Should You Choose a Point-of-Sale Loan to Gift Now and Pay Later?

A point-of-sale loan lets you break down a purchase into a series of smaller payments, so you can buy now and pay later.

In recent years, point-of-sale financing has rapidly expanded in the United States, with lenders like Klarna, Afterpay and Affirm now partnering with major retailers, including Macy’s, Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart, to bring the option to consumers.

Choosing a point-of-sale loan can make sense if it charges zero to minimal interest and the payments don’t stress your budget. But if the interest rate is high, consider other types of loans to finance your purchase — even if they’re less convenient.

How to get a point-of-sale loan

To apply for a point-of-sale loan, you’ll need to create an account with the lender. This is usually integrated directly into your checkout experience.

Once you opt in, you’ll provide basic personal details like your name, date of birth and address. You may also be asked for your Social Security number, and most companies will perform a soft credit check, which does not impact your score.

You’ll then see the breakdown of your payment plan options. Point-of-sale loans divide your balance into installments, spread out evenly over an agreed-upon repayment term, with the first installment due at checkout.

For example, if your total is $100 with a zero-interest, two-month repayment plan that comes due every two weeks, you would pay four installments of $25. After you input your payment information and billing address, and agree to the terms and conditions, your debit or credit card will be charged for the first payment and automatically charged every two weeks until your balance is paid in full.

Just like applying for a store credit card, the whole process takes anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes. The approval decision is instantaneous.

Depending on the financing company, interest and late fees may be applied.

Are POS loans a good idea?

Point-of-sale financing can be a good option when you need to make a purchase you can’t cover outright and the installments fit comfortably in your budget. You should also look to pay zero to minimal interest.

Consider a POS loan if:

You’re new to credit: Companies that offer point-of-sale financing have more lenient criteria when deciding whether to approve you for a loan. Though some lenders check your credit score, others focus on the funds available on your debit or credit card, the repayment term and the price of your purchase.

Some companies also report your payment history, which can help your credit score if you make all payments on time.

You’re making a big, one-time purchase: Point-of-sale loans are useful when you need to get a new mattress, piece of furniture or some other big-ticket item, but don’t have a credit card or prefer the simplicity of fixed monthly payments.

You won’t pay much interest: While some retailers may offer zero-interest rates, that won’t always be the case. For example, annual percentage rates at Affirm can be as high as

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Opinion | Choose a Gift That Changes Lives

Restore a person’s sight. My final prize winner is the Himalayan Cataract Project, also known as Cure Blindness, which fights blindness in Asia and Africa. This, too, is a bargain: The surgery can cost as little as $25 per person, or $50 for both eyes.

The Himalayan Cataract Project was founded by Dr. Sanduk Ruit, a Nepali ophthalmologist who helped develop a cataract microsurgery technique (the “Nepal method”), and Dr. Geoff Tabin of Stanford University Medical School. I traveled to the remote town of Hetauda, Nepal, to watch the doctors perform the surgeries — and I’ve rarely seen anything so exhilarating.

After years of blindness, a 50-year-old woman, Thuli Maya Thing, was among those lined up for the operation. “I can’t fetch firewood or water,” she told me. “I fall down many times. I’ve been burned by the fire.”

A day after the surgery, I watched as her bandages were removed. She stood blinking, and then smiled giddily as she saw her surroundings for the first time in years. Doctors tested her vision and found it to be 20/20.

“I used to get around by crawling,” she said, “and now I can get up and walk.”

I’ve seen many humanitarian interventions all over the world, and there’s almost nothing so cheap, rapid and transformative as cataract surgery. It feels biblical, as the blind see again — and recover their lives.

The web page should make it effortless for you to support these three organizations and learn more about them. Focusing Philanthropy, a nonprofit I have partnered with, will process reader contributions through the web page and report back to you on results.

Focusing Philanthropy will also pay for the credit card transaction costs of your donation, so that 100 cents on the dollar will go to your designated charity.

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Madcap Cottage founders choose their favorite items from Terrain

“All of our fabrics, all of our wallpaper, there’s always a garden connection,” Nixon says. “It might be something more graphic or something really literal. People ask us about color all the time, and we say, ‘If it works in your garden, it works in your house.’ ”

With that in mind, the pair chose Terrain, with its mix of indoor and outdoor items, many inspired by nature, for this column.

