The following is a guest post from Ana Galic at SEON.
As the world of online shopping grows, so do the connected payment options.
While in the past, you could only use cards intended especially for online shopping or PayPal and similar online payment solutions, things are pretty different now. We have more options than ever, one of which is the introduction of buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment options.
Anyone who has done some online shopping has probably been prompted at least once if they want to use the BNPL option, with many already using it.
For a while, companies like Klarna and Afterpay have been offering the option of paying in installments, usually with no interest.
But, in the last several years, the demand for BNPL options has skyrocketed, with more people using these benefits. As the use of crypto and its introduction to financial services has increased, it is no wonder the two are now converging.
Why do people use BNPL solutions?
The financial world has always been constantly changing, with new products and services continually being introduced.
But recent years have elevated that to an entirely new level. From using digital wallets and wearables for payment to digital banks and BNPL solutions, financial institutions are constantly looking for new opportunities to improve their services and make them more accessible.
The buy now, pay later (BNPL) is one of the recent financial innovations that has taken the world by storm.
According to data from the TSB bank, around 18% of adults use BNPL services once a month, and 11% at least once a week. While most people have already used it or are planning to soon, here is a quick explanation for the rest.
BNPL is a type of installment payment that allows you to pay for the product in smaller installments while putting down a small percentage for a down payment.
Unlike a loan, in most cases, there are no additional expenses, such as interest, that you have to pay.
While in the beginning, it was primarily used by customers needing help to afford certain products or services, everyone soon embraced it.
It quickly became one of the mainstream payment options. It is no surprise that more and more merchants are now incorporating it into their payment options.
Combining BNPL and crypto
BNPL popularity is not the only one that exploded recently, as cryptocurrencies had a similar experience.
While many people knew nothing about cryptocurrencies in the past, the growing crypto curiosity has made it more mainstream.
As more people discover cryptocurrencies, businesses are also starting to embrace them as a payment option. It was only a matter of time before platforms would begin combining it with BNPL options.
The cryptocurrency XRPayNet announced that in early 2023 it would roll out an update on its payment interface to offer BNPL with crypto. They aim to bridge the gap between the crypto holders that often have nowhere to spend their cryptos and businesses that are starting to accept it.
Globally known payment provider Klarna has also entered the world of cryptocurrency by teaming up with Swedish cryptocurrency broker Safello creating beneficial opportunities for both companies and their customers. While this allows Saffelo’s users to use Klarna’s open banking payment system to buy cryptocurrencies directly and with no interest, it will enable Klarna to enhance its range of payment options.
E-commerce marketplace Uquid has also joined the fray by partnering with Binance Pay. Even though the platform accepts only bitcoin and Uquid Coin (UQC), they plan to expand to other currencies to make crypto purchases and use “PayIn3,” their BNPL solution.
Relatively new on the market, this decentralized finance (DeFi) platform prides itself on offering unique payment solutions for shoppers, merchants, and the marketplace. They aim to do so through cryptocurrency, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), and blockchain technology.
How is the future looking?
Both emerging markets, BNPL and crypto are not going anywhere, especially with more and more people embracing them in their everyday life. The truth is that BNPL is already making an enormous difference in people’s lives, especially with the underbanked or unbanked population.
The number of people who always have to go without certain items can finally afford them and improve their living standards.
Regardless if it is because they were too young to obtain credit history, because they couldn’t afford banking fees, or even because they didn’t have access to the financial institution, the underbanked population has welcomed it with open arms.
By combining it with cryptocurrencies, customers are getting introduced to new forms of digital payments putting them ahead of the curve.
It will become a part of our future, whether we like it or not. But, the question emerges; how secure are they, and can we rely on them?
Cybersecurity already needed to be at the forefront of cybersecurity and BNPL, but now it needs to be a question on everyone’s mind, especially platforms that provide those services.
Implementing cybersecurity tools such as AML Transaction Monitoring, device fingerprinting, and other tools utilizing AI and machine learning is essential if we want to bring cryptocurrency and BNPL to the future.
The crypto market volatility is another significant issue that needs to be resolved before global adaptation. Considering how much the worth of different cryptocurrencies can vary even in one day, you might end up with a loss and paying more for a product. At the same time, the price might swing to your benefit, meaning you would be paying less for the product than you expected. This is a risk or reward aspect of the cryptocurrency market. Until this issue is successfully resolved and proper regulations implemented, the combination of the BNPL and cryptocurrencies leaves a lot of area for improvement.
Financial institutions are always trying to come up with new solutions that can help them meet ever-changing consumer needs. Combining BNPL and crypto can be the correct answer if implemented correctly. As the area continues to grow, we are looking forward to seeing new companies joining the fray and introducing new elements to the growing world of BNPL and cryptocurrencies.