Woman shopping online on her laptop holding a credit card.
Various data shows that when businesses offer a buy-now-pay-later option, the amount of sales and the volume of those sales increases. — Getty Images/Prostock-Studio

For many decades, retailers offered “layaway” services where customers could buy an item on an installment plan. Customers would pay off an item interest-free over time and then receive the item once fully paid. A handful of large retailers still offer it today.

While the popularity of credit cards has diminished layaway, a modern version of the concept has become more prominent with the rise of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) companies. These are primarily made up of fintech startups that offer their own version of layaway, except consumers usually receive the product upfront while paying off the item in installments.

Small businesses that want to offer the ability to finance items but don’t want to start a program from scratch can instead partner with numerous BNPL services. Using a service like this can make your products (especially high-end items) more accessible to everyday consumers.

Here are seven BNPL services that merchants can use to offer financing and layaway to customers.

Affirm

After going public in early 2021, Affirm is now one of the most extensive BNPL services. Affirm offers a wide array of options for businesses that want to add financing and claims to have more than 6.2 million customers connected with Affirm in some way. Additionally, Affirm tailors specific sales and offers to customers based on their creditworthiness and other factors, and it can be used both for in-person and online sales.

Afterpay

With more than 16 million customers in the U.S. that have used its service, Afterpay has made a serious splash in the BNPL space since its founding in 2015. Afterpay lets customers dice up the price tag into four interest-free payments. They pay the first of the four payments immediately and then must pay off the rest in 6 weeks. Afterpay claims that businesses with an Afterpay option see a 20% increase in customers completing purchases in their digital carts. They also note that 73% of its users are millennials and Gen Z, showing its popularity with a younger audience.

Bread

Merchants may want to opt for Bread as a BNPL option due to its high degree of customization. Bread can be white-labeled, so it matches your brand’s experience and can work across all sales channels. Bread also integrates easily with many top e-commerce shopping platforms, including Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, and WooCommerce, making it a top option for online sales. Shoppers who interact with Bread get real-time decisions on purchases without impacting credit scores, and they can select from a variety of installment options.

Quadpay sets itself apart with its simplicity, claiming that retailers can integrate its service into their platforms in less than 10 minutes.

Klarna

Many popular beauty, clothing, home and electronics retailers offer Klarna as an option for BNPL purchases. Klarna allows customers to pay for items in three different ways: pay in four interest-free installments with one payment due every two weeks; pay off the purchase interest-free in 30 days; or pay off the item(s) sometime between six and 36 months with custom financing. The company claims that 44% more customers decided to pursue purchases when presented with the four-installment option, and customers’ average order size increased 45%.

PayPal Credit

One of the most undercovered services in the BNPL realm is PayPal Credit, which allows customers to buy an item on credit and not pay until later. Customers do not pay interest on purchases of $99 or more as long as minimum monthly payments are made and the balance is paid in full within six months. Any retailer that accepts PayPal for payments can effectively have PayPal Credit as an option.

Quadpay

Like similar services, Quadpay lets small businesses offer customers the option to pay off purchases in four installments over six weeks. Quadpay sets itself apart with its simplicity, claiming that retailers can integrate its service into their platforms in less than 10 minutes. The Quadpay software works for both online and in-person transactions and works with all major credit cards. Any business that accepts Visa can be quickly set up to accept Quadpay’s Visa card as well.

Sezzle

Sezzle offers businesses the ability to let consumers split purchases into four interest-free payments that must be paid off in 6 weeks. The service reaches more than 2 million customers in the U.S. and Canada and offers integration with all major e-commerce platforms. Sezzle stands out among the BNPL crowd by being a public benefit corporation, with “a mission to enable shoppers to take control of their financial futures, spend responsibly, and achieve financial freedom.”

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

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Published May 14, 2021