“Terrain has curated a product assortment that feels special, feels like it could have come from an antique market,” Loecke says. “It doesn’t feel like a mass-produced thing.”

Nixon says Terrain fits well with their whimsical aesthetic. “We’ve kind of created this Narnia type of world in our heads,” he says. “Walking into Terrain, I’m challenged, I’m surprised, I’m delighted.”

The two also appreciate the retailer’s price point. Everything here is less than $200, a reflection of Madcap’s strong belief that “good design need not be expensive, only expressive,” Loecke says. It’s easy to make a room look fabulous if you have a lot of money, Nixon says, but it’s more challenging to curate a beautiful room on a budget. The results, though, are more interesting and genuine.

“You don’t ever want to be able to walk into an interior and say, ‘I know who did this,’ or, ‘Oh, you hired a decorator,’ ” Loecke says. When you walk into Terrain, he says, it feels less like a showroom and more like a collection that has been built over time. And “that’s what makes it feel like a home you can live in.”

Here are some of Loecke’s and Nixon’s favorite items from Terrain.

Nixon and Loecke like these glass placeholder vases ($58 for a set of six), because they’re simple but elegant. Place a single flower from the yard or a local store in each one to dress up the table for your next gathering (socially distanced, of course). Made of clear glass, the vases should be hand-washed with mild soap and warm water.

“You can never have enough plates and bowls shaped like cabbages,” Nixon and Loecke said in an email. These ceramic cabbage plates ($24-$34 each) come in two sizes and four colors. The Madcap Cottage team suggests pairing them with a simple white charger for a modern look, or mixing them with your china to add an unexpected element to any table.

These cheerful acorn-shaped Rosy Rings harvest candles ($32) “smell like heaven,” Nixon and Loecke wrote. The hand-poured candles made of a coconut wax blend with a cotton wick come in a reusable ceramic container in either orange or neutral. They are scented with a blend of fragrance oils that include orange peel, cardamom, star anise, aged clove, ground ginger, cinnamon bark, tobacco leaf, vanilla and mahogany.

Throws instantly up the cozy factor in any home, and Loecke and Nixon like this colorful alpaca merino wool blend checked throw ($188). “Who wants anything beige and boring,” they wrote in an email. “Life is far

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How to choose the right Christmas gift: tips from psychological research

Christmas is a time of celebration, relaxation and gift giving.

But choosing gifts can also make it a time of stress and anxiety. The wrong gift can actually do more harm than good.

Here is some advice, based on decades of research, on how to side-step such pitfalls.

Why do we give gifts?

Research into the psychology of gift-giving suggests there are two goals to consider when giving someone a gift.

The first is to make the recipient happy. That mostly depends on whether the gift is something they want.

The second is to strengthen the relationship between giver and recipient. This is achieved by giving a thoughtful and memorable gift – one that shows the giver really knows the recipient. Usually this means figuring out what someone wants without directly asking.

You can see the conundrum.

To get someone the gift they most desire, the obvious thing to do is ask. This approach can achieve high marks on desirability. But it is set up to fail on communicating thoughtfulness.

The following graphic illustrates the problem (with myself as the example recipient).

Two dimensions to consider when buying someone a gift: thoughtfulness and desirability.
Images from

The best kind of gift is one both desired by the recipient and is thoughtful. For me this might be a custom t-shirt printed with an in-joke.

The worst kind of gift, on the other hand, is neither desired nor thoughtful. For me, this might be a pair of socks.

Then there are desirable but unthoughtful gifts, such as cash, and undesired but very thoughtful gifts, which for me would be officially naming a star in my honour. I love astronomy but this just isn’t for me.

Read more:
We’re not as Grinchy as we think: how gift-giving is inspired by beliefs-based altruism

Navigating social risk

This is why buying a gift can be so anxiety-inducing. There is a “social risk” involved.

A well-received gift can improve the quality of relationship between giver and recipient by increasing feelings of connection, bonding, and commitment. A poorly received gift can do the opposite.

This has been shown by research. A 1999 study asked 129 people to describe in detail a situation in which they had received a gift. Ten people reported gifts that weakened the relationship. Two people actually ended the relationship after the gift.

The thought doesn’t count as much as you think. Gift givers tend to overestimate how well unsolicited gifts will be recieved.

