The Buy Now Pay Later Boom: Kiwis’ BNPL Spending Surges

The Buy Now Pay Later boom is in full swing. The latest figures show Kiwis are opting to spread their purchases over multiple instalments, with around $15 million a week in online spending, or one in every five dollars, going through BNPL companies.

Data source:

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes are continuing their meteoric rise in the New Zealand market. BNPL companies like Humm (formerly Oxipay), Afterpay, Laybuy, and Zip are all experiencing rapid growth in the online retail market. According to new data from NZ Post, in the second quarter of 2021, BNPL was up 28% on the same quarter in 2020, and if you go back to the same quarter in 2019, it’s a massive 121%.

The growth is attributed to more consumers using BNPL, consumers using BNPL more frequently, and consumers making larger purchases.

BNPL statistics

Data Source:

BNPL offers consumers the opportunity to make purchases and pay them off in interest-free instalments. But unlike the old form of lay-buy, consumers don’t have to wait until they have made the final payment to take home their goods. Rather, they can take it home when the initial payment is made. Because of this, consumers have the added benefit of having the item now while paying it off over time. 

BNPL has become a competitive advantage for many retailers, as they are always looking to meet consumer demands.

And the demands are big.

BNPL spend in New Zealand cities has increased by 140% since two years ago. Furthermore, rural BNPL spending isn’t far behind, up 115%. As expected, BNPL continues to be most popular among young people.

Here in New Zealand, we have a choice of six BNPL schemes. Read on below if you want to learn more:

In this article we cover:

What is Buy Now Pay Later?
How do I sign up?
BNPL and credit scores
What BNPL options are there?
BNPL vs. credit cards

What is Buy Now Pay Later?

As mentioned above, BNPL allows you to pay off an item in interest-free instalments. But unlike traditional Lay-Buy schemes, you get to take home the item when you make the initial payment. Due to the rise in popularity, many online retailers and in-person stores are now offering BNPL. However, most retailers only offer one provider so if you want to use BNPL widely across stores, you may have to sign up for more than one provider. 

BNPL payments are interest-free, but they can have steep penalties for late or missed payments. Because these payments are usually made automatically, so long as you have enough money on your card, you should be able to avoid late payment fees.

For the retailer, whenever a purchase is made using BNPL, a small fee is taken, and this is where the majority of income is generated for BNPL providers. In saying this, for many retailers, the added cost is worth it because of the extra customers they get through BNPL.

How do I sign up for BNPL?

Signing up to BNPL only takes a few minutes because unlike credit cards or personal loans, there are no lengthy checks required when signing up to a BNPL provider. Simply go to their website or app. You will need to enter your contact details, provide proof of ID, and link your account to a credit card or debit card.

The display order does not reflect any ranking or rating by Canstar.

Provider Instalments Frequency Late Fee Late Fee Cap
4 Fortnightly $10 then $7 each week 25% of item cost
5/10 Weekly/Fortnightly $10 per missed payment None
10 Weekly $10 per missed payment None
6 Weekly $10 per missed payment $40
4 Fortnightly $3-$15 per missed payment $9-$45
4 Fortnightly $8 per missed payment $40

This information is not an endorsement by Canstar of BNPL schemes or any specific provider.

BNPL and credit scores…

BNPL providers generally do not do a full credit check on you when you sign up or make a purchase. Because they’re not considered lenders in the traditional sense, they don’t have to adhere to the same responsible lending criteria as credit card and personal loan providers.

Rather than a thorough full, or hard, credit check that leaves a mark on your record, they can get away with a quick check that doesn’t leave a permanent hit on your credit report. This is why the application process is so quick and easy. However, in the T&Cs, you do authorise them to do any enquiries or checks they feel necessary. So for this reason, it is possible that a credit report could be done. 

More importantly, you also authorise them to pass on any information about your late payments, missed payments, defaults or penalty payments to credit reporting agencies. This means if you miss payments or have other negative activity, your credit score could take a hit as a reult.

→ Related article: Buy Now Regret Later: How AfterPay Can Hurt Your Credit Score

What BNPL options do we have in New Zealand?


BNPL afterpay logo


Afterpay is one of the most recognisable BNPL schemes in NZ.

  • Pay over four instalments, every two weeks, from the initial purchase instalment
  • Personalised credit limit
  • App and website
  • Digital Afterpay card that works like Google Pay or Apple Pay

Late Fees

  • $10 fee for your first late repayment; $7 fee every seven days if you continue to miss your repayments
  • Fee cap: For each order below $40, a max of one $10 late fee may be applied per order. For each order of $40 or above, the total of the late fees that may be applied are capped at 25% of the original order value or $68, whichever is less


BNPL humm logo


Humm offers two different types of BNPL schemes through its app and website.

