Dave Ramsey Says Buy Now, Pay Later Is Keeping You ‘Broke’

©Dave Ramsey

If you ask any financial expert the one thing you need to avoid, it is taking on debt. Not surprisingly, podcast host and debt doubter Dave Ramsey preaches the dangers of debt.

When it comes to the increasingly fashionable buy now, pay later (BNPL) services, the financial guru’s site warned: “Whatever you do, don’t fall for an installment payment plan — unless you plan to stay broke.”

Buy now, pay later financing options have soared in popularity over the past five years. The BNPL global market hit an estimated $179.5 billion in 2022 and by 2030, Predence Research anticipates the industry will be worth over $3,268 billion.

These installment plans allow shoppers to afford purchases by breaking the total cost into smaller chunks that are repaid over a short term. However, as Ramsey tweeted on May 23: “Just because you can make the payments doesn’t mean you can afford it.”

“Even if you do make your payments on time, the big problem is that it numbs you to the reality of how much you’re really spending. Instead of making you feel that sticker shock, installment payments are just feeding your ‘I want it now’ mentality… and hiding the cost of what you’re buying,” a blog post by Ramsey Solutions read.

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According to its April 2021 survey, LendingTree found that two out of three shoppers who have used BNPL services claimed that it resulted in them overspending. A full 47% of 1,040 respondents said they wouldn’t have made their full purchase if they didn’t have the option to finance.

A different LendingTree survey showed that 42% of consumers who’ve taken out a buy now, pay later loan have made at least one late payment and were charged a late fee or interest. Nearly 70% of BNPL users admit to spending more than they would if they had to pay for everything upfront.

Why are BNPL platforms so popular? Although it’s always better to use cash or debit than credit or loans, that might not be convenient or possible for some people. Depending on interest, terms, fees, amount limits, availability, benefits and whether or not the platform requires credits checks, BNPL may provide the only option for some consumers.

You can check out BNPL platform sites for borrowing details and conditions, but listed below are the APRs, loan amounts and repayment terms for the seven best buy now, pay later lenders.

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Ramsey’s take may be contested, but before using buy now, pay later sites for shopping, you should be aware of the pitfalls of debt. As Ramsey Solutions indicated:

“If it walks like debt, talks like debt, and smells like debt — it’s debt. And these ‘easy payments’ companies are boasting about aren’t any different. They aren’t a smart way to buy things you want. They aren’t more harmless than a credit card. And they aren’t a fancy way to ‘budget’ for a purchase. They’re just wannabe credit cards dressed in shiny clothes, pretending to be your ticket to having it all.”

The Seven Best Buy Now, Pay Later Platforms


  • APR: 0% to 36%.
  • Loan Amounts: Up to $17,500.
  • Terms: Six weeks to 12 months.


  • APR: 0% to 36%.
  • Loan Amounts: Dependent on credit.
  • Terms: Six weeks.


  • APR: 0% to 29.99%.
  • Loan Amounts: Dependent on credit.
  • Terms: Six weeks to 18 months.

PayPal Pay in 4

  • APR: 0%. Other fees (late payment or missed payment) may apply. Higher interest rates may apply to longer loan terms.
  • Loan Amounts: $30 to $1,500.
  • Terms: Six weeks.


  • APR: 0%. Other fees (reactivation fee, etc.) may apply.
  • Loan Amounts: Minimum of $35, maximum dependent on credit.
  • Terms: Six weeks.
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  • APR: 0%, technically. As it’s tied to an existing credit card balance, APR on purchases made on said credit card do apply.
  • Loan Amounts: Determined by merchant.
  • Terms: Determined by merchant.

Zip (formerly Quadpay)

  • APR: 0%, again technically. As with Splitit, Zip requires connection to an existing card.
  • Loan Amounts: Dependent on credit.
  • Terms: Six weeks.

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