Australian Venue Co (AVC) has launched a ‘Dine Now, Pay Later’ offer in its venues in what the pub group describes as a world-first for the Afterpay platform.

Afterpay, which went live this week in 12 NSW AVC venues, will be rolled out right across the pub group’s 160 venues on November 15.

Australian-made global success story Afterpay, which has become a leader in the retail buy-now, pay later (BNPL) space, allows consumers to spread out payments over four interest-free instalments if paid on time.

In August, payments giant Square, which is led by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, announced its acquisition of Afterpay in a $39 billion deal.

AVC first rolled out Afterpay four months ago through its Mr Yum-enabled transactions, according to CEO Paul Waterson, and this worked so well, the group decided to adopt a direct Afterpay offer.

With cash transactions at hospitality venues on a steep decline, Waterson said, patrons have been requesting Afterpay for transactions – 90 per cent of which are for food – at AVC venues.

Waterson said the group had been in discussions with Afterpay with its millennial customers in mind for quite a while.  

“These days, younger people use Afterpay as a proxy for the old credit card,” he said. “We’ve been talking with Afterpay for two years now about entering into a partnership, however, BNPL operators have been cautious about hospitality to date.”

Waterson noted that the pub group would not be using Afterpay at the point-of-sale for its liquor retail or gaming operations.

“We’re already upholding responsible service of alcohol, and that also applies to payments, so Afterpay doesn’t change our responsibilities around that,” he said.

Waterson said because Afterpay’s credit limits were low, and it had strong mechanisms in place to prevent overspending, AVC was very comfortable adopting the platform.

“The other thing that gave us confidence is that 90 per cent of Afterpay transactions never incur a late fee, which means people are generally using this as a budgeting tool.”

According to Waterson, taking these factors into account, extending Afterpay into the hospitality space was the next logical step for BNPL.  

“We’ve been using credit cards in hospitality since the ‘80s and this is just the modern version of that, and it’s an even safer option because the limits are lower,” he said.

“Although we’re the first, I think you’ll find that other hospitality players will join Afterpay as well.”

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