, but for Canadians. When you shop to pay later with Afterpay, you can distribute your payment to four installments that you pay across a period of six weeks. If everything goes as planned, you should never have to pay interest when you buy using Afterpay.
Just like Payflex, Afterpay also partners with an expansive list of online retailers that partner with the service. When you buy from one of their partners, you can select Afterpay as your payment option, unlocking the opportunity to own the item in question without paying the full price upfront.
With over 85,000 different retailers offering Afterpay as a payment option, you have a lot of options to choose from. As long as you pay on time, Afterpay shouldn’t mess with your credit score, and you shouldn’t have to pay any interest.
If you’re shopping from Nigeria, Spredda is undoubtedly one of the best destination to buy now and pay later. When buying from this platform, you can either use the PayQart option, which offers you the opportunity to pay within six months, or face interest.
The only alternative is Lay-by, which doesn’t involve interest but forces you to pay within three months. However, with Lay-by, you don’t get the item until you finish paying. Instead, the store only reserves the item until you complete your payment, after which they ship the product to you for no extra costs.
One downside of using Spredda is that they don’t have an expansive selection of items for you to choose from. Most of the items from the store are phones, home appliances, and a few other consumer electronics.
For Nigerians, the latest flagship phones can prove to be very expensive, especially if you don’t earn above the average. Palmcredit sets out to make this process easier, and with the introduction of Easybuy, it seems like their efforts did work.
The downside of this site is apparent: you can only purchase smartphones. If you ever need to purchase anything other than phones, you’ll have to find an alternative. Also, did I mention that Easybuy is only available to buyers from Nigeria where Palmcredit operates primarily?
When buying a smartphone from Easybuy, you must pay at least 30% of the entire cost of the device upfront. Thereafter, you’ll decide how much you intend to pay monthly and how long the repayment should take. The repayment term can be anywhere from three to six months with 6% interest.
Just like most other African countries, South Africa was late to catch on to the buy now pay later trend, but fortunately, there are many buy now pay later sites for South Africans. The most popular of them all is Payflex, and the numerous advantages can easily explain its popularity.
As long as you’re above the age of 18, you can buy an item and pay it back in four installments that are evenly spread across a period of six weeks. You don’t have to pay any interest and all you need to buy an item is your ID number; the system will run a background check and let you know if you qualify in seconds.
Payflex partners with individual online stores that offer a wide range of products. For this reason, the site is closer to PayPal’s Pay in 4 than it is to similar Nigerian buy now pay later sites. If you’re a South African shopper, you should explore the possibilities of using Payflex.
AltMall uses the Sterling Alternative Finance option to offer a credit shopping experience to customers who later pay back in installments. Of all the Nigerian buy now pay later sites on this list, AltMall appears to be the most trustworthy, since it’s owned and operated by Sterling Bank PLC.
The limit for the price of items you can buy on AltMall is N2 million or 33.3% of your annual income if it’s not up to the quoted amount. With that said, you can already guess that the repayment term for the platform is 12 months maximum and there are no hidden charges.
One of the main benefits of using AltMall is that you don’t have to be a salaried individual. Sterling Alternative Finance will look at your account history over the past few months to determine if you make enough to deserve credit. The check shouldn’t exceed five minutes max, after which you’d be allowed to create an account.
What Websites Let You Buy Now Pay Later?
There are multiple websites that offer deferred payment as an option when buying some items. Websites like AltMall, Afterpay, and Spredda are some of the best options, depending on where you live.
Can I Buy Now Pay Later on Amazon?
Amazon lets customers from select locations buy products and pay later. Even if you’re in an eligible country, the option to buy now and pay later isn’t available on all products, and you’ll need to qualify in order to gain access.
How Does Buy Now, Pay Later Work?
Buy now, pay later works by dividing the entire cost of the item you’re purchasing into multiple installments. The first is usually due when you first checkout, with the rest coming at intervals. You’ll typically need to qualify to even have access to the program.
With the growth of buy now pays later sites, it’s evident that this new business model is here to stay. Platforms that try to offer this service still face minor issues, but with time and experience, they gradually iron all of these issues out.
In this article, I’ve outlined some of the sites that have proven to stand the test of time. With sites and programs being operated by the likes of PayPal and Sterling Bank, you may want to pay attention to this part of the eCommerce industry after all.