Monday, May 29, 2023

Criticism on Microsoft Edge’s buy now, pay later plan

Some people are upset with Microsoft for revealing a built-in “buy now pay later” feature in its Edge web browser. These plans let consumers pay in smaller amounts over time, but they’ve criticized for putting people in debt. Microsoft has included one provider as a default payment option on shopping sites. However, many have accused Microsoft of greed and a “cashgrab” attitude.

Those claims have tagged on the official notification by users. This has resulted in tags like “bad leadership”, “exploitative”, “trash” and a “frustration”.

‘Shameless bandit’

According to Microsoft, it “does not earn a charge for connecting customers to loan providers” and the contract with Zip payment provider is unclear. However, users accused Microsoft of profiteering.

Commenter: “Stop bloating the browser with these income grabs.” “It’s like installing the worst [Internet Explorer] browser extensions from the 90s/00s.” No need for money to fund browser development, remarked a third user.

“Awful notion that will only be perceived as a sleazy cashgrab,” says the top-rated reaction. This feature’s potential negative news isn’t worth it, it claimed.

“At browser level,” Microsoft adds, the new feature inserts the payment choice next to the credit card field during checkout.

It works with Zip’s payment system to split purchases between $35 and $1,000 (£26-750) into four instalments spread over six weeks. It will be available to “all users” in a future version.

“Shoppers may now acquire their purchases upfront, rather than having to wait until they’ve paid in full,” Microsoft stated.

This is because the browser embeds the choice without the site owner’s consent. To opt out, email Microsoft and ask.

Late payments

While buyers love buy now pay later options, the sector is not without controversy.

In the UK, Citizens Advice advises customers not to spend more than they can afford and to read the fine print. Treasury and FCA are mulling greater industry regulation. The programme has benefited almost 17 million.

Pay Later: Stressed about debt

In the US, according to a Credit Karma research, 34% of those utilizing such plans have fallen behind on payments, and 72% of those who have missed one believe it has harmed their credit score.

In this context, Microsoft’s prominent promotion of the feature as a payment option in a mainstream online browser has irritated many.

Microsoft Edge comes pre-installed with Windows, and the Windows 11 setup process strongly pushes users to use it over alternatives like Chrome or Firefox.

Despite this, Microsoft has been unable to recoup its pre-millennium market share. It now has fewer than 10% of the desktop web browser share, trailing Chrome and Safari.

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