Many BNPL customers borrow to pay off debt - report
Over 40% of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) shoppers relied on credit cards or other forms of borrowing to pay off what they owed, a March survey carried out for charity Citizens Advice shows.
It said the figures showed that shoppers are “piling borrowing on top of borrowing” and underlined the urgent need for BNPL to be regulated, the Guardian newspaper reported.
The survey involved 2,288 people in the UK who had used BNPL in the previous 12 months. Some 42% said they used borrowing of some sort to finance their repayments, with credit cards the most popular option. Others included overdrafts, borrowing from friends and family, and personal loans and payday loans.
Younger shoppers were the most likely to borrow to pay off BNPL purchases. The charity found that 51% of 18-34-year-olds borrowed money to pay off BNPL debts.
BNPL allows shoppers to stagger payments for goods purchased with no interest or charges — unless they fail to pay the debt back on time, at which point some firms impose late fees. Typically, the cost is split into weekly, fortnightly or monthly instalments.
BNPL is to be regulated by the government-controlled Financial Conduct Authority, expected to come into effect later this year or in 2023. Citizens Advice wants this regulation to include affordability checks by all participating firms, and clearer information at online checkouts.
Two of the biggest BNPL firms operating in the UK are Klarna and Clearpay, and other big players include Laybuy and Zilch. However, tech giant Apple has introduced a BNPL feature for iPhones which will be launched in the US late this summer and and could be introduced in the UK before year-end.
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