Grabbing a Last-Minute Valentine’s Day Gift? Determine the Best Way To Pay

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There are still a few hours left to grab a Valentine’s Day gift, and while you might be in a rush, it’s still worth taking a moment to consider your payment options when you find it. CNET reported that when choosing a payment method for your purchases, you should consider factors such as security, cash on hand, convenience and budget.

See: Top Valentine’s Day Gifts To Buy on a Budget
Find: Unexpected Places To Buy Valentine’s Day Gifts

Credit cards are a good way to earn cash back or other rewards such as travel miles or points. In addition, when used wisely, a credit card can help you improve your credit score. On the other hand,  if you don’t pay your entire balance in time, you will be charged interest.

“Be honest about your intentions,” CNET Money Editor at Large Farnoosh Torabi said. “If you want to use a credit card as a tool to buy you a few weeks to pay in full and possibly earn points or cash back in the process, that can work in your favor. Otherwise, it’s best to save up your cash before making a purchase

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Another option is to use Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services, such as Affirm, Afterpay and Klarna. The appeal of BNPL is that many people view it as a more responsible form of financing than credit cards because it involves a fixed term and a potentially lower cost, as GOBankingRates previously reported.

Conversely: Stock Shortfalls: Analysts Suggest Ditching BNPL After Affirm Comes Up Short

In addition, BNPL plans can be easier to obtain than credit cards, which is appealing for people with lower credit scores or those who are new to credit and may not have a credit score at all.

When used strategically, these installment plan options could help you stretch out your Valentine’s Day budget with minimal or no interest, CNET reported, as each BNPL service works a little differently: some providers offer 0% financing while others charge interest, and repayment plans could be spread over 30 days or up to 36 months.

Finally, both PayPal and Venmo are good options for online shopping

PayPal can help protect your payment information while offering additional options for financing gifts, according to CNET, adding that though PayPal has traditionally been used as an online payment option, it’s now offering QR codes for shopping in participating stores.

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More: 4 Ways to Pay Your PayPal Credit Card

In addition, PayPal now also offers a BNPL service, “Pay in 4” which is interest-free, according to its website. Some brands accepting this service include Aldo, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Champion and Uniqlo.

As for Venmo, while the app is mostly known as a way to send money, it has additional functions. For example, you can use if for online purchases with select merchants, CNET reported.

In addition, you can use the Venmo QR code “to pay touch-free at stores like CVS. No shared pens or keypads; no digging for your wallet — just scan your phone to pay,” Venmo says on its website.

Forgot Flowers? Check Your Local Grocery or Hardware Store To Keep Valentine’s Day Budget Friendly
Compare: 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts You Can Find at the Dollar Store

Buying your Valentine’s Day gift with Venmo might make the most sense if you receive frequent payments through it and want to shop using money in your balance, CNET reported.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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