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27. BNPL, Are You a Hoolahgan? with Stuart Thornton

27. BNPL, Are You a Hoolahgan? with Stuart Thornton

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Key takeaways

  • BNPL increases the accessibility of quality products in a sustainable way
  • BNPL creates opportunities for consumers to embed themselves in an alternative lifestyle
  • CPF should be the bedrock of retirement planning for all Singaporeans

All good businesses need to start with solving a problem. This week, we have Stuart Thornton, founder and CEO of Hoolah, providing his inside take on Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and its benefits to different stakeholders. 


BNPL is a new payment method that allows consumers to pay for their purchases in short installments without any interest charges or fees. When asked why he founded Hoolah, Stuart explains that he divides decision making into wants and needs. If the product or service that one is providing is nice to have, stakeholders will not necessarily invest. However, if it is a needs-based decision, that is a very different proposition. Stuart founded Hoolah because he discovered a need in the market that the company could address. 

Stuart cites four critical challenges for merchants: increasing customers, conversion, basket size, and customer loyalty. Consumers on the other hand are focused on prices and value propositions. When looking at products, we are making a psychological decision over whether the purchase will add enough value or satisfaction to justify buying it. At the point of decision making, by offering an opportunity to split payments over a period of time at no additional cost, more products will become accessible. Hence, BNPL and Hoolah fill a gap in the market and address a need for these two stakeholders.  

When looking at the BNPL space, Stuart notices many traditional business models predatory with hidden fees or built-in interest rates that accumulate over time. In contrast, Hoolah prides itself on always being interest-free to make products accessible for consumers and drive returns for merchants. Compared to traditional instalment plans paid through credit cards, BNPL is more personalised around each consumer. This is also what sets Hoolah apart from its competitors. Hoolah’s platform is built around the behaviour of a consumer and sees a marriage between the science of data and the art of consumer behaviour. This intersection makes data come alive and helps Hoolah stay customer-obsessed, one of their core values. 

Stuart believes that true BNPL can create an amazing experience where consumers can embed themselves in an enhanced alternative lifestyle. One example is that consumers have more avenues monthly to explore saving and investing options with payments in instalment periods. As a result, BNPL, if done the right way, can create opportunities for a better financial future for consumers. Stuart comments that this can only be achieved with transparency between merchant and consumer. With consumers’ best interests in mind, responsible affordability needs to be advocated for. Reliable affordability concerns educating the consumer about spending wisely and ensuring that people are responsible for their money. 

While Hoolah places heavy emphasis on their customers, they also prioritise their staff. As a company, Hoolah is driven to enable its employees to live out the vision of the business, have the opportunity for a better financial future, and contribute back to their respective communities. 

Meet Our Guest Speaker

Stuart Thornton

CEO & Co-Founder at hoolah

Stuart loves building businesses. He’s taken by the hustle, the passion, the thrill of being challenged, finding opportunities, building relationships based on mutual support, and making people smile. Currently, he is fulfilling his dream of setting up and building a company with his team. This company, hoolah, aims to bring a new alternative way for consumers to access their needs and wants responsibly and enhance their preferred lifestyle.

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