Pros and cons of buy now, pay later options when shopping


MACON, Ga. — They are so enticing, but it’s easy to get yourself into debt if you’re not careful.

Scott Mitchell is the owner of the Bohemian Den in downtown Macon.

He said things are busy, much like hundreds of stores this holiday season.

“November went really well, and people seem to be excited,” Mitchell said.

As shoppers continue purchasing thoughtful and expensive gifts, he tells 13WMAZ the BNPL options are a big help for some.

“It just kind of made sense. Different people use different options for different reasons,” Mitchell explained.

A large reason why he added this feature was to make it easier for some shoppers.

“I don’t know what’s happening in their life right now,” Mitchell said. “Maybe they don’t qualify for traditional credit cards like some people do.”

Several stores offer those divided payments from services like Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm.

Sherri Goss with Rosenberg Financial is reminding you not to be so quick to say yes.

“[It] sounds great because you get the product right now with only paying a fraction of the price of the product, but you’re on the hook to make those payments and to finish paying for it,” Goss explained.

She said the option to pay a portion, rather than saving up to pay the full amount upfront, could leave you in some serious debt.

“What you don’t want to do is make decisions now just so you can give holiday gifts that are going to ruin your credit, because [if] you don’t make those payments on time, it is going to be reported to the credit bureaus,” Goss said.  

So, her best advice is to consider all your options.

She proposed asking this to family members: “Talk to everybody. ‘Do we really need to exchange gifts? Can we draw names? Can we do something different and something simpler and something less costly this year.’”

Perhaps leave that expensive gift on the shelf and make something homemade, or use your creativity by thinking outside the box.

“People really don’t care when you can bring something homemade. They’re going to live it just as much as something that you paid a bunch of money for,” Goss said.

A survey from Magento showed that 56% of Americans will re-gift or donate an unwanted gift.

42% choose to return or exchange an unwanted gift.


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