2022 Buy Now Pay Later Study

Executive summary:

The “buy now, pay later” product was made more popular during the COVID-19 pandemic which sent virtually all employees, students, and shoppers home for public safety.  The structure of this product allowed shoppers to pay less now without having to pay interest for the remainder of the payments.  Consumers received the products immediately without paying for the item(s) in full.  It was an attractive option at the internet checkout, and had the potential to impact consumers to accumulate short-term debt.

This paper explores the history of “buy now, pay later” and the impacts and allure of this product for Gen Z and millennials.  An analysis of the various concerns by regulators including accumulation of consumer debt, inadequate or insufficient disclosures, targeting customers, antitrust and consumer privacy is discussed.  The paper also explores the impact on state laws and Hawaiʻi law to protect unsuspecting consumers from the accumulation of debt.

Read more: 2022 BNPL Research Memo F