BNPL regulation has unfair ‘gap’, says Block executive

BNPL Block Image credit: Przemek Klos via Shutterstock

The current buy now pay later (BNPL) regulatory plan includes some unfair exemptions, according to an executive from Jack Dorsey’s payments company Block.

Speaking at the 2023 Innovate Finance Global Summit, Michael Saadat, head of international public policy at Block, said that the Treasury’s current plan unreasonably distinguishes BNPL products from specialist firms and major retailers and companies with a primary business outside the technology.

“We think it’s really important having a level playing field when it comes to buy now pay later regulation,” Saadat said.

He acknowledged there is a “diversity of products” in the space, however, said they “ultimately… look quite similar and work in quite similar ways”.

Saadat said that under the current BNPL regulatory proposal, which was recently announced by the Treasury, strict rules would “not extend to final credit arrangements that are provided by retailers directly”.

While much of the BNPL space is dominated by companies like Klarna, Zilch, and Clearpay (which is owned by Block), there are a number of companies outside the market that have explored offering their own version of the service.

Apple, Revolut, Virgin, and even the retail giant Frasers Group have all announced BNPL services that are distinct from the established players in the industry.

“We know there are some very large retailers very large tech businesses that have the capacity to offer biped services to their consumers directly,” Saadat said.

“And we just don’t think it makes sense to exclude us from the scope of regulation”.

He added: “Consumers don’t distinguish between buy now pay later that was provided by the kind of website that you would shop on versus buy now pay later that was provided by a third party.”


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