- Warning: Late repayments can cause you serious money problems. For help, contact the MoneyHelper.
Buy now pay later (BNPL) services allow shoppers to buy now and pay off the total later. In the last year these services have expanded greatly into the UK and customers are now in the potentially enviable situation of having many options when it comes to choosing a payment service that best suits their financial needs.
With so many BNPL options now available in the UK, you may be wondering what the differences between them are and which one is right for you. That’s where we come in!
We’ve compared some of the most popular payment services to help you make the best decision for your online shopping future.
Popular payment service Klarna offers shoppers three ways to buy now and pay later:
- Pay in 30 days. Receive an invoice for your full order total with up to 30 days to pay the full amount.
- Financing. Split your payments into monthly instalments that you pay over time. (Requires a full credit check and charges interest of up to 18.9% APR.)
- Pay in 3 instalments. Spread the cost of your purchase equally over 3 months with no interest. Payments are due at the time of ordering and then 30 and 60 days later.
Aussie payment service Openpay now offers UK customers a smarter way to pay for their online shopping.
Openpay lets customers get approved for the service in just 90 seconds and then choose their own payment plan. The service takes automatic payments from payment methods each month to avoid missed payments and charges no interest.
- You choose the plan. At the point of purchase, Openpay will give you several repayment schedule options to choose from.
Compare: Klarna or Openpay
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Head to head: How are the platforms performing in 2020?
How does buy now, pay later work?
This can depend on the service that you choose, but the general idea is that you shop online as you usually would and at the checkout choose a BNPL service as your payment option.
Depending on the service you choose you will then be able to select your payment terms. These vary from simply delaying the payment to splitting the payment into smaller chunks which can be paid off automatically from your bank account weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.
Do Klarna and Openpay carry out credit checks?
Klarna carries out a soft credit check and affordability assessment for its Pay in 3 and Pay in 30 days plans. These don’t show up on your credit rating and won’t be visible to other lenders. If you choose Klarna’s Financing option, this is more like a traditional credit card, so you will be subject to a full credit check, which could negatively impact your credit rating.
When you sign up for an account with Openpay, it might carry out a credit check to decide whether or not you’re eligible for a payment plan. Openpay will always ask for your permission before a credit check is carried out.
What if I’m late making a payment?
With Klarna’s ‘Pay Later’ plans, all instalments are interest-free and you will never be charged a late fee, even if you miss a payment. If you’ve chosen the Pay in 3 credit option and find that you can’t make your first payment, Klarna will get in touch and then try 2 more times to take the money. If you still can’t pay, it will roll over into your next instalment. Again, you’ll be informed if the next payment fails, giving you time to add money to your account. After 2 more attempts, Klarna will then roll the payment over into your third and final instalment. If you still can’t pay, Klarna will contact you to see if you can use another payment method or refer you to a debt collection agency.
For Klarna’s Pay in 30 days service, if the debt remains unpaid after several months, the account will be classed as in arrears and then passed to a debt collection agency.
If you fail to pay an instalment due under any Openpay plan, the company will charge you a late payment fee of up to £7.50 if the instalment remains unpaid 2 days after it is due. A second late payment fee of £7.50 will be charged if the instalment is still unpaid 10 days after it was originally due. Openpay caps its late payment fees at a total of £15. If you do end up in default on your plan, Openpay may engage a debt collector to recover the amount you owe.
Which service is more popular?
The graph below shows Google Trends data for search interest of both Klarna and Openpay from July 2020 compared to the previous year.
Our verdict: Klarna or Openpay?
Choosing between Klarna and Openpay comes down to the payment plan that works best for you. If you want a platform that allows you to “try before you buy”, Klarna’s Pay in 30 solution is probably your best bet.
If you’d prefer to pay for your goods in monthly instalments, then Openpay is a good option. You usually paying 25% of the value of your goods as your first instalment and then the rest over a period of between 2-9 months. The length of your payment plan will vary by retailer.
When it comes to your choice of retailer, Klarna trumps Openpay with a huge range of shops to choose from. It’s also worth bearing in mind that Openpay will charge late fees if you fail to pay on time.
Whichever option you choose it’s vital that you only sign up for BNPL services if you’re sure you can repay the money you borrow, and definitely after you’ve read the terms and conditions.
Why use a buy now pay later service?
There are several reasons why someone might benefit from using a BNPL service. Using these payment services can help consumers manage large, expensive purchases, such as home goods, by allowing the amount to be split across multiple months. Splitting these payments allows consumers to spread the cost over multiple paydays without the added cost of the interest that would apply to typical longer-term payment options.
Using a BNPL service is also a useful option if you need to order 1 item in several sizes. This allows consumers to try the clothes on, return the items that aren’t the right size and only pay for what they keep, therefore eliminating the confusing process of returns and refunds.
As you can see from Finder research conducted in July 2020, there are many reasons why shoppers choose to pay later. The graph below details this in full.
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