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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 prospects to entry BNPL credit score simply in comparison with bank cards or private loans. Sadly, this straightforward credit score can come at excessive prices and dangers for patrons. This put up summarises how BNPL lending capabilities and highlights buyer safety issues 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 (Dwell Mint, 2022). It holds the promise of bringing thin-filed prospects within the fold of formal credit score (Mukherjee, 2021). Nevertheless, its advertising as a deferred funds product, the paradox round its implications for patrons’ credit score scores, and the shortage of transparency about prices to the client elevate essential buyer safety issues (Monetary Conduct Authority, 2021).

This put up first explores the back-end technique of BNPL lending. It then unpacks the BNPL income mannequin, detailing varied prices for retailers, regulated entities (REs), and prospects, and concludes with a dialogue on rising issues 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 prospects 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 (normally with out curiosity) or by way of equated month-to-month instalments (EMIs) (which can carry curiosity). The credit score restrict and the reimbursement tenure differ throughout BNPL suppliers (Bhargav, Shetty, & Nayar, n.d.; Narayanan, 2022; Khatri, 2020).  

The worth chain of BNPL sometimes includes 4 gamers (Determine 1):

  1. RBI-regulated entities (REs)

    like banks and NBFCs that supply credit score strains to prospects immediately or by way of mortgage service suppliers (LSPs).[2]

  2. Unregulated LSPs

    like BNPL cell utility suppliers that companion with REs and supply prospects a front-end for accessing credit score. 

  3. Retailers

    that present items and companies.

  4. Prospects

    who borrow BNPL credit score (Saxena, 2021; Iyer, 2021).

Determine 1: How BNPL lending works

BNPL lending is obtainable by way of two main channels –

  1. Cell utility or web-based lending

    : On this channel, credit score is normally supplied by way of cell functions and web sites of BNPL suppliers. These suppliers are additionally embedded in net and cell functions of retailers say e-commerce, trip hailing and many others. Suppliers equivalent to PayTM Postpaid, Simpl and ZestMoney make use of this channel.

  2. Card

    -based lending: On this channel, prospects entry BNPL credit score by way of a pay as you go card backed by a credit score line from an RE. Suppliers equivalent to Slice, Uni and Dhani provide this product (Bose, 2022; Manikandan, 2022).

What’s the BNPL lending enterprise mannequin?

The most important 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 share of their transaction quantity with prospects as charges. These transaction charges are among the many predominant sources of income for BNPL suppliers (Khatri, 2020; Kumar N. , 2021).

  3. Costs on prospects:

    The costs that prospects could pay the BNPL supplier may be broadly divided into –

    • Costs on the time of availing the mortgage,

      which embrace subscription charges, activation charges, digital clearing service (ECS) mandate costs, and BNPL card-related costs. As an illustration, some suppliers cost subscription charges that offers prospects 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 supply card primarily based BNPL credit score cost prospects for quite a lot of companies, together with card alternative, money withdrawal, and cost slip retrieval (Slice, 2021). Suppliers might also cost curiosity and processing charges if prospects go for an extended reimbursement tenure by way of EMI (Amazon Pay Later, n.d.).

    • Publish-default costs,

      which embrace late charges, prepayment costs, ECS bounce penalties, and curiosity. Late charges are levied when prospects don’t make well timed repayments (Dubey, 2021; Kumar N. , 2021). The quantum can differ throughout suppliers primarily based on the quantity due from the client. Suppliers might also cost curiosity on the late charges for daily of default (Makwana, 2021). Some suppliers levy prepayment costs if prospects pay their dues earlier than the scheduled interval (Kaushal, 2022). Suppliers also can 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 could possibly impose totally different sorts of prices on prospects.

What are the issues arising for buyer safety?

Regardless of its potential to extend entry to credit score, BNPL lending can pose urgent issues for buyer safety. On this part we lay out a few of these issues rising from the usage of BNPL merchandise. A few of these issues might not be distinctive to BNPL lending. Nevertheless, they’re amplified by the handy and hassle-free processes of accessing credit score which are embedded within the buy of the product. These processes can typically make prospects 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 principally embedded as a cost choice, which may be deceptive. The debt obligations of consumers, that come from utilizing BNPL credit score, are normally detailed in prolonged and complex disclosures. Prospects are prone to ignore these disclosures or low cost their obligations to acquire credit score rapidly (Busara Middle for Behavioral Economics, 2021). Experiences from extra mature BNPL markets, like the UK, counsel that prospects are sometimes unaware that they’re buying credit score that have to 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 prospects’ title with out the purchasers’ data (Ramanathan & Kalyanaraman, 2022). There are additionally issues of aggressive debt assortment practices by brokers towards prospects (Pinapala, 2021). Insights from complaints on Twitter towards three BNPL suppliers[3] indicated that prospects who’re overdue for small quantities for a brief time frame, and even prospects who’ve repaid dues, typically face points from assortment brokers.

