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Buy now, pay later is an alluring option for consumers, perhaps even more so in a recession. But with rising debt and inflation, perhaps the focus should be on companies that help protect borrowers from digging themselves into a hole. — Anna

The enduring appeal of buy now, pay later

I thought that tougher economic times would create immediate headwinds for the buy now, pay later trend. I was wrong.

“BNPL is a form of credit that allows a consumer to split a retail transaction into smaller, interest-free installments and repay over time,” and it is “in the midst of rapid growth,” a September Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report stated.

More recently, the Financial Times reported that “demand for BNPL boomed during the pandemic and has continued to grow, according to data from U.K. open banking fintech Snoop.”

This isn’t just a Gen Z trend, the FT added: Demand “has surged among all age groups in the U.K., including older people, who find themselves squeezed by the cost of living crisis and in need of short-term credit.”

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