Uprova Bar
December 15, 2023

If you’re in the thick of holiday spending, you’re not alone. There are so many expenses to cover during this season, from events to gifts and more, it’s hard to make your paycheck stretch far enough. According to the Conference Board Holiday Spending Survey, “US consumers plan to spend an average of $985 on holiday-related items in 2023. As a part of that total, consumers intend to spend an average of $654 on holiday gifts.”

When the bank account isn’t full enough to cover everything, many people consider may buy now, pay later (BNPL) services and personal loans. Both options can be beneficial, depending on your situation. Understanding the nuances between the two options can help you make an informed decision tailored to your financial situation.

Comparing Buy Now, Pay Later and Personal Loans

  1. Flexibility in Payment Structures

Buy Now, Pay Later

Buy now, pay later services are often available on retailer websites and provide consumers with the flexibility to make a specific purchase without an immediate upfront payment. Typically, these services offer installment plans, allowing users to spread the cost over several payments.

Personal Loans

Personal loans, on the other hand, provide a lump sum amount that can be used for various purposes, including holiday expenses. While personal loans offer flexibility in how the funds are used, repayment terms are often fixed, requiring regular monthly payments.

  1. Interest Rates and Fees

Buy Now, Pay Later

BNPL services often advertise no interest on their standard installment plans, making them an attractive option for those looking to avoid interest charges. However, it’s crucial to be aware that late fees may apply if installment payments are missed or if the buyer chooses to extend the payment plan.

Personal Loans

Personal loans come with interest rates that vary based on factors such as creditworthiness and the lender’s terms. While interest rates can add to the overall cost, personal loans may have a clearer fee structure than some BNPL services.

  1. Credit Impact

Buy Now, Pay Later

Buy now, pay later services typically don’t conduct a traditional credit check for smaller transactions. However, missed payments or defaults can negatively impact your credit score over time.

Personal Loans

Personal loans involve a comprehensive credit check during the application process. Responsible repayment of a personal loan can positively contribute to your credit history, potentially improving your credit score, while missing payments can potentially harm your credit score.

  1. Loan Amounts and Approval Process

Buy Now, Pay Later

BNPL services are most often only for the amount of the item that is being purchased, and approval is usually quick and straightforward. However, larger transactions may require a more in-depth review.

Personal Loans

Personal loans amounts can vary and can be used for anything the borrower is purchasing, making them suitable for a large variety of holiday expenses. The approval process may involve a more thorough examination of your financial history and creditworthiness.

  1. Availability

Buy Now, Pay Later

It is up to the retailer whether they want to accept or offer a buy now, pay later option. Not every retailer will offer this option.

Personal Loans

With a personal loan, the funds are transferred to your bank account electronically once you are approved. You can then use those funds anywhere.


Choosing between buy now, pay later and personal loans depends on your individual financial goals and preferences. If you value flexibility in payment and are making smaller purchases, BNPL services may be a convenient option. For varied expenses with a more structured repayment plan, a personal loan could provide the necessary funds.

Ultimately, carefully evaluating the terms, fees, and potential long-term impact on your credit will help you make an informed decision that aligns with your holiday spending objectives.

If the holidays are wreaking havoc on your bank account, consider a personal loan from Uprova.com. You can request up to $5,000 online, and if approved, receive funds in as soon as one business day. You can get started for free online, without impacting your FICO credit score.


The content of this website is for informational purposes only. Nothing on this website constitutes financial or professional advice. Consult a professional for advice suitable to your personal circumstances.

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