In recent years, the rise of digital buy now, pay later (BNPL) solutions has transformed the landscape of eCommerce.
With the likes of Apple and PayPal now in on the action, there are more options than ever for consumers looking for quick credit on their purchases that they can repay in predetermined installments.
But as the BNPL lending model extends beyond its initial focus on consumer goods, installment-based financing is finding its way into a host of different sectors and industries.
Stay Now, Pay Later
Cashew Payments, a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based BNPL provider, recently announced a partnership with local Sandy Beach Hotel and Resort to offer holidaymakers a “stay now, pay later” option on their hotel bills.
The new offering builds on Cashew’s interest-free BNPL loans, with options to repay in three, six or 12 installments.
“We are continuing to expand our lending options to residents of the UAE in different forms. This is the perfect option for those in search of getting away this summer, with the help of cashew alleviating any financial burdens that may have occurred,” Cashew co-founder Ibtissam Ouassif said in a statement, per IBS Intelligence.
In fact, many BNPL services are looking to branch out of their initial niche as a way to reach more customers, and Cashew is not alone in seeing the tourism and travel industry as a potential new frontier for the BNPL product.
Last year, Palazzo Versace Dubai became the first hotel in the UAE to offer guests the chance to repay the cost of their stay in installments in partnership with Spotii, a UAE-headquartered BNPL startup now owned by Australian firm Zip.
Elsewhere, in 2019, Klarna partnered with the Expedia Group to provide payment plans for customers of Expedia.com and Hotels.com. Using Klarna’s “travel now, pay later” service, customers can book flights and hotels on one of Expedia’s platforms and spread the cost over several installments.
Paying for Travel Can Wait
Besides accommodation, flights are often one of the biggest expenses when it comes to paying for a vacation.
For example, flight search and booking platform Alternative Airlines lists flights from over 600 airlines and allows users to combine flights in a way that works best for them, providing over 40 different payment options at checkout, including major BNPL solutions such as Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna and PayPal Credit.
Alongside the more well-known general-purpose BNPL instruments, Alternative Airlines also supports travel-specific services such as Fly Now Pay Later, an app from the British Pay Later Group that has been designed specifically for consumers shopping for BNPL travel deals.
It acts as a portal from which travelers can book flights from several major airlines and travel agencies, with Fly Now Pay Later acting as the credit-providing intermediary.
Besides its usage as an app providing access to a range of BNPL travel options, travel providers can embed Fly Now Pay Later into their online checkout flow as an additional payment option, as it is on Alternative Airlines.
Still within the travel space but lower on the ground level, the U.K.’s largest coach operator, National Express, partnered with BNPL provider Clearpay earlier this year, enabling customers — particularly millennials and Gen Zs — to pay for travel tickets in four installments over six weeks, interest-free.
“We know that our Millennial and Gen Z customers are seeking new experiences and they now have the freedom to book and budget the cost of coach travel, which can help them spend responsibly, avoiding revolving debt and interest that comes with credit card payments,” Clearpay U.K. country manager Rich Bayer said at the time.
For all PYMNTS EMEA coverage, subscribe to the daily EMEA Newsletter.