Australia leads the way in BNPL adoption

  • By Zilla Efrat

Australia is leading the way in buy now pay later (BNPL) adoption, with 60 per cent of respondents in a new survey saying they’ve used the service, compared to 47 per cent in the United States and United Kingdom.

The survey conducted by Marqeta, a global modern card issuing platform, shows that nearly half – 46 per cent – of Australian respondents use BNPL services.

Marqeta found that 51 per cent of the 3,500 consumers it polled in the US, UK and Australia, had used a BNPL service. Interestingly, 33 per cent had started using BNPL within the past 18 months, after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Marqeta says once this customer base has used BNPL, they generally come back for more. Indeed, 71 per cent of BNPL users said they had increased their use in the last 12 months, and 78 per cent said they wanted to use it more in the future.

More than half (52 per cent) listed the convenience of BNPL as a major benefit and 52 per cent noted that the flexibility of paying for a purchase in instalments was of major benefit.

Crucially, consumers also listed the cost of a credit card as a major detractor, with half noting that paying zero interest was a major appeal of BNPL.

That said, 76 per cent of consumers surveyed still use credit cards and 68 per cent of them use their credit cards at least weekly. But 59 per cent of BNPL users surveyed would be happy for BNPL to replace their credit card usage.

Nonetheless, despite all the talk of upheaval in how consumers want to access credit, and the rapid rate of post-pandemic change in payments, Marqeta reports that credit cards are still king.

In its 2021 State of Credit report, it notes that there are around 2.8 billion credit cards in use globally – with more than 1 billion of those in the US alone.

After a much-hyped dip in credit spending during COVID-19 lockdowns, Marqeta says the industry has roared back again. In the US, credit account openings in March 2021 were up over 30 per cent on the year prior.

More than three-quarters (76 per cent) of the 3,500 consumers surveyed still use credit cards, with little fluctuation across different markets.