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Buy Now, Pay Later Preferred Over Credit Cards by Gen Z and Millennials

(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.

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