Money and Mental Health backs Woolard Review call for Buy Now Pay Later regulation


2 February 2021

Today the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has stated its intention to regulate the unsecured credit market in response to the recommendations of the Woolard Review.

In particular, the Review calls for the FCA to ‘urgently’ regulate Buy Now Pay Later credit, responding to calls from campaigners including the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, which set out the case for regulation in its 2020 report ‘Convenience at a Cost: Online shopping and mental health’. 

The Review also calls on the FCA to gather evidence on how changes to Universal Credit and other policy decisions may be driving use of high-cost credit.


Welcoming the recommendations on Buy Now Pay Later regulation, Helen Undy, Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute — and a member of the advisory panel for the Review [1] — said:

“Proper regulation of Buy Now Pay Later is long overdue and much needed. This credit has become increasingly easy to take out in recent years, and it’s now the default payment option for many online retailers. But the information about what happens if you miss payments is often buried in the small print and it’s hard to keep track of what you owe. 

“Many people find it impossible to understand all the terms and conditions, and to make sure that they are borrowing an amount they can afford — leaving them at risk of falling into debt if they can’t keep up. Our research shows that people with mental health problems are particularly at risk, as they might find it harder to control the impulse to spend and to understand the implications of taking this credit out.

“Properly regulating Buy Now Pay Later credit is the first step towards addressing these problems and making this credit safer to use.”


On Universal Credit, Helen Undy commented:

“We are pleased that the Review has not just looked at problems with the way credit is used and sold, but also why it’s needed in the first place. The five week wait for Universal Credit payments is leaving many turning to high-cost credit just to pay for essentials. We particularly welcome the Review’s call on the FCA to gather evidence of the impact of these kinds of policy decisions on credit use, and to share that evidence with the Government. We hope that this will add to the strong, and well evidenced, arguments being made across a range of sectors that this policy in particular is causing real harm to vulnerable people.”



To set up an interview, or for any other media enquiries, please contact Brian Semple, Head of External Affairs at Money and Mental Health, on 07935 216 804 or [email protected]



About the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is an independent charity set up by Martin Lewis, and committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems. We conduct research, develop practical policy solutions and work in partnership with both those providing services and those using them to find what really works.