How much does the thought count?

Research also shows people tend to overestimate their ability to discern what a recipient will like, and therefore what gifts will lead to a strengthening of the relationship.

A 2011 study asked respondents to think back to either their own wedding or a wedding to which they were a guest. Gift recipients were asked to rate how appreciative they were of gifts either listed on the gift registry or not. Guests were asked to estimate how well they thought gifts were received.


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Why Women Choose To Stay In The Margins And What They Can Do About It

By: Cindy Wahler

In the spirit of teamwork, collaboration, and looking out for others, women tend to put everyone ahead of themselves. We are taught or socialized that getting along in the world is equated with ensuring that everyone is heard and everyone has a voice. In this equation, though, we are busy taking care of others and we dismiss our own needs.

When I speak to my female clients, they often express discomfort in raising their hand when it comes to a promotion, better pay, or stretch assignments. When I probe to uncover the factors behind this resistance, they often articulate that it is not right to brag. That highlighting their capabilities is not an attractive quality. Being humble, rather than being seen as being confident with the right amount of ego, leads us to staying in the shadows.

When we stay in the shadows, we lose our voice. We marginalize ourselves, and even worse, we become invisible. The frustrating byproduct is that noisier people get heard.

These noisier people may not have ideas that are any brighter than your own. They also may not be any more talented or qualified to take on the very assignment you wished you had the opportunity to be assigned.

There is another reason women hold back. I often hear women say:

I don’t deserve a promotion. There are more qualified people who are entitled.

If you have proven yourself, then isn’t everyone entitled? This negative self talk contributes to women pulling away from themselves. It means we diminish our strengths and instead focus on what we are missing. This causes us to retreat.

Women must realize that if you fail to raise your hand, it is unlikely that you stand a chance. As it is, it is tough even when you do raise your hand. You must, though, start with yourself. So what should you do?

Here are some steps you can take now.

[Related: Five Steps Women Can Take to Self-Advocate]

1) No regrets.

Think about the day you retire or look back on your career. You do not want to be sorry that you held back on your views and ideas. Create a platform for no regrets. Commit to that.

2) Replace negative self statements with positive ones.

Stop being hard on yourself. Focus on how you add value and promote those attributes. Rehearse your value add over and over again, just like winning athletes who visualize getting to the podium.

3) Apply for jobs that you are not fully qualified for.

You do not have to have 100% of the skills that are listed as part of the job description. Having enough of the skills matter and you will learn the rest.

[Related: Don’t Let Perfection Paralyze Your Career]

4) Recognize that genius is rare.

When you look around the table, some of your peers, although noisy, may in fact not

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How to Choose The Appropriate Model of Umbrella

It is slightly technical to sort out what kind of umbrella would work best for you. Weather conditions vary from region to region. It is important to select an umbrella that matches a certain list of requirements. Weight, durability, compactness, canopy diameter, style are some of the variables that can help make a decision. First of all, it is important to define the purpose. A person may need something that can help him protect from sunshine, rain, snow, etc.

There is no use of an umbrella if it flips inside-out in the wind. There are several types of umbrellas such as compact and fixed-shaft models. Each has their specific advantages and disadvantages. Compact models are smaller and lightweight, ideal for normal weather. On the other hand, non-compact models are heavier and well-structured. Traditional or non-compact models are sturdy, capable of dealing with harsh weather conditions. Non-compact units are ideal when a person has to carry weather protection equipment in his bag all the time.

Some cities experience heavy rain and wind. It is not recommended to go with lightweight and less durable umbrellas in severe weather. Compact and non-compact are two major categories, however, there are several types of umbrellas varying in weight, quality of material, and the size of the canopy. These variables have a direct impact on a model's ability to provide a shield against poor weather conditions. Travel models are designed to provide users with ease of use, normal level of protection, and portability.

People do not like to carry heavy stuff while traveling in small vehicles. A heavy and large umbrella is hard to carry or adjust in a small traveling bag. Therefore, travelers should go for compact or travel models.

Simple rain coats or jackets can provide adequate protection from rain or snow. However, an overhead canopy can provide features that rain clothing cannot; for example, the amount of ventilation. A jacket can only protect the upper half of a wearer. Moreover, it is not appropriate to use heavy clothing during summer. The best technique is to use an umbrella that causes no stress in terms of heat and ventilation. No matter how light a jacket is, it will be annoying to wear it in hot weather.

