New research from Divido has revealed the way consumers in the UK perceive and use checkout finance payment options such as Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL).
One of the major findings from the February 2023 study, which surveyed 1,993 members of the British public about their checkout finance spending habits, was that the majority of shoppers see Buy Now, Pay Later as a good way to manage their personal finances.
When asked whether they agreed with the statement ‘checkout finance can help me manage my finances,’ 40.2% agreed, with 18.1% strongly agreeing, for a total of 58.3%.
In contrast, just 21.8% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement.
The results were even more pronounced among respondents who had previously used checkout finance to make a purchase within the last three years. 80.4% of these respondents agreed or strongly agreed that checkout finance was a good way to help them manage their finances, with just 5.7% disagreeing.
What can we learn from the data?
By analysing responses to this question, we notice several interesting observations.
Firstly, we find that women are much more likely to agree that checkout finance can help them to budget. 63.9% of women agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, compared to only 52.6% of men. This supports our previous observation that the average checkout finance user is a 33-year-old female.
We also find that people under 60 are much more likely to agree with the statement. Two-thirds (66%) of respondents aged 18–59 agreed or strongly agreed that checkout finance could help them manage their spending, compared to just 40% of over-60s.
This finding is similarly reflected if we look at occupation types. Here we find that retired people were the most likely to disagree with the statement. Just 37.6% of retired people agreed or strongly agreed that checkout finance could help them to manage their finances, compared to 65.4% of people working full-time and 58.1% of people working part-time.
Interestingly, people in Wales were the most likely to agree with the statement (69.5%), while people in Yorkshire and the Humber were the least likely to agree (48.1%).
Also noteworthy is that people on middle incomes tend to be the least likely to agree that checkout finance can help them to budget. Those on household incomes below £30,000 per annum (60.5%), and those with incomes above £50,000 (57.8%) tend to agree at a rate roughly consistent with the general average. Meanwhile, only 54.3% of those earning £30–50,000 per annum agree.
The final, and perhaps most significant finding, is that people who have used checkout finance at least once in the last three years were much more likely to agree that it makes a good budgeting tool. Of consumers who had previously used Buy Now, Pay Later, 80.4% agreed that it helped them to manage their finances better, with only 5.7% disagreeing.
People seem to be using Buy Now, Pay Later to help them budget
These findings suggest the majority of consumers in the UK see Buy Now, Pay Later and retail finance as a novel way to help them manage their personal finances.
It is easy to understand why this seems to be the case. With its offer of short-term interest-free credit or long-term interest-bearing credit, its quick application process and flexible repayment plans, checkout finance can easily help customers to make significant purchases without having to pay hefty interest rates.
With interest-free credit options, shoppers have the opportunity to pay the same amount as they would with cash or debit card, but with considerably more flexibility over their payment terms.
This also gives them the options to commit to larger purchases without having to compromise their short-term financial liquidity.
As we’ve already seen, sentiment towards checkout finance rivals other forms of consumer finance. The difference between, say, Buy Now, Pay Later and credit cards, is that the former is free for the customer to use, while the latter charges an average of 22.2% APR in the UK.
Checkout finance is also not revolving. Once the debt is paid, the credit line is closed. There is no need for a subscription or membership, and every new line of credit is offered on a case-to-case basis.
For the customer, checkout finance means more choice. They have the option to pay by cash or debit card if they wish, but in situations where they wish to have greater flexibility over their payment terms, Buy Now, Pay Later represents an easy, affordable alternative.
Ultimately, our data supports the idea that consumers see retail finance products like Buy Now, Pay Later as a great option to have at the checkouts of their favourite stores, and that the majority of shoppers see it as a useful way to manage their personal finances.
Discover more insights about how customers are using Buy Now, Pay Later
Divido’s latest whitepaper details how people are using checkout finance, what they are buying, and how they feel about this increasingly popular form of payment, based on our own survey of the British public. Download it free today to reveal more incredible insights.