Bill Now, Pay Later? — The Barefoot Investor

Hi Barefoot,

As I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed drinking my morning coffee, I spotted an ad for Deferit. There are lots of ‘buy now, pay later’ schemes these days, but this is the first I’ve spotted for paying bills and splitting them into instalments. Although I don’t use these types of services myself, I know a growing number of people who do — so curiosity got the better of me and I had a look at what they claim to do. They claim to have no interest or late fee charges. They pay your bill up front and get you to pay it back in four equal fortnightly instalments. It appears they only charge a monthly fee when you utilise their service. My question is: is it really that transparent or is there a catch?

Sarika

Hi Sarika,

They’re basically Afterpay with a different logo.

Yet, instead of splitting $150 to get some bro-tox (why should the ladies have all the fun?), they’re suggesting you do it with your day-to-day bills.

Ding! Ding! Ding!

All these fintech bros have convinced themselves they’re saving the world. Heck, Afterpay still claims they’re a ‘budgeting app’, and so does Deferit.

Bulldust!

They’re out for themselves. The reason they encourage people to use money to pay for things is because their business model relies on it.

True budgeting advice – say, from a free financial counsellor – would get to the guts of the matter by sitting down with you, working through your budget, and looking at your capacity to pay your bills.

And this may reveal that you’re in over your head and need more than a fortnightly bandaid. Or it may help you negotiate a short payment plan with your billers so you can pay your bills with cash on time. And that will allow you to stand strongly on your own two feet.

Scott.

Barefoot Admin

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