Exclusive: Australian BNPL Humm “retreating from England” as market worsens

By Oliver Smith on Wednesday 4 January 2023

Alternative Lending

Following the departure of Zip and Openpay, Humm is the latest Australian buy now, pay later provider to pull back on expansion plans.

Exclusive: Australian BNPL Humm “retreating from England” as market worsens
Image source: Rebecca James/Humm Group.

Listed Australian buy now, pay later provider Humm has told investors it will “prudently retreat from broader UK expansion”.

The decision will involve Humm retreating from England, Scotland and Wales, instead focusing on its more profitable Irish and Northern Ireland operations.

Humm revealed the plan in a presentation seen by AltFi at its annual general meeting in November, exactly 12 months after first announcing its launch in the UK

The company explained that while Great Britain has a “large total addressable credit market” the decision was made due to a “more challenging macro environment”.

Addressing the AGM, Humm CEO Rebecca James said: “Following an extensive review and given the challenges in the UK economy we have made the difficult decision to pull back from entering the United Kingdom. We will instead focus on growing our successful Irish business and plan to maintain our credit licence to service merchants in Northern Ireland, giving us optionality.”

Humm isn't the only Australian lender to reconsider its position in the UK, in March buy now, pay later lender Openpay announced it would be withdrawing from the UK market resulting in 31 redundancies.

Then, in July, it was first reported and later confirmed that fellow Australian BNPL Zip would be shutting down its UK operations, also only a year after launching here.

Zip’s decision came after it made a series of strategic acquisitions in Europe during 2021 and even made Atom Bank co-founder Anthony Thomson its UK chair.

Buy now, pay later has been under considerable pressure for the last year now, as the worsening economic environment causes retailers to reassess commission-based BNPL services and consumers to reign in their spending.

For Humm, the retreat from Great Britain is still beneficial as its credit licence from the FCA will continue to be used to serve customers in Northern Ireland.

A Humm spokesperson told AltFi that the lender is "working through numbers of staff impacted" but is "looking to retain all technology, risk and compliance team members with sales roles the most likely impacted".

All existing UK merchants and retailers using Humm will continue to be serviced, however, only new merchants in Ireland and Northern Ireland will be onboarded.

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