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One in 12 use ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ for essentials

Younger adults, those in debt and those on Universal Credit were found to be twice as likely to use BNPL for basics such as food when compared with the broader population.

a person in a supermarket

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

One in 12 people have used Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services in the past six months to buy basics such as food and toiletries, according to a recent survey 

Citizens Advice, who conducted the research in January with ICM, polled 6,000 people in a nationally representative sample. 1,124 said they had used BNPL in the past 12 months. ICM also interviewed a nationally representative sample of 1,641 Universal Credit recipients over the same timeframe.

Young people and those in debt and/or those claiming Universal Credit, said they are at least twice as likely to have used BNPL for essentials than the general population.

While most BNPL focuses on larger items such as clothing or electronics a number of providers including Flava and Zilch offer food and other items via the split payment method.

“The fact that people are turning to Buy Now Pay Later for their groceries really hammers home the urgent need for industry regulation. As living costs spiral, we fear more people in desperate situations will see this unregulated form of credit as the answer. The Government must keep pace with these firms and ensure consumers are protected,” said Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice.

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