THE FINANCIAL Conduct Authority (FCA) has pushed through changes to potentially "unfair and unclear" terms in the contracts of four major buy-now pay-later (BNPL) firms as the government prepares this year for a regulatory clampdown on the sector this year.
The watchdog announced yesterday it had secured changes to contracts offered by BNPL firms Klarna, Clearpay, Laybuy and Openpay which it said were potentially misleading to users.
The watchdog has pushed through the changes to the firms' terms under the Consumer Rights Act as it waits for the government to introduce more sweeping regulation to the sector this year.
Sheldon Mills, executive director of consumers and competition at the FCA, said: "We do not yet have powers to regulate these firms, but we do have powers to review the terms and conditions of consumer contracts for fairness, and have acted proactively to ensure that the BNPL industry adopts high standards in their terms and conditions."
The amendments pushed through by the FCA include changes to refund rules as well as clearer guidelines for consumers on how to cancel 'continuous payment authority'.
Mills added that the four BNPL firms have all voluntarily agreed to change their approach and said he hopes the rest of the industry will follow.
£ CONTINUED ON PAGE 2
BNPL products come under scrutiny after regulator move
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Klarna, Clearpay and Laybuy told City A.M. they had already implemented the changes, while Clearpay said it had also refunded shoppers who had been wrongly charged late fees.
The news comes as high street lender Barclays today called for more robust regulation of all BNPL products, warning that consumers are taking on debt without the means to pay.
The bank warned that consumers are taking out unregulated BNPL contracts when they're not in a financially stable position to do so, with new research finding that a quarter (24 per cent) of BNPL users are concerned about their ability to repay their BNPL bills.
Barclays said a further 31 per cent are overwhelmed by the amount coming out of their account in BNPL bills.
The government is preparing a sector clampdown with new regulation this year following a review by former FCA boss Chris Woolard last year. Most of the large firms have been open to reform.
(c) 2022 City A.M., source Newspaper