There’s a refreshing breeze of responsibility blowing through the payments industry as more companies mobilize their assorted networks to assist in the COVID recovery.
Marketplaces and platforms are doing this, particularly in the mobile order-ahead (MOA) space, where players like Grubhub encourage diners to round up the change on their order and donate. That giving spirit is coming to the “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) space now as well.
“One recent study revealed that almost 47 percent of consumers around the globe would place more trust in a company that embraced environmental or social causes they backed, while 53 percent said they would be more willing to recommend such businesses to others,” according to the August edition of PYMNTS’ Buy Now, Pay Later Tracker® done in collaboration with Afterpay.
“The same survey found that 91 percent of consumers would like firms to choose causes that are important to the communities in which they do business, another 91 percent would like them to choose focuses [that are] consistent with ethical business practices and 89 percent said it was important for companies to target issues that mattered most to their consumers.”
Finding itself at the intersection of commerce and philanthropy, BNPL firms are taking advantage of the opportunity to foster charitable giving while making purchases easier.
New Programs, New Purposes
Folks desiring to buy fall fashion items while also wanting to help those less fortunate is a powerful force – a human force – and it’s expressing itself in financial products and behaviors.
For example, Pulse is a new kind of loyalty program from BNPL firm Afterpay. The program rewards customers who pay for purchases on time and spend responsibly.
“Historically, there has been no way for debit card users to earn rewards or benefits for the way they pay. Loyalty programs across our industry have encouraged excessive spending, leaving no options for those shoppers who want to spend responsibly and avoid expensive fees and extended debt,” Nick Molnar, U.S. CEO and co-founder of Afterpay, told PYMNTS.
“Pulse, Afterpay’s loyalty program, was built to fulfill a need and offer a program in which consumers benefit from spending responsibly and paying on time,” Molnar said. “My favorite reward is the ability to use Afterpay to buy gift cards with 50 top retailers, like Sephora, Macy’s and West Elm. Pulse is fundamental to our mission and values as a company to encourage financial responsibility and wellness for our customers.”
Charities Need Help
Offering charitable giving options at the point of sale isn’t just a marketing ploy. Those funds find their way to all kinds of people in need, but the pandemic is threatening the fragile network of non-profits and other such organizations that rely on donations to fulfill their missions.
“One U.K. survey examining the health crisis’ impacts on charities found that 45 percent of philanthropic organizations working abroad would be forced to close by the end of the year, while 15 percent would have to cease operations within six months if they could not procure additional funding,” the new Tracker states.
Fortunately, shoppers are donating what they can, and platforms are enabling them. This is reflected in the more sober and reserved card usage habits of the new big spenders.
“Young shoppers across all the markets we serve are making a conscious choice to use their own money via debit cards, avoiding expensive credit, interest and excessive fees,” Molnar told PYMNTS. “In fact, nearly 90 percent of Afterpay customers are electing to use their debit cards to pay over time.”