What is BNPL (buy now pay later)?

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Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) is a payment solution that enables consumers to buy goods or services immediately and pay for them in instalments, with no or reduced fees. As a result, this payment method has become very popular in recent years.
BNPL is a payment solution that can simplify your life. Find out in this article how to use it to your advantage.

What you need to know about BNPL

Who is it for?

Buy Now, Pay Later is aimed at both consumers (B2C) and businesses (B2B).

It allows consumers to buy goods or services online with fractional payment. This can be particularly useful for consumers on a tight budget or who wish to avoid using their credit card.

It enables companies to offer flexible payments to their customers, which can improve cash flow and increase sales. Practical for companies selling goods or services to businesses with longer payment cycles. They can therefore spread out payment and improve cash management.

This financing solution is a fast-growing market, and is likely to continue to expand in the years to come. BNPL technology is constantly evolving, and providers (usually FinTechs) are offering more and more features and flexible payment options.



BNPL offers many advantages to consumers, including:

  • Greater flexibility: consumers can spread the payment of a purchase over several months, which can be useful for large or unexpected purchases.
  • Better budget management: it can also help consumers to better manage their budget by spreading the cost of a purchase over several months.
  • A smoother shopping experience : BNPL enables consumers to finalize a purchase in just a few clicks, without having to fill in forms or provide personal information.


BNPL also has a number of disadvantages:

  • A risk of indebtedness: make sure you'll be able to repay the instalments.
  • Hidden fees : some BNPL providers charge hidden fees, such as late fees or handling fees... which can quickly add to the bill.

In conclusion, BNPL is a payment solution that can be very interesting for consumers, but it's important to fully understand its advantages and disadvantages before using it. This type of financing will be offered to you when you finalize your order and proceed to payment.

How does buy now pay later work?

The different types of BNPL

There are different types of BNPL, distinguished by the number of monthly instalments, the fees applied and the underwriting conditions.

  • 4x Payment in 4 instalments is the most common type of BNPL. It allows you to pay for a purchase in four equal monthly installments, with no or reduced fees.
  • You can also pay for a purchase in 3 equal monthly instalments, with no or reduced fees.
  • More flexibility? Opt for payment in 2 instalments.

BNPL fees therefore vary according to the type of BNPL and the provider. Some providers charge no fees at all, while others charge fixed or variable fees, such as late fees or usage charges.

The conditions for subscribing to BNPL also vary depending on the provider. As a result, some providers impose no underwriting conditions, while others require consumers to have a good credit rating or provide proof of income.

It's important to compare the different types of BNPL available before choosing a solution.

The underwriting process

The BNPL subscription process is generally quick and easy. It generally takes place in three stages:

  1. The consumer creates an account on the BNPL provider's website or application.
  2. The consumer provides personal and financial information, such as name, address, phone number, email, income and credit rating.
  3. BNPL's service provider evaluates the application and makes a decision.

Furthermore, the subscription process may vary depending on the BNPL provider. Some providers may request additional information, such as proof of income or proof of identity.

Here are a few tips to make the BNPL subscription process easier:

  • Make sure you have all the necessary information before you start the subscription process.
  • Please fill in the required information carefully.
  • Please be patient. The underwriting process may take a few minutes or a few hours.

By following these tips, you can make the BNPL underwriting process easier and get a decision quickly.

Terms of payment

BNPL payment terms vary depending on the type of BNPL and the provider.

Consumers are generally required to make an initial payment at the time of purchase, followed by monthly installments until the debt is repaid.

The amount of the first and subsequent monthly payments is determined by the purchase amount, the type of BNPL and the provider.

Some providers offer more flexible payment options, such as the possibility of paying the entire debt in one lump sum, or changing the payment due dates.

It is important to understand the payment terms before choosing your fractional payment solution.

Here are the elements to consider when comparing the payment terms of the different solutions:

  • the amount of the first payment.
  • the amount of monthly payments.
  • the repayment period.
  • applied fees.

By following these tips, you can choose a solution that suits your needs and budget.

BNPL's service providers

Presentation of BNPL's main service providers

This is a fast-growing market, and there are many players in it. The main players in the BNPL market can be divided into three categories:

  • The historic players in consumer credit, such as Cetelem, Cofidis, Oney Bank and others. These players were the first to offer BNPL solutions, and they continue to dominate the market.
  • Traditional banking players, such as BNP Paribas, Société Générale, Crédit Agricole and others. These players have integrated BNPL components into their service offerings, in order to offer their customers a more complete package.
  • Pure player fintechs, such as Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay and others. These players specialize in fractional payments, and offer innovative solutions tailored to consumer needs.

Here are a few examples of the main market players:

  • In Europe: Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay, Clearpay, Alma, Scalapay, Qashflo, etc.
  • In the U.S.: Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna, PayPal Pay In 4, Sezzle, Zip, etc.
  • In Asia: Alipay, Tencent, Paytm, KakaoPay, GrabPay, etc.

The fractional payment market is growing fast. It is therefore likely that new players will emerge in the coming years, or that others will disappear just as quickly.

Compare BNPL offers

BNPL type4 times3, 4 or 6 times4 times4 times3 or 4 times3 or 4 times
Late fees0%0%0%0%2,99%2,99%
Credit rating check🔴🟢🔴🔴🔴🔴
Terms of payment4 equal monthly instalments3, 4 or 6 equal monthly instalments4 equal monthly instalments4 equal monthly instalments4 equal monthly instalments3 or 4 equal monthly instalments
Minimum amount30 €50 €30 €30 €30 €30 €
Maximum amount3 000 €10 000 €2 000 €2 000 €2 000 €2 000 €
Online and in-store

Recommendations for choosing a buy now pay later provider

Choosing a BNPL provider is important, as it can have an impact on your budget and your payment experience. To that end, here are a few recommendations to help you choose the BNPL provider best suited to your needs:

  • Compare fees and repayment terms. BNPL's fees can vary from one provider to another. So it's important to compare first-payment fees, monthly installment fees and late fees before choosing a provider.
  • Check payment terms. Payment terms can also vary from one provider to another. It's important to check the number of monthly instalments, the repayment period and the possibility of changing instalment due dates before choosing a provider.
  • Read customer reviews. Customer reviews can give you an idea of other users' experience with a BNPL provider. So it's important to read customer reviews before choosing a provider.

Here are some specific questions you can ask yourself to evaluate the different providers:

  • What are the first-payment fees?
  • What are the monthly payment charges?
  • What are the late fees?
  • How many monthly payments are available?
  • What is the repayment period?
  • Can I change the payment due dates?
  • What are the subscription conditions?
  • Is it possible to pay the entire debt at once?

By answering these questions, you'll be able to identify the service provider that best meets your needs and budget.