Should Your Child Be Using Buy Now, Pay Later to Buy Things?

Should Your Child Be Using Buy Now, Pay Later to Buy Things?

Buy now, pay later is an attractive way to make purchases. This type of payment program makes your purchases feel smaller than they are by breaking your total amount into equal payments. You typically make payments every week, two weeks, or a month. But is this type of payment plan something your child should be using? Here are the pros and cons. 

Pros for buy now, pay later

  • Instant gratification
  • Save money in the short run
  • No interest if paid as agreed

Buy now, pay later cons

  • Easy opportunity to buy above and beyond your means
  • Long-term payments 
  • Late fees, deferred interest, and other missed payment penalties

If your teen makes a set amount of money each week from their allowance or part-time job, buy now, pay later can seem like a great option. But what if they work fewer hours at their job before they need to make payments? Or something unexpected comes up, and they spend their funds?

Buy now, pay later, and credit cards for kids

Buy now, pay later might seem like an easy alternative to credit cards and can have the same “free money” feeling. It can be difficult for parents to explain how credit works to kids and even more challenging to teach ideas like delayed gratification and saving money. A teen debit card is a great alternative to a credit card for teens. It can offer your kid some financial independence while providing parents with tools to teach them how to build good financial habits. Kids manage, spend, and save their own money and can practice saving for larger purchases while gradually learning about borrowing and debt.

Teach teens how to save money

Many parents struggle to teach teens how to save money. Financial responsibility and good money habits have never been more important. A few ideas to focus on when talking to your kids about saving money are:

  • Delayed gratification. Help kids understand that waiting (and saving) can often lead to better money choices and better long-term results. Saying no to a toy now means your child can save up and buy something even better in the future. 
  • Financial planning. Prepare your kids for the future by teaching them how to think ahead and save. This skill can help your child build resilience and handle hardships down the road.
  • Financial responsibility. Encourage your child to take responsibility for their spending. They will learn awareness and how to take action with their finances as they learn how to manage their money.

Talk to your kid about credit and saving money

Talk to your kid about why they should or should not use buy now, pay later and start the conversation about saving money. Encourage them to save money for large purchases and practice financial planning. You may also consider testing the concept by loaning them some money to buy an item now and pay you back. You can start small, but this will allow them to get a feel for how payments work. Just remember, if you do this you must be consistent and insist they pay you back in full, or it will teach the wrong lesson! 


Try the GoHenry debit card for kids to see how it can help you teach your teen to save and spend wisely. They can set saving goals and track their progress within the app.
Written by Kristin Yarbrough Published Apr 1, 2022 ● 2 min. read