Poles get the Buy Now Pay Later bug and like it

As many as 22 percent of Polish Internet users and 38 percent of online shoppers have used the BNPL. Photo: GettyImages

The Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) is gaining popularity in Poland and among Polish customers with as many as 62 percent having already taken advantage of the method over the past year, as shown by Kearney pollster cited by the “Rzeczpospolita” daily.

There seems to be another reason why there is “PL” in the BNPL and the growing popularity of this mode of online shopping in Poland could be the answer.

According to a report by the Electronic Economy Chamber, as many as 22 percent of Polish Internet users and 38 percent of online shoppers have used the BNPL. As for those who had already purchased an item online using the BNPL, 77 percent liked the method.

But the trend has trickled down to offline with as many as a third of respondents shopping in physical venues wishing to have the possibility of paying later.

As shown by the data from Kearney, the popularity of BNPL in Poland trumped that in Britain, where 51 percent used the method, and France, where only 36 percent took advantage of it. Poland performed even slightly better than the US, where 59 percent used the BNPL.

“Banking via digital channels is more widespread [in Poland] than in Italy or Germany. Poles use mobile apps and the Internet to do shopping more often,” Krzysztof Żmijewski, a manager in Kearney’s Warsaw office, told Rzeczpospolita.

“Fintechs had to quickly react to the changes brought by the pandemic,” Agata Lejman, a manager at AIQLabs said. “We all needed remote and all-out digitised solutions, which is why remotely-signed credit agreements became... and postponed payment methods became standard.”

Revolut, a British financial technology company offering banking services, launched its BNPL service in Poland in early August 2022, allowing customers to break their shopping up to instances of a maximum of PLN 5,000 (EUR 1,060).

A double-edged sword

The BNPL “is a remedy for customers who put limited trust in e-commerce,” Twisto Poland country manager Adam Miziołek told Rzeczpospolita, adding that when BNPL is concerned “the payment provider pays for the shopping, he is to suffer potential risks, not the customer.

As convenient and “stress-free” as it may look, the BNPL could lead to increased consumer debt. On the usual basis, the consumer has about 30 to 45 days to settle the debt. If they pay on time, the crediting of the purchase will not cost them anything. However, if they are late with the payment or settle just part of the due quota, retroactive interests will be charged.