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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB publishes BNPL borrower profiles

Federal Issues CFPB Buy Now Pay Later Consumer Finance Interest Consumer Lending

Federal Issues

On March 2, the CFPB released a report examining the financial profiles of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) borrowers using data pulled from the agency’s Making Ends Meet survey and its access to credit bureau data. The report follows previous Bureau research conducted on the BNPL market (covered by InfoBytes here). The Bureau observed that, while many BNPL borrowers used the product without any noticeable markers of financial stress, these borrowers (as compared to non-BNPL borrowers) were, on average, more likely to have higher credit card debt and utilization rates and were more likely to have revolving balances on their credit cards. BNPL borrowers also had lower credit scores and higher utilization rates of alternative financial services such as payday loans and pawn loans that charge high interest rates and were more likely to incur bank account overdrafts. The report noted, however, that while BNPL borrowers generally have access to traditional credit products, they are more likely to borrow using retail accounts, personal loans, student loans, and auto loans compared to non-BNPL borrowers (BNPL borrowers were more than twice as likely to be delinquent on at least one of those products by 30 days or longer). The Bureau commented though “that many of these differences pre-date [BNPL] use and [the report] highlights the need for further research into whether the products have any causal impact on consumer indebtedness.” Black, Hispanic, and female consumers are also more likely than average to use BNPL products, the report found, along with consumers with income between $20,001-$50,000.