Buy now, pay whenever? Lockdown lift for online shopping loans

Jaime E. Love

By Nikhil Nainan

(Reuters) – Browsing online during lockdown, Jessica Friend spotted a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses she liked, but the price tag made the 30-year-old Ohio resident think twice.

What persuaded her to click ‘buy’, Friend said, was the short-term credit offered by Afterpay, which split the $260 payment into four interest-free instalments.

Afterpay is among a handful of alternative credit firms which offer small loans, mostly to online shoppers, and make their money by charging merchants a 4%-6% commission.

These buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) firms have benefited from a shift to online shopping during the coronavirus crisis in countries including the United States, where state aid has also boosted retail sales.

“I’m more inclined to use them because they make it easier to afford to get the things I want all at once … and when I want to splurge on something,” Friend said of the loans.

Some investors are

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What will a Marks and Spencer shopping trip look like after lockdown?

Jaime E. Love

You may have been visiting your local Marks and Spencer a lot during lockdown. Like all supermarkets, its near-600 food halls have remained open so that shoppers can pick up essential supplies like milk, bread and toilet paper.

If you had been after a multipack of socks or a pair of children’s shoes though, you’d have been out of luck, as all other departments have been closed to the public since lockdown began on 23rd March. Shopping online has proven to be a workable solution, but returns are a faff that many of us simply don’t have the time or inclination to deal with.

So news that non-essential shops can reopen from 15th June will come as welcome relief to many, and M&S is among the stores readying for that date. But a post-lockdown shopping trip will be markedly different from the experience we’ve come to know. 

Marks & Spencer

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