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Filipinos Embrace BNPL for Budgeting and Urgent Purchases: UnaCash Study

Four in 10 Filipinos using ‘buy now, pay later’ (BNPL) services utilise it for budget planning and management, according to a survey by UnaCash, a provider of in-app and in-store financial solutions.

The survey, which included UnaCash clients as well as users of other services, found that 49.6 per cent of respondents were familiar with BNPL services, with many using it regularly for financial management.

This finding suggests the notion that BNPL is primarily for impulsive purchases isn’t always true, highlighting its strategic use for long-term expense distribution and urgent needs.

Among those familiar with BNPL, 38 per cent contemplate using it monthly, 29 per cent plan to use it at least once every six months, and 26 per cent intend to use it at least once annually.

The motivations for using BNPL include an urgent need for a specific product without available funds (37 per cent), the ability to evenly distribute expenses over time (23 per cent), the simplicity and convenience of the service (20 per cent), the option to purchase products by relying on future funds (13 per cent), and the instant gratification of acquiring a high-value product (seven per cent).

Erwin Ocampo, head of product, UnaCash, said: “Our findings highlight the calculated approach Filipinos take to manage their finances and practice good spending habits, and dispel the assumptions that BNPL is used for impulsive purchases. It also sheds light on the strategic adoption of BNPL among Filipino consumers, highlighting its role as a financial ally rather than a mere payment method.”

Eyeing BNPL 

Among those who first learned about BNPL from the survey, 53.3 per cent would consider using the service monthly, 26.7 per cent every six months, and 13.3 per cent once a year, with only 6.7 per cent showing no interest.

Additionally, 93.3 per cent would use BNPL for urgent purchases due to insufficient funds, and 40% for acquiring high-value items immediately. Despite limited experience, 86.7 per cent view BNPL as an effective budgeting tool.

These findings align with UnaCash’s internal data, which shows that middle-class customers often need additional resources for purchases such as smartphones (36 per cent), appliances (30 per cent), furniture (30 per cent), and laptops (four per cent).

“As BNPL continues to gain traction in the Philippines, it is clear that it can also be perceived as a safety net for unforeseen financial needs, aside from an effective planning and budgetary tool,” Ocampo also added.

 

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