Read the lesson in English  
then translate to your own language to verify your understanding.

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is Booming

Dec 18, 2023

In Episode 85,  we delve into a fascinating headline from early December published by CNN: ‘It’s lending on steroids’: How Buy Now, Pay Later companies are meeting an influx of demand despite higher costs.

What does “Lending on steroids” mean? In economic terms, this expression suggests that loans are being made at an unusually rapid and vibrant pace. Steroids, typically associated with bodybuilders for artificial muscle gain, here metaphorically describes the accelerated rate of lending. The headline indicates that Buy Now Pay Later companies are responding to a significant increase in demand.

These modern-day companies provide third-party financing for consumers, offering easy terms, reminiscent of the old furniture store ads promoting “No money down, don’t make your first payment until a later date.” This easy financing, now facilitated by internet and app technologies, presents a convenient alternative for consumers who prefer not to use credit cards.

Moving on to the article, it highlights the evolving landscape of holiday spending. Traditionally dominated by credit cards, the spotlight is now shared with Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) companies. These are often referred to as BNPL companies, for the initials of Buy Now, Pay Later. On Cyber Monday, BNPL purchases soared, reaching an all-time high. BNPL companies, like credit cards, allow customers to make purchases without immediate funds, offering interest-free installments over a typical six-week period. However, late payments may incur fees, and longer payment terms might attract high-interest rates.

Despite most customers meeting their payment schedules, there’s been a slight uptick in late payments. The focus now is on fostering relationships with reliable customers to encourage repeat transactions, which helps BNPL companies assess lending capabilities more accurately. And by ‘fostering’ relationships with customers, I mean ‘beginning and developing’ relationships. Fostering.

The article also touches on the shift from zero-interest loans due to rising interest rates and how BNPL companies are reworking terms with retailers to balance their income sources from user interest and retailer fees.

Here’s an idiomatic expression that ties in with our topic: “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” It cautions against taking on more responsibility or debt than one can handle, relevant to both consumers and BNPL companies in this context.

As we wrap up, I wish those celebrating Christmas a very merry one. For others, I hope the holidays provide a chance to relax with family and friends. You can read the full article on the CNN website or find the link at, where you can also sign up for lesson alerts. Make learning English part of your 2024 goals, and remember, setting an annual target is a great motivator.

Thank you for joining me today. Take care, and I’ll be back soon with another episode of English for Economists. Bye for now.


Join Our Podcast Club

You Can Also Subscribe to Our Podcast On These Platforms:

Follow us on spotify
Apple Podcast


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Podcasts

The 996 Culture

The 996 Culture

What is the 996 culture? This refers to a work schedule that has been making waves in the tech industry, particularly in China. Yes, the "996" culture. It’s a practice that's been both supported and criticized for its impact on employees and companies alike. But...

Shrinkflation, Skimpflation and the ‘Sheconomy’

Shrinkflation, Skimpflation and the ‘Sheconomy’

Hello, friends. It’s great to be back. Having been away for quite some time, I've prepared a special episode for you. Today, we're not just covering one but two headlines. As we look at these stories, I'll introduce you to some fascinating terms that describe very...

‘White Swan’ and ‘Black Swan’ Events

‘White Swan’ and ‘Black Swan’ Events

Today, we're exploring a fascinating topic that has attracted a lot of attention in financial circles: the concept of Black Swan and White Swan events. Our discussion and English class today was inspired by a recent Bloomberg article from January 30th titled, "A...

‘Steel Yourself’ for a Potential Trade War

‘Steel Yourself’ for a Potential Trade War

Our lesson today is based on an article from The Economist Magazine, published on January 9th, titled "Xi Jinping risks setting off another trade war." Listen again, "Xi Jinping risks setting off another trade war."...

Predictions 2024: Dollar Bears, Bond Bulls, and Steady Stocks

Predictions 2024: Dollar Bears, Bond Bulls, and Steady Stocks

The source for today’s lesson is an article taken from Bloomberg News, titled “Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Year”. The article makes several predictions about markets in 2024. They say that there will be “Dollar Bears” “Bond Bulls” and “Steady Stocks”....