Published: June 2024
Pages: 61
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Point of Sale Finance / Buy Now Pay Later Market Insight Report 2024

This report focuses on the UK market for point of sale, or POS, finance. Also known as retail finance, in-store credit, store instalment credit, or Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL), it refers to loans provided by, or on behalf of, a retailer to enable a consumer to make a specific purchase.
Point of sale encompasses the sale of goods by retailers, as well as the sale of services where finance is sold alongside the service contract or medical care package. It can also be referred to as Point of Service or Point of Care finance.
The report is focused on finance for purchases of goods and services by consumers but it also includes an overview of the development of the Business to Business BNPL market.
The report quantifies the market size in loans outstanding, new lending and loan provider revenues, historical growth rates and levels of industry profitability.
It segments the market between conventional POS finance and BNPL.

Objectives of the report

This report aims to answer a series of questions on the POS finance market:
– How does the market work? What changes have there been recently?
– What would be the impact of an interest rate rise?
– Which types of retailers use it most frequently?
– How does it compare with alternative and substitute forms of finance?
– What role has new technology played in the market?
– What is the market size and historical growth rate, in terms of total loans outstanding, new lending and lender revenues?
– What are the risks to future market growth?
– How does the market compare with those in other countries?
– Who are the main finance providers and principals, which are most widely used by retailers, how have they performed?
– In simple terms, what do they each do, who do they work for and how do they operate?
– What do the leading UK retailers do – to what extent do they use this form of finance, how do usage patterns vary by sector, which providers does each use and what is the extent of churn?

Market background

Unsecured consumer credit for the purchase of specific goods or services can be split between two key segments: Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) and Point of Sale / Service (POS).
– BNPL: Interest-free split payments for up to around three months, termed Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) finance. This is a relatively new part of the market having grown rapidly in the past three years.
– POS: Credit agreements typically of 12 months or longer.
The market also includes:
– Interest-charged credit for retail or consumer services purchases.
– Combination products, which allow customers to repay the loan interest free over an initial period, or to keep the loan and start paying interest (e.g. from the start of the second year).
It encompasses purchases of goods from high street stores and online as well as purchases of services from medical, beauty or other providers

Many retailers choose to subsidise the cost of the credit as a promotional expenditure and offer “interest-free credit” or “zero per cent finance”.

It is used by both national retail chains and independent shops, most commonly in the home and furniture, jewellery and electricals sectors.
– Loans are generally set up as personal loans, not secured on the asset and without a lease arrangement.
– Interest-free loans are generally for 3-12 months with an APR of 0% (i.e. no additional fees are charged)
– Charged-for loans are generally for periods of 12-60 months. Where interest is charged, an APR of 15-20% being typical.

Market growth and drivers

The market for POS finance has grown quickly in recent years with total
outstanding lending having reached £13.1bn by the end of 2023.

It has been driven by trends in a range of demand and supply factors, including:
– Ongoing retail sales growth, particularly online
– The rapid expansion of BNPL offers across a wide range of retail sectors that previously did not offer POS
– The overall performance of the economy as a driver of both retail sales and consumer confidence
– Pricing of POS finance loans, particularly the wide availability of interest-free deals, although these have been pared back by many retailers as finance costs increase.
– The impact of technology on the market with new apps enabling far quicker decision-making and higher application acceptance rates.
– The impact of regulations on the market, including the need for lenders to take reasonable care to confirm that new lending is affordable.

Competitive landscape

The market consists of retailers, broker platforms and lenders.

In addition to most large retailers in the relevant retail sectors, 15,000 to 20,000 independent retailers and service providers, including online-only stores, currently offer POS finance.

Our monitoring of POS solutions offered by the largest UK retailers finds frequent changes in both providers and terms of POS solutions being offered to consumers, although the rate of change has slowed since the pandemic.

Key POS lenders include Barclays Partner Finance (which has recently scaled back its participation in the market), BNP Paribas (Creation), Novuna (formerly Hitachi Capital), Ikano Bank, Omni and Rematch Credit (DivideBuy).

BNPL providers include PayPal Credit, Clearpay, and Klarna).

