Paying in installments, a dangerous habit?

Paying in three or four installments has become a real consumer phenomenon, both at the checkout of household appliance or telephone stores and on e-commerce sites. The French would thus be 31% to have resorted to split payment during the last twelve months, against 25% a year earlier, according to the latest OpinionWay-Floa Barometer on the evolution of means of payment, carried out in April.

The operation is extremely simple: when paying for a purchase with your bank card, you request payment in several installments. A few seconds are enough to obtain the agreement. For a payment in four installments, for example, you will be charged on the day of purchase, then in thirty, sixty and ninety days.

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“There is no typical user profile: some are CSP + preferring to spread their payments when they are happy, others consumers on a low budget wishing to better control their spending”, notes Corinne Hochart, Managing Director of Oney in France. This establishment belonging to BPCE and Auchan offers the service for 10,000 websites and stores – large brands as well as small independent shops – for amounts between 100 euros and 3,000 euros.

High acceptance rates

In other words, it is possible to settle almost any expense in several installments, and some may be tempted to abuse this ease of payment. What Olivier Gayraud, lawyer at the consumer association CLCV (Consumption Housing Environment) deplores: ” The split payment is granted too easily, this promotes overconsumption and can put some customers in financial difficulty. »

Especially since there is no safety net for split payments: reimbursable in three months, they do not fall within the scope of the Lagarde law of 2010 aimed at protecting consumers in terms of credit. “As a result, pre-contractual information is reduced to a minimum, the client’s solvency is not sufficiently verified”, underlines the LRM deputy Philippe Chassaing, who submitted to the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, on October 19, a report on the prevention of over-indebtedness. We can therefore carry out five or six split payment transactions in the same month …

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However, establishments offering this service say that they are carrying out checks. ” Our algorithms make it possible to assess the customer’s creditworthiness in a few seconds based on two hundred criteria such as the basket and the purchase history on the site, or the browser used », Specifies Jacques-Olivier Schatz, managing director of fintech Pledg, which offers its split payment solution to four hundred merchants. The customer’s bank account is therefore not directly analyzed and the acceptance rates are high – “From 75% to 95% depending on the partners », observe M. Schatz.

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