Amazon is the leading e-commerce retailing entity on the globe currently and continues to grow and expand into new territories. In the last two decades, Amazon flourished into a retail e-commerce magnate by banking on customer satisfaction above all else.
Coupled with the almost novel ideology at the time which was based around the idea of anticipating what a customer may come to want later and simply attending or satisfying that need that much sooner, Bezos had conjured a winning recipe.
As a virtual bookseller in its earlier years, Amazon utilized customer purchasing history to anticipate and recommend books that were both complimentary and supplementary reading.
This concept while controversial in some quarters, immediately bore results and book sales skyrocketed paving the way for Amazon to take the next step and venture into general retail and shipping.
With such a massive market share, it stands to reason that payment flexibility for customers would become a need and one worth fulfilling. Many financial tech companies have developed products to cater to this ever-growing consumer need to be able to make a purchase despite not having the full amount upfront.
Afterpay is one of the companies that provide consumers with flexible payment solutions.
Does Amazon have Afterpay?
As of 2021, Amazon does not partner with Afterpay anymore. There has been no reason offered by the companies as to why they are no longer working together. Many theories have been put forward but none from the companies themselves making any conclusions out there, mere conjecture.
What is Afterpay?
Afterpay is a financial tech company that was established in 2014 by Molnar and Elsen. The Australian duo groomed the financial services company and four years later in 2018, entered the U.S retail market offering its flagship service, BNPL ( Buy Now Pay Later) option to consumers.
By 2019, with a consumer base of over two million active users and over six thousand partners, Afterpay made the leap entering the European market where the company grew substantially, garnering over two hundred thousand customers in the first fifteen weeks.
The pandemic sowed good fortune for Afterpay since many physical locations closed down and businesses moved operations online. While a lack of funds is not the only reason consumers opt for BNPL options, the stringent budgets of the pandemic period certainly spurred a whole cross-section of consumers to opt for Afterpay and any other such services.
Online shopping habits created by the pandemic as well as innovation and new e-commerce opportunities that debuted during the pandemic will undoubtedly continue to grow and Afterpay continues to provide BNPL to consumers for a wide array of products that now include gym memberships, online subscriptions, online courses among others.
How does Afterepay work?
Once you have made a purchase, by selecting Afterpay, you can pay the total amount in four installments. From your end, you pay 25% of the total amount to Afterpay and you get to go home with your purchase.
The remaining amount, you will pay in four installments, usually monthly payments or even weekly payments depending on what option is available to you.
The vendor, however, is paid in full by Afterpay immediately after you make your purchase after which you are left indebted to Afterpay. The total amount you remit to Afterpay is the same as the cost of your purchase.
How does Afterpay make money?
Whenever you choose to pay for your purchase using Afterpay, your vendor owes Afterpay a small amount of money that is a percentage of the purchase amount. Depending on the contractual details between the vendor or retailer and Afterpay, the fee can be a fixed sum, a variable amount such as commissions, or both.
The payment to Afterpay could also be immediate or not depending on the details in their contracts. Afterpay also imposes penalties on late payments which is another avenue for generating revenue though this could be a double-edged sword if defaulters overrun the platform.
Afterpay also makes money through advertising. Cost-per-click advertising generates revenue.
Does Amazon offer any ‘buy now pay later’ options?
Amazon offers its own structured payment plans similar to the BNPL payment module on select items and in particular items developed by Amazon themselves such as Kindle e-readers, Echo home devices, and Fire tablets. These Amazon tech devices can be availed to you through a payment structure that allows you to make some of the payment upfront.
You will have the purchase shipped to you as you continue to pay the remainder in four monthly installments thereafter.
There are other financing options on the Amazon online shopping platform and should you want to access them, it would be easier if you have an Amazon card which gives you access to many more financing options.
The card along with the Amazon app that you could download on your phone will unlock more options on Amazon flexible payments and financing. Visit Amazon.com
Given the scale and market share that BNPL companies hold especially with younger shoppers, Amazon cannot afford to ignore these entities in total. Amazon has entered into a partnership with Affirm Financing Inc precisely to reach this market.
Notably though, unlike Afterpay, Affirm does run what they term as ‘soft background checks’ on consumers looking to benefit from their services, a fact that is likely not lost on Amazon’s financial management personnel.
The service, however, will not be open for all kinds of purchases and Amazon is still keen on keeping the options to buy goods and pay later to a minimum.
Are there drawbacks to using ‘buy now pay later’ options?
Consumer protection groups have outcried the single obvious challenge with these flexible payment options.
By encouraging consumers to buy by spending what they have yet to earn and by keeping buyers in a constant state of acquiring ‘things’ these companies are contributing to a society continually being plunged into debt through runaway consumerism.
Sinking into debt, especially at a young age could see young people completely unable to emerge from this cycle their entire lives.