Nearly Half of BNPL Consumers Prefer Pay-in-4 Over Credit Cards as They Look for More Choice at Checkout

One-in-five BNPL1 customers (20%) say it is their preferred method of payment ahead of cash, credit or debit cards

Close to half of BNPL customers surveyed indicated that they preferred it over credit cards for their purchases

More than two-thirds (69%) of customers indicated that they would use BNPL more if it were more widely available, with the demand for BNPL services being higher among Gen Z customers and Millennials (79%)

Today, Afterpay released a report focused on the Economic Impact of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) in the U.S. conducted by Oxford Economics, which highlights the benefits of BNPL on consumers, merchants, and the overall U.S. economy. The research shows that when considering things like reduced costs along with increased sales for merchants, the overall benefit of BNPL reported by retailers amounts to be $5.6 billion in the 12 months leading up to August 2023. Additionally, the report reveals that two in five American consumers use BNPL services, with Afterpay being the most trusted BNPL offering among those who had tried it.

“Afterpay understands that at a time when Americans feeling the rising costs of buying and borrowing, it is critical to have a variety of payment options at the checkout that allow customers to choose a budgeting tool like Afterpay over credit cards that often have large fees associated with them,” said Nick Molnar, Co-founder of Afterpay. “This research shows that whether it be a typical purchase, an unexpected expense, or upcoming holiday shopping, Afterpay is reducing the financial stress of Americans and offering a reliable, easy to understand payment method.”

The research includes how BNPL benefits retailers and how the service offers consumers an option for budget management without credit card’s high interest and fees. Some of the report's key highlights include:

  1. By 2027, BNPL payment value in the U.S. is forecast to reach almost $125 billion; a projected annual growth rate of close to 18% between 2022 and 2027.
  2. Around 62% of BNPL customers indicated that they used the service at least once a month. Younger generational cohorts tend to use BNPL services more frequently, with 75% of Gen Z and 74% of Millennial BNPL customers reporting using the service at least once a month, compared to 52% of Gen X customers.
  3. More than two-thirds of our survey respondents reported that BNPL helps them reduce stress related to large expenses (70%); and in particular, reduce stress by spreading out costs related to holiday spending (67%). The positive impacts of BNPL in helping customers manage and alleviate financial stress were noted by a larger proportion of those aged 45 or above, i.e., customers more likely to be under pressure to spend on their families and children, especially around holidays.
  4. A majority of the BNPL customers surveyed believe that it helps provide an alternative to paying high-interest credit card debt (70%). If repayments are missed, a $500 purchase made using a credit card would accrue almost 4-times more in interest in 12 months compared to the cost of missing BNPL payments for the same purchase.2 Additionally, as of the first quarter of 2023, 95% of all Afterpay installments were paid on time and 98% of all purchases incurred no late fees.
  5. More than two-thirds (69%) of customers indicated that they would use BNPL more if it were more widely available, with the demand for BNPL services being higher among Gen Z customers and Millennials (79%).
  6. Customers who use Afterpay valued its BNPL services more, over three times higher than other BNPL providers in the survey. The low cost and convenience of BNPL services over credit cards is especially favored by Afterpay customers. A greater proportion of Afterpay customers also found it more convenient for financial management than others.

The full Economic Impact of Buy Now, Pay Later in the U.S. report can be found at


The findings presented in this report were based on a bespoke survey of 1,390 U.S. BNPL customers, 1,000 U.S. merchants offering Afterpay services, and supplemented by data from Afterpay and other third-party sources.

A bespoke consumer survey was designed for this study and administered to a representative sample of the U.S. population by YouGov, from which BNPL customers were identified and BNPL-specific questions were fielded to them.

Insights regarding merchants were drawn from responses to a merchant survey designed for this project. The survey was administered by Pureprofile, facilitated by Afterpay, and was fielded to a survey of U.S. merchants using Afterpay.

About Afterpay Limited

Afterpay is transforming the way we pay by allowing anyone to buy products immediately and pay over time - enabling simple, transparent and responsible spending. We are on a mission to power an economy in which everyone wins. Afterpay is offered by thousands of the world’s favorite retailers and used by millions of active global customers. Afterpay is currently available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, where it is known as Clearpay. Afterpay is a wholly owned subsidiary of Block, Inc. (NYSE: SQ).


1A key feature of BNPL services is that people do not pay interest on the purchase when installments are paid on time. For the purpose of this report, Afterpay is qualified as the traditional Pay-in-Four offering and the Afterpay Plus Card offering, where available.

2The calculations assume that an 20.7% annual interest rate, equivalent to the commercial bank credit card interest rate, applies and the outstanding balance starts accruing interest 45 days after the purchase with monthly compounding. Commercial bank interest rates sourced from FRED Economic Data, “Commercial Bank Interest Rate on Credit Card Plans”, May 2023.


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