NerdWallet: It’s ‘pay’ time for buy now, pay later purchases—here are 5 ways to handle the debt

by | Feb 1, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  Chances are that your “buy now, pay later” bill from the holiday season will arrive soon or has already made its debut. If you’re not financially prepared to pay up, late fees or other charges can bury you deeper in debt. Circumstances can change over a matter of weeks through financial setbacks like unemployment, an unexpected bill, a family emergency or other events.

When you’re feeling the financial squeeze of those pay-in-four buy now, pay later plans — and possibly other debts — it’s important to create a plan to pay down balances. Here are a few options to consider as you strategize your way out of debt.1. Update your budget Review your budget and trim unnecessary expenses or swap services for less costly alternatives. Cancel unused subscriptions, for example, or switch to a cheaper streaming service. If you’re also struggling with credit card debt that may take three to five years to pay off, consider consulting an accredited nonprofit credit counseling agency about a debt management plan, which can consolidate some balances into a single low-interest payment. Note that accounts enrolled in the plan are typically required to be closed, which could affect your finances in the short term. Read: Consolidating credit card debt can help you pay it off faster: Here’s how to do it2. Change your payment due date Some lenders like Klarna and Afterpay allow you to change the payment due date or request an extension. Klarna customers using a pay-in-four loan can extend the due date of a payment for each order once by 14 days, according to the company’s website. Afterpay may provide more leeway, allowing changes to the payment due date up to six times per year in the app, according to Amanda Pires, a company spokesperson. Lender policies may differ, so read the plan’s terms or ask the lender about your options.3. Communicate with lenders about hardships If a financial setback or emergency keeps you from making payments, the buy now, pay later lender may offer some relief. Major buy now, pay later companies with hardship policies typically encourage you to contact customer service as soon as possible about hardships. “Affirm users experiencing financial hardship can contact us through our help center so we can work with them to identify an available repayment option that best meets their personal needs,” Casey Becker, a company spokesperson, said via email. Terms vary by lender. Don’t miss: CFPB chief says ‘buy now, pay later’ companies’ models are ‘dependent …

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