Buy Now, Regret Later?

Companies in the “buy now, pay later” business have one message for consumers and a very different one for Wall Street and retailers. They tell consumers that B.N.P.L. is a safe, responsible way to shop. Meanwhile, they tell investors and retailers that B.N.P.L. is a good way to get people to spend more. Can both things be true? I’m not sure.

“Buy now, pay later” is making an impact this holiday shopping season. From 2019 until last year, the dollar volume of loans originated in the United States by the big five B.N.P.L. lenders grew to $24 billion from $2 billion, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And most indications are that the strong growth has continued this year. According to a

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