People also use umbrellas to get shade from the sun during hikes, beach trips, or a day out at a park. Some of the products are only designed to provide protection against sunshine. You should be clear about why you are buying an umbrella. Is it for the heavy rain or shade? Select a product that meets your needs.

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Corporate Baby Gifts – How to Choose the Perfect Gift for an Employee or Customer

At some point, almost every business will need to purchase a baby gift to send to a new parent. Perhaps it’s a loyal customer that you want to show your appreciation to, perhaps a new customer that you are building rapport with, or perhaps an employee who you’d like to celebrate with. Whatever the reason, finding the perfect baby gift can build great relationships and form a lasting impression.

When my son was born, my husband was the vice president of a small construction company. One of their major vendors brought us a gift card for a local baby store. We were very appreciative that they thought of us, and now even 7 years later I can still remember receiving it. Now that’s staying power.

I generally do not recommend gift cards as baby gifts from businesses. There are several reasons why. The main one, is that a gift card does not show that much effort at all was put into the gift. It doesn’t even show that the company has taken the time to find out if the baby is a boy or girl. Another important factor is price. In general, you can find a very nice gift for much less than most people will end up spending on a gift card. A gift card has no “wow” factor, and the recipient will know exactly how much you spent on the gift.

So, how much should you spend on a baby gift for a customer or employee? There are no hard set rules or general etiquette rules for appropriate amounts. We, however generally recommend a 10% rule, with a minimum of $30. If the person you are purchasing for is an employee, take a look at their weekly salary. Whatever that salary is, plan to spend about 10% of that on their baby gift. That means if they make $400 a week, you would plan to spend about $40. If they make $1000 a week, plan for about $100. If they make $300 or less, plan to spend about $30 as you will find it hard to find a nice gift for less than $20-30. If you are purchasing for a customer, follow a similar rule, but look at approximately how much money their company spends with you on a typical week (if they don’t purchase weekly, average out what they do spend to get a weekly rate). You can then use 10% of the typical purchase amount.

Once you have your budget figured out, you are ready to start considering gift ideas. Try to find out as much about the new baby as you can. Is it a boy or a girl? Has the baby be named? What is his/her name? What was the birth date? Having this information will allow you to find a gift that will be extra special for the family.

When choosing a corporate baby gift, you’ll want to look for a few things. First of all, it should be something the family can …

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Why Choose Organic Children’s Clothing?

There is a growing number of environmentally conscious parents choosing clothes made from organic and/or sustainable fabrics and notions for their children. Some believe this is a fad that will soon go away and parents will go back to the cheaper option of clothing their children with conventionally grown cotton. However, aside from the sarcastic “trendy” label you may get, there are real benefits from purchasing clothes made from sustainable materials.

But why is organic cotton so much better than conventionally grown cotton? Let’s start with practical matters that everyone can understand and appreciate. It costs less to buy clothes made from organic cotton when compared to clothes made from conventionally grown cotton. Yes, you have read that right. The initial cost of buying clothes made from organic cotton may be higher, however, these clothes last longer. It has been shown that conventionally grown cotton takes much more abuse in the production sage due to having the fabric bleached, dyed, sprayed, and having flame and soil retardants applied even before it is shipped to be cut into patterns for a piece of clothing. This leads to clothes made from this fabric lasting about 15 washes before it begins to break down. This mean the fabric is much more sturdier and will last a lot longer than the conventionally grown cotton fabric.

Next up are the pesticides used to cultivate conventionally grown cotton. Land for the use of growing cotton takes up roughly 2.5 percent of farmland yet it uses 25 percents of the world’s pesticides and insecticides every year. To illustrate this stark difference, the amount of cotton used to produce one pair of jeans and t-shirt needs one pound of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.

The effect that these toxins can have on our children can be detrimental to their health. Johnson & Johnson states, “A baby’s skin is thinner, more fragile and less oily than an adult’s. A baby’s skin also produces less melanin, the substance that helps protect against sunburn. It’s less resistant to bacteria and harmful substances in the environment, especially if it’s irritated. Babies also sweat less efficiently than the rest of us, so it’s harder for them to maintain their inner body temperature.” This translates into a greater health risk for children than adults as a child’s body may not be able to effectively fight off the toxins that are used to create the clothes he or she is wearing.

