(London, UK): Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services continue to see significant growth across the UK and European markets.  Over 19 million UK consumers have used Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services, including 40% of credit cardholders, according to Auriemma Group’s latest issue of Cardbeat UK.

Much of this growth can be attributed to Klarna and Clearpay, which are the top two providers used and preferred by BNPL users.  As of mid-2023, half (51%) of Buy Now, Pay Later users have used Klarna before, while 47% say it is their preferred provider. Use of Clearpay remains notably lower, with one-quarter (24%) of Buy Now, Pay Later users trying the service, and 10% preferring it over other providers. Regardless of the provider, the BNPL experience is overwhelmingly positive for those who have used the service. Over nine-in-ten (91%) BNPL users say they had a positive experience using it (up from 74% in Q4-22).

While expectations of regulation coming to the sector have placed a spotlight on Buy Now, Pay Later practices, discussions have not dampened customer appetite for BNPL. New providers continue to enter the marketplace whilst established players continue to increase their investment and focus on service enhancements. Earlier this month, Klarna confirmed an intention to continue investing in the UK market despite calls for tightened regulation.

Whilst growth continues with the younger generations (54% of credit cardholders under 35 have used at least one BNPL plan), there is increasing evidence that the relevance and appeal of BNPL has broadened. The UK Finance Payment Market Report found that the percentage of pensioners now using BNPL services doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year.

“UK banks and traditional lenders are beginning to recognise that BNPL is here to stay as a way for consumers to pay,” says Simon Cottenham, Head of International Partnerships at Auriemma Group. “The key for these players is to create a product, value proposition and customer journey which can appeal in this competitive marketplace.”

Similar trends are being seen in other European markets with Germany reporting 30% growth in BNPL use in the last year. Around one-quarter of consumers in Europe are believed to have made a purchase using BNPL with annual growth rates forecast in the 20%-40% range by most industry observers.

Auriemma Group will continue to monitor this space closely in upcoming Cardbeat studies and within its Customer Service Roundtable groups.

Survey Methodology

This Auriemma Research study was conducted online within the UK by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma in July 2023, among 80o+ adult credit cardholders. The number of interviews completed on a monthly basis is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing between sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ± 5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed nor did the respondents know the criteria for qualification.

About Auriemma Group

For nearly 40 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognised experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximise their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in London and New York City. For more information, visit us at www.auriemma.group or call Jaclyn Holmes at +44 (0) 207 629 0075.

(London, UK): Klarna is the leading Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) provider in the UK with 13 million customers using its products and services, but the Swedish FinTech reported $1bn of losses in 2022, its largest ever, adding to the strain of incoming regulation following the UK Government’s draft legislation in February.

Despite losses, the UK giant continues to have a strong foothold in the marketplace. According to Auriemma Group’s latest issue of Cardbeat UK, 50% of BNPL users say they prefer Klarna to other BNPL brands. Clearpay comes in a distant second at 16%, with the remaining providers such as Laybuy in single digits.

Klarna and its competitors offer similar services, including 0% interest on instalment purchases, and weekly or monthly repayment plans. One of the key differentiators, however, is each provider’s portfolio of merchant partners where customers can utilise the competing services.

For example, ASOS, one of the UK’s largest online retailers with 8.9 million customers, lists Klarna and Clearpay as BNPL options at checkout, while major sports retailer JD Sports has deals with Klarna and Laybuy. So, is it really just availability at checkout that drives usage?

Auriemma Group’s research found that 31% of BNPL users have previously tried Clearpay and 12% tried Laybuy, compared to 50% who have tried Klarna. Furthermore, while 45% of BNPL users have only used one BNPL provider, a notable 36% have tried two or more, highlighting a willingness to use alternative providers even if they are not preferred. This open tendency could play to the advantage of regulated entities following February’s draft legislation.

“Though Klarna remains the top BNPL provider for the majority of cardholders, a considerable portion have tried other options,” says Jaclyn Holmes, Director of Research at Auriemma Group. “This shows that accessibility can take priority over brand loyalty, highlighting an opportunity for the competition.”

While availability at checkout plays a large role in BNPL selections, familiarity with a provider is also important. 42% credit cardholders say they would use Klarna if presented the option at checkout because of familiarity with the brand. This supersedes user experience (23%), attractive rates (15%) and customer service (10%). More generally, 34% of credit cardholders say that familiarity with the provider has the greatest influence on BNPL usage though the strength of the terms and conditions (33%) are also a notable factor.

