10 Jun 2023

What is Buy Now Pay Later - Insights, Advantages, and Challenges of PayPal's 'Pay Later' Model

In today's fast-paced e-commerce climate, businesses are continually searching for ways to enhance customer satisfaction and stimulate sales. One such method making substantial strides is the 'Buy Now Pay Later' (BNPL) model, an innovative payment mechanism allowing customers to purchase goods upfront and pay over time.

Recent data reveals that the current worldwide user base of BNPL stands at an impressive 360 million and the BNPL user base is projected to double by 2027, reaching a staggering 900 million.

The Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services sector in the United States currently boasts a market value of 70 billion USD in payment volume for the present year. Furthermore, it is projected to witness a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.5% in the forthcoming period.

The usage of BNPL services has seen a consistent surge among younger demographics between 2021 and 2022 compared to the preceding year, 2020. Notably, about 61% of individuals aged between 18 and 24 are utilizing BNPL services. This is the highest usage rate among all age groups, signifying a favorable trajectory for the BNPL market in the United States.

BNPL introduces an innovative economic model, expanding traditional credit schemes with an additional layer. Publicly-traded BNPL corporations across various global stock exchanges are experiencing a positive trend in their share prices. Primarily, BNPL provides a mechanism that allows consumers to defer their payments over a short term for purchases made at retail outlets.

One of the leading entities harnessing this trend is PayPal, a global leader in digital payment systems. Their 'Pay Later' service integrates the convenience and financial flexibility of BNPL into their robust payment platform. For merchants who offered PayPal's 'Pay in 4', a BNPL service, there was a 10% increase in customer average order value.

In this blog post, we venture into the fascinating realm of the BNPL model, spotlighting PayPal's 'Pay Later' service. We'll explore the advantages, inherent challenges, and how businesses can effectively manage potential issues associated with BNPL services.

Decoding the Buy Now, Pay Later Revolution: What is BNPL?

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is a digital financial service that enables consumers to purchase goods and services instantly but pay for them over a set period of time. Typically, these payments are divided into smaller, manageable installments, often without interest if the payments are made punctually.

This flexible payment model, a contemporary twist on traditional credit systems, is resonating with consumers globally, particularly the millennial and Gen Z demographics who are more averse to traditional credit card debt. Rather than requiring a large sum upfront, BNPL providers shoulder the cost initially, allowing consumers to repay it gradually.

This model has proven to be successful for both retailers and customers. For retailers, it often leads to increased average order values and encourages larger purchases that might not be feasible for customers to pay for all at once. For customers, it offers the opportunity to better manage their finances and make purchases without the immediate financial burden.

However, like any financial tool, BNPL services also come with risks and challenges. While it offers convenience and flexibility, it can potentially lead consumers into debt if not managed responsibly. That's why understanding the ins and outs of BNPL is essential for both businesses and consumers.

As the BNPL market continues to evolve and expand, companies like PayPal are stepping in with their own offerings like 'PayPal Pay Later', further propelling the growth and accessibility of BNPL services.

PayPal Pay Later: Transforming Payment Flexibility in E-commerce

PayPal Pay Later is a service offered by PayPal, one of the world's leading online payment systems, that embodies the Buy Now, Pay Later model. This service allows customers to make purchases immediately and pay for them over a period of time.

There are several different options within PayPal's BNPL services, including "Pay in 4" and "PayPal Credit." "Pay in 4" splits a purchase into four interest-free payments made every two weeks, while "PayPal Credit" offers a revolving line of credit with a more traditional monthly payment structure. Both options allow for immediate purchase and delayed payment.

The PayPal Pay Later service integrates seamlessly with the standard PayPal checkout process, making it a simple and convenient option for businesses and consumers alike. By offering Pay Later, businesses can attract customers who want the flexibility to pay over time, which can increase conversion rates and customer satisfaction. Customers, on the other hand, benefit from the flexibility to manage their budget more effectively.

While this is a boon to the e-commerce industry, it is essential for users to understand the terms of these services fully. PayPal does an excellent job outlining the terms and conditions, fees, and any interest that may accrue on their website and during the checkout process, which helps consumers make informed decisions.

As the BNPL industry continues to evolve, PayPal's Pay Later service is poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of digital payments, empowering consumers with more purchasing power and businesses with increased sales and customer loyalty.

How to leverage 'Buy Now, Pay Later' Model: A Guide for Merchants

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) introduces a tripartite structure to transactions. At its core, the process incorporates three main players:

  1. The Customer: Undeniably, the consumer who purchases the product is a crucial element of this equation.
  2. The BNPL Provider: This third-party entity serves as the facilitator of the transaction.
  3. The Merchant: Businesses opt for BNPL services to enhance their sales and boost the average value of their orders.

