Installment payments are currently being used with great success in other countries but it has yet to become prevalent in the U.S. Based on some recent news from Visa, that might soon be changing.
The latest from Visa
In June, Visa revealed its intention to enter the POS installment payment business. By using APIs, this would allow businesses that accept Visa credit card payments through merchant services to offer installment plans to their customers.
An installment plan is set for a certain duration, during which customers make payments in equal amounts on a schedule, until the payment total equals the purchase price. For example, the classic as seen on tv ads used to say “three easy payments of $19.99” – that was an installment payment structure.
These installment options will be offered by Visa Next, a new website that is expected to become a source of innovative and exciting payment solutions. This particular product will be available in January 2020.
What this means for merchants and consumers
Businesses that use merchant services to facilitate credit card payments will be able to take advantage of this new opportunity. But how will this benefit them? Good question.
Giving consumers payment options is always good for business. These installment payment plans are likely to accomplish that because they make it easy and quick to set up the plan. However, this isn’t the case right now. Our standard method, right now, for offering consumers a payment plan involves the consumer getting a loan for the amount of the purchase through a third party lender, and paying it off through them.
Here’s how it normally goes:
- Consumers are given installment options.
- They must sign up with a certain provider.
- Consumers must complete the application process.
- They may or may not get accepted.
- If accepted, they can apply their funds to the purchase.
- This must be repeated for each different merchant.
With Visa using APIs for installment payments, none of that will be necessary. Customers will simply be given the opportunity to choose a payment plan using an account they already have.
This will be more convenient for customers, making it easier for them to set up a payment plan, which could increase sales for businesses that offer these plans.