Trade Me launches buy now, pay later technology

Trade Me's new Afterpay system will allow buyers to pay for items in fortnightly instalments.
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Trade Me's new Afterpay system will allow buyers to pay for items in fortnightly instalments.

Trade Me's new technology may make it easier for bidders to pay for goods, but it could be risky for buyers on a budget.

Australian buy now, pay later payment provider Afterpay will be available on Trade Me listings from $20 to $800.

Buyers will receive the item they won straight away but can pay for it in four fortnightly instalments. Sellers will receive the full payment immediately from Afterpay and the payments from the buyer will go to Afterpay.

Financial trainer Hannah McQueen said Afterpay could be dangerous for impulse buyers.
CHRIS MCKEEN/FAIRFAX NZ

Financial trainer Hannah McQueen said Afterpay could be dangerous for impulse buyers.

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But there may be some catches for the consumer.

Afterpay is already operating in store and online in Australia with 500,000 customers using it to make purchases with 3100 retailers.

Although the payments are interest-free, a late fee of A$10 applies there if payment is not made by 11pm after the scheduled due date, and a further fee A$7 is added if a payment is not made a week after that.

The Afterpay website says once a payment date is decided it cannot be changed.

Afterpay will be free for buyers on Trade Me to use with a credit or debit card, but will come at a percentage fee of the sale for sellers.

Trade Me head of marketplace Stuart McLean said: "We haven't finalised the pay yet but it will be similar to the percentage in Australia. But needless to say sellers are using it in droves in Australia because it really drives up sales," McLean said.

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Afterpay spokeswoman Christine Kardashian said: "In Australia our standard merchant rates are 4.5-6 per cent plus $0.30 per transaction. As New Zealand is a new market, we are working with Trade Me to determine the appropriate rate."

Moneymax financial planner Liz Koh said the system could be useful for people struggling financially who need to buy essential items. But buyers need to make sure they can make the repayments over the time frame and should make sure they read the fine print.

Financial advisor Hannah McQueen said there may be some good in the new system.

"The great thing about Trade Me is you're getting an item cheaper than the price of it brand new. So being able to pay it in instalments is better than a brand new item in instalments," she said.

"The challenge is it's just tempting, and a lot of people are already struggling to get ahead. Spending money on something you don't need - even in instalments - is always bad if you're trying to get ahead."

McQueen said it could be dangerous for people prone to impulse buying.

McLean said Trade Me decided to use Afterpay to tackle the issue of delayed payments.

"We saw what Afterpay was doing in Australia and decided to get into bed with them and put their services on Trade Me."

He couldn't say how much Trade Me stood to make from the new technology, instead saying: "It's too early to say, but we know that merchants using Afterpay in Australia have seen more buyers coming to them and more sales so we think it will do well for us and our sellers."

The exact date of Afterpay going live isn't known but will be before Christmas.

 - Stuff

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