Everyone loves buy now, pay later platforms, but it ain't all rainbows and sunshine.
Whether we like them or not, buy now, pay later platforms have completely changed the way Aussies pay for things.
Over the last few years, credit card usage has declined faster than Lindsay Lohan’s career after Mean Girls. And now, over 6 million Aussies have an active buy-now-pay later account with either Zip or Afterpay. That’s cray. Why? Because buy now, pay later allows you to pay back your purchase interest-free instalments.
But here’s the thing that most people don’t know: similar to a credit card or personal loan, taking out a BNPL loan can negatively impact your credit rating. And this could really hurt you down the track.
Let’s break this baby down.
This is a bit of a tricky one, Flux fam. Technically, you’re borrowing money from a lender (like Zip or Afterpay) to make a purchase. And you’ve agreed to pay it back in the future (yep, it’s true - read the T&Cs). Lo and behold - that’s the definition of credit.
However, legally, some BNPL platforms aren’t credit providers, because they’re not regulated by the National Credit Act.
Let’s chuck the spotlight on Afterpay for a sec.
Unlike most credit lenders, Afterpay isn’t regulated by the National Credit Act because it doesn’t do a credit check on its users. And why not? Well, it found a loophole: it requires users to make repayments in 60 (rather than 62) days, which means it doesn’t need to.
Like we just mentioned, Afterpay doesn’t do a credit check on its users. However, other BNPL can check your credit score.
This means that opening up accounts with BNPL providers can impact your credit score, because they’re making a credit inquiry on your behalf.
If you don’t make your buy now, pay later repayments when they are due, it can really hurt your credit score.
Like any lender, BNPL providers will report a default to credit reporting agencies, and this will be recorded on your credit report. Default on your credit report = reduction in credit score. And that default will remain there for five years.
But it’s not just your credit score that may be affected, Flux fam.
If your buy now, pay later spending is getting out of hand, this could be a signal to banks that you’re not great at managing your finances, which could affect your home loan approval.
You may want to consider using it less (aka, just for necessary purchases), and sticking to one BNPL platform rather than a few.
However, you don’t need to close your buy now, pay later account altogether! Having one isn’t going to negatively affect your home loan application alone.
Flux’s hot tips for managing buy now, pay later are:
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