As the pandemic begins to ebb into 2021, it is becoming more apparent how important trust is to customers when it comes to shopping and using financial tools. Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is seeing a massive rise in demand from shoppers, fueled by a pandemic pushing consumers towards online shopping and new budgeting tools. Sezzle not only fulfills the necessity of budgeting, but provides the opportunity to establish good credit in these challenging financial times.
In the financial space, consumers have come to trust brands that are transparent and offer consumer-friendly solutions. Trust and convenience are huge drivers of loyalty right now: Knowing that companies like Sezzle have their backs provides customers with one more layer of confidence and security. In March 2021, Sezzle conducted a survey revealing that 94% of Sezzle’s user base trusts it to be fully transparent with payment terms and conditions, and that over 92% of Sezzlers trust the brand to keep their financial and personal information secure.1
During the pandemic, many consumers have found themselves increasingly in a state of financial hardship. Nearly 72% of Sezzle users’ incomes have been affected by COVID-19. After an influx of support tickets from unemployed consumers worrying about where their next paycheck would come from, Sezzle knew they had to find a way to help. They began offering a second free reschedule. Customers experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19 have the ability to reschedule their payments up to two times at no cost, allowing them an additional four weeks of interest-free financing to pay for their purchases. Offering a second free reschedule is one example of how Sezzle was able to help consumers to be able to provide for themselves and their families without worrying about making a payment on time.
As Veronica Katz, Chief Revenue Officer at Sezzle, explains: “We’ve seen these consumers are turning away from credit and need a smarter way to budget their spending, so we’re proud of the fact that more than 95% of Sezzle users report that Sezzle has helped them ease their financial anxieties during the pandemic.”
Trust is Less Generational than Behavioral
New behavioral spend trend lines are appearing, focusing on responsibility and financial literacy/wellness. In general, Sezzle’s data shows that we can help consumers from all generations improve their financial status. It’s not just a young person’s game – people hit financial troubles at all stages of life. We know BNPL resonates strongly with younger generations, but 25% of Sezzle customers are Gen X and Boomers who have also gravitated to the value Sezzle provides.
As this challenging year has gone by, we have seen new behaviors across all generations. Availability of funds, controlling finances, and being able to build their credit score are more important than ever across all demos when choosing a payment method. In fact, a recent survey shows that the top financial priorities in 2021 for Gen X and Boomers are paying off debt and avoiding paying interest or late fees.2 Users across all demographics are taking advantage of BNPL to manage debt and budget, as well as those who are using it to get more of what they want now.
Aligning for Social Good
Sezzle’s goal is to help with all those things and to help educate consumers on how to be financially responsible. Another important aspect of trust is being aligned with a brand, both ethically and morally. Customer surveys have proven shoppers want to be aligned with a company that shares their social good values. 82% of our customers say it’s important or very important for them to shop and pay with brands that are aligned with their social values.1
Sezzle just achieved B-corp status, which is a testament to their commitment to their social values. Only 3,500 companies in the world have achieved this designation and Sezzle is the only payments company to have this distinction. B-Corp certification means Sezzle has been recognized as a leader in advancing important environmental, social and economic causes. They have strengthened their position as the leading mission-driven payments platform in North America with a growing presence in Asia and Europe.
Trust is inherent in that relationship – customers trust that you as a company will behave in a way they feel good about. Sezzle ranked first among all BNPLs who believe Sezzle has a “genuine social mission.”* This shows that what they are doing is resonating with the public.
Showing Trust to Gain Trust
Even though traditional credit scores are coming to be seen as incomplete, people still need to maintain a good one. BNPL platforms can help people establish and repay credit. Sezzle launched a product called Sezzle Up – the goal of which is to help people take steps to boost their credit score and maintain a spending limit. Sezzle Up provides a graduated path to credit – essentially getting the consumer on the right track. In addition to this, Sezzle provides financial literacy and education tools for customers to do so.
Sezzle looks beyond FICO and considers their credit applicants more broadly. Often companies will overlook subprime consumers, but Sezzle views them as “prime to be.” In fact, over half of Sezzle’s customers can be viewed as “prime to be” – and half of those are with FICOs below 600. If we reach out to them and gain their trust as a financial partner that will guide them through the credit repair and subsequent building process, that’s a win for everyone.
Sezzle and Merchants Working Together for Optimal Results
In fact, the BNPL sector can better partner with merchants to encourage responsible spending over increased spending. Partnering with merchants will only help as they too want to encourage responsible spending among their customers. In the end, this will build long-term customer loyalty. In the BNPL sector, the focus is on the consumer, turning predatory lending on its head. It is transparent on fees, does not charge interest, and encourages people to buy things in four installments and not get in debt. BNPL doesn’t allow people to spend more than they can afford. In continuing to promote this, merchants can help by communicating this message on their sites and in their customer materials. This can be achieved by promotion of Sezzle’s financial education curriculum: Sezzle U is built to be a financial co-pilot and guide users in the credit building process; tying rewards to good behavior (paying installments on time); and creating a “blacklist” of customers behind on BNPL payments to ensure they’re not marketed to.
Sezzle has earned the trust of its customers by offering a product that evolves with their needs. This trust is reflected clearly in our consumer ratings: Sezzle received a 4.8/4.9 trust rating on TrustPilot, Apple Store and Google Play. The needs created by the pandemic further reflects this: When customers spoke, Sezzle listened. Adjusting terms to ease their concerns while still allowing them to be accountable for their debt in a timely manner could only solidify an already strong customer base. Sezzle understands that BNPL is a two-way partnership: Keeping an “open door” and always listening allows them to continually look forward and lead the way as an ever growing BNPL solution.
- Sezzle Online User Survey, n=1,500 customers, March 2021
- Netfluential Research Online Survey (commissioned by Sezzle), n=1,500 US online shoppers, March 2021