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The different ways in which “buy now pay later” (BNPL) is being applied in SA’s retail landscape is the focus of this edition of Business Day Spotlight.

Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Craig Newborn, CEO of PayJustNow. 

Co-founded by Newborn in 2019, PayJustNow is one of SA’s largest BNPL players, with more than 300,000 customers.

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BNPL providers allow shoppers to pay a small upfront amount for their online purchases, receiving the goods and then paying the rest off in a series of equal instalments with no interest.

The model has been applied for about eight years in places such as the UK and Australia, where it has more than 11-million users. Prosus, through its financial technology unit PayU, has invested in the business model, particularly in India.

Proponents like Newborn say the service is a strong factor in helping to boost e-commerce adoption by hesitant consumers.

Earlier in June, technology giant Apple put its weight behind BNPL saying it was entering the market through its payments platform Apple Pay, specifically for online shoppers. 

Newborn says this move by Apple has brought a lot of attention and credibility to the industry. He anticipates that this will be a driver for greater adoption in future. 

In SA’s relatively small e-commerce market PayJustNow competes with companies such as PayFlex and Checkid.

Topics of discussion include the following: PayJustNow’s journey as a business; the growth of BNPL in SA and other parts of the world; debt culture in SA; the growth of online retail spurred on by Covid-19; consumer trends in BNPL; the use of short-term credit options in physical retail; and an outlook of how the space is likely to evolve over time. 

While most BNPL has tended to be focused on online retail, PayJustNow has differentiated itself by also offering an in-store service, which Newborn says is also gaining traction. With more than 90% of retail in SA still taking place at physical locations, he says offering an in-store service was too big an opportunity to pass up. 

Newborn also highlights how various BNPL models differ; which of them fit the SA landscape and why; thoughts about BNPL regulation from a global perspective, and what to expect locally.

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Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.


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