We all know the feeling of wanting something that we can’t have. You might be browsing your favourite clothing website and desperate for that new pair of shoes, only to find it’s just out of your budget, but much to your relief, you look at the payment options and see that you can pay later. With no interest and no fees, you think “what’s the risk?”, it even tells you to sit back and relax as they will notify you when payment is due, but there are risks with BNPL that could quickly turn your dream purchase into a bit of a nightmare. Read on to find out why…..
Buy now pay later encourages people to spend more than they can afford.
It is marketed by cool and trendy brands and Instagram influencers as being a smooth and easy payment, but the way information is presented on these sites encourages people to spend more money. As BNPL companies don’t provide consistent affordability checks, this encourages people to spend more than they can afford and leads too many people into debt as a consequence.
Many people use BNPL by accident because it’s the default payment method on a retailer’s website, or they enter a BNPL agreement not knowing that it is a credit product and that there will be consequences if they’re not able to make repayments.
Did you know that there can be fees if you fall behind on payments and that they may even get a debt collection agency involved if you are not able to pay? BNPL financiers have also been noted to report defaults more frequently than successful repayments to credit-reporting agencies, potentially putting your credit rating in jeopardy (making it harder for you to get a loan, credit card or even mobile phone contract in the future).
14 million people have used BNPL in the last 12 months, but 26% have regretted using it and 41% of users have struggled to make a repayment. Therefore, it is important to remember the old adage, “only borrow what you can afford”, and make sure you pay close attention to the fine print on checkout screens, particularly if it looks anything like this:
Looking for more budgeting advice and support to improve your finances?
Visit the Advice & Support section of our website, where you can find our blog, resources and more: https://www.street-uk.com/advice-support
BNPL report (FINAL).pdf (citizensadvice.org.uk)