Some consumers are eager to use buy now, pay later options for their vet or dental care, according to a new survey. (iStock)

When it comes to budgeting for veterinary and dental care, U.S. consumers appear to be searching for alternative ways to pay for it outside of cash, debit or credit, according to findings from a new survey.

Opy, a payment fintech company, surveyed 1,000 Americans about their opinions on buy now, pay later (BNPL) services to pay for such costs. BNPL services give consumers the ability to divide purchases into smaller payments, free of interest. The company found that 69% of respondents worry about future dental care costs, and two-thirds are wary of future vet costs. Nearly three-quarters (71%) would prefer to use BNPL over traditional payment methods, and an overwhelming majority (86%) of pet owners would do the same at the vet.

“The numbers don’t lie,” Brian Shniderman, Opy USA’s CEO and global chief strategy officer, said. “Americans are longing for the ability to choose BNPL when making a more significant purchase, such as when visiting the dentist or seeking veterinary care for their pets. 

“In addition, dental patients and pet owners who have greater access to alternative payment methods will seek more consistent visits and treatments, with less worry and anxiety about covering the related expense of doing so,” he said.

If you are interested in comparing BNPL services with other loan options, you may consider contacting Credible, where you can speak to a personal loan expert and get your questions answered. 


Half of Americans have used BNPL for vet, dental care, Opy says

According to Opy’s survey, many dental patients are aware of BNPL services, but not even half (49%) have ever used loan financing to pay for their visits to the dentist. Similarly, 56% of pet owners have taken advantage of BNPL for managing and paying for their veterinary expenses, although 77% said they were familiar with such services as an alternative payment method.

The disconnect, the company inferred, could indicate that not enough dentists nor vets actually offer many options for consumers to cover costs.

“Americans have spoken, and the solution is easy; dental and veterinarian practices need to incorporate installment loan financing as a payments option,” Mike Kimbell, Opy senior vice president and head of U.S. healthcare, said. “Quality pet and dental care is only the beginning. Providing a financial offering such as Opy will ensure healthcare providers can maintain an economically sustainable practice and maintain customer loyalty.”

If you’re looking for an alternative to BNPL and need cash for large expenses, like paying for dental or vet care, a personal loan could be a viable option. Visit Credible to compare multiple lenders at once and choose the one with the best interest rate for you.


Consumers say they want payment flexibility

Participants in the Opy survey said that what they like the most about BNPL services is payment flexibility, with 43% of dental patients and pet owners alike responding this way.

“Healthcare, for both dentists and veterinarians, is the perfect market to offer closed-end installment loan financing,” Shniderman said.

Though traditionally available online, BNPL is now pivoting to also be available in-store and at gas pumps. As the COVID-19 pandemic forced many consumers to shop online more, the use of BNPL services began to rise. Now, some BNPL companies have begun offering their services for use in stores.

Popular provider Klarna announced in February a multi-year partnership with global real estate developer Brookfield Properties, which has a portfolio of nearly 200 properties across America. Energy company Chevron has also recently partnered with BNPL provider Zip; Chevron has also been working with Klarna since 2021.

However, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is increasingly looking into these digital payment platforms, saying it’s worried that BNPL products encourage consumers to take on too much debt. 

If you’re searching for alternative financing options or need help paying off debt, you could consider a personal loan. Contact Credible to speak to a personal loan expert and get your questions answered.

Have a finance-related question, but don’t know who to ask? Email The Credible Money Expert at [email protected] and your question might be answered by Credible in our Money Expert column.