  2. Heightened danger of unsuitable debt attributable to misconduct:

    As mentioned above, the credit-like options of BNPL – curiosity on late funds, obligations to repay – will not be sufficiently emphasised on the time of providing the product to the client. That is identified to affect prospects to borrow greater than they’ll afford (Busara Middle 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). As an illustration, buyer experiences in the UK counsel that greater than 40% of BNPL prospects struggled with repayments. In Germany, BNPL prospects typically 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 sometimes not clear upfront. As an illustration, 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 measurement.

  4. Knowledge safety issues:

    Like different digital monetary service suppliers, BNPL suppliers course of in depth quantities of non-public information collected immediately from the client (Financial institution Bazaar, n.d.). Different kinds of information are not directly accessed by way of third events for making danger assessments, together with credit score info, prospects’ transaction historical past, social media information, and academic {qualifications} (Kaushal & Adhikari, 2022). Consequently, this may make prospects weak to quite a lot of information safety dangers. Whereas these dangers will not be 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 expertise to determine dangerous debtors. These algorithms and analytics parse by way of 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 prospects being unaware of how utilizing BNPL lending can have an effect on their credit score scores. In lots of instances, prospects could not know they’re buying a credit score product after they use BNPL lending. This might robotically masks the likelihood that BNPL lending can have an effect on prospects’ credit score scores. On the similar time, it’s unclear if BNPL suppliers report prospects’ BNPL lending transactions to credit score bureaus. Our overview of the phrases and circumstances of ten distinguished BNPL suppliers in India suggests that the majority of them accumulate credit score info.[4] Nevertheless, they don’t make clear if in addition they report back to the credit score bureaus. There may be combined proof that utilizing BNPL lending, or of defaulting on repayments, can have an effect on credit score scores (Kumar N. , 2021).

    • Adversarial impact on potential prospects’ credit score scores.

      Prospects could typically not realise that BNPL suppliers can question bureausfor their credit score info. This will trigger prospects’ 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 prospects, particularly when info disclosures don’t conspicuously point out querying their credit score bureau data, and that it might not be instantly obvious to prospects {that a} question of their data might adversely have an effect on their credit score rating.

    • The shortage 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 present, BNPL suppliers report the general credit score quantity supplied to a buyer by way of 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). Nevertheless, credit score bureaus have began creating requirements for reporting BNPL transactions (Carrns, 2022), which might assist make credit score reporting processes extra correct.     

  6. Insufficient grievance redress:

    Our overview of the phrases and circumstances of ten distinguished BNPL suppliers means that grievance redress insurance policies may be troublesome for patrons to search out. The insurance policies are normally embedded deep inside web sites or inside wonderful textual content. This places the onus of discovering and understanding a BNPL supplier’s redress coverage on the client. Some suppliers direct prospects to contact the RE that financed the BNPL credit score. Nevertheless, prospects could face sharp info asymmetries in understanding such a route. Prospects could hardly ever perceive if they’re partaking with an LSP or with an RE, which makes it troublesome to method the proper discussion board for redress (Chivukula, 2021). Additional, the phrases & circumstances could not at all times explicitly point out the BNPL supplier’s partnership with an RE. This problem might foreclose redress totally for patrons. Prospects might also 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. Nevertheless, BNPL lending must be introduced below the fold of buyer safety frameworks for this entry to understand 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 priceless contributions within the preliminary phases of this text.

[2] Lending Service Suppliers (LSPs) are unregulated entities within the monetary sector which companion with REs to supply totally different companies together with buyer acquisition, underwriting help, pricing help, disbursement, servicing, monitoring, assortment, liquidation of particular mortgage or mortgage portfolio for compensation from the steadiness sheet lender. See Reserve Financial institution of India, Report of the Working Group on Digital Lending together with Lending by way of On-line Platforms and Cell Apps, 2021.

[3] In March 2022, Dvara Analysis analysed complaints made by prospects 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 costs 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 prospects. Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) algorithm was used to reach on the seven classes of buyer complaints.

[4] The ten BNPL suppliers whose phrases and circumstances 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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