Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) will surpass $1 trillion by 2030, according to a new report from data and analytics firm GlobalData.
The research predicts that the high demand for BNPL services will make the sector popular with both big tech and large payments providers, with companies such as Apple, Google, Mastercard, PayPal, and Visa expected to be leading players by 2030.
“Big Tech and large payment providers can seamlessly incorporate BNPL into their platforms whether they’re profitable or not forcing fintechs with unsustainable revenue models out of the market,” GlobalData thematic analyst Maddy Irwin said.
“For Visa and Apple, BNPL does not need to be profitable and is merely an incentive to keep existing customers in their ecosystems.”
Apple has taken the lead with Apple Pay Later launched in September, and GlobalData expects them to be one of the biggest players by 2030.
“Apple is likely to have a competitive advantage over other BNPL providers, as it will be easy for existing Apple Pay and Apple Wallet users to adopt these services. Further, Apple has a huge existing user base,” Irwin adds.
In addition, the growing demand for BNPL is now being driven by the need for payment flexibility amid the current cost-of-living crisis.
“BNPL has longevity due to strong customer demand. It is being used by many to help deal with the rising cost of living and to alleviate anxiety around personal finance,” Irwin says.
“Spreading the cost of payments is an attractive option for consumers amid a period of rising inflation, and BNPL is also convenient for merchants as the lending provider is taking on the risk of default.”
Moreover, the report also notes that the BNPL sector has been able to grow rapidly due to a lack of regulation.
However, governing bodies are now reviewing the sector and considering imposing rules to protect consumers from accumulating unmanageable debt.
BNPL is already facing increasing regulatory scrutiny from the likes of the FCA and providers may need to charge interest and undertake affordability checks on customers.
“By 2030, regulatory bodies will have ironed out the murky BNPL sector, clamping down on the need for transparency and rigorous credit checks. Its poor reputation will improve as a stronger framework is set in place,” Irwin adds.
“Greater transparency is needed to ensure that customers understand that they are accruing debt through BNPL services, which can negatively affect their credit scores. This is especially relevant given the effect of the rising cost of living, where BNPL is expanding beyond retail and encompasses everyday expenses.”