Comment on Treasury announcement of intention to regulate BNPL

“As one of the UK’s leading credit reference agencies, it’s good to see that the Treasury and FCA are moving in the right direction on regulation of the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) sector. Equifax has previously called for greater sharing of BNPL data with credit reference agencies, to provide a holistic approach which will protect consumers, and help lenders make better affordability decisions.

“In particular, we agree with the Government’s view that clear, consistent and timely credit reporting across the three main credit reference agencies will be an important part of the responsible provision of BNPL products. This level of transparency will help to bring hidden lending into the light, and ensure that all consumers who use BNPL get the same benefits and the same level of protection. We’re already working with many BNPL providers to get this data included on credit reports, and hope that others will now step forward to collaborate with us on this too.

“The fair treatment of those in default or arrears is also a vital part of consumer safeguarding, and the statutory requirements on provision of information to consumers in arrears and default are vital consumer protections, so we are pleased to see these included as well. Equifax, together with its subsidiary TDX Group, is already helping BNPL firms, and others in the short-term interest-free credit space, get ready to meet new FCA regulation with efficient, digital products designed to look after consumers in financial difficulty.

“We are still a long way from the finish line, but the outcome of this consultation is another milestone on the path to a set of well-reasoned and much-needed regulatory standards; standards that keep the features of BNPL so many consumers like, but that protect people from problem debt.”

Jayadeep Nair, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Equifax UK