BNPL aggregation is set to disrupt the pay later and lending market

Monday 31 October 2022 09:00 CET | Editor: Raluca Ochiana | Interview

Basant Singh, Senior VP and Head of the ACI Merchant Business Unit, shares insights into BNPL aggregation, a concept and solution aimed at disrupting the pay later and lending market.


'Multiple lenders of different types such as prime, near-prime and sub-prime, can be configured under ACI PayAfter which greatly increases consumer approvals and increases conversion.'

Why should a merchant partner with a white-label provider rather than a direct provider, for instance? What are the benefits for merchants and consumers? 

BNPL is booming, there is no doubt about it. Merchants are leaving sales on the table if they don’t offer some form of short lending solution to their customers. The problem is that most of the famous solutions are surprisingly restrictive when it comes to credit approval criteria. For the merchant, it means that there are a lot of shoppers that want to avail of the service but are getting denied credit when it comes to paying. At best, that’s a bad experience for consumers but, in reality, it translates to lost sales. The logical solution to this is to offer a wider variety of BNPL options at the checkout. However, if each solution comes with its own button, the checkout gets pretty crowded and confusing quite quickly. Not to mention the cost and time it takes to integrate all the solutions one by one. 

What can you tell us about the new ACI PayAfter solution launched this year? How does it stand out from other BNPL products on the market?

ACI PayAfter gives the merchant access to 70+ BNPL providers via a single API and only one contract with ACI. As for consumers, they only need to fill out one credit application regardless of how many lenders are configured. There is no other global solution on the market that has a BNPL offering like this. Multiple lenders of different types such as prime, near-prime, and sub-prime, can be configured under ACI PayAfter which greatly increases consumer approvals and increases conversion. The shopper only applies for credit once, and has access to the broad selection of lenders, ensuring they match with the lender that is a fit for their circumstances. It is a win-win for the shopper and the merchant. 

For the shopper, it translates into a better experience all around. At the checkout, there is only one BNPL button to choose from, which means a cleaner and less confusing experience. With one application, they have access to all the lenders participating in PayAfter and they get a very quick response and a very high probability of credit approval. 

For the merchant, the benefits are clear. They gain uplifts in conversion, with more happy customers who experience credit acceptance rates of up to 85%. And they only need to integrate once to access the full array of lenders. In fact, if they are an ACI customer already, there is no integration necessary. It’s a case of simply activating a new payment method in the Payment Orchestration Platform.

What types of BNPL providers are you partnering with? Direct providers only or do you also include services from banks and financial institutions?

A mix of prime, near-prime and sub-prime banks and financial institutional lenders plus card instalment providers and payin4 providers. The broad mix means consumers will be matched with the lender that is right for them. Credit approval rates are considerably higher than with the traditional model of individual lenders offered at checkout.

While aggregating multiple BNPL options is more convenient for merchants as well as for consumers, how is the risk score checked and who takes responsibility for late payments?

A single credit app is filled out by the consumer and presented to the first lender configured. The first lender has the right to approve the credit line. Then, depending on configuration, the first lender can share the credit info with the other lenders configured to find as many approved offers as possible for the consumer. This increases the chance for a consumer to obtain financing which, in turn, increases sales for the merchant. The financial agreement is between the consumer and the lender, with the lender being responsible for collecting late payments from the consumer. 

This service is more of a BNPL marketplace in nature. How will it affect or influence customer loyalty towards certain payment methods? 

Shoppers have brand preferences. Sometimes, they have a selection of go-to brands, and it’s important to cater to this. The merchant can choose which lenders to configure and there are multiple places throughout the checkout and credit app experience where lenders' logos can be featured. As ACI PayAfter offers shoppers much higher credit approval rates, consumers will learn that it is a better shopping experience, where they get credit, every time, with just one application. This frictionless experience will certainly generate loyalty, which is a win-win for both the merchant and the shopper. 

What is your outlook for the BNPL market in the coming years? More FIs developing pay later services, direct providers opening up their own marketplace, or is there anything else that you can envision?  

BNPL has proven popular and is growing in usage. The reason for its popularity is the flexibility and control it offers shoppers. Spreading payments without incurring fees is clearly comfortable for shoppers and they are becoming accustomed to it. This means it has cemented itself as an option at checkout for the foreseeable future. With Apple and Amazon now fully embracing BNPL, merchants are left with little choice if they want to keep up with consumer demand. We will continue to see BNPL grow as a concept, and we will certainly see continued innovations in this space, such as BNPL with crypto for example. 


This interview was first published in Payment Methods Report 2022, the most updated overview of trends and developments in the payment methods space and the innovative technologies that these methods work upon, emerging consumers habits, and strategies on how to win at conversion and retention.

About Basant Singh

Basant Singh is a highly experienced payments industry executive with more than 20 years of experience, spanning payments, fintech, and consulting services. He leads ACI Worldwide’s Merchant and Payments Intelligence solutions portfolio, which encompasses a Payment Orchestration Platform to offer ecommerce, omnichannel payments, merchant fraud, and Alternative Payments. He has global business experience with merchant acquiring spanning direct and indirect channels, financial institution alliances, customer segments and verticals.

About ACI Worldwide

ACI Worldwide delivers the software and solutions that power the global economy. Our mission-critical real-time payment solutions enable corporations to process and manage digital payments, power omni-commerce payments, present and process bill payments, and manage fraud and risk.

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Keywords: payment methods, ecommerce, BNPL, financial institutions, merchants, lending
Categories: Payments & Commerce
Companies: ACI Worldwide
Countries: World
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