Laybuy, the leading New Zealand-based Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) provider, has today published the UK’s first draft Code of Practice for members of the BNPL sector operating in the United Kingdom.
Laybuy Co-Founder and Managing Director Gary Rohloff says the Code, which has been drafted by Laybuy, aims to establish agreed minimum standards for the provision of BNPL products or services in the UK.
“Laybuy was established to help consumers avoid the traps of high-interest credit debt and help families better manage their budgets by allowing them to stagger their payments interest-free,” says Rohloff
“Making life easier for our customers is a core part of our DNA and why we will never compromise on acting responsibly.
“As one of the UK’s largest BNPL providers, we feel very strongly that establishing a code of conduct which prioritises and protects consumers is the right thing to do.
“While Laybuy already prides itself on operating to the highest standards, we recognise that, in lieu of formal regulation, we have an obligation to help ensure the sector is acting fairly, openly and responsibly.”
“We have based the draft Code on 18 key principles that aim to ensure the BNPL sector delivers to consumers the highest standards of customer service.
“This means taking a transparent and customer-focused approach to the design and marketing of BNPL products and supporting compliance with legal and regulatory obligations.”
Under the core principles set out in the Code of Practice, signatories will agree to:
· Always act fairly and honestly, be ethical and treat customers reasonably in all dealings
· Comply with obligations under the law and the Code of Practice, acting in a way that is consistent with good practice
· Ensure advertising, terms and conditions, and repayment information are all presented clearly
· Initially assess, and continue to assess, the suitability of a BNPL product for every customer that uses the service
· Comply with the Standards of Lending Practice when recovering a debt
· Provide financial hardship assistance, including freezing repayments and late fees while finding an alternative payment arrangement
· Handle complaints promptly and fairly and, if an agreement cannot be reached, provide customers with information on ways to resolve disputes
· Only partner with retailers and merchants which meet minimum standards of:
o Acting lawfully, ethically and fairly
o Uphold high standards of customer service and confidentiality
Rohloff says the Code is aligned with the commitments made by regulatory and industry bodies in the UK, including the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) Rules on Financial Promotions and Communications with Customers and the Lending Standard Boards Standards of Lending Practice.
“The Code builds in a regular review process, including public consultation, to ensure it continues to promote the highest industry standards and builds best practice across the BNPL industry. As part of this review, we will make sure it continues to align with any regulatory guidance and requirements.”
Rohloff says the Code of Practice will be a voluntary agreement between BNPL providers.
“While we have taken the lead and published a draft Code of Practice, we genuinely want to work with other BNPL players as we further progress its development,” says Rohloff.
“This will help ensure that we see a final Code of Practice that is truly representative and adhered to by the sector, but this does require input from other major players in the space.
“We hope our peers share Laybuy’s values and accept our invitation to contribute to the Code’s development. Together, we can create an industry leading standard that will help protect the interests of rapidly increasing number of UK consumers taking advantage of benefits of BNPL.”
The publication of this Code of Practice in the UK marks Laybuy’s second move toward establishing an environment of best practice within the BNPL sector. Earlier this year, Laybuy launched a similar Code of Practice tailored to New Zealand’s BNPL sector.