Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solutions, designed to provide consumers or small businesses the means to afford high-ticket retail or travel items and pay for them in installments, has been sweeping the retail space. With upwards of 27% of consumers now expecting BNPL solutions at the point of sale both online and in store, it's crucial that lenders providing this service understand the needs and requirements of not only the retailers they partner with but also the consumers and small businesses they target.

With a rise in mobile adoption and shopping, as well as a demand for white-labeled solutions that give the illusion of proprietary technology, building a BNPL model that seamlessly integrates into the customer journey is becoming a key component of BNPL success.

But what's the best way to seamlessly integrate into said customer journey? Below we break down the 3 most common ways to integrate.

Provide the Flexibility of Choice

Buy Now Pay Later solutions don't always require a direct partnership with a retailer. You may be a lender that offers flexible loans that allows customers to search for the best deals (like with a big trip), and want to restrict that loan to either a merchant category, or perhaps a collection of retailers you work with. While this BNPL solution falls at the beginning of a customer journey rather than the end, it is still just a crucial for a seamless integration.

Virtual prepaid cards allow for restricted loan disbursements. Restricted to either a merchant category code (MCC), like travel, or to specific merchants (MID restriction) like Red Tag or Expedia, virtual cards provide real time issuance, ease of use and can be fully white-labeled to either your brand or your retail partners.

Invisible Backend Real Time Payments

If you partner with retailers one-on-one, you may be looking for a solution that is so seamless, it's practically invisible. And that's where real time payments come in. Often a solution located towards the end of the customer journey just before purchasing, real time payments give the illusion of installment payments to the purchaser, but don't leave the retailer without payment for the goods.

Hidden behind the scenes, you can integrate with your retail partners and issue payments for POS finance items in real time covering the cost of the item, all while signing up the consumer or small business for installments with simply a debit card. Fully integrated into the customer journey, this BNPL model helps your retail partners boost brand loyalty and help reduce cart abandonment and broaden their pool of potential shoppers.

Upfront Payments with Autofill Virtual Cards

A blend of the two previous Buy Now Pay Later models, upfront payments with autofill virtual cards allow you to issue purchasers virtual cards for the full amount upfront, but restricts said card to your specific retail partner instead of providing the option to shop around. These merchant ID (MID) restricted virtual cards then autofill card details into the checkout page for a seamless signup to purchase flow.

And like both the flexible BNPL model and the real time payments option, debt repayment or installments to pay down the cost of the item can be configured during the setup of the BNPL solution with the collection of a users debit card details.

While there is no one right way to seamlessly integrate BNPL into the customer journey, it is key to choose the option that best suits your lending business needs and what works for your retail partnerships.

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