Google Pay Pilots BNPL as Consumers Clamor for Payment Choice at Checkout

Google Pay Pilots BNPL as Consumers Want Checkout Flexibility

Concert tickets are expensive, even if you’re not a Swiftie angling for a seat at the Eras tour or a golden oldie seeking Stones tickets (sponsored by the AARP, naturally).

Travel isn’t cheap, and neither is clothing.

Drew Olson, senior director at Google Pay, told PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster in an interview that individuals shopping on Google — more than 1 billion times daily — are demanding more choice at checkout as they grow ever more familiar with buy now, pay later (BNPL) as a favored form of credit.

“Whatever calculus the user performs to determine the payment methods that they want to use, they want more options across more merchants,” he told Webster.

To that end, Google Pay announced a pilot program with Affirm and Zip that will “surface” those providers’ multiple BNPL options at select apparel/accessories, theater and travel merchants in the United States that offer Google Pay at online checkout.

The move comes as PYMNTS Intelligence found that interest in and use of BNPL is skyrocketing, underpinning holiday shopping, and where repeat purchases are the norm, especially among younger consumers who use it as a budgeting tool and a way to make everyday goods and services more affordable.

“We’re working with the existing [BNPL] ecosystem … and these providers have a great amount of coverage in the space,” Olson said, adding that “these are merchants who already have an integration with Google Pay” while they gain the advantage of scaling their payment options without a direct integration with the BNPL providers.

Offering those choices, said Olson, can help increase merchants’ revenues. Affirm has noted that merchants using its offerings report 60% higher average order values versus other payment methods. For the BNPL providers themselves, there’s additional reach as Google Pay users link their wallets and look for new opportunities to use BNPL at other merchants in the future.

“This is a seamless and frictionless way to expand the distribution of these payment products, and we’re offering this in line with the Google Pay experience users are comfortable with today,” Olson said.

Integrated Into the Google Pay Flow

In terms of the mechanics of the pilot itself, Olson noted that when consumers click on a Google Pay button while transacting with a pilot-participating merchant, they’ll see a promotional banner alerting them to the option of using BNPL via Affirm or Zip.

Clicking on the banner enables users to choose the BNPL provider they prefer. If they already have an account with either of the firms, they can link their existing account to the transaction or go through the onboarding process to get their account set up within the Google Pay experience.

“We’re as transparent to the user in the same way that would be seen if you used those partners directly,” said Olson, who pointed out that Affirm and Zip’s transaction limits and terms will be shown to the user during the Google Pay flow. There are no additional fees levied by Google on the merchant or the BNPL users.

As the pilot phase rolls out beyond the first quarter of next year, said Olson, Google will eye adding more merchants, BNPL providers, and new verticals to the mix upon what he termed “full launch.”

As he told Webster: “We see this as basically a ‘win-win-win’ for the ecosystem.”

It’s a win for BNPL providers because it offers them distribution without a direct integration, merchants win with increased conversions at checkout, and, he added, “we’ll make Google Pay more flexible and helpful for users in the future.”