As regulated entities like NewDay with NewPay and Zopa make headway in the space, the focus on consumer awareness will be as critical, if not more, as product strength and customer experience.

“Regulation may require changes from Klarna and others that disrupt their current customer journey, opening the door for competitors already accustomed to regulation,” says Holmes. “If new players can quickly build brand awareness and availability at the point-of-sale, we could see Klarna more readily challenged as consumers’ top choice.”

Auriemma Group will continue to monitor this space closely in upcoming Cardbeat studies and within its Customer Service Roundtable groups.

Survey Methodology

This Auriemma Research study was conducted online within the UK by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma in October 2022, among 80o+ adult credit cardholders. The number of interviews completed on a monthly basis is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing between sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ± 5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed nor did the respondents know the criteria for qualification.

About Auriemma Group

For more than 35 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognised experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximise their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in London and New York City. For more information, visit us at www.auriemma.group or call Jaclyn Holmes at +44 (0) 207 629 0075.

(London, UK): The growth of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services among UK consumers has been consistent since 2016 when Klarna launched its partnership with Arcadia Group, bringing its product to mainstream retail. Today, over 17 million consumers have used BNPL services, including almost half (49%) of credit cardholders according to Auriemma Group’s latest issue of Cardbeat UK.

Despite the popularity and usage of this new wave of lending, BNPL agreements remain unregulated, and unlike credit card issuers, providers are not required to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). However, new draft government legislation may soon change the readiness in which consumers can access and use BNPL services in order to reduce the risk of consumer detriment.

Indeed, some consumers are already experiencing some detriment due to their BNPL plans. According to Auriemma’s latest study, 37% of credit cardholders say using BNPL has created an additional burden on their finances, while a further 26% have been unable to afford essential purchases due to outgoings on BNPL repayments. According to the Bank of England, rising credit card borrowing could perpetuate this issue further, highlighting the urgency to reform the BNPL sector.

Almost one-third of those offered BNPL at online checkout never opt to learn more about the terms and conditions, and just 10% say they almost always click to find out more information, according to Auriemma’s Cardbeat UK.

“Our research shows that very few cardholders opt to learn more about terms and conditions when offered BNPL options at checkout,” says Jaclyn Holmes, Director of Research at Auriemma Group. “When large groups of consumers with this mentality toward borrowing aren’t required to pass affordability or credit worthiness checks, there’s greater risk on many of those consumer’s finances.”

What will the legislation mean for the likes of Klarna and other unregulated firms?

If the draft legislation is passed and the FCA takes action, firms such as Klarna could be required to make significant changes to their business such as applying to be authorised by the FCA, ensuring advertisements meet regulatory requirements and integrating rules around customer credit files and credit worthiness.

Does the legislation place regulated lenders in poll position to seize market share?

Though Klarna remains the top used BNPL service in the space, a wave of new entrants (many of whom are already subject to regulations) may threaten their stronghold. Several UK banks and lenders already have BNPL products in market, such as NewDay with NewPay, NatWest and Virgin Money. Moreover, regulated FinTechs such as Monzo and Curve joined the BNPL space in 2021, with Revolut following in 2022. Zopa recently acquired Divide Buy to enter the UK market with BNPL 2.0. 

However, for card issuers, establishing an entirely new BNPL business may not be needed to meet customer demand. Auriemma’s Cardbeat UK found that 44% of cardholders would be interested in monthly instalment plans attached to their existing credit card. A further 43% said they would be likely to enrol an in-person or online credit card purchase into an instalment plan if prompted by a push notification.

“Whether it’s building a BNPL solution or adapting existing lending tools to offer instalments, technology has enabled traditional lenders to become competitive in this space,” says Holmes. “This, in turn, could shore up the certainty around acceptable business models and future growth.”

Auriemma Group will continue to monitor this space closely in upcoming Cardbeat studies and within its Customer Service Roundtable groups.

Survey Methodology

This Auriemma Research study was conducted online within the UK by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma in October 2022, among 80o+ adult credit cardholders. The number of interviews completed on a monthly basis is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing between sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ± 5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed nor did the respondents know the criteria for qualification.

About Auriemma Group

For more than 35 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognised experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximise their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in London and New York City. For more information, visit us at www.auriemma.group or call Jaclyn Holmes at +44 (0) 207 629 0075.

(London, UK): Incoming FCA regulation could add restrictions on how consumers can use Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) services, but these changes may be welcome. According to Auriemma Group’s latest issue of Cardbeat UK, there was an 80% increase in negative experiences with BNPL plans between September 2020 and July 2021.

