Over the coming months, Westpac will allow customers to link their credit card to a digital PartPay card, which will split their purchases into an initial payment, followed by three fortnightly instalments.
Westpac banking executive Chris de Bruin said the instalments program will give credit card customers more control.
“We want to give our customers greater flexibility by providing different payment options to suit their changing circumstances. We know our customers want more choice when it comes to their finances and this new feature will put them in the driver’s seat," Mr de Bruin said.
“The payment landscape has changed and customers have told us they like the option of making payments in instalments."
The product launch is expected to go live in the coming months, and comes a week after the collapse of OpenPay.
How Westpac's PartPay BNPL program works
PartPay instalment options are available to Low Rate, Lite, Low Fee, Altitude Rewards Platinum, and Altitude Rewards Black credit card customers.
The purchase must be on the digital PartPay card and be valued at $100 or more.
The account is linked to a bank account and fortnightly payments will be automatically deducted.
Customers then receive a reminder three days before the auto payment due date.
There are no late payment fees and zero interest, however if a customer misses a payment, the instalment is transferred to the main credit card purchase balance, which accrues interest.
Westpac's credit cards attract interest rates anywhere from 9.90% p.a. to 19.99% p.a.
PartPay customers can still accrue rewards and points, and access complimentary insurance associated with their Westpac credit card.
The digital card can be added to smartphone wallets via the Westpac app.
Westpac's flirtation with BNPL
Payments expert Grant Halverson was derisive of Westpac's new product.
"PartPay looks more like 'part product' – very clunky and not at all seamless," the former Citi and Diners Club executive told Savings.com.au.
"In 2023 Westpac finally joins all the major banks with Pay-in-4 products. Established fully-regulated players include ANZ Visa BNPL; CBA with StepPay; unsecured lender Humm; Latitude with ‘LatitudePay’; NAB and Citi's Spot; PayPal with ‘Pay in 4’; and Suncorp’s Visa BNPL."
Westpac had previously dabbled in the BNPL world without actually introducing its own product:
- In 2017 Westpac invested $40 million in Zip, topping up the investment by $8.9 million in 2019.
- In October 2020 Westpac sold 10.7% of its Zip shares to the tune of $366 million.
- In 2021 Afterpay teamed up with Westpac to launch 'Money by Afterpay', white-labelled banking products including controversial 'Retro' feature.
- In late 2021 Westpac launches 'Flex', a credit card with zero interest yet a monthly fee if there is a balance.
- Afterpay and Westpac part ways in August 2022 after Square bought Afterpay in largest corporate takeover in Australian history.
Mr Halverson also said the expected launch of Apple's instalments platform in Australia is likely to send shockwaves in the sector.
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