Many retailers let you buy things on credit. If you want to get a new MacBook Pro, for example, but can’t stomach the eye-watering up-front costs, Apple is happy to let you pay in monthly installments. But the same isn’t true for interactions with smaller, independent shops, or when you buy things on sites like Craigslist and Gumtree.
Enter INSTO. Founded by former eBay Taiwan exec Bruce Chen, INSTO lets you pay for pretty much anything in small, digestible monthly installments.
For it to work, both you and the seller have to be registered with INSTO, and have the app installed on your Android or iOS device. Then, it’s just a matter of setting up the payment schedule, agreeing to it, and making the payments.
“People have paid using installments, in the form of loans or mortgages, for nearly 100 years,” said Bruce Chen, CEO and founder of INSTO. “But now anyone can do it, on the go, without help from a bank. We’re opening up a whole new economy that previously didn’t have access to this payment structure.”
You can use INSTO for pretty much anything. A representative I spoke to said that it could be used for everything from paying rent, to shoes, or for golf lessons.
But what if the buyer misses a payment? Well, the seller isn’t necessarily out of luck. There’s something called INSTO+, which guarantees payments up to $3000. The cost of this varies depending on how many installments are planned.
For 1 to 3 installments, you just need to pay 0.99 percent on top. For 10 to 12 installments, this soars to 6.99 percent. The cost of this is borne by either the seller, the buyer, or included in the cost of the goods or services.
INSTO launched today. For a limited time, new users will receive $100 towards their first purchase that’s greater than $500.
That said, to take advantage of this offer, you’ll probably have to convince someone to sell to you through it. Although, given INSTO promises to pay the card-processing fees for the seller through 2017, you probably won’t have to try all that hard.