After Apple shook up the buy now, pay later market with news that it would now be a competitor to established firms, PayPal this morning is introducing another buy now, pay later product to follow the 2020 launch of its “Pay in 4” installment program. The new offering,
“PayPal Pay Monthly,” is designed to give customers a more flexible way to pay, the U.S. payments giant said. Instead of having to pay off purchases over a six-week period as before, “Pay Monthly” users can break down the total cost into monthly payments over a six- to 24-month period.
Consumers can also use the product to make larger purchases.
While PayPal’s “Pay in 4” program allows customers to pay for purchases between $30 and $1,500 (up from $600 at launch), the new program allows consumers to make purchases between $199 and $10,000, with the first payment due one month after the purchase is made. Customers will then make monthly payments until the purchase price and interest are fully paid off.
To use the service, online shoppers will be presented with the option to “Pay Monthly” at checkout. After clicking through, they will then fill out an application. If approved, they’ll be shown up to three different plans of varying lengths to choose from, each with risk-based APR ranging from 0% to 29.99%. PayPal says the APR is based on consumer credit eligibility and notes its lender for the service is WebBank.
Customers will compare the various options presented to them and pick the plan that makes the most sense for their budget. They can opt to use either a debit card or bank account for repayment and track the payments through the PayPal app and website. Like PayPal’s “Pay in 4” program, there are no late fees. But while “Pay in 4” splits purchases into four payments, as its name implies, the “Pay Monthly” service might offer a shopper the option to pay back the purchase over a six-month, 12-month or 24-month period.
PayPal says its decision to expand its lineup of buy now, pay later — or BNPL — products follows research that indicated U.S. online shoppers have wanted more flexibility in paying for larger purchases. It cited a recent study from Morning Consult that found that 65% of Americans were currently saving up for a bigger purchase and 79% were looking to create and maintain a budget. This created demand for a better way to break down items into more manageable payments, PayPal notes.
“How consumers look to pay for larger purchases is evolving and there is a growing demand for flexible payment options with 22 million PayPal customers using our pay later offering this past year,” said Greg Lisiewski, vice president of Global Pay Later Products at PayPal, in a statement. “Pay Monthly builds on our commitment to deliver leading payment solutions that offer customers choice to ensure checkout matches their needs and budgeting preferences,” he added.
PayPal today has a growing stake in the BNPL market, despite competition from firms like Affirm, Klarna, Afterpay (acquired by Block), Zip and Sezzle (which merged earlier this year) and others. In part, that’s because it’s not a newcomer to the space — when PayPal introduced “Pay in 4” in August 2020, it already had other Pay Later solutions available, including PayPal Credit’s revolving credit line and Easy Payments. It also has a wide customer base to market to and millions of merchants who have already added PayPal to their websites and apps, which eases customer acquisition costs that other startups face.
This has helped the company establish its BNPL footprint. Since the first quarter of 2020, PayPal has processed over $15 billion in global BNPL Total Payment Volume (TPV) and over 105 million global BNPL transactions. Since Q4 2020, it has seen over 50 million BNPL loans and $6.5 billion in TPV.
However, the race is not won, as the BNPL market continues to evolve. Some BNPL providers are rolling out more traditional payment options while digital wallets, like PayPal, have simultaneously been expanding into installments. Now entering this market is Apple — a digital wallet and PayPal rival — which adding its own “pay later” option integrated with a payment service that’s also used by millions. At the same time, BNPL startups are attracting the attention of regulators who are concerned about the amount of debt consumers can rack up without realizing it by taking advantage of the pay later options without a full understanding of the costs and fees associated with that choice.
PayPal says the new “Pay Monthly” option will become automatically available for merchants at no additional cost or risk and doesn’t require complex integration to be added as a payment option. Merchants will also be able to add their own dynamic messaging when they present the relevant Pay Later options to customers as they push them toward a purchase.
The service will be available to customers starting today and will roll out to all U.S. customers over the next few weeks. It will be offered at millions of PayPal retailers, including Outdoorsy, Samsonite, Fossil, Advance Auto and others.