Walmart Canada has become the latest retailer to introduce a Buy Now, Pay Later payment option for its customers shopping online.
The interest-free program is powered by Klarna and available at checkout on Walmart.ca and through Walmart Canada and Klarna mobile apps.
“Introducing Buy Now, Pay Later for shopping through Walmart.ca and our Walmart Canada app is the latest way we’re providing more payment choice and flexibility for customers,” said Laurent Duray, Chief E-commerce Officer, Walmart Canada, in a statement.
“Our focus has always been to help Canadians save money and live better and as we head into the holiday season, we’re prioritizing the customer experience by providing even more options when Canadians choose to shop with us.”
Richard Siew, Head of Payments, Walmart Canada, said introducing Klarna’s BNPL service enables customers to split their purchases into four flexible, interest-free payments spread over six weeks, allowing them to shop in a more convenient and accessible way.
At this time, the option is only available through ecommerce.
“We at Walmart we’re always trying to continuously improve our ecommerce and omni channel shopping experience. So this is one of the ways that we’re trying to give our customers as much payment flexibility and choice as possible,” he said.
Siew said the retailer is looking into the possibility of offering that option in-store in the future.
“But we don’t have an official announcement on that yet,” he said.
Customers can purchase items across all categories, including home goods, electronics and apparel. Orders between $50 and $4000 are eligible, with some restrictions.
Klarna is recognized as one of the leaders in the BNPL space with over 150 million global active users and two million transactions per day. More than 500,000 global retailers integrate Klarna’s innovative technology and marketing solutions to drive growth and loyalty, including H&M, Saks, Sephora, Macy’s, Ikea, Expedia Group, Nike and Airbnb.
“As consumer payment and shopping preferences evolve, retailers must adapt and embrace innovative technologies, including flexible alternative payment options,” said Steven Clarke, Head of Canada at Klarna, in a statement. “We’re excited to welcome Walmart Canada to Klarna’s fast-growing global network of over 500,000 retail partners, offering Canadian consumers the convenient, interest-free payment alternatives they’re looking for.”
Here’s how it works according to Walmart:
- Spend responsibly (with no interest or fees if you pay on time): Purchases can be split into four manageable, interest-free payments made over six weeks, with no fees when you pay on time. Klarna also sends additional emails and in-app reminders to help customers stay on top of their payment schedules, offers budgeting tools in the Klarna app and restricts the use of its services if payments are missed to prevent debt accumulation;
- Easy to use: Customers can easily sign up for a Klarna account with only basic information required and conveniently select Klarna as their method of payment at Walmart checkout. A new lending decision is made in real time for each purchase, with no impact to credit scores;
- Convenient: Customers can better manage their cash flows by timing their payments with their paycheque schedules. Payment schedules are clearly laid out so that customers know when they will be charged and how much;
- Eligible items: Walmart Canada is continuously working to improve its online shopping experience for Canadians, which includes innovating its payment solutions. In addition to Buy Now, Pay Later powered by Klarna, Walmart Canada customers outside of Quebec can also access a convenient, flexible payment option through the Walmart Rewards Mastercard, where cardholders can split a basket over $199.99 into 6 monthly instalments. A set-up fee applies.
“The pace of growth for the Buy Now Pay Later industry has been growing significantly over the last few years. And I think it demonstrates that there is a customer demand for this type of payment and customers like shopping this way,” said Siew.
Walmart Canada operates a chain of more than 400 stores nationwide serving 1.5 million customers each day. Walmart Canada’s flagship online store, Walmart.ca, is visited by more than 1.5 million customers daily.
Walmart said BNPL payments in Canada are growing by 51.6 per cent annually and they’re expected to reach US $2.13 billion by the end of this year.
Bruce Winder, Retail Analyst & Author, said the BNPL purchase option has become an effective tool for retailers to drive sales for credit card weary Gen Z customers who have limited cash flow and want more flexible payment methods.
“The program enables this customer segment to spend more in the moment – great for the holiday season – while limiting exposure to credit cards and other lending instruments. Walmart has been offering a similar program in the US since 2019. As we potentially enter a recession, these programs will grow as more of a customer’s disposable income goes to rent and groceries,” he said.
“Customers need to be careful that they keep track of BNPL purchases as they can add up quickly and layer on top of one another to make paying back the installments challenging for future months. This can lead to fees and interest charges if payments are skipped.”
George Minakakis, CEO, Inception Retail Group, and author of The New Bricks & Mortar: Future Proofing Retail, said BNPL options for consumers come as no surprise, and when home budgets are tight, having options with retailers like Walmart will be appreciated by their customers and even grow Walmart’s customer base.
“However, we should also note that, as Walmart says in their announcement, ‘BNPL payments in Canada are growing by 51.6% annually.’ It’s interesting because Canadians now owe $1.85 for every dollar of disposable income,” he said.
“Potential overconsumption can lead to debt accumulation and missed payments because you suddenly have added more financial burden. While this kind of payment plan is welcomed, it can also become a psychological trap, which leads to unnecessary spending, especially in times like this.”
Minakakis said increased sales for Walmart is the most significant opportunity for the retailer as it could encourage more purchases by those with immediate financial needs and constraints.
“Walmart can also garner a higher level of customer loyalty because it would appear that they care about their customers and want to provide options. BNPL is also popular among Millennials and GenZ consumers, which could help Walmart attract a younger demographic and a relative market differentiation. Finally, there would be more data insights. In this AI-induced world, looking for ways to grow traffic and transactions, ideally, a retailer wants to capture more information and create experiences and offers that will attract consumers and have long-term relationships with them. The latter part is what all retailers should be doing today,” he said.
“When you consider that 50 per cent or more of consumers are living paycheque to paycheque, there are risks in this economy by adding more debt. You also have to ask yourself, is this how retailers plan to grow their long-term growth through more consumer debt? It’s hazardous and not sustainable. We need a more robust economy for BNPL to be viable and affordable. Walmart and other retailers offering BNPL may also want to take the high road and remind their customers with messaging about borrowing responsibly. This would be a positive social action on the part of retailers.”