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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 simple credit score can come at excessive prices and dangers for patrons. This submit summarises how BNPL lending features 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 patrons’ credit score scores, and the dearth 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 numerous 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 enables 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 (often 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 contains 4 gamers (Determine 1):

  1. RBI-regulated entities (REs)

    like banks and NBFCs that provide credit score traces to clients immediately or via mortgage service suppliers (LSPs).[2]

  2. Unregulated LSPs

    like BNPL cellular 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 often supplied via cellular purposes and web sites of BNPL suppliers. These suppliers are additionally embedded in net and cellular purposes of retailers say e-commerce, journey hailing and many others. Suppliers comparable 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 comparable to Slice, Uni and Dhani provide this product (Bose, 2022; Manikandan, 2022).

What’s the BNPL lending enterprise mannequin?

The foremost sources of income for BNPL suppliers embrace:

  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 principal sources of income for BNPL suppliers (Khatri, 2020; Kumar N. , 2021).

  3. Fees on clients:

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

    • Fees on the time of availing the mortgage,

      which embrace subscription charges, activation charges, digital clearing service (ECS) mandate fees, and BNPL card-related fees. For example, some suppliers cost subscription charges that offers clients a zero-interest charge credit score line (Ramanathan A. , 2021). Others cost a one-time activation charge for activating the credit score line (Alawadhi, 2021). Suppliers that provide 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 additionally cost curiosity and processing charges if clients go for an extended reimbursement tenure via EMI (Amazon Pay Later, n.d.).

    • Put up-default fees,

      which embrace late charges, prepayment fees, 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 additionally cost curiosity on the late charges for day by day of default (Makwana, 2021). Some suppliers levy prepayment fees 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 will possibly impose totally 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 the usage of 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 usually make clients overlook the debt they are going to incur through the use of BNPL credit score:

  1. Threat of misconduct:

    BNPL lending is marketed below totally different labels, however they’re largely embedded as a cost choice, which may be deceptive. The debt obligations of consumers, that come from utilizing BNPL credit score, are often detailed in prolonged and sophisticated disclosures. Prospects are prone to ignore these disclosures or low cost their obligations to acquire credit score shortly (Busara Heart 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 should be repaid (Monetary Conduct Authority, 2021; Jones, 2022). In India, there have been situations of a BNPL supplier sanctioning a big line of credit score within the clients’ title with out the shoppers’ information (Ramanathan & Kalyanaraman, 2022). There are additionally considerations of aggressive debt assortment practices by brokers towards clients (Pinapala, 2021). Insights from complaints on Twitter towards 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, generally face points from assortment brokers.

  2. Heightened threat of unsuitable debt on account of misconduct:

    As mentioned above, the credit-like options of BNPL – curiosity on late funds, obligations to repay – usually are 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 Heart for Behavioral Economics, 2021; MicroSave Consulting, 2019; Johnen, Parlasca, & Musshoff, 2021). Prospects could pile up debt which they could both discover distressing to repay or could 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 usually misplaced observe 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 could must pay as much as Rs 200 in penalties and late cost charges if they don’t repay a transaction price Rs 250 inside 80 days (Ola, 2021). Late cost charges can quantity to a excessive proportion of the transaction dimension.

  4. Knowledge safety considerations:

    Like different digital monetary service suppliers, BNPL suppliers course of in depth quantities of private knowledge collected immediately from the client (Financial institution Bazaar, n.d.). Other forms of information are not directly accessed via third events for making threat assessments, together with credit score info, clients’ transaction historical past, social media knowledge, and academic {qualifications} (Kaushal & Adhikari, 2022). Consequently, this will make clients susceptible to quite a lot of knowledge safety dangers. Whereas these dangers usually are not distinctive to BNPL lending, they could be extra related in its context. On condition that BNPL suppliers sometimes don’t search collateral towards small ticket loans, they depend on know-how to determine 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 instances, clients could 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 identical time, it’s unclear if BNPL suppliers report clients’ BNPL lending transactions to credit score bureaus. Our evaluate of the phrases and situations of ten distinguished BNPL suppliers in India suggests that the majority of them accumulate credit score info.[4] Nonetheless, they don’t make clear if in addition they report back to the credit score bureaus. There’s combined proof that utilizing BNPL lending, or of defaulting on repayments, can have an effect on credit score scores (Kumar N. , 2021).

    • Hostile impact on potential clients’ credit score scores.

      Prospects could usually 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 data, and that it might not be instantly obvious to clients {that a} question of their data might adversely have an effect on their credit score rating.

    • The dearth 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 the moment, 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 might additionally decrease credit score rating (Singh, 2022). Nonetheless, credit score bureaus have began growing requirements for reporting BNPL transactions (Carrns, 2022), which might assist make credit score reporting processes extra correct.     

  6. Insufficient grievance redress:

    Our evaluate of the phrases and situations of ten distinguished BNPL suppliers means that grievance redress insurance policies may be tough for patrons to search out. The insurance policies are often embedded deep inside web sites or inside tremendous 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 could face sharp info asymmetries in understanding such a path. Prospects could not often perceive if they’re partaking with an LSP or with an RE, which makes it tough to method the right discussion board for redress (Chivukula, 2021). Additional, the phrases & situations could not at all times explicitly point out the BNPL supplier’s partnership with an RE. This problem might foreclose redress fully for patrons. Prospects may additionally must navigate a cumbersome redress course of (Wang, 2021).

BNPL lending holds potential to bettering entry to credit score for many who don’t qualify for bank cards. Nonetheless, BNPL lending must be introduced below the fold of buyer safety frameworks for this entry to grasp 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 worthwhile 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 supply totally 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 fees and charges, and (7) Aggressive debt assortment.

The dataset comprised complaints towards 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 matter evaluation had been used to determine 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 situations we reviewed embrace 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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