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Buy Now Pay Later alternative

  • Up to 51 days interest free
  • Guaranteed credit limit
  • Check your eligibility with no impact to your credit score
Check my eligibility This won't affect your credit score

Representative example: Amount of credit £1,200. Interest rate: 34.0% pa (variable) Representative 34.0% APR (variable)

What is Buy Now Pay Later?

Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) agreements are exactly as the name describes, schemes which allow you to purchase a product on credit and spread the repayments over a period of time. Different lenders offer different repayment periods, some can be as a little as 3 months, others can offer repayments spread over 3 months or more. The underlying premise being you won’t accrue any interest over this period.

Accessing Buy Now Pay Later can typically be easier if you have a good credit history, but if you don’t have a perfect credit background, a 118 118 Money Credit Card could provide an alternative. We consider applications from those with a bad or poor credit. Read on below for more information.

Apply for a credit card for bad credit from 118 118 Money with confidence
Use our Eligibility check to find out what credit limit we'll offer you before you apply, without affecting your credit rating!
Check my eligibility This won't affect your credit score
How does Buy Now Pay Later work?

With a Buy Now Pay Later option, you complete the purchase at the point of sale, either online or in-store, but you don’t make any payments at this point, instead you agree to repay over a set period without any interest. The BNPL lender makes the payment for you, and you repay the lender back. This format of credit has increased lately, as it’s seen as a way for vendors to increase sales as the repayment periods are spread out. Here are a few things to consider, but please ensure you do your own research before making a decision:

Buy Now Pay Later provides you with the opportunity to purchase something but pay later over an agreed period, usually interest free.

Some Buy Now Pay Later schemes usually only conduct a soft credit check, loans and credit cards lenders conduct a full credit check.

With BNPL you aren’t typically covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

Buy Now Pay Later providers typically have late repayment fees, but with the 118 118 Money Simple Interest Rate Credit Card there are no fees.

Credit Cards can offer rewards and other features which aren’t included on a BNPL scheme usually. Balance transfers, fee-free usage abroad amongst others are features which some lenders can offer to incentivise you.

As with all types of credit, there are pros and cons to BNPL too. They can be an option if you have good credit and are able to make the repayments over the agreed period. Credit cards can be an alternative to BNPL, depending on the features as provided by the lender, of course.


Guaranteed Rate, Credit Limit and Zero Fees*

  • Credit card for poor credit rating
  • No fees
  • Check your eligibility with no impact to your credit score
Check my eligibility *We do not charge any fees. However, third party vendors may have their own charges. An example of this is an ATM where a usage fee could apply.

Would I be eligible for BNPL with bad credit?

If you have had credit related issues in the past, then you can have difficulty accessing a Buy Now Pay Later product. Eligibility for Buy Now Pay Later is broadly dependent on your own credit score. If you’ve had difficulties in managing credit in the past, this can be reflected in your eligibility for BNPL with lenders showing reluctance to low or bad credit applicants. Eligibility criteria can vary from one lender to another.

However, most Buy Now Pay Later providers conduct a soft credit check prior as part of their eligibility assessments. Soft checks don’t necessarily take an in depth look at your credit file but are more so to confirm your address, date of birth and suchlike. So if you have an imperfect credit background you may still be eligible for a BNPL option based on a soft check, but this is dependent on the lender’s own criteria.

The 118 118 Money Simple Interest Rate Credit Card application on the other hand has a slightly different way of working. We offer a pre-application eligibility checker; this provides an indication if you’re likely to be accepted. So if you are aware that you may have poor credit, our eligibility check won’t impact your credit score. After the initial eligibility check, should you decide to apply for our Simple Interest Rate Credit Card, we will then conduct a full credit check which leaves a footprint on your credit file.

Can credit cards be an alternative to Buy Now Pay Later?

Dependent on the card features and how you use them, a credit card can be an alternative to Buy Now Pay Later options.

Credit cards can come with an interest free period on purchases which can, if used responsibly, help spread the cost of paying for items. The terms of some card lenders can allow you to spread the cost over many months without accruing an interest on the balance. You would still be expected to repay the minimum monthly payment though, just no interest on the outstanding balance. Although it’s always recommended that you make larger payments and clear the debt sooner if you can afford to. With Buy Now Pay Later schemes, typically repayments are spread over 3 months, this can of course vary by lender.

