Is Buy Now, Pay Later a Recipe for Regret?

Advocate Andy

Survey suggests more than 1 in 5 consumers regret using buy now, pay later products

Buy Now, Pay Later — services like Klarna, AfterPay, Sezzle, and others — seem like a super convenient way to get what you need (or want) now and manage the purchase over a few smaller payments.

However, a survey released by DebtHammer suggests that a significant number of consumers end up regretting the decision — and many skip other bills in order to manage their BNPL payments.

The Struggle is Real

The survey revealed that while BNPL plans can seem like a great idea, the result can be a delicate balancing act to manage payments and other bills.

32% of Buy Now Pay Later plan users have had to skip paying an essential bill such as rent, utilities or child support in order to make their payments. Even after that, 30% report that they’ve struggled to make their payments.

Respondents also indicated they regretted the decision once they were in the payment phase of the plan and that more than half of consumers are paying back more than one BNPL loan at once.

More than 45% of Americans have now signed up for at least one Buy Now Pay Later plan. That’s compared to 31% as of April 2021 — a 41% increase in usage over 10 months. Of those who’ve used the plans, 22% regret their decision, saying they wish they’d never signed up for a plan at all.
More than 50% of respondents have been paying off multiple Buy Now Pay Later plans at one time.

A Luxury?

Survey results suggest that consumers are not just using BNPL for luxury items priced just out of reach. The results say:

BNPL plans are being used to buy practical items like technology (35%), furniture and other home goods (29%), holiday gifts (17%), automotive parts and repairs (10%), health care (6%), and medical bills and groceries and restaurants (5%).

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN

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