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Take now, pay later: half of Americans buy Christmas gifts on credit

Americans are spending a little less this holiday season, but still more, than they can afford. This makes them go into debt. Writes about it CNBC.

Photo: Shutterstock

Overall spending on Black Friday, both in stores and online, is down slightly from last year, in part because shoppers started shopping earlier due to supply chain disruptions and delivery delays. This is the first reduction in spending in history.

Overall, consumers will spend an average of $ 997,73 on themselves and their families on average, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation, below the pre-pandemic high of $ 1047,83 reached in 2019.

And according to a recent report by Cardify, which surveyed more than 2000 people, for the first time, about 45% of shoppers are planning to use Buy Now Pay Later or BNPL for their holiday shopping to spread their spending.

“It's gotten more popular,” said Derrick Fung, CEO of Cardify. “The consumer has become more intrusive over the past 12 months, and BNPL products are the result of being locked up for too long and wanting more instant gratification.”

On the subject: Popular products that are most profitable to buy from December to February

The BNPL allows shoppers to split their purchases into equal installment payments, often interest-free, making even the most expensive items seem affordable and the smallest purchases almost insignificant. This is similar to the old installment plans, except that consumers receive the product in advance and pay for it incrementally.

However, buying in installments can induce consumers to spend more than they can afford. Cardify found that nearly 46% of shoppers said they would have spent less if it weren't for the BNPL.

There is always a catch for consumers, according to Matt Schultz, chief industry analyst at LendingTree. Missing a payment can result in late fees, interest, or other fines, depending on the lender.

In fact, 56% of shoppers made a purchase using the BNPL that they could not pay for, according to a separate survey by online bank Oxygen.

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York.

Roughly 43% said that if the large buy had a BNPL option, they were more likely to buy the item.

Of course, now buyers can take advantage of the short-term loan to buy anything, anywhere.

As installment payments gain traction along with the rise in online shopping, in general following the COVID-19 pandemic, most consumers will see the BNPL option when shopping online at retailers such as Target, Walmart and Amazon.

Many BNPL providers are now also introducing browser extensions that you can download and apply to any online purchase.

Plus, there are smartphone apps that allow you to use installments to buy things in person - just like you would use Apple Pay.

Another recent study by DebtHammer.org found that while over 78% of Americans plan to save money for their holiday purchases, 66% plan to use the BNPL.

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