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Buy Now Pay Later in the UK: Current and emergent digital vulnerabilities





PI and Project Team Members

Dr Lindsey Appleyard 


Dr Jo Briggs (Northumbria University)

Dr Lucia Cervi (University of Edinburgh)

Dr Deepak Padmanabhan (Queen’s University Belfast)

Dr Gauri Sinha (Royal Holloway, University of London)

Dr Tahir Abbas Syed (University of Manchester)

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Project Overview

Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) is a fast and easy or ‘frictionless’ credit instalment payment service which has been enabled by the digital economy and FinTech (online banking). BNPL is typically accessed through trusted e-commerce platforms at no obvious cost to the consumer. UK BNPL companies include: Klarna, Clearpay and Paypal. In 2020, the BNPL market quadrupled to £2.7 billion. This research is important due to the pace of innovation around this emerging form of unsecured credit, the growth of the market and the lack of regulation around this type of credit. Financial inequalities have also been amplified in the post-pandemic environment, especially for those unable to access mainstream credit e.g. credit cards, loans. It is apparent that BNPL and such ‘new’ credit schemes are targeting the financially vulnerable demographics, confounding the inequality problem.

Project Objectives

The objective of this pilot research is to investigate current and emerging digital vulnerabilities through “new” FinTech BNPL business models/services operating in the UK.

Project Impact Statement

The research aims to influence policy and practice at a range of institutions.  The team will produce a series of outputs to target different audiences, including:  an academic journal paper and briefing paper for policymakers. 

 Queen’s Award for Enterprise Logo
University of the year shortlisted
QS Five Star Rating 2023