Reply to Parliamentary Question on prevalence of use of Buy Now Pay Later services among those below 21 years old
QUESTION NO 3742
NOTICE PAPER 1494 OF 2022
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER
Date: For Parliament Sitting on 8 November 2022
Name and Constituency of Member of Parliament
Mr Melvin Yong Yik Chye, MP, Radin Mas SMC
To ask the Prime Minister (a) whether MAS has data on how prevalent is the use of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services among those aged below 21 years old in the past three years; and (b) whether there have been cases thus far of such youths being unable to repay their debts incurred via BNPL services; and (c) what have the consequences been in these cases.
Answer by Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Senior Minister and Minister in charge of MAS:
1. BNPL service providers do not, as a market practice, open accounts for users under 18 years of age. As for BNPL users aged 18 to 21, MAS does not have customer and default data.
2. The existing features of BNPL schemes limit the extent of debt accumulation and the impact of a default for all users, including those below 21 years old. The BNPL Code launched by the industry earlier this month stipulates several measures to achieve this. Users will not be allowed more than $2,000 in outstanding payments unless an additional credit assessment is performed. They will not be allowed further transactions once they miss a payment. Late payment fees are capped, and outstanding amounts will not be subject to compound interest. BNPL service providers have committed to not initiate bankruptcy proceedings against users and consider extending assistance to users who face financial difficulties, by working out mutually acceptable repayment arrangements.
3. MAS will monitor the industry’s implementation of the safeguards set out in the BNPL Code, and continue to work with the industry to mitigate the risk of consumer over-indebtedness.