Mastercard has super-charged its fightback against competing buy now, pay later providers with the launch of Installments, a point of sale payments programme for online and instore purchases in the UK, Austalia and the US
Mastercard Installments enables banks, lenders, fintechs and wallets the ability to offer BNPL experiences at merchants with flexibility across the entire acceptance network.
The card sheme is working with Barclays US, Fifth Third, FIS, Galileo, Huntington, Marqeta, SoFi, and Synchrony in the US, and with Qantas Loyalty and Latitude in Australia on the BNPL programme.
It enables members to offer a variety of flexible installment options to consumers - including a zero percent interest, pay-in-four model - without onerous integration into the merchant infrastructure.
Crucially, Mastercard is deploying Open Banking technology through Finicity in the US and its pending acquisition of Aiia in Europe to use consumer permissioned data tied to debit or bank account credentials to run afforability checks on applicants.
“At the heart of it, payments come down to choice - and people want more from their money with greater flexibility and control in how they pay and where they shop,” says Craig Vosburg, chief product officer, Mastercard. “Mastercard Installments has been built on our guiding principles to protect consumers and enable choice without sacrificing trust and security. It is a digital-focused way to pay today and tomorrow, delivered through consumer’s most trusted relationships with their banks and other lenders, at merchants of their choice.”
Mastercard's arrival into the booming BNPL market comes hard of the heels of rival card scheme Visa, which has set up a website providing its credit card issuing partners with APIs to develop and pilot their own instalment payment programmes. Users can choose the duration of loans, the participating merchants and cards, and the interest and fees.
APIs are then available to check eligible plans for a transaction, select a plan, convert the original transaction into an instalment plan and then to schedule the payments.
In Canada, Visa has already signed CIBC, Desjardins and Scotiabank to the BNPL offering, while the first partner in the US is Commerce Bank.