NAB introduces NAB Now Pay Later as it enters the BNPL market

The black and red bank is looking to nab a share of the buy now, pay later market.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor
Image: NAB

National Australia Bank (NAB) has joined the buy now, pay later (BNPL) market with the launch of NAB Now Pay Later.

NAB boasts that unlike other BNPL products, NAB Now Pay Later charges no late fees, interest, and account fees. Customers will be able to access up to AU$1,000, split purchases in four payments, and use it anywhere Visa is accepted.

Speaking to ZDNet, NAB personal banking executive CIO Ana Cammaroto explained the introduction of the bank's version of a BNPL product was based on customer demand.

"We've been continuing to watch the market and despite some of the conversations that you see happening [about BNPL], our customers are voting with their experiences and clicks. They're saying they want that accessibility, they want that ease," she said.

Cammaroto highlighted a key design aspect of the new product was that it was built in-house.

"We didn't buy it, and that was a key decision for us upfront," she said.

"We wanted it to be fully integrated into our existing data, our existing systems, and our existing experiences, so that at no stage would we introduce risk to our customers or through security or fraud -- or any other risk -- by partnering with something that's outside of our ecosystem."

NAB Now Pay Later will be integrated into the NAB app, which will allow customers to add it to their digital wallets for online or in-person payments as a virtual card with a revolving security number and biometric fraud detection built-in.

"We do a lot of behavioural analytics … that's a mechanism for us to protect our customers when it comes to fraud, because cyber criminals don't do that -- they don't operate the way our customers do," Cammaroto said.

"Having the ability to do that because we have got access to that information was critical. Then little features like that roaming CVV is super critical … this gives customers peace of mind."

Cammaroto also attributed the ability to deliver the product to the company's microservices architecture.

"100% of our microservices are sitting in the cloud, 40% were completely reused. I didn't need to worry about scaling them. I didn't need to worry about securing them. I didn't need to worry about doing anything other than just turning them on," she said.

"For the 40%, we made some small amendments in terms of features but again, no security, no concerns about resilience, no concerns about performance, I could focus on the 10% that made a difference."

NAB is the second major bank to enter the BNPL market. Commonwealth Bank of Australia announced its version called Step Pay last year. At the time, CBA claimed its decision to enter the market was because it thinks it would motivate policy makersto step up the way the emerging sector is currently regulated.

Under current regulation, when signing for BNPL services, such as Afterpay and Zip Co, customers are not required to undergo credit checks -- they can just sign up and spend. 

However, for NAB Now Pay Later, Cammaroto assured credit checks are carried out.

Customers can begin pre-registering for early access now, with the product expected to be released in July.

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