PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With inflation at an all-time high, millions of Americans are choosing the “buy now, pay later” option when shopping online.

The “buy now, pay later” option is typically offered by companies such as Afterpay, Klarna and Affirm.

Online shoppers are typically given the option to either pay for their purchases in total, or split their payments up into four interest-free installments.

Johnson and Wales University marketing profession Kristen Regine tells 12 News the flexible payment plans are great for those who don’t want to rack up credit card debt, especially this holiday season.

“The consumer conundrum is, ‘how are we going to pay for this?'” she said. “They do actually work and they are wonderful for people who need a short-term fix.”

Jeffrey Massey, a financial expert with Massey and Associates, said the “buy now, pay later” option has proven popular among online shoppers.

The flexible payment plans can look especially appealing as Americans struggle with high interest rates.

But Massey said the fact the payments are interest-free doesn’t necessarily mean that “buy now, pay later” is risk-free.

“The big concern is putting to much on them and not being able to pay them off,” Massey explained. “They do reserve the ability to charge a fee for debt collection.”

“The debt collection can be worse because they can take a big chunk of what’s owed and add it to what you owe them,” he continued.

Massey said the “buy now, pay later” option won’t boost a person’s credit score like using a credit card does.

But not making payments can negatively affect a person’s credit score over time. That’s why Massey said it’s important for shoppers to make sure they can afford the payments before committing to them.

“Just like with a credit card, you don’t want to charge anything unless you can make the payment,” he said.