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Clearpay Launches New Report Calling For More Transparency About Credit Cards

Following last month’s publication of the government’s consultation to regulate “Buy Now, Pay Later”, Clearpay, a provider of “BNPL” payments known as Afterpay outside the UK and Europe, has launched a new report to uncover consumer concerns around credit products in the financial sector.

The ‘Consumer Voices’ report, commissioned to get insight into Brits’ understanding of how credit products work, revealed that there is a lack of clarity around credit cards, and associated fees and debt – echoing many of the themes outlined in the consultation.

Clearpay believes that although regulation is required, a line needs to be drawn between BNPL and credit cards to ensure there is a clear distinction for consumers. BNPL does not operate in the same way as traditional credit, so it should not be regulated using rules created specifically for credit cards in the 1970s.

Credit cards are confusing

With two in five (40%) Brits admitting they are confused about credit scores, the research reveals that this stems from how credit cards work:

  • Nearly half (47%) worry about how credit card debt or credit checks will impact them in the future;
  • 36% worry about forgetting credit card payments;
  • Nearly two thirds (62%) are anxious about credit card interest or fees;
  • 50% believe that credit card payments come with unexpected charges.

In relation to financial protections, consumers value transparency on the total cost of the purchase including interest rates at different repayment rates (87%), fee-free early repayments (85%) and spending caps (81%) rather than credit scores and upfront payments.

BNPL emerges as a budgeting tool

In contrast to traditional credit cards, the research reveals that BNPL providers like Clearpay are offering a product that suits consumers’ spending needs. Consumers feel that BNPL services help them budget their monthly outgoings (47%), with over three-quarters (77%) of 18-34-year-olds saying they would be more willing to sign up for a BNPL service that doesn’t charge interest.

Unlike credit cards, Clearpay displays a late fees disclaimer at checkout before a transaction is completed and does not report to credit agencies or impact credit ratings. In addition, spending limits only increase as positive repayment behaviour is demonstrated.

BNPL provides an opportunity for small, local businesses

The research also highlights the potential growth opportunity for small businesses if the appropriate payment methods are in place. More than three in five (61%) consumers say they would shop more frequently at local businesses if those businesses offered flexible payment options, such as BNPL.

Damian Kassabgi, executive vice president for public policy at Clearpay said, “As more and more payment providers offer ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ services, it’s clear that the industry needs fit-for-purpose regulation that will offer consumers protection without stifling innovation. This is increasingly important given BNPL spending has grown by 300%, compared to stagnation for credit cards.

“Clearpay’s view has always been that consumers will be best served by transparent products designed with strong safeguards and oversight from the FCA. Since our entry to the UK two years ago, we have made sure our consumer protections are at the core of our product offering, going above and beyond many of the measures announced by the Government.”

Author

  • Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.

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