Argos axes payment option ahead of Christmas – and devastated shoppers say they won't be able to afford gifts | The Sun
ARGOS has reduced its credit options in the build-up to Christmas – leaving customers worried about affording gifts.
The retailer used to offer buy now pay later (BNPL) plans of three, six or 12 months.
But over the summer, Argos quietly deleted the six-month option.
Customers can now either choose BNPL plans of up to three months when they spend more than £50, or 12 months if they spend more than £199 on any products.
Shoppers have railed at the firm for removing the sixth-month interest-free option, which used to be available when spending more than £99.
One said on X, previously known as Twitter: “Any idea when the six-month BNPL plan will be available again on the Argos card?
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"Can't do my Christmas shopping at Argos without it.”
Another added: “Why have you stopped the six-month plan? I used that a lot.”
On Facebook, a customer told the Argos Complaints Group: “They’ve changed the Argos card plans a few times over the past couple of months.
"It’s terrible they got rid of the six-month option."
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Under the new options, customers buying a £99 Fitbit or £149.99 Amazon Fire Tablet would need to be confident they could pay it back in 90 days – rather than take a longer six-month option.
If they fail to pay in time, they would be charged a steep interest rate of 34.9% on the outstanding amount, backdated to the time of purchase.
If they wanted to have 12 months to pay the amount back, they could get it by buying more from Argos to push them over the £199 threshold, but that would increase their debt.
Consumer champion James Daley, of the Fairer Finance campaign website, said: “Although Argos payment plans are presented as buy now pay later schemes, they are actually much more like regular credit plans – with serious consequences for not managing to keep up with payments.
“Removing the six-month option is going to be a heavy blow for many shoppers as they plan how to pay for the extra expense of Christmas at a time when the cost of living crisis is still biting.
“It’s true that interest rates are higher than they were, but it would be nice to see Argos offering more flexibility for their customers rather than less in this climate.
“Even if they need to charge a small amount for the six-month option, it’s clear that it’s something their customers value and would use.”
The Argos Card is a “revolving credit” store card, which means that after affordability checks, customers get a single credit limit for buying goods from Argos and don’t have to re-apply for each new purchase.
This limit is regularly reviewed and may be increased or decreased.
When they go to buy something from Argos, they can either choose normal credit, giving them up to 56 days to pay, or longer Buy Now Pay Later plans may be available. But they are not guaranteed.
An Argos spokesperson said: "We regularly review our Argos card deals and the credit terms that we offer to meet the needs of our customers.
“Our latest offer is a buy now pay later plan on any product worth more than £199 with 12 months to pay, giving our customers a longer term payment option.
“Our customers value the Argos Card as it gives them the option to buy items and avoid paying interest, provided they cover the full balance within the agreed term.
“The vast majority of our customers pay their BNPL plans back within the term period and pay no interest.
“We see customers taking advantage of more than one plan in order to better manage their payments."
The terms and conditions and interest rate were made clear, as well as how cardholders can avoid paying interest, they said.
Director of external affairs at StepChange, Richard Lane, said: “Consumers need to ensure that any credit they do take out, whether that be BNPL or otherwise, is affordable, and they’ll be in a position to meet the repayments within the allocated timeframe.
“For someone struggling with debt from using BNPL or any other type of credit, independent and confidential support is available from free debt advice charities like StepChange.”
In comparison, Argos' rival Very.co.uk offers customers the chance to split a payment into three over three months with no interest, or spend £50 and delay payments for up to six months, or spend £300 and delay payments for 12 months.
John Lewis offers interest-free payment plans on selected items costing £200 or more, with the duration depending on the product.
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For example, a £1,000 order can be split into monthly payments of £83.33 over a year.
Last December, money guru Martin Lewis issued a warning over credit card debt ahead of Christmas and revealed the rules to follow.
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