Tuesday , October 19, 2021

When One Just Won’t Do: Target Adds Two BNPL Options

Mega-retailer Target Corp. says consumers can now use buy now, pay later options from Sezzle Inc. and Affirm Inc.

Though Target doesn’t say why it is offering two BNPL options, it distinguishes Affirm, which offers a point-of-sale loan that charges interest, as best for purchases of more than $100. Sezzle, which participated in a Target Accelerator program for startups in 2019, splits the purchase into four installments with no interest. Target and Sezzle are based in Minneapolis. Affirm is based in San Francisco.

“Through our partnerships with Affirm and Sezzle, Target is investing in new financial tools that make our shopping experiences more flexible and personalized to guests’ needs, right in time for the holiday season,” Gemma Kubat, Target president of financial and retail services, said in a statement.

Target shoppers using Sezzle must first create an account with Sezzle, then shop at Target.com. They also can use the Target app and select the Sezzle Virtual Card as the payment method. 

The move is indicative of the future of BNPL use among retailers. Retailers like BNPL services because they can help find new customers and potentially have a role in furthering consumer loyalty.

“Whoever has the best advertising and lead-generation algorithm will be the one that can drive continued incrementality,” Dan Perlin, managing director of RBC Capital Markets’ coverage of payments processing and IT services, told Digital Transactions. The good news for the business is that Perlin suspects many retailers may want more than one BNPL provider. “I don’t think retailers will want five of these things on their landing pages, but they may want two of them. Exclusivity is not where this goes in five years.”

Sezzle made recent headlines with its deal to be a preferred BNPL partner with BigCommerce Holdings Inc., an e-commerce platform. Affirm is in the midst of integrating its service into Amazon.com Inc., a plan announced in August. Affirm is also developing a debit card that can be used for payment in full or in installments. Beta testing of the card was expected to wrap up this month.

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