Buy Now Pay Later

These cute and easy-to-use apps are endorsed by our favourite celebs and influencers, making it all very genuine – right? But the fluffy imagery and child-friendly user interfaces are designed to distract you from the darker side of buy now pay later.

15th September 2020
Buy Now Pay Later
Written by Emelia Powell

These cute and easy-to-use apps are endorsed by our favourite celebs and influencers, making it all very genuine – right? But the fluffy imagery and child-friendly user interfaces are designed to distract you from the darker side of buy now pay later.


There’s no better feeling than when the student loan drops; no more beans on toast or asking for ‘the cheapest pint you’ve got’. After months of being skint and stuck in the library, it’s a no-brainer that you deserve to treat yourself. And with the rise of buy now pay later apps like Klarna, Clearpay, AfterPay, and Payl8r it seems even easier to indulge in a haul.

Author and financial campaigner, Alice Tapper started the #KlarNAA #RegulateBuyNowPayLater campaign, aiming for stronger regulations for these apps, as well as raising awareness for the harmful culture surrounding the buy now pay later phenomenon. Tapper’s instagram @go_fund_yourself features easy to digest infographics on a variety of financial issues, which is helpful, since it’s a topic rarely taught in school.

Having received hundreds of distressed messages and comments regarding the effects of apps such as Klarna, she’s seen the devastating outcome that the lack of understanding around these services can cause. 

It’s important to remember that buy now pay later apps can be useful, if you’re using them correctly and sensibly. But with the full facts and dangers being a bit of a mystery it’s more important than ever to do your research.

More. More. And More Again.

First of all, these apps and schemes target young people and teenagers through social media using influencers. Influencer posts do not contain any risk warning and many fail to even acknowledge the paid partnership. 

These unregulated posts actively encourage you to spend more and buy more… more than you’ve probably got in the first place. A statistic from Compare The Market states that a customer’s order value increases by 55% when shopping with instalments.

The BNPL app is often set as a default option when it comes to purchasing items in checkouts, with the promise of an easily manageable payment. This makes it seem like an effortless and purse-friendly option. But without truly understanding the implications you could end up paying a bigger price in the long run.

Real Talk

Failing to make payments can seriously harm your credit score. Your debts can and will be sold on to debt collection agencies, despite flashy slogans telling you the exact opposite.

Klarna in particular has made claims that pay later products never impact credit scores, despite multiple of their retailers stating that unpaid orders will affect credit scores. But what is a credit score and why is it so important?

A credit score is a tool used by lenders to represent your creditworthiness. It determines if you could qualify for credit cards, loans, overdrafts, and even mortgages. Which doesn’t really seem like anything to worry about at the moment. But imagine in ten years’ time when you try to buy your first home. You could struggle to get a mortgage, all because you couldn’t afford to pay for a 3am Asos haul in your first year of university.

Buh Bye Buy Now Pay Later

It’s time to move forward and ‘break up’ with the potential of buy now pay later debt; it’s time to delete the apps. 

In early July 2020, Klarna released the KlarnaSense campaign. The initiative is trying to stop impulse shopping with blog style entries. So far, only one entry does outline the effects of eligibility and credit checks. 

This new campaign is a step in the right direction but more still needs to be done. 

What needs to change? There needs to be new standards and stronger regulations around advertising and influencer campaigns. We need adequate risk warnings at the point of purchase, and transparent guidance around these services. 

Support Alice Tapper’s campaign #regulatebuynowpaylater by signing the change.org petition and tweeting your local MP.

How We Can Help

Student financial instability should be taken seriously and we want to help. On the Phavour app, you can earn a little extra cash from your skills. Phavour connects university students with one-off tasks, freelance work, and part-time employment in their local area.

If you would like to find out more, or have any queries, comments, or concerns; we would love to hear from you. Simply head over to the Phavour website to get in contact with the Phavour team.