The Financial Post reports in its Saturday, Oct. 1, edition that Jack Dorsey's Block Inc. finally brought its buy now, pay later (BNPL) service to Canada last week, eight months after buying BNPL pioneer Afterpay for $29-billion (U.S.) in January.
The Post's Bianca Bharti writes that it might have struck some as an odd time to push forward with an offering built on a foundation of ultralow interest rates.
The Bank of Canada has increased its benchmark interest rate three percentage points since March and Governor Tiff Macklem has been clear he is not finished, as inflation is running at an annual rate of about 7 per cent, too fast for a central bank that targets 2 per cent.
So, higher borrowing costs will test the resiliency of BNPL, a type of credit popularized in recent years by digital upstarts that allows shoppers to pay instalments at zero interest over a period of six to eight weeks. Block, via its e-commerce and point-of-sale (POS) subsidiary Square, is betting that the new interest-rate backdrop will separate the strong from the weak, as financial technology companies that are overly reliant on BNPL become prey for companies that offer a wider array of financial services.
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