Vice President & Head of Product & Digital, Visa Canada
Paying for purchases in smaller, regular intervals is a choice that a growing number of Canadians are looking for. Here’s how Visa’s new Installments solution will help financial institutions offer consumers more choice and control over their budget.
When it comes to purchasing decisions, it’s clear that Canadians want more options for when and how they pay for purchases. Installments — also known as “buy now pay later” plans, which involves dividing total purchase amounts into smaller, equal payments made over time — is a rapidly growing trend. It’s seeing accelerated adoption across the globe as it represents increased choice for consumers, and the ability for merchants to up their competitive advantage and bring shoppers more ways to pay.
“In Canada, we’ve seen 30 percent growth in installments in the last year alone,” says Brian Weiner, Vice President and Head of Product and Digital at Visa Canada, referring to an Ipsos September 2020 study. “The pandemic has accelerated the growth and speed of digital payments everywhere and created room to insert additional options for consumers and merchants.”
In Canada, we’ve seen 30 percent growth in installments in the last year alone.The pandemic has accelerated the growth and speed of digital payments everywhere and created room to insert additional options for consumers and merchants.
It’s not a new phenomenon — installments have been popular in markets like South America and Europe for a long time. The Australian market is expected to double by 2023; in the U.K., it’s expected to double by 2025.1 However, it’s not just customers driving this trend. According to Shopify’s recent report on the Future of Commerce, the number of Shopify merchants in the U.S. offering installment payment options has increased by 60 percent since the start of the pandemic.
Canadians of all generations are adopting innovative payment options
The data suggests that the installments trend is here to stay. As is common for any industry undergoing a period of rapid growth, the payments ecosystem is also experiencing disruption and innovation. The pandemic is continuing to push businesses to offer improved consumer experiences, with digital-first ways to pay. And consumers of all ages are embracing flexible payment solutions like installments.
“We know that Gen Z and millennials are a new class of consumer who expect flexibility and choice,” says Weiner. “But, interestingly, the biggest growth of interest since 2017 has come from Gen X and baby boomers. And as consumers seek more flexible options, transparency and trust remain of high importance among all demographics.”
To better protect the long-term health of financial ecosystems, it’s important that installment providers understand the needs of consumers and merchants in today’s payments market.
“Visa is in the great position of being present in and observing markets all around the world, and our goal is to bring the best payments experiences to Canada,” says Weiner. “Installments aren’t new, but we’re seeing their resurgence in a modern economic context. At Visa, our vision is to create a solution built on a foundation of trust and responsibility, designed with the well-being of both Canadian consumers and merchants in mind.”
Canadian consumers and merchants first to benefit from Visa’s new installments solution
This summer marks the launch of Visa Installments in Canada — one of the first countries to launch globally. Visa Installments will give eligible credit cardholders the option to divide purchases they’ve already made (online or in-store) into smaller, equal payments over a defined time period, based on the existing credit available on their credit cards.
Looking ahead, Visa Installments will also be made available by Canadian issuers at participating merchants during the checkout process. “With the Visa solution, buyers use existing accounts and lines of credit from the bank or card issuer they know and trust. There’s no need to download an app, submit a new credit check, or enter any additional information,” says Weiner. “If you have an eligible credit card, the purchase will automatically be deducted from your available credit line. Allowing consumers to make this choice without taking on any new credit is a key component of the solution.”
Where merchants have opted into the during-purchase installment program, Canadian consumers will be able to choose whether to pay in smaller, regular amounts at the point of purchase. With transparency related to the payment schedule, the solution is geared towards providing consumers with more control over their budgets.
For merchants, opting into the program can also carry significant benefits. The solution is designed to be seamless, and easy to use for customers. Integrating an installments option at checkout can increase both the average ticket size of purchases and conversion rates for shoppers.2
“Our solution is API-based and designed to be very simple to integrate for both in-person and e-commerce transactions,” says Weiner. “With a single integration, a merchant can enable installments options for their eligible customers without them needing to sign up for a new service or be directed to another page and asked to fill out an application form. It doesn’t get any easier than that.”
1 Euromonitor Global Installment Payment Opportunity Report
2 Euromonitor research: Interbank Cards Centre of Turkey