The rise of buy now, pay later (BNPL) payment options has come with a healthy dose of skepticism from consumer advocates. Voices across the financial industry have decried the popularity of BNPL services from fintechs like Swedish payments company Klarna – particularly after Klarna’s recently announced partnership with U.K. online food delivery brand Deliveroo.
Individuals as prominent as Members of Parliament have warned that this tie-up will exacerbate the already considerable cost-of-living concerns, with BNPL encouraging people to spend more than they can afford.
To Alex Marsh, the head of Klarna’s operations in the U.K., this criticism goes beyond hand-wringing about novel payments technology. In fact, Marsh argued in comments about the acquisition that these critics are implying that BNPL users do not deserve more than the bare minimum.
“Critics argue that it is ‘inappropriate’ to pay for food or in this case a takeaway on BNPL,” said Marsh. “That if you can’t afford to pay for it outright, you should settle for a baked potato and get back in your box. How dare they?” Marsh went on to argue that most people understand how to spend their own money without government interference, especially as the BNPL sector is more strictly scrutinized than many traditional credit issuers.