Just think of utilizing organic cotton clothing as another way you are protecting the health of your children. It is a small step but it could have huge benefits down the road.

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Why Choose Promo Codes While Shopping Online

Shopping has evolved magically over the last few years, thanks to the development of technology. Today, you don’t have to waste time in supermarkets or textile markets to buy what you need. Online shopping has brought the world to your home, and you can shop for almost everything that you want, right from the comfort of your homes. Grocery, Household goods, medicines, food, personal care products, toys, electronic & electrical items, books and a lot of other items can be ordered online easily these days. To add to the comfort of online shopping, most of the sites offer promotion codes as well during special occasions so that you get a good deal on your purchases. What are the benefits of these promotion codes? Read on to know more:

Savings in cost

A coupon code gives you a good deal when you order food or other goods from the restaurants or stores registered with that particular site. A site can offer promotional codes for first-time visitors, during special occasions like national festivals and other days so that you can save a good amount on your purchases. Lots of other retail sites keep advertising their promo codes on the internet and send mailers about the same to their registered users. You need to watch out for these and shop online on the days when discount codes are available so that you can get an attractive deal.

Free shipping offers

If you are thorough with online shopping, you might be aware that most of the sites ask you to pay a certain amount towards delivery charges. These charges depend on the distance of your home from the pick-up facility or on the total value of your purchases. Some sites offer free deliveries for purchases that are a minimum of $500 at least. However, on the days when you have promo codes going on, you might be pleasantly surprised to note good deals on shipping as well. For example, when you are ordering food from your favourite restaurant on any site and you enter the special promotional offer of the day, the site offers you free delivery of goods for that particular day.

Shopping with full freedom

Most of the coupon codes come with a reasonable validity period. This gives you enough time to go through the products available on a particular site and use your codes judiciously, so that you get costly items at rates that you could not have imagined about, otherwise! Also, during important festivals like Christmas, some sites offer more than one coupon code for their wide range of products. During these times, you have to understand about each coupon, its terms and conditions and your final cost savings, before you decide on the code that is right for you.

Discount codes are offered by retailers to attract more and people to their sites and thus increase profitability. Shop during the times when promotional offers are on so that you don’t have to loosen your purse strings too much. Usually, …

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How to Choose a Wedding Band for an Upcoming Wedding

The musicians chosen by the happy couple for their wedding day will basically be the soundtrack to the festivities and their special love story, so it's crucial to make sure they are the best fit before securing them for the big day.

That being said, there are many things to consider:


First things first, it's important to think about what value means. Most brides and grooms want high quality, of course. However, this does not mean they have to bust their budget. Take into account quality and cost and keep in mind that as long as it's excellent music and guest will dance it will be perfect.

Truthfully, spending a bit on the entertainment is well worth it because music creates memories and musicians who truly love what they do and have plenty of experience will know how to guide the festivities so that guests are talking about the event for years after. Plus, remember that the music will be in the video! Find the right fit! If the price is a bit high, there may be ways to customize services and not give up such a great performance.


Whether searching for a full on band or string quartet, as long as the musicians have great talent and skill they will cater to the bride and groom's needs. However, keep in mind the best musicians can book up even a year in advance, so start looking early enough!

A great idea is to ask trusted friends and family to give referrals to wedding bands, and check popular websites to see reviews. The musician or band may also have a website of their own with audio clips so that a sample can be heard before checking them out in person. Always see them in person, don't rely on an audio sample. Then check their flexibility to see if they'll meet the needs of the wedding.

If they show that they have extensive knowledge in relation to the amount of guests, venue and music choices that is always a good sign.


There's no doubt that skill and talent are of the utmost importance. Other things to take into consideration are chemistry and communication to decide how well they'll perform. If they answer questions fast and show interest in the personal theme of the wedding, then they are a safe bet.

They should also treat the couple as if they are the most important and should have a passion for music in general. Be sure they accept personal requests, and other personalization. Not every wedding is the same and if they don't take the time to get to know likes and dislikes it's best to avoid them. The memories are in the details!


Music style counter the personality of the couple, as well as the bride and groom individually. Be sure the musician or band is versatile and will help tell the story, as stated above. They should set the mood be it trendy, romantic, exciting, nostalgic or whatever …

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