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Black Friday shoppers in Skokie, Ill. Photo: Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty Images

Here's a staggering stat: Americans' use of "buy now, pay later" options increased 438% between November 2019 and November 2021, according to an Adobe analysis reported by Retail Dive.

Why it matters: This is one of the biggest new trends in shopping right now. People are getting more and more comfortable with apps like Afterpay, Klarna and Affirm that facilitate "buy now, pay later," and let customers spread out the cost of purchases over a long period of time without a credit card.

  • Consumers may be using these payment plans to deal with higher price tags due to inflation, notes Retail Dive.
  • It's also simpler to just select the "buy now, pay later" option at checkout than to apply for a credit card. These companies often don't run rigorous credit checks before letting people use their services.

But, but, but: There are downsides to using these kinds of apps, such as buying stuff you can't afford.

  • Two-thirds of U.S. users of "buy now, pay later" apps said they spent more money than they would have otherwise while using them, per a Lending Tree survey.
  • On top of that, the companies that offer this service don't usually report users' timely payments to the credit bureaus, so you can't really build credit this way, CBS reports.

The bottom line: "Buy now, pay later" is giving a lot of shoppers more choices and peace of mind this holiday season, but that comes with caveats.

Go deeper

Families won't see child tax credit payments for first time in six months

A protest in support of the child tax credit in December. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Millions of families will not receive the monthly child tax credit payments this weekend for the first time in six months as the program expired at the end of last year.

Why it matters: More than 35 million families have received the payments, according to the IRS. The payments were part of the American Rescue Plan passed in 2021 and were seen as one of the largest anti-poverty measures in modern history.

First look: Senators propose bill to ban corporate PACs

Sens. Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly. Photos: Chip Somodevilla (left), Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) will soon propose a bill prohibiting for-profit corporations from establishing and managing political action committees, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The introduction of "The Ban Corporate PACs Act" comes amid heightened scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding money in politics, including efforts to bar companies from influencing political campaigns and federal elections. It would likely face a court challenge and First Amendment concerns.

40 mins ago - Technology

Exclusive: YouTube shuts down two Oath Keepers channels

Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers. (Photo: Aaron C. Davis/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

YouTube has deactivated two channels linked to the Oath Keepers militia group whose members have been charged in relation to the January 6 Capitol riot, the company told Axios.

The big picture: Social media platforms that were used to plan or promote the Capitol attack have moved with varying degrees of speed to bar the accounts involved.