Following the Government’s recent consultation on the possibility of future regulation of the Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL) sector, Laybuy, a prominent provider of the BNPL service, has undertaken new research to gain a better understanding of consumer views on the use of credit products.
The research asked more than 2,000 people from across the UK about their past, present, and likely future usage of BNPL, knowledge of wider credit products, and their personal opinion on credit checks.
The survey was a direct response to the opening of a new public consultation by HM Treasury, which seeks to gather evidence and public opinion on the possible enforcement of new regulations on the BNPL sector.
When asked which financial products they identify as a credit product, BNPL was more consistently identified (73%) as a credit product than other more traditional forms of credit such as overdrafts (70%) or even mortgages (69%). The top result was credit cards, which 87% of respondents identified as a credit product.
Laybuy is currently the only BNPL provider to conduct hard credit checks. When asked whether BNPL providers should carry out credit checks, 81% agreed that credit checks on financial history should be carried out before a customer can access the product.
When presented with the choice between a hard or soft credit check, there was strong support for both, but slightly greater support for soft credit checks (75%) compared to hard credit checks (63%).
Additionally, when asked whether BNPL should report usage of their products to other credit companies, a large majority (71%) agreed that sharing the information is necessary.
Finally, when asked when they thought it was best to carry out hard credit checks, the most popular answer was that it should take place when opening an account (48%). Ultimately, out of 81% who supported the use of credit checks, 46% believed soft credit checks were the best approach when applying for BNPL products.
Half (50%) of respondents have used BNPL as a payment option. By income, the groups most likely to have used BNPL as a payment option were those in the £60,000 to £79,999 and £80,000 to £99,999 income brackets (58%). Those on the lowest incomes (less than £20,000) were the least likely to have used BNPL (41%).
When asked about how frequently they used BNPL products, the most common response was less than once a year (35%). On the other hand, only 5% said they used it weekly. This number jumped to 13% with those aged between 18 to 24; by age, this group claimed to use BNPL products the most, with 28% using BNPL at least once monthly). Conversely, the frequency of usage was consistently lower with older age groups, especially those aged 45 to 54 (7% using monthly) and those aged 65+ (54% used it less than once a year).
Among those who hadn’t already used BNPL, 25% said they would consider using it in the future. Those aged 18 to 34 were most receptive to the idea of using BNPL in the future.
Gary Rohloff, Managing Director and Co-founder of Laybuy said: “BNPL is growing in popularity and for many customers, it is a far better way of budgeting than credit cards. However, responsibility is crucial. Just because there is no interest on BNPL, we should never forget that this is a credit product and consumers have the right to be protected. It is pleasing to see that many of the measures we have taken including hard credit checks are widely supported by the public at large. The Government’s consultation has now been published – it’s important we use this opportunity to raise standards across the board.”