Some larger retailers provide finance from Group companies, including Home Retail Group and Shop Direct (Argos), often alongside other payment options including store cards.

Brokers, including some new fintech entrants, tend to specialise in service sectors such as medical / dentistry treatments, flights and holidays and home improvements.


Based on our analysis of market drivers and trends we believe that there is scope for further growth in the market, mainly driven by the BNPL segment.

We expect growth in the POS finance segment to continue at similar levels. Our expectations for overall retail sales are for further growth but at a lower rate than in the historical period, with the online segment now being mature (post-COVID). Factors constraining this segment include:
– The wider availability of BNPL as an alternative to POS finance.
– Less-attractive POS offers from retailers reflecting the higher costs of offering longer-term interest free credit.

Growth in BNPL has reduced from its previous very high levels in the last two years and we expect ongoing growth will be slightly lower still. Factors affecting this include:
– Lenders have been tightening their credit policies, with the dual objectives of meeting good practices in the market and improving profitability.
– Further restrictions as new affordability checks on loans are implemented.
– High retailer penetration means that growth in BNPL is mainly a function of consumers who use these facilities using them more frequently, hence for a greater proportion of their purchases, hence rates of growth will necessarily be slower than in the recent past, when growth in retailer penetration was a major factor.

A key area of uncertainty is the impact that changes to regulation will have on the market following the forthcoming election:
– The current exemption from FCA regulation for interest-free credit up to 12 months has been the subject of a lengthy review by the FCA and Government.
– The Labour Party has indicated that it will expedite the regulation of BNPL if it wins the election in July 2024, although we do not expect major changes from what the industry has been preparing for.

Who is the report intended for?

Operators of point of sale businesses themselves

Investors in these businesses


Market regulators and policymakers

Banks, analysts, consultants and other parties with interests in the sector

What are the sources and methodology?

– Research into 50 top UK retailers and their use of POS finance
– A case study on retailers in the city of Salisbury
– Extensive research into published industry sources
– Financial analysis of the accounts of companies in the industry
– Input from with senior-level contacts in the consumer credit industry

Information from these sources has been synthesised and presented clearly and concisely with extensive use of charts and tables to illuminate points and support conclusions

  About this report             2

Summary           4

About Apex Insight         6

Point of Sale (POS) finance        11

Overview of POS sector              11

Market structure – POS                12

Role of retailers              12

POS products   13

Who offers POS finance?            14

Changes in use of POS finance by retailers       17

Case study - Salisbury 18

Market structure – BNPL             19

Regulation of POS / BNPL          20

Brokers                24

Market size and growth                25

Market size by loan books          25

Market size by volume of new lending  26

Market drivers  27

Forecasts           32

Key drivers         32

POS market forecast [to update]             37

Market risks      40

Competitive Landscape             42

BNPL    42

Source: Company accounts, Apex Insight analysis       42

Retail POS         42

Source: Company accounts, Apex Insight analysis       42

Lender Profiles: Retail Point of Sale Finance    43

Bumper International   43

Clydesdale Financial Services (Barclays Partner Finance)        44

Caledonian Consumer Finance              45

Carnegie Consumer Finance   45

Clearpay Finance           46

Etika (afforditNOW)      48

Freemans PLC 48

Home Retail Group       49

Klarna  50

Laybuy 51

Mitsubishi HC Capital (Novuna)              52

Omni Capital    53

PayPal  54

Propensio Finance        55

Secure Trust (V12)         56

Shop Direct       57

Snap Finance   57

Zopa Embedded Finance (DivideBuy)  58

Smaller POS lenders and new entrants               59



List of charts and tables


Point of sale (POS) finance channels    12

Number of independent stores offering POS finance   14

Conventional POS terms offered by selected retailers April 2024          17

Usage of POS finance by Salisbury retailers     18

Key FCA regulatory requirements relevant to POS finance        21

Retail Finance total market loan books 2013-2023 £m 25

Retail finance total market new lending 2013-2023 / £m            26

UK real GDP / % annual changes            27

Retail sales / annual % change 28

Internet retail as % of total retail sales 28

UK consumer confidence          29

Number of credit cards in issue, spending on credit cards / m, £bn      29

UK outstanding unsecured consumer credit / £bn         30

Bank interest rates / % 30

Combined new lending value as a percentage of retail sales   31

Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) / % annual change        33

