The fascinating and strange world of BNPL

31 MARCH 2021

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The world of BNPL, or Buy Now Pay Later is both fascinating and strange. Fascinating, because it is suddenly enjoying explosive growth in English-speaking countries like the US, UK and Australia, among others – and strange because this form of commerce has been commonplace in Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and still other countries for several decades.

 

The exceptionally high levels of inflation that Brazil and Turkey experienced in past decades may go some way to explain why they embraced BNPL ahead of the Anglo-Saxon nations. The popularity of revolving credit cards in the US, UK and Australia was almost certainly another major factor. Perhaps the US banks were so preoccupied with “Made in America” credit cards that it never occurred to them to look elsewhere for high-margin consumer lending products?