New research by Citizens Advice has found that more than one in four UK adults (the equivalent of 15.1 million people) say they’re likely to use Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) to help with festive spending. This rises to 56% of parents with primary school-aged children.

The findings come as Citizens Advice reveals those unable to cover the costs of their essentials – like groceries and bills – are more likely to have been a regular user of BNPL in the last 12 months. In the context of the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, the analysis found 11% of BNPL users used the product to pay for groceries. This figure jumps to 35% for people who regularly use BNPL.

The government committed to regulating BNPL in 2021 as a matter of priority, but work has stalled. Citizens Advice warns these continued delays are putting consumers – many already facing tough financial situations – at risk of being exposed to unmanageable levels of debt and even bailiff action. This is because BNPL lending does not require any affordability checks, unlike other credit options.