B&M is making a major change at checkouts that will give shoppers a new way to pay.
The bargain retailer has added Klarna as a payment option alongside cash or card at tills – letting customers make a purchase and pay for it later on.
Klarna is a type of buy now pay later (BNPL) service most commonly used when shopping online.
Instead of paying upfront you can choose to pay up to 30 days later, or split shopping costs into three instalments over a longer period.
The payment option is also available in some stores in real life, and has just launched at B&M.
Shoppers can use it on purchases of over £30 at B&M's more than 700 stores.
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Customers wanting to use it will need to have the Klarna app already, or sign up to it at the till.
The maximum amount they can spend depends on how much Klarna will lend, which can depend on your credit score and past borrowing.
But shoppers using Klarna should be aware they will be borrowing money to pay for their shopping.
There's not interest or fee, but they will have to pay the money back, and missed payments can affect credit records.
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Some customers have welcomed the move as a way to budget in tough times.
But others have criticised the move for encouraging people to get into debt.
One shopper said on social media: "I use it for clothing – useful for a bulk order when you aren't sure on sizes etc.
"You can return unwanted without big outlay and delayed refund."
Another said: "For some, it might be ideal if they need something a day or two before a payday."
One shopper slammed the addition, saying: "This feels sinister, and is a worrying tactic to keep people buying, despite tighter budgets.
"I'm worried about this being rolled out to grocery."
Another said: "It’s a slippery slope. We shouldn’t normalise going into debt for these sorts of purchases."
Other concerns raised about the effect of BNPL include a lack of customer protection.
BNPL companies are not yet regulated and so consumers do not have the same legal protections as using credit cards if there are any payment issues.
Likewise, any complaints cannot be taken to the independent financial ombudsman as they can with a bank or credit card provider.
Instead, issues have to be worked out with the individual company.
Klarna said: "We conduct checks to assess a customer’s ability to pay each time someone wants to make a purchase to ensure we only lend to those who can afford to repay."
Klarna insists it does not affect a customer's credit score, but information such as payment holidays and existing, late and unpaid balances is visible on your credit file to other lenders.
The Sun has contacted B&M for comment and if it offers other BNPL services.
Andrew Hagger, personal finance expert from Moneycomms.co.uk said that the new way to pay could be helpful to some people – but need to be aware of the risks.
He told The Sun: "This does give B&M shoppers the option of greater financial flexibility – but there's always the danger that they may take on too much credit and end up being hit with fees and trashing their credit record.
"For larger one off purchases BNPL is a useful option if managed correctly, but spreading the cost of everyday essentials just to make ends meet could end up causing more harm than good for shoppers in the longer term."
Klarna is also available at checkouts in other stores, including Halfords, JD Sports and Schuh.
Klarna also recently partnered up with Deliveroo – with many arguing that it is a "terrible idea" that may trigger unintended consequences.
Twitter users have slammed the move once more, saying: "I don’t know who needs to hear this but if you haven’t got the money for a takeaway, you really shouldn’t be making your struggles worse with Klarna."
Dominic Arnall, chief executive of the charity Just Like Us, said: "Even as a plot for a dystopian novel, food on hire purchase would be laughably ghoulish."
But a Klarna spokesperson said: "People have been paying for food deliveries with credit cards and overdrafts for decades but they've been stung by rip-off fees and extortionate interest so it’s time consumers had the choice of a healthier alternative where they only ever pay the original cost of the purchase."
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It's important to note that takeaways are often more expensive from delivery services, due to added fees and restaurant mark-ups.
The BNPL options aren't yet available on grocery deliveries.
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