Get a Loan from Microsoft Edge?
Is a buy now, pay later loan from your browser a good idea?
This story notes that Microsoft is getting into the buy now, pay later loan business by way of its Edge browser:
Microsoft is always trying new stuff with its Edge browser, and its latest move is rather interesting. Rather than going through a retailer, Edge will offer a buy now, pay later (BNPL) option on the browser level.
“Usually, BNPL is offered in specific eCommerce websites like Target, Walmart. But now, Microsoft partners with 3rd party Zip (previously Quadpay) to offer a BNPL payment option at [the] browser level,” explains Microsoft’s Mei Hua in an announcement post spotted by Thurrott.com. “It means any purchase between $35 — $1,000 you make through Microsoft Edge can be split into 4 installments over 6 weeks.”
Besides clogging up your browser in an attempt to make even MORE money for Microsoft, the move begs the question: Is buy now, pay later really a good idea?
The short answer: Maybe.
Consumer advocates say buy now, pay later products can be helpful, but there are some areas of concern.
Lauren Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC) says of these products:
“Buy-now-pay-later products, if affordable and truly free to the consumer, may help consumers manage larger purchases without the long-term debt and high costs of credit cards. But some BNPL products may have deceptive and abusive profit models built on the expectation of late fees from struggling consumers.
And, these products can ultimately hurt a consumer’s credit score, possibly leading to a weakened ability to access more traditional credit.
“While the record of on-time payments can boost your credit, you could see a blow to your score from using the [BNPL] service,” says Leslie Tayne, founder and managing director at Tayne Law Group. “Every purchase you make with a POS loan is considered a separate account on your credit report that gets closed once you pay off the balance. Since these loans are short-term (generally six weeks), they can bring down the average age of your credit history considerably — especially if you’re a regular borrower.”