Buy Now Pay Later fuelling financial hardship: report

People experiencing financial vulnerability are increasingly turning to Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) products, and getting further into debt.

A new report released by Way Forward warns that people in financial hardship are using Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) products to pay for essentials, fueling a debt spiral. The findings of the report confirmed a correlation between poor mental health and complex debt, insufficient savings, and financial vulnerability.

The vast majority of survey respondents indicated that they had used BNPL services in the past 12 months, and in some cases, had used BNPL to buy essentials so that cash could be directed to paying off existing loans.

The report found that:

  • 80% of people in hardship said they had used BNPL
  • 38% of people using BNPL had used it for essentials
  • 63% of respondents used BNPL when no other credit options were available

Read the full report here.

RLC continues to assist people experiencing debt and financial abuse issues stemming from BNPL products, and welcomes the Federal Government’s commitment to making BNPL safer for consumers through stronger industry regulation.

If you are struggling with debts, you can contact RLC’s credit and debt service or our Financial Abuse Service NSW for free, confidential legal help. Phone 02 9698 7277 or visit