'Buy now, pay later' (BNPL) firm Laybuy has unveiled a digital card that lets customers spread the cost of their purchases in store.
Until now, much of the growth of BNPL schemes such as Laybuy, Clearpay and Klarna, which surged in popularity during the pandemic, has been concentrated at online checkouts.
But using BNPL in store could be about to become more common as a result of Tap to Pay with Laybuy.
While spreading out the cost of your post-lockdown shopping may be tempting, you should use BNPL with caution in order to keep your spending under control and avoid late fees.
Here, Which? explains how Tap to Pay with Laybuy works, how it differs from Laybuy Instore and Klarna In-store, and what risks BNPL schemes come with.
Tap to Pay lets you make contactless payments with your smartphone at selected retailers partnered with Laybuy.
The cost is then spread out over six weekly, interest-free payments, with the first payment taken at the checkout. The purchase must be more than£6 or it won't be spread out.
To get the digital card, customers must download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play store. You'll need to register with Laybuy, and a hard credit check will be carried out to assess your eligibility and your spending limit.
This isn't the first time customers have been able to use BNPL schemes at physical checkouts. Laybuy and Klarna already offer in-store payment options at selected retailers dubbed Laybuy Instore and Klarna In-store.
To use either, you need to inform the person at the checkout. The store then sends you a payment link so you can complete the transaction on your smartphone.
So if these options exist, why is the launch of Laybuy's Tap to Pay significant? The answer is that once you've downloaded Laybuy's digital card, using it is very straightforward. You don't need to ask the store to send you a payment link, you just pay 'in one tap'. This frictionless payment option could make using BNPL in store more common.
If you're considering using either Klarna or Laybuy, remember that their schemes work slightly differently:
The reason BNPL firms have been able to operate without oversight of the FCA is that they don't charge interest. However, some charge late payment fees, which can soon rack up.
Laybuy charges £6 per week, up to a maximum of £24, but saysit would immediately contact a customer if they missed a payment and fewer than 5% of customers pay a late fee.
However, if you don't pay what you owe on time, Laybuy can pass your debt on to a debt collection agency.
There's also a risk that, because you pay less upfront, you could spend more using BNPL than you normally would. BNPL firms often market themselves to retailers on the basis that people spend more when they use their services.
Have you used Laybuy's new Tap to Pay digital card?
Or have you been offered the chance to spread the cost of your purchase using Klarna while shopping on the high street?
We'd like to hear about your experiences of using in-store BNPL and any issues you've come across. Get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If for whatever reason you do need to make a purchase but can't afford the full price right now, you could use a credit card to spread the cost.
The best 0% purchase credit cards offer up to 21 months of interest-free spending, which gives you more time to pay down debt before it starts racking up interest.
Credit cards are regulated by the FCA, so you should only be given a limit that you can afford to repay and your repayments will go towards boosting your credit score.
Plus, using a credit card for purchases worth between £100 and £30,000 offers extra protection thanks to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, which means you can get your money back if something goes wrong with your purchase.