Klarna encourages customers to “shop smart” amid criticism shoppers use it to buy things they can’t afford

Klarna has launched a new campaign encouraging users to “think thrice” before making a purchase as it aims to quash criticism that it encourages customers to buy goods they can’t afford.

The Swedish ‘buy now, pay later’ giant has launched KlarnaSense, a new initiative aimed at preventing its users from impulse buying.

Its strategy, created in conjunction with retail psychologist Kate Nightingale encourages shoppers to ask “Do I love it? Will I use it? Is it worth it?” before making a purchase to engage the conscious part of their brain in an effort to discourage subconscious impulse purchases.

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While Klarna’s Luke Griffiths said he recognises that “Klarna has an important role to play” in helping its customers not buy things they can’t afford, the initiative has been criticised as lip service by activists.

“Klarna and other buy Now Pay Later providers must take more responsibility for the financial welfare of their customers,” personal finance group Go Fund Yourself’s founder Alice Tapper said.

“Variations of the strapline: ‘Do I love it? Will I use it? Is it worth it?’ have long been used, but Klarna leave out the fourth and arguably most important question: “Can I afford it?”.

READ MORE: Buy now pay later schemes causing 36% of millennials “financial stress”

“It’s also not possible for a customer to ‘think thrice’ when Klarna has already been pre-selected, causing many consumers to use these products accidentally. Unknowingly accessing credit simply should not be possible.”

Go Fund Yourself has previously criticised Klarna for the hidden impact of using its service on customers credit scores.

Klarna vehemently denied that its service affects its users’ credit scores and has even threatened legal action against Go Fund Yourself over the accusations.

In November Hastee’s annual Workplace Wellbeing Study found that 56 per cent of millennial workers say buy now pay later schemes, encourage them to spend money they may not be able to afford.

Across all age groups who have used the increasingly popular scheme, 27 per cent said they had experienced financial stress after doing so.

Millennials were once again hardest hit, with 36 per cent stating they experienced financial difficulties after making a buy now pay later purchase.

Klarna’s UK general manager Luke Griffiths said: “Now, more than ever, people need convenience and flexibility in how they shop, whether that’s spreading the cost of an item or giving them the option to try before they buy.

“Nevertheless, we recognise that it’s sometimes easy to get over-excited and carried away with impulse purchases and that Klarna also has an important role to play in helping our customers to purchase the right things, at the right time. That’s what KlarnaSense is all about.”

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