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Buy now pay later scheme by Microsoft Edge met with criticism

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Microsoft is under fire from angry users after announcing plans for a built-in “buy now pay later” function in its Edge web browser.

Such schemes let buyers divide payments into smaller chunks over time – but have been criticized for their risk of users getting into debt. Microsoft has added one provider to the checkout page of shopping sites as a default payment option.

But users have accused Microsoft of greed and a “cashgrab” mentality. Thanks to a user-based tagging system, those accusations have been turned into tags on the official announcement.

As a result, Microsoft’s blog post now features tags such as “poor leadership”, “exploitative”, “garbage” and an “embarrassment”.

Microsoft says it “does not collect a fee for connecting users to loan providers” and it is not clear what benefit the company is receiving from the deal struck with payment provider Zip. Users, however, accused Microsoft of trying to make money.

In the US, a study by personal finance company Credit Karma suggests that more than a third (34%) of people using such plans had fallen behind on payments, and 72% of those who had missed one payment believe it had hit their credit score.

Against that backdrop, Microsoft’s introduction of the feature as a heavily-advertised payment option in a mainstream web browser has rubbed many up the wrong way.

The browser comes pre-installed with Windows, and the set-up process for the latest version – Windows 11 – heavily encourages users to stick with Edge over competitors such as Chrome or Firefox.

Despite that, Microsoft has failed to recapture the significant proportion of the web browser market it once held at the turn of the millennium. Modern estimates suggest that it has less than 10% of the desktop web browser market, losing out to Chrome and Safari.

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