Tight budget? Walmart has a new 'buy now, pay later' self-check-out option.
This is going to change how a lot of people shop.
Americans have suffered from rising rents, mortgages and grocery bills over the past few years and now 60% live paycheck to paycheck. Even people in higher income brackets are feeling the pinch, with over half of Americans earning over $100,000 having little to no money left after expenses.
To help Americans spread out their expenses and get a little financial breathing room, Walmart is now offering buy now, pay later loans through Affirm for the first time at self-checkout kiosks at more than 4,500 locations.
"Eligible shoppers can easily pay over time for their favorite electronics, apparel, toys, and more in simple monthly payments when checking themselves out in-store," Affirm said in a news release.
Now, shoppers who spend more than $144 at Walmart, excluding groceries, can spread their payments over 3 to 24 months. Loans are capped at $4,000.
The process is pretty simple. Customers can enter items at the self-checkout kiosk and then when finished, log on to the Affirm website and enter the last 4 digits of their social security number. Once the customer has input their information and they are approved, they will receive a barcode to complete the payment.
The payment option will also be available in Walmart Vision and Auto Centers. So, if you get a flat tire or break your glasses, you can get them fixed even if you’re strapped for cash.
Affirm says that this new financial option is something that customers have wanted for a while.
“Recent Affirm research revealed that more than half of Americans (54%) are looking for retailers to offer a buy now, pay later option at checkout. Moreover, we’ve found that 76% of consumers would either delay or not make a purchase without Affirm,” Pat Suh, Affirm’s SVP of Revenue, said in a statement. “Expanding our partnership with Walmart and bringing Affirm’s transparent monthly pay-over-time options to their self-checkout kiosks in the U.S. will help even more consumers increase their purchasing power during the holiday shopping season and beyond.”
Buy now, pay later apps such as Affirm, Klarna and Afterpay have surged in popularity recently as Americans are looking for more options to stretch their spending and credit card debt has reached an all-time high. The $309 billion industry is expected to grow by more than 25% by 2026.
“The consumer is incredibly adept at finding ways to stretch their spending and, healthily or not, BNPL has certainly provided that outlet,” Simeon Siegel, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets, told The Washington Post. “It’s not the only way, but I think it has been the easiest way in recent years.”
Even though it’s great for people to have more options to pay for their essentials, some economists worry that buy now, pay later loans will make the average American’s debt problems even worse. “[Buy now, pay later loans] could lead to an increase in consumer debt, as consumers may be more likely to take on additional debt if they know they can spread out the payments,” Tim Quinlan, senior economist at Wells Fargo, told CNBC. “You can bury yourself in low monthly payments.”
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