During a transaction, the merchant pays a fee to the BNPL provider. Thereafter, the provider assumes the responsibility of managing loan repayment. This model generates numerous questions about its functioning, some of which are addressed below.

Is a credit check necessary for BNPL?

Predominantly, BNPL services necessitate a credit check. This procedure helps providers ascertain that they will receive repayment. Customers provide the necessary information, and the provider executes a credit check instantly. Depending on the provider, this might be a soft credit check, which doesn't affect the customer's credit score as it isn't reported to credit bureaus. However, other BNPL services may necessitate a hard credit check, which is reported.

How much does BNPL typically cost for merchants?

The fee structure for BNPL generally involves an agreed-upon percentage of the transaction's total amount, taken out when the transaction is processed. The remaining amount is then remitted to the merchant. Various factors contribute to determining this fee, including the total volume of purchases.

When does the merchant receive payment?

One of the prime benefits of BNPL is that merchants receive payment upfront, while customers can pay over time. Generally, merchants receive their payment within a span of one to three days, mirroring the process of a credit card transaction.

What does the customer experience entail?

While it might appear that the customer journey begins with adding an item to the cart, the presence of dynamic promotional messaging showcasing BNPL options early in the buying process can significantly influence purchase decisions.

After the initiation of the checkout process, customers can select to pay with BNPL, just like any other payment method. Following this, they provide their information, select their plan, and finalize the checkout. Some BNPL options may require an initial down payment.

How is payment collected from the customer?

An added advantage of BNPL is that the provider takes on the responsibility of managing repayments, mitigating any financial risk for the merchant. Customers utilize the provider’s app or website to fulfill their payments.

What happens in case of returns?

The return process can differ based on the BNPL provider, as the loan repayment agreement involves a third-party. In some scenarios, the customer may be required to continue making payments while the return is processed. For merchants, certain BNPL providers may stipulate additional steps for returns.

Advantages of Having Buy Now, Pay Later Services into Your Business

The Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) model isn't just a win for consumers. It also offers a wealth of benefits to merchants who choose to implement it as part of their payment options. Let's delve into some of the key advantages:

  1. Increased Conversion Rates: BNPL services can help lower the barrier to purchase, leading to increased conversion rates . When customers know they can split their payment into smaller, manageable amounts, they're often more likely to complete their purchase.
  2. Higher Average Order Value (AOV): By offering BNPL options, customers may feel more comfortable making larger purchases as they can spread the cost over time. As a result, businesses can see an increase in their average order value. A study conducted by Forrester Consulting showed a 10% increase in AOV for merchants using PayPal Credit, a PayPal's BNPL service.
  3. Customer Acquisition and Retention: BNPL services can help businesses attract new customers, particularly younger consumers who prefer this payment method. These services also increase customer retention by offering a better, more flexible shopping experience that can encourage repeat purchases.
  4. Decreased Cart Abandonment: High upfront costs can often lead to cart abandonment. Offering BNPL services can mitigate this by providing customers an affordable way to make purchases without paying the entire cost upfront.
  5. Competitive Edge: With the rising popularity of BNPL services, offering them can give businesses a competitive advantage over those that don't. It signals to customers that the business is keeping up with the latest e-commerce trends and is focused on improving customer experience.
  6. Improved Cash Flow: In most cases, BNPL providers pay the merchants upfront, improving their cash flow. The provider then takes on the responsibility of collecting payments from customers.

Challenges of the Buy Now, Pay Later Model

While the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) model brings numerous benefits, it isn't without its challenges. As the industry grows, it's crucial for businesses and consumers to understand these potential pitfalls:

  1. Potential for Increased Debt: The primary concern with BNPL services is the potential to lead consumers into debt. With the ease of splitting payments, consumers might be tempted to spend beyond their means. If payments aren't managed responsibly, consumers may find themselves facing debt and late fees.
  2. Regulation and Compliance: As BNPL services have grown, they have attracted the attention of regulators. Different countries have different rules about credit services, and ensuring compliance can be complex. It's essential for businesses offering BNPL to stay updated on any regulatory changes in their operating regions.
  3. Fraud and Security Risks: Like any online transaction, BNPL transactions are at risk of fraud. This includes identity theft, where fraudsters use someone else's information to make purchases. BNPL providers and retailers must invest in robust fraud detection and prevention measures to protect their operations and customers.
  4. Customer Misunderstanding: Although many BNPL services market themselves as interest-free, this is typically only the case if payments are made on time. Late payments can result in added fees and interest, something consumers may overlook or not fully understand. Clear communication about these terms is vital.
  5. Integration Challenges: Integrating a BNPL service into existing payment systems can present technical challenges. It's essential to ensure that the BNPL platform can seamlessly integrate with your business's e-commerce platform and that the BNPL provider offers strong technical support.
  6. Risk Management: Unlike traditional lending, where extensive credit checks are performed, BNPL services often have a faster, less stringent approval process. While this enhances customer experience, it also poses a potential risk to providers who have less information about the customer's creditworthiness.

