In recent years, the financial landscape in Singapore has witnessed a significant transformation with the emergence of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) apps. These innovative platforms have gained immense popularity among consumers looking for convenient and flexible payment options. In this article, we will delve into the world of BNPL apps, explore their rising trend in Singapore, and compare some of the leading options available in 2023.
What are BNPL apps?
Buy Now Pay Later apps, often abbreviated as BNPL, are financial tools that allow consumers to make purchases and defer payment for a later date. This concept disrupts the traditional payment model by offering an interest-free or low-interest alternative to credit cards. BNPL apps typically divide the total purchase amount into smaller, manageable instalments, making it easier for consumers to budget their expenses.
Rising trend of BNPL apps in Singapore
The rise of BNPL apps in Singapore can be attributed to several factors. First and foremost is the desire for financial flexibility. Consumers are increasingly looking for alternatives to traditional credit cards, which may come with high-interest rates and stringent approval processes. BNPL apps offer an attractive solution by allowing users to split payments over several weeks or months without incurring excessive interest charges.
Additionally, BNPL apps align with the changing consumer behaviour driven by the convenience of e-commerce. As more people turn to online shopping, the ability to pay later for their purchases becomes highly appealing. It encourages spending and reduces cart abandonment rates, benefiting consumers and retailers.
How Does BNPL Work?
Before we delve into comparing specific BNPL apps in Singapore, it’s essential to understand the basic workings of this payment method. Here’s a simplified explanation of how BNPL typically functions:
Select BNPL at Checkout: Customers can choose the BNPL option at the checkout stage when shopping online or in participating stores.
Approval and Payment Plan: The BNPL provider assesses the customer’s creditworthiness, often in real-time. If approved, the total purchase amount is divided into equal instalments.
Initial Payment: Customers make an initial payment, often a fraction of the total amount, at the time of purchase.
Recurring Payments: The remaining balance is split into equal payments over a specified period, usually weekly or monthly. These payments are automatically deducted from the customer’s linked payment method, such as a bank account or credit card.
Interest and Fees: Depending on the BNPL app and the agreement terms, no interest charges or minimal interest may be applied to the remaining instalments.
Buy now, pay later apps and platforms in Singapore
Now, let’s delve deeper into the prominent Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) apps and platforms available in Singapore in 2023. Each of these platforms offers unique features and benefits to cater to the diverse needs of consumers.
Atome is one of the leading BNPL platforms in Singapore. It offers a straightforward and user-friendly experience for shoppers. Atome allows users to purchase with partner merchants and split their payments into three equal parts over three months. The app is known for its wide range of partner stores, making it convenient for users to find products they love.
Pace is another player in the BNPL space in Singapore. It stands out for its zero-interest instalment plans. Customers can enjoy the flexibility of spreading their payments over a specified period without incurring additional charges. Pace has partnered with numerous online and offline retailers, making it a versatile choice for consumers.
ShopBack PayLater is a BNPL solution offered by ShopBack, a popular cashback and rewards platform. With PayLater, users can shop at partner stores and choose from various instalment options. One of the unique features of this app is the cashback rewards users can earn while using the service, providing additional savings.
Grab, the well-known ride-hailing and super-app platform also offers its BNPL service called Grab PayLater. Users can use this feature for various services within the Grab ecosystem, including ride-hailing, food delivery, and more. The repayment terms are flexible, making it a convenient choice for Grab users.
Latitude Pay is an international BNPL provider that has entered Singapore. It offers a simple and transparent payment system, with payments spread over ten weeks. Latitude Pay aims to give consumers a more flexible alternative to credit cards, emphasising financial responsibility.
PaySlowSlow is a Singapore-based BNPL app known for its focus on giving users complete control over their payments. It allows customers to customise payment schedules according to their preferences, ensuring a personalised and convenient experience.
|BNPL App||Interest Rate||Payment Period||Maximum Limit||Accessibility|
|Atome||Varies||Up to 3 months||$1,500||Online and In-Store|
|Pace||Varies||Up to 6 months||$1,000||Online and In-Store|
|0%||Up to 3 months||$800||Online and In-Store|
|Grab PayLater||0%||Up to 3 months||$1,000||Online and In-Store|
|Latitude Pay||Varies||Up to 3 months||$2,000||Online and In-Store|
|PaySlowSlow||Varies||Up to 3 months||$2,000||Online and In-Store|
Pros and Cons of BNPL apps?
Now that we have explored some of the popular BNPL apps in Singapore, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of using these platforms:
BNPL apps offer consumers the flexibility to split payments, making it easier to manage their budgets.
Many BNPL providers offer interest-free instalment plans, reducing the overall cost of purchases.
The ease of use and accessibility of BNPL apps make them a convenient payment method for online and offline shopping.
No Credit Check
Some BNPL apps do not perform a traditional credit check, making them accessible to a broader range of consumers.
Missing or making late payments can result in fees and penalties.
The ease of BNPL can lead to impulse buying and overspending if not used responsibly.
Limited to Partner Merchants
BNPL apps can only be used with partner merchants, limiting the choices available to consumers.
Impact on Credit Score
While some BNPL apps don’t affect credit scores, others may report late payments, potentially impacting creditworthiness.
When appropriate to Use Buy Now Pay Later vs When is better to get a personal loan
BNPL apps offer flexible payment options for various situations, but better choices may exist. Here are some scenarios where BNPL may be appropriate and when it’s best to consider a personal loan:
Need longer repayment period
BNPL: If you need a short-term solution to spread payments for a few weeks or months, BNPL is suitable.
Personal Loan: A personal loan with fixed monthly instalments may be a better choice for extended repayment periods.
Need cash for other purposes than for buying small retail items or services
BNPL: BNPL apps are primarily designed for retail purchases. They may not be ideal if you need cash for purposes like consolidating debts or home renovations.
Personal Loan: Personal loans offer flexibility in how you can use the funds, making them suitable for various financial needs.
Need a higher or bigger amount/quantum of loan
BNPL: BNPL apps typically have predefined limits that may not be sufficient for significant expenses.
Personal Loan: Personal loans can provide more substantial amounts of money to cover significant expenses.
BNPL: If you want to customise your payment schedule and avoid committing to fixed monthly instalments, BNPL can offer more flexibility.
Personal Loan: Personal loans usually come with fixed repayment schedules, which may be less flexible but predictable.
In the rapidly evolving world of finance, Buy Now Pay Later apps have emerged as a compelling alternative to traditional payment methods. These apps offer convenience, flexibility, and interest-free options for consumers in Singapore. However, using them responsibly is essential to avoid late fees and potential impacts on your credit score.
When considering BNPL, assess your financial situation and needs carefully. If you require a more extended repayment period, need cash for purposes other than retail purchases, or need a more substantial loan amount, a personal loan may be a more suitable choice.
Ultimately, choosing between BNPL and a personal loan depends on your circumstances and financial goals. Whichever option you choose, always prioritise responsible financial management to maintain your financial well-being.