Who is Using Buy Now, Pay Later?

A fragile (and growing) audience

Andy Spears
3 min readMay 23, 2024
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Buy Now, Pay Later (Affirm, Klarna, Sezzle, etc.) is growing rapidly.

I’ve written about how the short-term, installment loans are being used for nearly everything — even groceries.

The concept is simple: You put 25% down on your purchase and get your item(s). You then agree to pay the balance in three additional installments, usually 2 weeks apart. At the end of six weeks, if you’ve made all the payments as planned, it’s all good. You’ve paid no interest or fees and you got the stuff you needed/wanted when you wanted.

Unfortunately, Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) comes with risks. Since there’s usually no credit pull, you can have multiple loans out at any one time.

This can create a complicated financial management situation. The payments are auto-debited from a bank account. But if you have multiple BNPL loans open, you may be making payments weekly, and you may lose track of when you owe what amount.



Andy Spears

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