  • Little Things – credit of up to $1000 (repayments made in five fortnightly or 10 weekly instalments)
  • Big Things – credit of up to $10,000 (repayments made fortnightly over a period of six, nine, 12, or up to 24 months)

Little Things – you have the option of making both online and in-store purchases, and can purchase up to five items at any one time (as long as they stay within your credit limit).

Big Things – a fresh application is required for each purchase you want to make using Big Things. Humm then does a credit check and affordability assessment to determine the amount of credit they will approve. A $20 establishment fee applies upon paying the deposit. Plus there is a $2.50 per month account administration fee.

Late Fees

  • For both Big Things and Little Things, a fee of $10 applies each time a repayment is not paid by the due date for payment, payable two days after that due date
  • A collection fee of $30 applies each time a collection agent is needed to enforce repayment of an unpaid debt

→ Related article: What is Humm and How Does it Work?


BNPL genoapay logo


Genoapay is available at 1000s of stores in NZ, including big-name high-street retailers such as Cotton On, Evo Cycles, Harvey Norman, Nood and Typo.

  • Pay in 10 weekly instalments
  • Credit of up to $1000
  • App and website
  • Change payment day
  • Split payment between Genoapay and cash/credit card

Late Fees

  • $10 fee is charged for each missed payment
  • You are responsible for all debt collection fees


BNPL laybuy logo


Founded here in 2016, Laybuy has grown into Australia and the UK. It can be used at thousands of merchants around the globe, including big retailers such as Cotton On, Ezibuy, Stirling Sports, Life Pharmacy and Unichem.

  • Pay in six weekly instalments
  • Personalised credit limit
  • Use Laybuy Boost, using your own cash, to make purchases above your credit limit
  • App and website
  • Change payment dates
  • Digital Laybuy card that works like Google Pay or Apple Pay

Late Fees

  • $10 fee for each missed payment
  • Payment fees are capped at $40


BNPL klarna logo


Already in 21 countries worldwide, BNPL service Klarna is the latest BNPL service in NZ.

  • Pay in four, fortnightly instalments
  • Personalised credit limit
  • App and website
  • Klarna’s app offers the ability to keep track of payments, save favourite items to wish lists, and receive price drop notifications when those items go on sale
  • Reward points called Vibes; you can convert 1 Vibe into 3 Flybuys points
  • Snooze button in the Klarna app gives 10 extra days to pay an instalment (one use per purchase)

Late Fees

Unlike other BNPL services, Klarna charges different late fees, depending on the size of your purchase. You are only charged one late fee per late instalment, meaning the most you will be charged is $9, $15, $21 or $45, depending on the value of your order.

Total order value Late fee per instalment   Maximum late fee per order
(across 3 late repayments)
Up to $59.99 $3 $9
$60-$99.99 $5 $15
$100-$199.99 $7 $21
$200+ $15 $45

→ Related article: What is Klarna, NZ’s Newest BNPL Scheme?


BNPL zip logo


Zip has over 2 million customers across Australia and New Zealand, and is available at over 1600 retailers, including The Warehouse, Noel Leeming, Bunnings Warehouse, The Market and Chemist Warehouse.

  • Pay in four, fortnightly instalments
  • Credit of up to $1000
  • App and website

Late Fees

  • $8 fee for missing a payment plus further $8 for every week the payment is outstanding
  • Payment fees are capped at $40

BNPL vs. credit cards: what’s the difference?

BNPL services allow you to pay off an item over several weeks, interest-free, so the price you find the item for will (generally) be the overall price you pay. Payments are usually split into four to ten instalments. 

Credit cards let you spend by borrowing money from the card supplier, who then sends you a bill at the end of each month. Additionally, if you do not pay off the full amount borrowed you will usually be charged interest on your amount owing. Credit cards have a fixed limit, which is the maximum you can borrow and is dependant on factors such as your credit score and income.

Furthermore, with credit cards, all your purchases go into one pool. This means you can’t say to yourself you’ve paid a particular item off unless you clear the entire bill. But in the case of BNPL, you can track the repayments on individual items.

Considering a credit card?

If you are considering a credit card, make sure you check the credit cards available in the market, to see which one suits your spending profile. Canstar researches, rates and compares credit cards, to help you make an informed decision. For more info on the different cards available in New Zealand, click on our link below.

Compare credit cards with Canstar

author andrew broadley

About the author of this page

This report was written by Canstar Content Producer, Andrew Broadley. Andrew is an experienced writer with a wide range of industry experience. Starting out, he cut his teeth working as a writer for print and online magazines, and he has worked in both journalism and editorial roles. His content has covered lifestyle and culture, marketing and, more recently, finance for Canstar.

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