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It’s credit, it’s causing harm and it needs better safeguards

What financial counsellors say about Buy Now, Pay Later
Consumer behaviour Financial services industry Consumer credit Financial system regulation Australia

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is credit, and like other credit products, should be regulated under the National Credit Code. The exact form of that regulation needs to be determined. This type of investigation is exactly what both the UK and New Zealand governments are currently doing in relation to BNPL in their jurisdictions.

Financial Counselling Australia conducted a survey of the financial counselling sector to understand what financial counsellors were seeing on the ground in relation to buy now pay later (BNPL) debt. The survey was conducted in late August and early September 2021, with 248 financial counsellors participating. This is approximately a 25% response rate.

The results of the survey demonstrate the deep concern of financial counsellors about BNPL products. The findings clearly show that BNPL causes harm to a proportion of people. This is because people can easily become overcommitted, can end up with multiple accounts, and are using BNPL for day-to-day living expenses.

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