NEW GENERATION, NEW PAYMENT OPTION
Business Today Malaysia|April 2021
The cashless movement which saw a spike when Covid-19 struck countries and lockdowns came into effect also saw the rise of a new payment option, the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service, an instalment payment solution for businesses and consumers.
FADZLY KHASIMI

“BNPL is defined by a service that is offered to merchants, giving their customers the choice of spreading out their purchases over time even without a credit card,” Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Cofounder of Split, Dylan Tan tells BusinessToday.

Industry player, Split, a BNPL fintech provider allows businesses to offer their customers the choice of paying in up to three interest-free instalments without a credit card.

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service provider, hoolah has more than 300 merchants in Malaysia, from electronics, fashion, accessories to home and lifestyle, including brands such as Focus Point, Braun Buffel and Kenwood.

“In 2020, transaction volumes increased more than 64-fold even with the increase, there are instances where we reject transactions when we think people are moving towards the wrong direction,” CEO of hoolah, Stuart Thornton says.

Ride-hailing company, Grab has also entered the BNPL scene with PayLater as their own flagship initiative.

According to Grab’s PayLater FAQs, the service offers four payment options, instead of three like Split and hoolah, or pay by the end of the month option and with the same interest-free payments as well.

FROM US TO AUSTRALIA TO ASIA

“There are some nuanced differences between the markets but one of the things we noticed is that millennial and Gen-Z consumers are very similar. The US, for that matter, had historical foundations of BNPL called Layby.

“This gave consumers the opportunity to reserve the item they wanted, pay a percentage and then come back a month later to pay the rest and get their product,” Stuart says.

Late last year, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) released a report on the BNPL industry which revealed the substantial growth sector had experienced. The number of BNPL transactions increased from 16.8 million in the 2017-18 financial year to 32 million in 2018-19, representing an increase of 90 percent.

“BNPL in Australia and New Zealand are fairly mature ecosystems dominated by a small number of large and typically publicly-listed players like Afterpay and Affirm.

These markets typically have “banked” populations where adults already have access to credit cards, but the rising trend for BNPL there is associated with young consumers,” Dylan tells BusinessToday.

Stuart and Dylan share a similar opinion when it comes to the BNPL landscape in Asia which is relatively small in comparison to BNPL services in other parts of the world.

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