Buy Now, Pay Later Has a Story to Tell

It’s a warning about the economy

Andy Spears


Photo by Tech Daily on Unsplash

We’ve got a problem.

I’ve been writing about it for a bit.

The reality of buy now, pay later is that it is masking income inequality.

It’s masking the makings of a great recession … or, a depression.

Everything is ok — because I can “pay in four.” I can manage this for “right now.”

A story out of LendingTree reveals the stark reality:

Buy Now, Pay Later services were originally intended to be a form of short-term financing, to spread payments out for different types of purchases across a relatively short period of time. But new evidence suggests that more consumers are using BNPL as “lifelines” that help them get by until they receive their next paycheck. A new report from LendingTree reveals that 27% of consumers are using BNPL services as bridge loans to help them make ends meet. More than one-fifth of consumers, for example, have used BNPL services to pay for groceries, according to the results of the survey.


Nearly 1/3 of consumers are using BNPL as a “lifeline.”

Nevermind wage stagnation.

Or “inflation” that is really rising corporate profits.

As long as some investment banker funded app — or, apps — is making money, it’s all good, right?

The system is working.

Exactly the way it is designed.



Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .