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Buy Now Pay Later Report

1.1 million Singaporeans have used a buy now pay later service.

Buy now pay later (BNPL) services are making waves across the world as an alternative to credit cards. But just how popular are they in Singapore, and could they leave you worse off financially? Read Finder’s Buy Now Pay Later Singapore Report to find out.

Key findings

  • 38% of Singaporeans, an estimated 1.1 million people, have used a buy now pay later service.
  • Over a quarter (27%) have taken a financial hit when using a BNPL service.
  • Impulse buying is the most common BNPL mistake.

Buy now pay later use in Singapore

38% of Singaporeans – an estimated 1.1 million people – have used a buy now pay later service, according to a nationally representative survey of 1,008 Singaporeans aged 16+ conducted by Milieu in October 2020.

Men are significantly more likely to have used a BNPL service than women. 45% of men say they’ve used BNPL, while just under a third (32%) of women said the same.

Across age groups, those aged 25-34 and 35-44 are most likely to have used BNPL (44% and 43% respectively), followed by 16-24-year-olds (40%). In comparison, just 35% and 28% of those aged 45-54 and 55+ said the same.

The data suggests that your employment status can have a big impact on whether you’ve used BNPL before. Over half (54%) of those who are unemployed and not looking for a job have used buy now pay later, well above the national figure of 38%. Meanwhile, 36% of those who are unemployed and looking for employment said the same. Buy now pay later adoption is much lower among homemakers (22%) and retirees (12%) and a bit lower than average among those who are studying (34%).

The data also suggests that major life events, such as becoming engaged, getting married, moving house and having a baby, could increase your chances of using a BNPL service. 69% of those who were married in the last 12 months and 68% of those who got engaged in the last 12 months say they have used a BNPL service. Those who have had a child in the last 12 months or moved house in the last 12 months are also likely to say they’ve used BNPL (67% and 64%). The incidence of those who have used BNPL is also high for those who got a new job (49%), graduated (48%) or retired (43%) recently.

Buy now pay (more) later

27% of Singaporeans aged 16+ – equivalent to 783,000 people – admit to being worse off financially due to a buy now pay later mistake. The most common BNPL faux pa is making an impulse purchase, with nearly one in five Singaporeans (17%) admitting to making this mistake.

The next most common transgression is buying a more expensive item than you otherwise would have (15%). Worryingly, a whopping 11% say they’ve overstretched their budget so far that they’ve struggled to pay for other expenses. 9% of Singaporeans have had to pay a late fee and 7% have had their bank account go into overdraft as a result of BNPL use.

The most common buy now pay later mistakes

Buy now pay later mistakesPercentage
1Made an impulse purchase17%
2Bought a more expensive item than you otherwise would have15%
3Overstretched your budget and struggled to pay for other expenses11%
4Paid a late fee9%
5Had your bank account go into overdraft7%

A third of men (33%) have made a BNPL money mistake compared to one in five women (21%). The biggest differences between the sexes are that 11% of men have had their bank account go into overdraft compared to just 3% of women and that 19% of men have bought a more expensive item than they otherwise would have compared to 11% of women.

Those aged 35-44 were most likely to say they’d made a BNPL money mistake (35%), followed by those aged 25-34 (31%) and 16-24 (30%). 35-44-year-olds are the most likely to have stretched their budget and struggled to pay for other expenses (17%), paid a late fee (15%) and bought a more expensive item than they otherwise would have (18%). Along with 16-24-year-olds, they were also the most likely cohort to have their bank account go into overdraft (8% each). 16-24-year-olds were the most likely to say they had made an impulse purchase using BNPL (21%).

Methodology

The online poll, commissioned by Finder was carried out by Milieu Insight, a Singapore-based consumer research firm. The poll included n=1,008 and is representative of the Singaporean online population, aged 16 and above. Responses were collected the week of October 2020, and the margin of error is +/- 3% with a 95% confidence level.

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