Weave, Sunbit launch BNPL product for health care costs

Weave and Sunbit launched a buy now, pay later (BNPL) product that will help consumers pay for their health care. (iStock)

Weave, a customer communication platform, and Sunbit, a buy now, pay later (BNPL) platform, recently partnered to provide BNPL options to small health care practices. 

The financial product will allow patients to pay for their health care treatments over time in installments, according to a joint press release. The companies stated that the BNPL option does not have any kind of fees. 

"Collecting payments is one of the most important patient interactions in a small healthcare practice," Weave Chief Product Officer Branden Neish said. "Bringing Weave’s communications platform and Sunbit’s Buy Now, Pay Later technology together creates a solution that helps practices provide a better patient experience while driving more financing revenue each month."

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Majority of patients approved for BNPL, companies say

Sunbit said that the majority of patients who apply for this BNPL product are approved and can split their health care costs into smaller payments. 

"Too many patients are delaying dental care, new eyeglasses or necessary pet surgery because of the upfront cost," Oded Vakrat, Sunbit's head of platform partnerships, said. "We’re excited to partner with Weave so that practices can focus on delivering top-notch care to more patients who now don’t have to worry about how they’ll pay for it. With Sunbit technology, 90% of patients are approved, and they can split their costs into manageable payments."

Generally, BNPL providers — such as Affirm, Klarna and Paypal — partner with retailers to allow shoppers the ability to split the cost of their online purchases into multiple installments at checkout. These interest-free payments are generally due within a few weeks after the time of purchase.

BNPL is quickly gaining momentum as an alternate payment option, with its global transaction value having reached $120 billion in 2021, according to a recent report from GlobalData. And the sector is likely to continue growing — GlobalData projected the BNPL market could reach $576 billion by 2026.

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Regulators look into safety of BNPL

Regulators have become increasingly wary of the BNPL market as its popularity grows. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently opened an inquiry about the usage and safety of BNPL programs.

One suggestion for BNPL providers is to convert their offerings to include a short-term personal loan option, TTV Capital Partner Sean Banks recently said at the FinTech South conference in Atlanta, Ga. 

Some providers have considered increasing the number of installments from four to six or 12. But while these longer installment loans may be safer, Banks said BNPL providers will likely keep the shorter time frame.

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