What is Spot by Citi, and how does it compare?

Citi will launch a buy now pay later platform in Australia this October despite plans to withdraw its banking services. Canstar compares how the interest free service will stack up against major players like Afterpay and Paypal.
Citi is launching a buy now pay later service in Australia. Image: Radu Bercan/Shutterstock.com.

Global bank Citi announced this week it would launch a new buy now pay later service in Australia this October, called Spot. It would be issued by Citi’s affiliate business Diners.

The news comes shortly after the major credit card lender announced in April that it would be removing its consumer banking services from Australia and some other markets.

Registrations are now open for Spot, for those interested in being the first to hear of the launch.

Anyone who registers by 22 September, 2021, and is approved to set up an account by 15 January, 2022, would receive a $25 e-Gift Card once they make a purchase of $50 or more within the first 30 days, and would go into the draw to win one of 10 $1,000 shopping vouchers (further terms and conditions apply).

It’s always worth considering whether buy now pay later is a suitable payment style for you, particularly given 2020 research from ASIC which showed many buy now pay later customers struggled to scrape together the funds to pay back these debts on time, missed payments for household bills, credit cards and mortgages, and even needed to cut back on meals.

What is Spot?

Spot is a buy now pay later service by Citi, available online for new customers or via the Citi mobile app for existing Citi customers from October 2021.

Spot was built by Citi but would be an entirely separate brand and issued by Citi’s affiliated company, Diners.

Australians would be the first of Citi’s customers to get access to Spot in what could be a worldwide rollout of the payment method if all goes well here.

Image supplied by Citi.

How does Spot work?

Spot splits purchases into four fortnightly payments. Customers could choose to break down purchases of $200 or more even further into eight fortnightly payments for a flat fee of $10.

Approved customers could get access to a spend limit of up to $1,000 and add a Spot card to their digital wallets for spending anywhere Mastercard is accepted in Australia and abroad, online and in store.

Australians need to be 18 years or older to register for the buy now pay later service.

How much does Spot cost? Does it charge late fees?

Spot does not charge interest but it charges a $10 flat fee to split purchases of greater than $200 into eight fortnightly payments instead of four, if a customer chooses to extend the split.

The buy now pay later service would also charge late fees on some missed payments. Missed payments for purchases under $100 would have no fees attached, while a $10 late fee would be charged per missed payment for purchases of $100 or more. A Citi spokesperson told Canstar there was no cap on late fees at this stage, but the details of late fees were still being worked on in the lead up to Spot’s launch in October.

How does Spot compare to Afterpay and PayPal Pay in 4?

We took a look at how Spot* compares to Afterpay and PayPal Pay in 4 buy now pay later services, according to information currently available.

Repayment schedule

Spot Afterpay PayPal Pay in 4
Pay in 4 fortnightly instalments Pay in 4 fortnightly instalments
(first instalment at time of purchase)
Pay in 4 fortnightly instalments
(first instalment at time of purchase)

Ability to extend repayment schedule

Spot Afterpay PayPal Pay in 4
Split purchases over $200 into
eight repayments for a flat fee of $10
No No

Spending limit

Spot Afterpay PayPal Pay in 4
$1,000 From $600, increasing gradually
based on good spending behaviour
Eligible purchases
ranging from $30 to $1,500


Spot Afterpay PayPal Pay in 4
Accepted everywhere
Mastercard is available
Selected retailers Selected merchants where
PayPal is accepted

Late payment fees

Spot Afterpay PayPal Pay in 4
$10 per missed repayment
on purchases above $100
$10, plus $7 if it remains unpaid
seven days later per missed
repayment (caps apply)

Special offers

Spot Afterpay PayPal Pay in 4
$25 gift card & chance to win
one of 10 $1,000 shopping sprees
for early sign-up.
$30 off when you refer a friend to
Afterpay (they get $30 off too)

Source: www.canstar.com.au. Prepared on 5 August, 2021. See providers for full details on eligibility, terms and conditions. *Based on currently available information on Citi’s Spot product which will be released in October 2021. Details may change in the lead up to the release of the product.

Thanks for visiting Canstar, Australia’s biggest financial comparison site*

This content was reviewed by Sub Editor Jacqueline Belesky and Deputy Editor Sean Callery as part of our fact-checking process.

Ellie McLachlan is responsible for leading and breaking financial news on mortgages, money and much more. Ellie studied a Bachelor of Journalism and Arts at UQ and has worked at major metropolitan and regional news organisations.

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