Amazon is offering customers loans — and high street retailers should be worried

By Max Slater-Robins for Business insider magazine,

Amazon UK is now offering a monthly pay-back option on items worth over £400 ($590),according to the company’s website.

The service, which is called Amazon Pay Monthly, is in partnership with Hitachi Capital, who also work with John Lewis on a similar scheme. The repayment can be made over two, three, or four year periods, depending on the price of the item — making pricey purchases much more affordable. According to Trusted Reviews, the interest rate is set at 16.9%.

Customers will have to submit to a credit check and will, in most cases, know whether they qualify within a minute, according to Amazon.

One person “close to Amazon”told The Guardian that the move is a “gamechanger” for the company.

It’s a first for Amazon, but many other British high street retailers — including John Lewis and Tesco — also offer financing on expensive items. By offering a similar service, Amazon is making itself more competitive in the market, and putting these established players under greater threat as it targets their higher-end business.

Amazon has become a dominant player in the British retail landscape, with sales of £5.6 billionin the country in 2015 — disrupting older businesses in the process. It continues to aggressively expand into new markets, most recently groceries.

the article first appeared in Business