Estimated reading time 2 minutes 2 Min

Buy now pay later under microscope

The federal government is considering making changes to buy now pay later regulations as uptake of the services climbs in Australia.

November 21, 2022
By Alex Mitchell
21 November 2022

Buy now pay later customers are likely to be subject to credit checks to stop consumers getting themselves into financial hot water with the popular payment schemes.

Financial Services Minister Stephen Jones flagged the changes on Monday, saying guardrails were needed to ensure customers didn’t rack up debts they weren’t able to pay back.

The government is inviting submissions into three changes recommended by Treasury as the number of buy now pay later accounts in Australia from providers such as Afterpay, Zip and Klarna swell past seven million.

The options include a new “affordability test” and bringing the services under the umbrella of the national consumer credit act either partially or completely.

Mr Jones told Nine’s Today program the minimum changes would include putting in place credit checks to ensure products were affordable and suitable for people taking out loans.

“We don’t want to see people in the same situation they were in the bad old days of credit cards … they might have had five, six, seven or eight credit cards,” he said.

“No one company knew the other one had one, and this person was just simply unable to pay off their debts and they were in a dire credit downward spiral.”

Mr Jones said changes should be finalised within a one-year window.

“A lot of people have got not one, not two, but three or four buy now pay later accounts and it appears there is a small percentage of the market where people are getting into hot water,” he said.

“We want to ensure that this product is operating safely where it’s being marketed, where it’s being pitched to consumers, it’s operating within the normal guardrails that operate with other credit products.”

More in Top Stories