The increase is uniform across customer segments, including different age groups, household income, and levels of familiarity with BNPL, signalling concerns around the product itself, rather than new or unfamiliar user experiences.

“Our research shows that the few who have negative BNPL experiences most commonly attribute it to unexpected fees or issues it’s created for their other finances,” says Will Moody, Manager at Auriemma. “With a growing segment of consumers turning to BNPL options for borrowing, regulation may play a role in maintaining positive customer sentiments for the product.”

Auriemma’s latest findings show an increase in negative experiences using BNPL or instalment plans–from 5% in September 2020 to 9% in July 2021. While 9% remains the minority, it represents a large community when considering that 17 million UK consumers have used BNPL services as of November 2021.

“This sentiment is being reflected within other markets too,” says Moody. “In the US, a market where over half of adults have used a Buy Now, Pay Later service, about one-third had a negative experience. This rapid growth has caught the attention of the CFPB, and surprisingly enough, half of BNPL users in the US agree these plans should be more regulated.”

Klarna is the leading BNPL and instalments provider in the UK with 16 million customers using its products and services, but the Swedish FinTech reported a round of substantial losses in H2 2021 to add to the strain of incoming regulation.

Many of the UK’s High Street Banks and lenders already have products in market, such as NewDay with its NewPay product. Moreover, regulated FinTechs such as Monzo and Curve also joined the BNPL space in 2021, with Revolut soon to follow.

“Auriemma expects that BNPL regulation will put significant strain on compliance resources for unregulated players such as Klarna,” says Louis Stevens, Director of Roundtables. “This, in turn, could impact innovation, development and growth, opening the door for regulated lenders such as High Street Banks and credit card issuers to step in.”

Could the future of BNPL in the UK rest with traditional players integrating instalments into their existing product sets? And will this be the solution to reversing the rise in poor customer experience? Auriemma Group will continue to monitor and discuss BNPL in upcoming Cardbeat studies, and within its Customer Service Roundtable groups when they next meet June 16-17 at the Sheraton Grand in Edinburgh, Scotland. Email research@auriemma.group to learn more about our consumer studies and roundtables@auriemma.group to inquire about our forums.

Survey Methodology

These Auriemma Research studies were conducted online within the UK by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma from in September 2020 and July 2021, among 80o+ adult credit cardholders. The number of interviews completed on a monthly basis is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing between sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ± 5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed nor did the respondents know the criteria for qualification.

About Auriemma Group

For more than 35 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognised experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximise their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in London and New York City. For more information, visit us at www.auriemma.group or call Will Moody at +44 (0) 207 629 0075.

(London, UK) More credit cardholders ages 18-34 would prefer to use a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) service than their existing credit card if faced with a need to borrow, according to Auriemma Group’s latest issue of Cardbeat UK.

BNPL popularity and usage has grown exponentially in the UK since Klarna launched in September 2016, accelerated by the pandemic and the resulting shift to online shopping. In these 5 years, firms such as Laybuy, Clear Pay and PayPal have entered the BNPL space, capitalising on the rising demand from consumers.

Auriemma Group’s latest research revealed a significant shift in borrowing preferences. Among credit cardholders, 20% would prefer to use a BNPL provider (e.g., Klarna) if they did not have enough funds available on hand, representing a 43% increase since November 2020. Meanwhile, the proportion of cardholders electing to borrow on their current credit card fell to 38%, representing a 17% decrease. The growing preference in using a BNPL product to borrow is largely attributable to older Gen Z and Millennial cardholders. Nearly three in ten (29%) say they would prefer to use BNPL when they do not have the funds to hand, compared to 25% who prefer using their credit card.

UK Neobanks are picking up on this trend, with Monzo and Curve announcing the launch of BNPL products last week, and Revolut expecting to follow suit. High Street banks such as Barclays have also expressed an interest to pursue a BNPL venture. But for the larger players bringing a product to market quickly is not easy, and with regulation coming from FCA by the end of 2022, time is of the essence.

“This shift in preference is leading some cardholders away from traditional credit solutions,” says Jaclyn Holmes, Director of Research at Auriemma Group. “Credit providers should evaluate their product sets to understand how they may need to adapt and differentiate in order to meet their customers’ evolving needs.”

Auriemma has seen credit card cancellations increase as consumers look to other payment and borrowing methods. 14% of credit cardholders have cancelled a card in the past 18 months, up from 8% in November 2020. And this proportion increases to 24% among those who have used a BNPL plan.

