59% of consumers relied on credit during pandemic

The majority of UK consumers have used credit cards to ‘make ends meet’ during the pandemic, according to new research from card issuing platform Marqeta.

The study, which surveyed 1,000 Brits, showed that nearly three-in-five – 59 per cent – have relied on credit during the coronavirus crisis.

The report also found that Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) could overtake credit cards, with seven out of 10 consumers saying they prefer the flexible payment option.

A further 54 per cent said that BNPL will replace their use of credit cards, with 35 per cent saying they had tried a pay later service for the first time during the pandemic.

According to the research, of those consumers who were already using BNPL solutions before the pandemic, more than two-thirds – 67 per cent - reported that their use had increased over the last 12 months. However, more than half worry that it’s easier to fall into debt with BNPL compared with credit cards.

While 70 per cent of respondents said they were more conscious of their credit card balance post-Covid and 60 per cent are more aware of budgeting, nearly a quarter of consumers reported having struggled to keep up with minimum monthly card payments during the pandemic.

“Credit cards and BNPL have provided a lifeline for many during the pandemic,” said Ian Johnson, SVP, managing director, Europe, Marqeta. “The boom in online shopping due to global lockdowns – combined with the ongoing financial insecurity for millions of households – has created a perfect storm for the surge in BNPL and credit card use.

"Lots of people are living hand to mouth due to the financial strain of COVID and having flexible payment options has helped them to make ends meet – for example, by allowing them to purchase essentials when they need them, while paying for them at a time that suits.”

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