Virgin Money is to make its buy now pay later (BNPL) debut with the launch of Virgin Money Slyce; alongside a new online Marketplace service.
Slated for an official launch later this year, the new service will allow customers to receive goods now and pay for them later in monthly payments, enabling them to manage their money more easily.
Any monthly spend over the value of £30 can be spread across three, six, nine or 12-month repayment plans (in accordance with individual budgets). However, only the three or six-month plans are expected to be fee-free.
The fees for the nine and 12-month plans are a percentage of the total amount a customer puts into the plan. Nine months incur a 7.5 per cent fee, and 12 monthly payments have a 10 per cent payment fee added.
Benefits include an increased credit score (depending on timely repayments), fee-free cross-currency spending and the service’s cashback scheme with various retailers.
Customers will be able to view and manage their Slyce activity via the company’s credit card app, which incorporates reminders and alerts to keep payments on track alongside a consolidated view to show exactly how much is due to be paid out each month.
Unlike some other buy now, pay later providers, Slyce is fully regulated, and as such will have a range of controls, protections and safeguards in place. Virgin Money will also carry out credit and affordability checks before any spending starts, to ensure the product is right for the customer.
Created in partnership with Mastercard and the payments company TSYS, Slyce has been designed and built with a Gen Z audience in mind. Customers who are looking to take more control of their finances will be able to see their credit score and watch it grow, as well as read tips on how to boost it further in the app.
“It’s clear that consumers now expect to be able to pay via BNPL plans, so we’re very excited to offer an option that will bring more customers into a regulated credit environment at the same time as offering market-leading terms, flexibility and simplicity,” comments Hugh Chater, the company’s CCO.
“Importantly, Slyce will help our customers stay in control of their spending while also building their credit score for the future – allowing our customers to buy now, pay better on terms that work for them.”
Leading the industry’s response to Virgin’s latest announcement, James Booth, VP, head of partnerships, EMEA at payment infrastructure company PPRO, explains how the offering is blurring the line between the services of fintechs and the more established incumbents.
Booth comments: “Virgin Money launching a BNPL credit card product is a significant deal for the industry. The credit industry, built up over decades by traditional lenders, has been completely revolutionised by disruptors in the fintech space.
“Competition is becoming fierce in all segments of the payments market, which ups the stakes for credit cards to innovate even faster than before, in order to stay competitive and relevant in the future.
“BNPL has been considered a challenger to credit cards for quite some time now. Virgin Money entering the market and competing with other major BNPL players, is blurring the lines between more traditional providers and new entrants.
“Ultimately, consumers want ease, convenience and lots of options when it comes to paying for goods and services, and Virgin Money’s announcement is indicative of traditional incumbents entering into uncharted territory to pivot to meet the demands of consumers in this ever-changing digital-first world.”
The arrival of Virgin Money’s BNPL comes in tandem with the launch of its new online service called Marketplace.
The service allows small business banking customers to access a number of different useful services offered by best-in-class digital providers.
Following the launch of M-Track earlier this year, Marketplace is the next step in the ecosystem that Virgin Money is developing, offering digital services to help customers run their businesses successfully.
Where M-Track provides customers with a snapshot of all the gaps in their business, Marketplace is the digital destination where those gaps can be filled by bringing in additional services from a range of fintech partners.
Marketplace launches with five partner services covering a cross-section of small business needs:
- Expend is a business expenses platform, that eliminates manual data entry for small businesses while providing visibility across outgoings.
- ‘Accelerated Payments’ is an invoice financing service providing working capital through a scalable fintech platform.
- ‘Superscript’ offers adaptable business insurance.
- ‘untied’ is a tax tool for sole trader businesses and includes registration, deadlines, record-keeping, tax schemes, self-assessment and HMRC payment options.
- ‘BrightHR’ is a digital HR platform that helps managers maintain staff absences, timesheets and health and safety reports.
Marketplace also provides information about Virgin Money products and services, helping businesses to save, borrow or manage their foreign currency needs.
“Marketplace brings our customers together with carefully selected partner companies that can help them run their business,” Graeme Sands, the company’s head of business lending and products, explains.
We know that small business owners are time poor and are looking for new ways to navigate the changing world around them, so we’re working hard with innovative fintech partners who are helping us to help our customers run their businesses in the best way.”