While BNPL has experienced significant growth, credit and debit are still the preferred payment choices. BNPL only captures 7% of total transactions while credit and debit capture far more (44% and 41%).  Issuers looking to meet growing consumer demand could integrate BNPL into new or existing credit card products, where there is interest from 43% of cardholders.

“As BNPL continues to grow in popularity we expect interest in credit card instalments to rise further,” says Holmes. “As we’ve seen in the US, this type of offering gives issuers a way to compete directly with BNPL providers without cannibalising their credit card portfolio.”

Survey Methodology

Cardbeat UK

This Auriemma Group study was conducted online within the UK by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma in June 2021, among 800 adult credit cardholders. The number of interviews completed is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing between sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ± 5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed nor did the respondents know the criteria for qualification. The average interview length was 21 minutes.

About Auriemma Group

For more than 30 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognised experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships, and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximise their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in London and New York City. For more information, call Jaclyn Holmes at +44 (0) 207 629 0075.

(New York, NY) Buy Now, Pay Later plans have reinvigorated the centuries old installment payment concept, now allowing shoppers to split payments for small and large purchases alike, particularly online. Auriemma Group has been researching this space in their Payments Report study since 2018, as new providers entered the space, rolling out their own unique spin on the offering.

Buy Now, Pay Later has gained wide visibility in recent years thanks to celebrity and influencer led marketing campaigns. Providers such as American Express and Klarna enlisted everyone from Tina Fey and Snoop Dogg to more niche personalities like Celeste Barber and Trixie Mattel in expansive ad campaigns. Since this advertising push, other bank-branded solutions (like Citi Flex Plan and My Chase Plan), and offerings from FinTechs such as Affirm, PayPal, QuadPay, Afterpay, and Sezzle have entered and redefined the space.

The widening provider field has created increased awareness, opportunity, and exposure for these products. Between Q1-2019 and Q1-2021, Auriemma’s research shows a 10+ percentage point increase in debit cardholders offered a Buy Now, Pay Later plan in-store or online. And most of these consumers find the plans attractive.

“It has become common for shoppers to see a Buy Now, Pay Later option at checkout,” says Jaclyn Holmes, Director of Research at Auriemma Group. “Online, these buttons become subtle reminders for consumers, and reinforce them as a viable payment option, especially when offered at checkout for a brand they trust.”

Take rates on Buy Now, Pay Later also increased significantly over the last couple years. More than half of those offered Buy Now, Pay Later in a physical store (56%) or online (51%) say they enrolled in the option, again representing 10+ percentage point increases since Q1-2019. These increases parallel the expanding field of options available to shoppers at the point of sale.

While merchants have traditionally been the most common provider of installment plans at the point-of-sale, more recent data from Auriemma Group shows that the FinTech Buy Now, Pay Later providers offering these short-term solutions are closing the gap. However, merchants will continue to play an integral role in the adoption of these providers – over half of debit cardholders agree that being partnered with well-known or trusted retailers is paramount when it comes to feeling comfortable and secure in using the product.

“While merchant trust is playing an influential role in Buy Now, Pay Later adoption, these offerings are also impacting the merchant’s ticket size and shoppers’ likelihood to purchase with a merchant again,” says Holmes. “This shows that a positive Buy Now, Pay Later experience can create a halo effect for the brands offering them. And with Buy Now, Pay Later becoming increasingly common and recognizable, consumers may come to expect it as a payment option rather than a sweetener.”

Survey Methodology

The Payments Report

This Auriemma Group study was conducted online within the US by an independent field service provider on behalf of Auriemma Group (Auriemma) in March 2021 among 800 adult debit cardholders. The number of interviews completed for both is sufficient to allow for statistical significance testing among sub-groups at the 95% confidence level ±5%, unless otherwise noted. The purpose of the research was not disclosed, nor did respondents know the criteria for qualifying. The average interview length was 19 minutes.

About Auriemma Group

For more than 35 years, Auriemma’s mission has been to empower clients with authoritative data and actionable insights. Our team comprises recognized experts in four primary areas: operational effectiveness, consumer research, co-brand partnerships, and corporate finance. Our business intelligence and advisory services give clients access to the data, expertise and tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex environment and maximize their performance. Auriemma serves the consumer financial services ecosystem from our offices in New York City and London. For more information, call Jaclyn Holmes at (+1) 646-454-4200.

Issuer-offered installment plans are attractive to consumers, but many are looking for a convenient, seamless experience from sign-up thru plan management. Auriemma’s Mobile Pay Tracker conducted in-depth interviews with consumers to gain insights on their opinions and experiences with installment plans.

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