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More than half of 18-34 yr olds have missed a Buy Now Pay Later payment

A desire for greater regulatory oversight and a need for more education around Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) personal finance products are two of the findings of a new survey of UK consumers conducted by Capco, the global management and technology consultancy.

A UK Survey of Consumer Attitudes to BNPL notes that, over the past year, more than ten million people in the UK have purchased products or services through a BNPL scheme. As the name suggests, BNPL allows consumers to delay or stagger payment when purchasing a product or service. This flexible credit option has grown in prominence and popularity in recent years, notably since the 2014 arrival in the UK of Swedish digital bank and leading BNPL provider Klarna.

In conjunction with market research and polling company Brandwatch Qriously, Capco polled over 2,000 individuals across four age categories between 18 and 65+ years of age on their BNPL usage.  The aim was to determine where BNPL fits within the wider consumer credit industry, to better understand consumer spending habits, and to gauge levels of financial education around these products.

Key findings of the survey include:

  1. BNPL raises the spectre of debt 

50% of respondents aged 18-34 have missed a BNPL payment. Nearly two thirds (62%) of this group said BNPL has led them to spend more than they would have otherwise.

2.       Financial education is lacking 

There is a popular misconception about BNPL:  44% of respondents are unsure whether BNPL means ‘taking on debt’ or ‘deferring a payment’.  Among young people (18-34 age group), this rises to a total of 57%.

3.       Consumers would welcome increased regulation around BNPL
Over half of respondents want BNPL products to be regulated (54%).  In addition, 52% want providers to consider their credit history before financing is approved.


4.    Credit cards continue to be the most popular form of credit…
74% of respondents use a credit card, versus 56% who have used BNPL.

5.       …but BNPL is gaining ground

Almost half of BNPL users (46%) say BNPL is their preferred form of credit. 45% of respondents would like BNPL to be integrated with their current account or credit card.

6.       COVID has led to increased use of BNPL among some respondents  
32% of BNPL users say their usage of such services has increased during COVID-19.

7.       Market leading brands are already established

Klarna is the most popular BNPL product with young people (18-34 age group)PayPal Credit is the most well-known provider across all generations surveyed.