Despite these challenges, many businesses find that the benefits of offering BNPL services outweigh the potential pitfalls, especially when they take proactive steps to manage these risks.

Mitigating Fraud Risks in the Buy Now, Pay Later Landscape

The rising popularity of the Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) model, while offering immense benefits, also opens avenues for fraud. Here are some strategies that businesses and BNPL providers can adopt to mitigate these risks:

  1. Strengthened User Authentication: Deploy robust user authentication methods to ensure that the person making the purchase is indeed the rightful account holder. This can involve using multi-factor authentication (MFA), biometrics, or other advanced authentication methods.
  2. Real-Time Fraud Detection Systems: Implement AI and machine learning-powered systems to detect fraudulent activities in real-time. These systems can analyze large volumes of transaction data to identify and flag anomalies or suspicious patterns.
  3. Regular Monitoring and Audits: Conduct regular audits and monitor transactions consistently. Immediate red flags can include a sudden surge in purchase frequency or unusually high-value transactions from a customer account.
  4. Secure Data Practices: Maintain stringent data security practices. Encrypt sensitive customer data and maintain rigorous access controls to minimize the chances of data breaches.
  5. Educate Customers: Regularly educate your customers about safe online shopping practices and how to spot phishing attempts or scams. Encouraging customers to monitor their accounts for unusual activity can also help identify fraudulent transactions early.
  6. Compliance with Regulations: Ensure compliance with all relevant financial and data security regulations. This includes the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and other applicable laws in your region.
  7. Invest in Cyber Insurance: Given the rising instances of cyber fraud, investing in a comprehensive cyber insurance policy can help mitigate financial losses if a security incident occurs.

Managing fraud in the BNPL sector requires a layered approach, combining advanced technology with vigilant monitoring and responsible practices both from businesses and customers.


The 'Buy Now, Pay Later' model has undeniably revolutionized the e-commerce landscape, offering both businesses and consumers an advantageous means to manage their financial obligations. As it continues to gain traction, companies like PayPal, through their 'Pay Later' services, have successfully enhanced user experience and stimulated economic growth. However, it's essential to navigate the potential challenges of BNPL conscientiously, particularly around fraud and potential debt accumulation. As we move towards a more digitized and customer-centric future, leveraging innovative models like BNPL can be a game-changer in driving business growth and fostering customer satisfaction.

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

How to manage 'Where is my Refund' requests?
When a customer raises a 'Where is my Refund' request, it's important to respond promptly and professionally. First, verify the order and refund details in your system. Then, explain to the customer the standard procedure and time frame for a refund. If the refund has been processed from your end, it may still take several business days to reflect in the customer's account due to banking processes. Always assure the customer that you're there to assist them until the issue is resolved.

How to Handle Chargebacks?
Handling chargebacks involves several steps:

  • Prompt Response: Respond quickly to the chargeback notification from your payment provider or bank.
  • Collect Information: Gather all information related to the transaction in question, including order confirmation, tracking information, communication with the customer, etc.
  • Submit Evidence: Present this information to your payment provider or bank to dispute the chargeback.
  • Follow Up: Stay in touch with your bank or payment provider until the issue is resolved.

Chargebacks can be expensive, so it's vital to provide excellent customer service to avoid them in the first place, and if they do occur, handle them promptly and professionally.

How to handle Disputes?
When a dispute arises, respond promptly and professionally. Try to understand the customer's issue and resolve it amicably. Keep a record of all communications and transactions, as these can be useful if the dispute escalates. If the dispute is related to a payment or service, you may need to involve your payment provider or BNPL service provider.

How to PayPal login?
To log in to PayPal:

  • Go to the PayPal website or open the PayPal app.
  • Click on 'Log In' at the top of the page.
  • Enter your email or phone number and click 'Next.'
  • Enter your password and click 'Log In.'

Ensure you are using a secure network connection when logging into your PayPal account to protect your account information.

How does Order Tracking help?
Order tracking helps in several ways:

  • Customer Satisfaction: It provides customers with visibility into their order status, which can enhance customer satisfaction and confidence.
  • Reduced Queries: When customers can track their orders, it can reduce the number of queries businesses receive about order status.
  • Fraud Prevention: Order tracking can also serve as a form of proof of delivery, which can help in case of disputes or fraud claims. Their are tools like PaySync that help you automate this for your store.

Order tracking is an essential tool for any e-commerce business, including those offering BNPL services.

PaySync is designed to sync tracking numbers to your PayPal & Stripe accounts in real time. Our aim is to accelerate fund release, bypass holds/disputes, and build PayPal trust. Enjoy the simplicity of one-click syncing, enhancing your merchant reputation effortlessly.