by Louella Desiderio – The Philippine Star, 1 Oct 2021
MANILA, Philippines — Over 60 percent of consumers saw their income decline amid the pandemic, according to the third quarter survey of information and insights company TransUnion.
The same survey showed high awareness on Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) facilities among consumers.
Conducted from Aug. 11 to 17, TransUnion’s Third Quarter 2021 Philippine Consumer Pulse study covering 1,100 adults showed that 64 percent saw their household income negatively affected by the pandemic, and 54 percent of respondents expect the trend to continue in the near future.
Close to half or 48 percent of consumers also said they were unable to pay at least one of their current bills and loans in full.
While more than half or 55 percent of respondents see access to credit as vital in achieving their financial goals, only 36 percent said they had sufficient access to credit and lending products.
Despite this, the survey showed 46 percent of respondents would still want to apply for a new loan or to refinance existing credit next year.
As the negative impact of the pandemic persists, TransUnion also found high awareness among consumers on BNPL services, with Gen X (born in 1965 to 1979) and millennials (born in 1980 to 1994) reporting the most awareness at 78 percent and 74 percent, respectively.
Among the different generations, millennials and Gen Z (born in 1995 to 2003) were the generations most curious about the BNPL service at 40 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
Some 34 percent of Gen X said they were most likely to make larger purchases through the BNPL service, while 60 percent of Baby Boomers (born in 1944 to 1964) expect the service to help spread payments over time.
Over 30 percent of each generation covered by the survey believe it is easy to apply for BNPL.
With BNPL gaining traction, TransUnion president and chief executive officer Pia Arellano said there are opportunities for financial service providers to support consumers by offering BNPL for products and services.
“There is a huge growth potential for BNPL, and Trans Union is focused on helping lenders accommodate evolving consumer needs by helping inform risk decisions so that the economic viability of BNPL lending can be sustained. Lenders that use advanced information and insights and digital onboarding technology can grow market share, while also safeguarding themselves and consumers from fraud. Done right, consumer lending has the ability to stimulate economic activity and benefit the nation as a whole,” she said.
While there are opportunities, she said companies looking to offer BNPL services should also have risk management strategies in place given the prevalence of fraud in the digital space.
The study showed 48 percent of respondents have been targeted by a digital fraud attempt in the last three months, with phishing (44 percent ) and third-party seller scams on legitimate online retail websites (43 percent) being the most common schemes.
“Technology has afforded us with solutions that cater to the ever-evolving market needs and consumer demands. Many BNPL companies now utilize real-time decisioning, but all financial institutions must keep in mind that their risk management strategies should always include multi-layered defenses against fraud while maintaining friction-right customer experiences,” Arellano said.
She added TransUnion is committed to continue to provide companies with tools to address the risks and protect their consumers from fraud.