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How High Street Banks May Benefit from Incoming Buy Now, Pay Later Regulation

(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.

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