Bristol BNPL users more likely than any UK city to rely on schemes for financial stability, study shows

With cost of living on the rise, price comparison site idealo.co.uk delved into Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes and polled users from around the country to uncover the top 10 areas in the UK where Brits are more likely to use them to manage their finances.

Results show that one in 10 BNPL users rely on the schemes for temporary financial stability and more than half (60%) rarely pay off their total balance in full each month.

According to the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK market for BNPL schemes quadrupled to £2.7bn in 2020 and rose to £5.7bn last year*. Schemes allow consumers to pay for items over a length of time, usually in instalments over a short-term fixed-payment schedule, and interest-free. idealo independently surveyed 2000 UK BNPL scheme users in February 2022 to understand their behaviours when it comes to spending and managing monthly payments.

idealo’s poll found that Bristol, Southampton and Cardiff are the top UK cities where BNPL users are more likely to rely on the schemes and that in most cases, users do not pay off the total due in full each month.

The top 10 UK cities where Brits rely on BNPL schemes to keep finances afloat:

CityBNPL users relying on schemes each monthBNPL users that don’t pay off total due each month
Bristol20%81%
Southampton16%74%
Cardiff14%54%
London10%60%
Manchester9%70%
Glasgow8%24%
Leeds7%62%
Birmingham7%55%
Norwich5%69%
Nottingham5%52%

Bristol came out top as the UK city where BNPL users say they depend on the schemes to keep their monthly finances afloat. The data revealed that one fifth of Bristolian users agreed with the statement above when polled and 81% do not pay off the total amount due in full each month.

Southampton comes in second with 16% relying on BNPL schemes for temporary financial stability and only a quarter (26%) pay off their total owed in full every month.

Cardiff is third, with 14% of it’s BNPL users needing the schemes to manage monthly payments and over half (54%) not paying off remaining balances in full each month.

One in ten BNPL Londoners say they rely on the scheme to keep their finances afloat, placing the city 4th in idealo’s results table. When it comes to managing payments, less than half (40%) pay off monthly total amounts due in full.

Manchester is next, as 9% of BNPL users in this area depend on schemes for temporary financial stability and only 30% pay their total owed in full each month.

Glasgow ranks sixth, with Leeds and Birmingham following closely behind.

Lastly in the list are Norwich and Nottingham, with 5% stating the above when surveyed. Norwich sees 69% of it’s BNPL users unable to pay off total due payments every month and Nottingham just over half (52%).

Katy Phillips, brand and communications manager at idealo commented on the findings:

“There are some interesting statistics that came as a result of our poll. Bristol sees 20% of it’s users relying on BNPL schemes due to increased financial pressures, and less than 20% paying off their total amounts due every month.

“BNPL platforms offer great flexibility and purchasing opportunities for many, and as long as they are used sensibly, they can be extremely helpful. New regulations recently put in place will ensure BNPL users are not living beyond their means and do not fall into unmanageable debts.

“If you are seeking more advice on using and managing BNPL schemes, there has been a lot of research conducted around the subject recently that can be found online. Debt charities such as Step Change can also be helpful for those looking for tips or more personal guidance.”