If your credit score and personal circumstances permit, and you find yourself eligible for a credit card, some of these cards come with additional features such as balance transfers too. A balance transfer is when you move the balance from one provider to another. However this can include a balance transfer fee, but with the 118 118 Money Simple Interest Rate Credit Card, there are no balance transfer fees.

Credit cards can also be used as a continuous line of credit provided you stay within the credit limit as agreed with your lender. This isn’t something your typical Buy Now Pay Later option offers.

Credit cards can also be used to improve your credit score, remember, the better your credit score is, the better access you’re likely to have to improved lines of credit in the future.

So in some ways a credit card can be considered an alternative, however your own research, circumstances and affordability should dictate which is a better fit.

Does a credit card offer more features than BNPL?

In some ways, yes. A credit card can offer more options when compared with a BNPL product. We mentioned some of the features you can access with some credit cards, some of these may not be applicable to Buy Now Pay Later schemes.

Importantly though, some forms of BNPL aren’t regulated to the same levels as credit cards are. This can be important when considering, for example, the added benefit of cover with section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This gives you an extra layer of protection on purchases from £100 and up to £30,000. BNPL doesn’t necessarily come with this level of cover.

Credit card providers are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), not all Buy Now Pay Later providers are regulated at present. This is under review though with further rules expected to come into force soon.

On the one hand, if you have bad credit, some BNPL lenders may still offer you access to credit where some credit card providers may be apprehensive as your credit score indicates you could be a higher risk.  On the other hand, lenders like 118 118 Money will still consider your application if you have bad credit, and remember, the 118 118 Money Simple Interest Rate Credit Card comes with zero fees.

Can Buy Now Pay Later impact my credit score?

This can depend on how responsibly you use the Buy Now Pay Later option. If you keep up with the agreed commitments and make the repayments on time, this can demonstrate that you’re responsible with credit. In turn this can have a positive impact on your credit profile.

Should you miss or make late repayments to the provider, this can be passed on to credit reference agencies resulting in this being recorded on your credit file. Ultimately this can result in your credit score being impacted negatively, which can impact the type and level of credit you have access to in the future too.

Credit cards aren’t too dissimilar in this respect. If you use the card responsibly, make at least the minimum monthly repayments and stay within your agreed credit limit, over time this can also positively impact your credit score. Missed or late payments will have a negative impact on your credit score too.

You can always use a credit reference agency such as Equifax, TransUnion or Experian to understand what your credit report looks like.

There are credit building credit cards available too, these can help improve your credit score if used responsibly.

Apply for a credit card for bad credit

Want to apply for a credit card for bad credit with 118 118 Money?
You can try our eligibility check first to see if you’ll be accepted before you apply – and it won’t affect your credit rating.

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Buy Now Pay Later FAQs

Essentially you buy the product but spread the payments out over an interest free period. The repayment periods can differ between providers, some allow up to 3 months to repay the balance in agreed instalments, others may offer a longer or shorter period, dependent on the lender’s terms and conditions.

The limits across BNPL can vary and are largely dependent on the provider. Each Buy Now Pay Later lender has different limits, so one may be higher than the other. In some instances, providers may set you a smaller limit to begin with, providing you’re responsible in how you use this facility, they may increase the limits. However, if you miss a payment, there are likely to be late fees involved and the amount can vary, please refer to your lender’s terms and conditions.

Depending on what you require Buy Now Pay Later for, credit cards and loans may be alternatives. However, with personal loans, your monthly repayments will be inclusive of interest. With a credit card, dependent on the features, you may have 0% interest free periods which you can use to spread the repayments. You’ll still be required to make the minimum monthly repayments though. If you exceed the interest free period, the balance will accrue interest.

So there are alternatives to buy now and pay later, but we’d recommend doing your research on your options and your circumstances should dictate if the other options are a suitable alternative or not.

Buy Now Pay Later usage is on the increase, many high street retailers now offer this facility in one form or another. Catalogues and online retailers are also popular providers of these schemes. BNPL however isn’t as widely accepted as a credit card. Some card providers offer fee-free use abroad, and most restaurants accept payment from credit cards.
If you are considering an alternative to Buy Now Pay Later, the 118 118 Money Simple Interest Rate Credit Card could be an alternative. With a credit limit of up to £2000, no fees and a guaranteed rate, use our eligibility checker to see if you’re likely to be accepted or not.


Want to apply for a credit card for bad credit with 118 118 Money?

See if you’ll be accepted before you apply and find out what credit limit we will offer you without affecting your credit rating!