Retail sales / annual % changes             34

Internet retail spend / £bn          35

…as proportion of total retail    35

Unsecured consumer credit / £bn          36

Total market new lending 2013-2024F / £m (nominal)  37

Combined new lending value by leading POS finance lenders as a percentage of retail sales 38

Total market loan books 2013-2025F/ £m (nominal)     38

Revenue as a % of loan book (includes POS and BNPL)              39

Total market POS gross revenues 2013-2025F / £m (nominal) 39

BNPL leading providers loan books 2018-2023 / £m     42

POS leading providers loan books 2018-2023 / £m        42

Bumper International Net Book £m 2020 - 2022             43

Barclays Partner Finance POS lending book £m 2018 - 2023    44

Caledonian Consumer Finance Net Book £m 2018 – 2022        45

Carnegie Consumer Finance Net Book £m 2018 - 2023              45

Clearpay Finance Lending Book £m 2019 - 2022            46

Creation Consumer Finance Retail POS Lending Book £m 2018 - 2022              47

Home Retail Group Card Services Net Book £m 2020 – 2022   49

Klarna UK Net Book £m 2018 - 2023     50

Laybuy Net Book £m 2020 – 2022           51

Novuna Retail POS Net Book £m 2018 – 2023  52

Omni Capital Lending Book £m 2018 - 2023     53

PayPal UK Lending Book £m 2018 - 2023            54

Propensio Lending Book £m 2020 - 2022            55

Secure Trust Retail Finance Lending Book £m 2018 - 2023        56

Shop Direct Finance Company Lending Book £m 2018 - 2023 57

Snap Finance Lending Book £m 2018 - 2022    57

Rematch Credit / Zopa Embedded Finance Lending Book 2019 - 2021                58








List of charts and tables

POS finance market definition    14

Point of sale (POS) finance channels        16

Number of independent stores offering POS finance        18

Usage of POS finance by Salisbury retailers           20

Conventional POS terms offered by leading retailers         22

Number of credit cards in issue / m, end of year 23

Key FCA regulatory requirements relevant to POS finance              28

Total market loan books 2009-2021/ £m                30

Total market new lending 2013-2021 / £m            31

Total market POS gross revenues 2013-2021 / £m              32

UK real GDP / % annual changes 34

Retail sales / annual % change    35

Internet retail as % of total retail sales    35

UK consumer confidence              36

Number of credit cards in issue, spending on credit cards / m, £bn             36

UK outstanding unsecured consumer credit / £bn              37

Bank interest rates / %   37

Combined loan book value as a percentage of retail sales               38

Combined revenues as % of combined loan book value: top lenders          39

Impairments balance as % of retail POS loan book             39

UK Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) / % annual change        40

Retail sales / annual % changes  41

Internet retail spend / £bn           41

…as proportion of total retail       41

Unsecured consumer credit / £bn             42

Total market new lending 2013-2021 / £m            44

Combined loan books of leading POS finance lenders as a percentage of retail sales           45

Total market loan books 2009-2023/ £m                45

POS finance revenue as a % of loan book               46

Total market POS gross revenues 2013-2021 / £m              46

Leading lender POS finance revenue trends 2018/19 to 2020/21 £m          49

Sector pre-tax margin trends 2020-2021 / %         50

Lenders’ market shares 2017-2021            51

Lenders’ share of 250 online retailers, February 2022       51

Number of finance companies mentioned in sample of 250 online retailers by retail sector, February 2022              54

Clydesdale Financial Services Ltd summary financials        58

Creation Consumer Finance Ltd summary financials          59

Home Retail Group Card Services Ltd. summary financials              62

OMNI Capital Retail Finance Ltd summary financials          67

Secure Trust (V12 Retail Finance) summary financials       71

Shop Direct Finance Company Limited summary financials             72


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