“Research from our Debt Need Survey, which measures how many people need debt advice in the UK, has shown that four in ten people (38%) who had used Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) products in the last six months are in need of full debt advice. A further third (35%) are at risk of falling into problem debt, and only a quarter (27%) of those demonstrated that BNPL is appropriate in line with their financial commitments.
“This is worrying because it indicates that some of the most vulnerable are using BNPL, which is unlikely to be in their best interests if they are already in problem debt or likely to fall into it. Therefore, we welcome the drive to regulate BNPL products to bring these under greater scrutiny and affordability checks.
“We know many people currently feel worried about money, and some people may turn to credit products like BNPL to help them pay for everyday essentials such as food. In general, we urge anyone who is thinking about using BNPL to consider this type of borrowing very carefully and fully understand what they are committing to. If possible, people should look at alternative options first, such as using a credit union, which provides affordable ways to borrow.
“As the organisation behind the annual Talk Money Week campaign, we also want to encourage people to have conversations about money year-round – particularly people using credit regularly – sothey can get the support they need to find a way forward.
“If anyone is worried about keeping up with payments, we encourage them to talk to their creditors as early as possible, as they could offer affordable options to pay back what is owed. Our guide talking to creditors is designed to help people find out more about how to do that well. For those who are currently struggling to keep on top of bills and financial commitments and are considering or already using BNPL, we suggest seeking free debt advice immediately. The Debt Advice Locator Tool on the MoneyHelper website can help you find a suitable debt adviser.”
Caroline Siarkiewicz, Chief Executive of the Money and Pensions Service