Klarna’s UK executive Alex Marsh has hit out at Barclays for publishing a report that he called “mind-boggling” and “irresponsible”.
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This research explores mounting buy-now-pay-later debt levels in the UK.
Barclays joined forces with debt charity StepChange to warn that 876,000 Brits could fall into financial difficulty as a result of using BNPL.
But Klarna UK boss Alex Marsh has slammed the research from Barclays as an attempt to push its own “high-cost” instalment product.
“It is mind-boggling and frankly irresponsible in a cost of living crisis, that Barclays should use StepChange to endorse their high-cost installment credit product which charges 10.9% interest and to lobby against interest-free and manageable Buy Now Pay Later products,” Marsh said in a statement.
“The conclusions in this report from Barclays are hugely patronizing to UK retailers.”
Earlier this week, the UK government outlined long-awaited plans to make BNPL providers carry out affordability checks and refrain from misleading advertising and promotions.
The Boss of New Zealand BNPL firm Laybuy told City A.M. that the fact that banks had moved in on the space themselves underscored the safety of the products.
“Only a few years ago many banks were criticising BNPL providers but perhaps the biggest endorsement of the industry is that the very same banks are now offering their own BNPL products,” he said. “Customers no longer have to turn to expensive credit or store cards where the APRs are in the double digits. BNPL is very much here to stay.”
The speed of movement on regulating the sector has come under fire from campaigners as the cost of living soars, with Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis saying protection were “desperately needed” ahead of a looming “financially bleak winter”.