Is Buy Now Pay Later a Good Idea?
Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) is a payment scheme which allows you to spread the cost of products over time. But is Buy Now Pay Later a good idea?
Buying something and not paying for it straight away is almost like getting it for free, right? Maybe for the first month, but not when the payment is due. Buy Now, Pay Later is a loan, and it’s always important to remember that.
First off, what is Buy Now, Pay Later or BNPL?
BNPL is a payment plan that allows you to either spread the cost of purchases over three payments or buy something and pay within 30 days. It can be particularly tempting when you’re waiting for payday – want that new game, dress, or pair of shoes, but payday is two weeks away? No problem with Buy Now, Pay Later.
How does Buy Now Pay Later work?
Simply put, the Buy Now Pay Later provider pays for your desired products. Then you pay back the provider either in instalments or one sum before the 30 days are up. Each Buy Now Pay Later option works differently, so you should always read the terms and conditions closely.Help Managing BNPL Debts
So, who offers BNPL as a payment option?
More and more companies are offering BNPL – you could call it the new trend in credit. One of the main reasons it is so popular is because it doesn’t feel like borrowing money. The short time frame and the fact that it’s so accessible means it’s available to almost anyone with just a couple of clicks of a button. Another perk is that they offer interest-free repayments, but be careful because if you’re late with payments, they may start charging interest, which could be very high!
It’s become the norm to see BNPL options on big websites like ASOS, Pandora, M.A.C, Wayfair, and Shein – the list goes on and on. However, these big brands don’t offer a credit scheme themselves.
The BNPL payment option currently is only available through a third party such as PayPal, Clearpay, Laybuy, and Klarna – and there are more and more BNPL companies popping up as the trend takes off! You need to make an account with one of these companies and select that payment method when shopping online. It’s a growing market and could soon become the norm. Global Banking Finance reported a 39% increase in BNPL payments in the UK in 2019, and they expect that to double by 2023.
Does Buy Now Pay Later affect your credit score?
The first thing to note is that they won’t currently give you a hard credit check if you sign up for a BNPL agreement. However, this will be changing very soon. On June 22nd, 2022, the government released its plans to regulate the Buy Now, Pay Later market. It states that the regulations aim to protect millions of consumers and hold Buy Now, Pay Later to the same standards as other forms of credit. This means that once the regulations come into effect, you can expect a hard credit check when using Buy Now, Pay Later, as you would with any other credit application. So just using Buy Now Pay Later could affect your credit score in the future.
A credit check is not the only way Buy Now, Pay Later could affect your credit score. Things could get serious if you make late payments or miss them entirely. Remember, BNPL still counts as taking out a loan – which is credit. Therefore, if you miss payments, it will affect your credit score just as a missed payment on any loan would. If you’re worried about your credit score, check out our budgeting tricks to improve your credit rating.
So, we’ve gone through the facts, and now we’re left with the question:
Is Buy Now Pay Later a good idea?
It has now been announced that BNPL will be under regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the near future. Before this, Buy Now, Pay Later was unregulated and posed more risks than other forms of credit. Although this is good news for the consumer, The Guardian reported that the government has still said that there is “relatively little evidence” for what the widespread consumer harm could be. As it’s a brand-new service, it’s hard to know what will happen. So, we’d always advise using caution and not putting large sums of money down on a BNPL scheme.
When answering the question is Buy Now Pay Later is a good idea for you, you should always realistically consider your financial situation. Will next month really be a better time to pay? Will you be able to afford to make the payments? And will you meet the repayment dates?
If the product is out of your price range and the only means of purchasing it would be through BNPL, then maybe this payment method isn’t for you. Consider putting money aside each month and buying the product outright – it will take longer, but it could stop you from getting into unnecessary debt.
Let’s run down the pros and cons:
- No hard credit checks currently but will be introduced soon
- Interest-free if payments are made
- Allows you to purchase something you can’t afford right now
- Available instantly
- Will negatively affect credit rating if payments are late or missed
- Interest charges may be applied if payments are late or missed
- Only a good idea if you can afford to make the payments
- No hard evidence of what the future holds for BNPL
We may be able to help you
A consolidation loan could be a great solution if you’ve found yourself in debt. At Consolidation Express, our loans cover Buy Now Pay Later debt, among other unsecured debts.
Fill in our simple online application today.Apply Now
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Unsecured Loan Representative 69.9% APR
Borrowing £7,500 over 36 months, repaying £502 per month, total repayable £18,083. Total cost of credit £10,583. Interest rate 69.9% (variable). The lenders on our panel offer loans for 12-60 months, with rates from 5.8% APR to 89.9% APR. The Representative Example is based on all loans paid out by lenders between 19th Apr 2022 and 23rd Dec 2022.
Secured Representative 11.7% APR
If you choose to add fees to the loan: Assumed borrowing of £25,000 over 120 months, plus a broker fee of £2,500 and a lender fee of £250 would result in monthly repayments of £345.55, the borrowing rate is 8.6% (variable), the APRC is 11.7% (variable), total charge for credit £16,466.00 and the total amount payable £41,466.00. You can opt to pay the lender and/or broker fees upfront, your adviser will discuss these options with you.
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