You might have seen that last week I launched a campaign urgently calling for better regulation to protect young and vulnerable consumers from misleading Buy Now Pay Later products⚠️
After growing tired of being exposed to manipulative AD campaigns for products which exploit the vulnerabilities of young people, particularly women, I’m launching a campaign exposing the stories* of people who have been misled by Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services and calling for better regulation to protect consumers.
It’s not news that BNPL is becoming the new normal or even that these products are a cause for concern, however, after hearing from users and in investigating the regulatory standards which exist, I’ve unearthed compelling evidence of alarming malpractice which is being overlooked by the regulators.
BUY NOW PAY LATER IS THE NEW NORMAL
23% of 18 to 24-year-olds have turned to buy now pay later services to fund their spending since the start of lockdown (Compare the Market)
BUT MANIPULATIVE ADVERTISING PRACTICES AND A LACK OF INFORMATION IS INCREASING THE RISK THAT YOUNG PEOPLE WILL GET INTO PROBLEM DEBT
45% of young people who have used a buy now, pay later scheme in the last year say they have missed at least one payment*
During this time, Klarna revenues (one of the largest BNPL providers) have surged (Sifted)
What is Buy Now Pay Later?
Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is the name for a kind of credit payment (that’s debt to you and me…) that allows you to purchase goods, but pay for them either later or by instalments. In recent years, new digital payment providers have emerged, pitched at online shoppers who “wanna cop some new gear but can’t wait until payday”, as JD Sports puts it. They include Clearpay, Klarna, Laybuy, Afterpay and others.
The UK's most popular digital BNPL service is Klarna, accessible via thousands of online and high street shops from ASOS to SpaceNK to BooHoo. You can ‘pay later’ in just one click on pretty much anything, from a £4 scrunchie to some new sneakers. Whilst the value of these items might be small, the consequences of using these products incorrectly, are not. Of the issues identified, I believe Klarna to be the most egregious.
So what's the issue?
Klarna is a product that has been designed to eliminate the 'pain of paying' and with young women in mind. Take a look at this campaign featuring their investor, Snoop Dog.
Klarna knows that BNPL gets people to overspend. On their website, they tell their retailers:
A customer's order value increases by 55% when shopping with instalments
BNPL can be useful for consumers and used well, however, there is a risk that without better protection we'll see young people who already face the reality of a debt crisis and recession, under unmanageable financial pressure.
To read more about the problems and proposed solutions, please take a look at the campaign page.
I need your help! If you’re on board, here’s how to support in 3 mins 👇
1️⃣ Share the campaign on Instagram
2️⃣ Sign and share the Change petition.
3️⃣ Tweet - Click here for a tweet in one click. Tag your MP if you can.
This campaign is not about putting a stop to Buy Now Pay Later. It’s here to stay. HOWEVER, as with all financial products, it’s important that consumers are adequately protected and told upfront about risk. This isn’t the case with BNPL and the regulators have some catching up to do.
This campaign is about calling out bad practice and asking for better regulation.
I will continue to post updates here on the website.
Thank you for your support.