Buy-now, pay-later: A new take on an ongoing debt problem?

“People have long financed purchases … cars, houses, and in the 1800s, farm equipment, sewing machines, and other necessities. But the trendy modern version known as BNPL (buy-now, pay -later) has exploded lately, thanks to a combination of proliferating installment-plan offers and a buying frenzy during the pandemic, as people stuck at home turned to online shopping in hopes of snatching a bit of joy.

BNPL plans have become so ubiquitous —and easy to use — that not only are they fueling impulse shopping, but the payment method is particularly attractive to people who can’t qualify for a credit card, and by definition are already financially vulnerable,” writes Beth Teitell.

Current predictions are that consumers will spend almost $100 billion in retail purchases using buy-now, pay-later payment methods in 2021 alone. Here the Boston Globe, takes a deeper dive into the warning signs and cautionary tales of this seeming new-comer to the spiraling consumer debt front.