Consider this: out of 900 million Indians who use banking services, barely 30 million 30 million The Economic Times Credit card usage rides on digital push, grows 27% Read more  are unique credit card holders. That’s only around 3.33% of banked Indians with easy access to credit. Not having enough credit puts a lot of things out of reach, such as the ability to afford medium- and big-ticket purchases. 

It’s an endless loop—without enough credit, users can’t build up their credit score, and without high enough credit scores, loans get more unattainable. 

So when a company comes along, saying, “Here’s money for that smartphone you wanted, pay us back in two weeks,” without credit score checks or the hoop-jumping required to apply for credit cards, it piques the interest of customers. According to payments gateway unicorn Razorpay, the number of ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ (BNPL) transactions it facilitated in November spiked 163% compared to the same period the previous year.

These BNPL offerings vary wildly. Credit amounts can range from as little as Rs 2,000 ($27) to a general upper limit of Rs 10,000 ($135), where customers have to pay back the sum in one go. Repayment periods also differ—from two weeks to as much as a month. A delay in repayment can lead to late payment charges of up to Rs 100 ($1) per day. 

Move beyond the basic definition and the line only blurs further between the different offerings, iterations, and products that companies offer in the BNPL segment. 

Those such as Lazypay, the BNPL product offered by payments company PayU India, or BNPL startups such as the Bengaluru-based Simpl and Mumbai-based ePayLater follow the deferred payment model. These players see most adoption via merchants such as food delivery players Zomato and Swiggy, and e-ticketing platform BookMyShow, among others. This model isn’t exactly new (we wrote about them here here The Ken Pay Later, the next wallet Read more ). 

There have also been companies lending—and subsequently building multimillion-dollar businesses—through EMI-based repayment schemes for a long time now. Payments solutions provider Pine Labs Pine Labs The Ken Pine Labs – Unicorn Future, Hoary Past Read more  and Bengaluru-based lender ZestMoney both offer higher sums of money, upto Rs 1 lakh ($1360), for an extended period. 

Then there’s a third camp, filled with non-fintech companies who also want a piece of the BNPL pie.

AUTHOR

Bhumika Khatri

Bhumika covers e-commerce, consumer internet, and everything startup for The Ken in Delhi. In her previous stint at Inc42, she spent two and a half years writing about a breadth of startups and topics. A commerce graduate, Bhumika completed her postgraduate in journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bengaluru. You can reach her at [email protected]

View Full Profile

Subscribe to read this story

The Ken is the only business subscription you need. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at [email protected] with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.