Business credit card issuers face competition but also opportunities in BNPL

Credit cards still dominate small business spending but the attractiveness of buy now, pay later and other installment plans keeps growing. Meanwhile, higher interest rates could hurt laggards but help the nimble.

Small business interest in purchasing via nonbank buy now, pay later programs and bank card issuers’ flexible financing/installment loan options both accelerated in 2023 and could grow even more in 2024, according to J.D. Power research. BNPL in particular is both a new source of competition for business spending and a potential way for banks to gain share of purchase volume.

The J.D. Power study indicates that card issuers could take advantage of significant appetites for more such borrowing among small businesses in the year ahead — if they introduce installment purchase options as part of their business credit card offerings, or do a better job promoting payment plan choices that they may already offer.

An example of the BNPL provider competition: In November 2023 Amazon Business and Affirm announced a joint effort to provide businesses using the ecommerce seller’s business platform the ability to pay over time using the BNPL provider’s services. This service was designed exclusively for sole proprietor purchasers at this time. (Purchases include interest charges under the installment plans.)


continue reading »