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Aussies flock to buy-now-pay-later schemes, but what are the risks?

Buy-now-pay-later schemes have taken off in recent years.

And with Christmas around the corner, financial products like Afterpay will be used by many shoppers.

A review by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has found the number of consumers who use Afterpay has increased fivefold since 2015/16, with over two million people using the product over the last financial year.

The buy-now-pay-later model allows shoppers to purchase goods and services immediately but with staggered payments.

Michael McLaren is asking: “What are the risks and benefits?”

Associate Professor in retail operations and consumer behaviour at Queensland University of Technology Gary Mortimer says “it’s a good product if used responsibly”.

“But it’s very easy to get yourself into a bit of strife,” he tells Michael.

With almost a billion dollars in products and services in the marketplace yet to be paid for, Mr Mortimer says Aussie shoppers are holding “a lot of debt”.

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Michael McLaren