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A third of UK ‘buy now, pay later’ users say they can’t handle payments

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Almost a third of shoppers who use buy now, pay later credit say repayments on the loans have become “unmanageable”, with the cost of living crisis pushing them into a debt spiral, new research has found.Consumers are spending more via the controversial form of credit, with shoppers who use BNPL now paying off an average of 4.8 purchases – almost double the 2.6 purchases in February, the research found.

The average BNPL user’s outstanding balance currently stands at £254. Barclays Bank and the debt charity StepChange said this was “concerning” because 30% of Britons have used BNPL to buy goods, and of these, almost a third (31%) saying the lending had got them into problem debt.The research also found that for retailers that offer BNPL, the form of lending is expected to account for almost a quarter of their sales by the end of this year.BNPL lets shoppers stagger payments for items such as clothes and furniture with no interest or charges – unless they fail to pay back on time, at which point some firms impose late fees.

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