Buy now pay later surcharge ‘reveal’ a win for consumers and retailers

The Reserve Bank of Australia has said today that retailers should be allowed to pass on or ‘surcharge’ customers for the cost of buy now pay later, a move welcomed by Consumer Action Law Centre which has campaigned for better transparency for consumers.

“The truth is these costs have been hidden from users of buy-now-pay-later credit products for far too long,” said Gerard Brody, CEO Consumer Action.

“Now businesses will be able to pass on the cost of these products, and people will be better informed about the cost of these services, and therefore choose if they want to use them or not.

“People should be able to choose not to be burdened by the cost of this payment system, which can be especially expensive for retailers,” said Mr Brody.

The RBA’s call also raises questions about whether BNPL can no longer benefit from the loophole in National Credit Law for credit products that don’t charge.

“Without this loophole, BNPL products would have to comply with important consumer protections like the responsible lending laws,” said Mr Brody.

“The RBA is calling on the Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Treasury to develop regulatory amendments for BNPL that are competitively neutral, meaning that they should be treated the same as other forms of consumer credit and should not be able to benefit from loopholes.

“More and more people are contacting financial counsellors and community legal centres with debt problems associated with BNPL, often with multiple debts. We think BNPL providers should be required to conduct responsible lending assessments like other lenders, to ensure these credit arrangements are suitable and affordable”.

ENDS

Mr Brody is available for interview, please call Mark to arrange for a time on 0413 299 567  or email mark@consumeraction.org.au

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