BNPL debt averages out at £530.86 per person in the port city, ahead of shoppers in Nottingham who reportedly spend £170.31, Cardiff with £225.11 and London with £257.08.
Jonathan Merry, CEO of MoneyTransfers.com, urges shoppers to proceed with care.
“The modern branding of Buy Now Pay Later services is brightly-coloured, friendly and full of promise. It’s certainly tempting to spread out payments when you’ve filled your online shopping cart with products such as clothes and beauty products, or are investing in bigger items like furniture – especially when you can choose the option conveniently at check-out just by ticking a box, or do it through an app. Pay on time and there will be no impact to your credit score and no interest to pay – sounds great!
“But customers need to be very wary of the slippery slope they can get into with such services. They may encourage you to make expensive purchases outside of your means, or more impulsive purchases. That in turn could lead you to save far less, and create financial challenges for you later on.
“That’s not to mention late fees for missed payments which can really add up, and could escalate into severe troubles if not dealt with eventually, from ruined credit scores to debt collection.”
As online shopping soared during the pandemic with people stuck inside, use of ‘buy now pay later’ services increased a massive 86% across Europe between February 2020 and July 2021.
In the UK, Buy Now Pay Later operators include Klarna, Clearpay, PayPal and Laybuy.
Compared to some of its European neighbours, the UK has relatively low usage of such services – they accounted for 5% of e-commerce payments in 2020 according to a survey by Worldpay. That compared with 6% in Denmark, 7% in Belgium, 15% in Norway, 19% in Germany and 23% in Sweden.
However, it was more than 4% in France, and 2% in Spain and Italy. And as previous data shows, still adds up to millions of transactions –and potentially, millions in debt.Read our interview with Financially Intentional debt slayer Naseema McElroy