Amazon wants you to buy, buy, buy, so it’s making it easier for you to do that. The company has rolled out a buy-now-pay-later option at checkout for select customers in the U.S. and plans to expand access to this payment method in the coming months.
Amazon is joining forces with payment network Affirm to allow customers to split the total cost of purchases above $50 into monthly payments. In a press release on Friday, Affirm said “approved” customers will be shown the total amount they’re agreeing to pay at checkout and will not be charged any late or hidden fees. Affirm told CNBC that some of Amazon purchases it finances will come with interest, while others will have a 0% annual percentage rate.
“By partnering with Amazon we’re bringing the transparency, predictability and affordability that Affirm provides today to the millions of people who shop on Amazon.com in the U.S.,” Eric Morse, Affirm’s senior vice president of sales, said in a statement. “Offering Affirm’s alternative to credit cards also delivers more of the payment choice and flexibility consumers on Amazon want.”
If this sounds a bit familiar to you, it’s because online buy-now-pay-later options are all the rage. In early August, Square announced its intent to purchase Afterpay, an Australian payment by installments platform, for $29 billion. PayPal offers its own “Pay in 4” option, which breaks up payments into four interest-free payments. Apple’s also reportedly looking to get into the game with an “Apple Pay Later” service. The list goes on.
I’m no stranger to buy-now-pay-later options, although I haven’t used any of the ones making headlines. I’ve bought phones and computers that way. However, the rise of all of these payment options makes me worry. It’s easy to say you’ll pay later after making a bunch of purchases, but once the day to pay comes around, the full weight of those purchases becomes a reality. For some, the burden might be heavier than they imagined.