Following this week’s announcement that the UK government plans to introduce formal regulation for the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) industry by mid-2023, Robert Flowers, CEO and founder of DivideBuy, a leading UK Point of Sale (POS) finance pioneer, comments: “DivideBuy welcomes and strongly advocates for the UK government’s plans for formal regulation of the $3.7 billion Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) industry. Standardised affordability checks, FCA approval and clear advertising will ensure that consumers can effectively manage the ‘pay later’ part of the deal and are given peace of mind when entering into interest-free credit plans.
“In fact, in the absence of stricter formal regulation from the UK government and the FCA, DivideBuy and many other point-of-sale (POS) finance providers have been implementing such standards for some time to ensure that the consumer remains front of mind, through raising awareness, screening out customers likely to be delinquent and ensuring credit approvals based on stringent affordability checks.
“We’re putting the consumer at the heart of our business by choice, not because it’s dictated and we, like others in the space, are committed to driving the change we wish to see in the industry. We do this by ensuring fair, ethical, accessible, fee-free consumer lending practices that work for both consumers and retailers.
“Accelerating formal regulation for our industry will ensure that all consumers are given flexible buying power that looks at the individual’s past and present circumstances to gain the clearest possible picture of their financial health. With some companies already avoiding charging consumers late payment fees, the industry has demonstrated that it wants customers to only paying for the goods they want to buy and not the service they’re using to purchase them.
“Transparent and clear messaging from the industry has also helped raise awareness of companies such as DivideBuy who offer instalment repayments over longer periods, deposit weightings and payment holidays to ensure consumers can make informed purchasing decisions based on affordability. In fact, existing approval processes in the industry often utilise highly evolved decision engine functionality, AI and rigorous checks to offer an individually tailored agreement which better protects the consumer.
“With cost of living expenses increasing and energy and fuel prices soaring, affordable credit, when used responsibly and explained transparently, is a payment method many consumers will inevitably continue to need. Together, with stricter regulation in place, POS finance companies can ensure interest-free credit can be used to benefit the consumer in the most responsible way possible.
“We look forward to seeing what the FCA and Government set out as part of their plans for consultation and only wish it was less talk, more action.”