Chief Executive Officer (CEO), humm group UK and Ireland
Though consumer instalment plans have certainly become popular in recent years, retail credit products have equally undergone a transformation and evolved substantially during this time, explains PJ Byrne, CEO (UK and Ireland) of payments provider, humm.
How has flexible finance evolved?
Customers have become more accustomed to using flexible finance products — such as retail credit — when purchasing higher-value products and items. They are increasingly seeking an alternative way to pay instead of using costly credit card facilities which offer no structured repayment plans.
Flexible finance has therefore evolved to the point where many consumers value products and solutions provided by transparent, trusted credit providers. With this awareness, they have become more comfortable using products such as retail credit.
The benefits of flexible finance are evident; our retail partners at humm report an average order increase of 40% once they give customers the retail credit option.
What has your company’s role been in the expansion of retail credit?
As the market leader in retail credit products, with a presence in Ireland for over 14 years, humm has been well-positioned to lead the expansion of retail credit. Our services have allowed consumers to view retail credit as a viable alternative to credit cards and other forms of credit.
Given the costly and unpredictable interest rates of credit cards, plus the absence of a plan on when and how to repay funds, they are not suitable for every consumer.
Our retail credit product is therefore designed and customised for individuals by offering zero or low interest rates, ensuring that it remains both accessible and affordable.
We also offer a time-defined plan for repayments, with timely reminders for the customer’s convenience.
We offer our customers both financial and personal security via our products.
How can businesses benefit from a retail credit product?
Consumers recognise the unique benefits of bespoke payment options and appreciate the convenience, security and flexibility offered by a retail credit product.
Retail credit products offer flexibility by allowing consumers to purchase goods, items and services at their current cost. During inflationary times, this ensures that consumers are getting the best value for money without incurring high interest on credit loans.
We offer our customers both financial and personal security via our products. Our structured, time-defined instalment plans establish a clear schedule for repayments, providing peace of mind to both the consumer and the retailer.
We make it convenient. Retail partners who offer consumers a retail credit option report both an increase in revenue and higher conversion rates, without having to resort to traditional tactics such as discounts and flash sales. Moreover, flexible finance grants the consumer instant ownership of a product, while ensuring that it remains affordable.
How do you keep products affordable for consumers?
Rather than saving up for an extended period to purchase a product, which could increase in cost, consumers can secure it at its existing cost via retail credit.
Traditional credit cards have not escaped the pressures of inflation, so consumers who take out high-interest loans are now placing themselves at further risk as interest rates may rise.
In these cases, what may have initially been an affordable purchase may become unaffordable — with little warning. Through our zero and low-interest retail credit products, we are installing affordability by facilitating responsible lending and allowing consumers to purchase products at their current prices.
How does financial technology underpin retail credit?
Retail credit is fintech at its core, and we use technology to ensure proportional lending. Upon accepting new customers, our technology leverages access to any applicant’s financial history to ensure that they can meet the scheduled repayments. We also offer customers the option to make payments directly from their bank account, so we can offer favourable interest rates without the typical fees associated with card transactions.
The funds are automatically disbursed to the merchant, ensuring minimal delay between the customer making payment and the retail partner receiving the funds.
humm provides flexible finance solutions both in-store and online. Globally, we have 2.8 million customers, with over 3.3 billion purchases. We have 72,000 retail partners ranging from well-renowned brands to family-run businesses.