Zilch vs Payl8r vs Laybuy vs Clearpay: Which BNPL scheme do Brit shoppers owe the most to in 2021?

The new wave of BNPL startups has now gathered gargantuan momentum, prompting new competition. The Swedish player Klarna and the US player PayPal may have set the tone in the BNPL sector but the new players in the UK that are upping the ante in this game. With Zilch raising massive funding last week and Payl8r joining the league this week with its fresh raise, the playing ground of the BNPL companies just got more interesting.

The growing handful of rival players in the space are looking to spur more online purchases that Brits pay for over time. Hence, the UK consumers’ love affair with eCommerce with regards to BNPL schemes is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. This was revealed by Money.co.uk in its new survey Shop Now, Stress Later. The report looks at the UK’s attitudes towards BNPL services and to what extent are shoppers being tempted!

Shop Now, Stress Later Report 2021

  •       One in five (19%) shoppers admit BNPL is a way to buy now and worry later.
  •       One in eight (13%) of 18-24 year olds say influencers encouraged their decision to use BNPL.
  •       18-24 year olds are more likely to use BNPL schemes (54%) than a credit card (49%).
  •       One in six (16%) say BNPL schemes led them to purchase more than they could afford.
  •       Average BNPL users owe £244.37 and take nine months to repay.
  •       On average, BNPL platforms expect payment after 49 days but the average consumer said it takes 261 days to pay.


The Brit consumers owe an average of £244.37 per person to Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes such as Clearpay and Laybuy. But which BNPL scheme do shoppers owe the most to in 2021 compared to 2020? We bring you the breakdown.


Founder: Philip Belamant and Serge Belamant

Funding: $230.2M

Founded Year: 2018

Consumers owe: £253.77 (18% less than in 2020)

The fintech darling of the UK, London-based Zilch, announced last week it has raised $110million of debt and equity funding led by Goldman Sachs and Daily Mail owner DMGT to service the growing demand for its unique BNPL product as usage continues to soar. 

The platform allows its customers to shop wherever MasterCard is accepted and spread their payment over six weeks for zero interest and zero fees. This lightweight, direct-to-consumer model allows Zilch to build direct relationships with its customers and this is one big USP of the platform.


Founder: Louis Alexander

Funding: £40M

Founded Year: 2016

Consumers owe: £347.86 per person (40% more than in 2020)

The Manchester-based Payl8r secured £40 million this week from Conister Bank, to become a £1 billion fintech business within five years. The BNPL platform offers a modern method of paying for goods and services online and in-store. Aiming to provide its customers with an attractive and beneficial alternative to credit cards, its ease of use and range of financing options encourages customers to purchase more of the products they desire. The lending here is based on affordability rather than credit history, meaning they lend to an audience comprising credit, thin credit, previous bad credit, students, benefits.


Founder: Gary Rohloff

Funding: £18M

Founded Year: 2017

Consumers owe: £271.34 (14% less than in 2020)

The service partners with retail merchants globally. It is a ‘risk-free’ solution that takes responsibility for all the credit risk for the weekly payments. The fintech company provides buy now, pay later services partnering with over 9,000 retail merchants. Recently, it raised A$35 million (approx £24.7 million) from new and existing institutional investors to invest in technology, marketing, and hire people for its expansion in the UK market. The company has also confirmed its strategic partnerships with Rakuten, AWIN, and Sovrn, which will see its customers having access to over 5,000 merchants in the UK, including household brands ASOS, Nike, Marks & Spencer, Amazon, and eBay. 


Founder: Nick Molnar and Anthony Eisen

Founded Year: 2015

Consumers owe: £158.99 (7% less than in 2020)

Manchester-based Clearpay, part of global instalments payments innovator Afterpay was launched as an interest-free, buy-now-pay-later alternative that is more in line with the needs and spending patterns of modern shoppers. To reignite British retail by welcoming consumers back to the shopping area, Clearpay launched a pop-up on London’s King Road in Chelsea to bring London Fashion Week to British consumers last month.

The service was launched initially with over 300 fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands across Spain, France and Italy. The move followed its acquisition of Pagantis, a Spanish-based payment company, and receiving regulatory approval from the Bank of Spain.

Purple Dot

Founders: Madeline Parra and John Talbott

Funding: £1.27million

Founded Year: 2019

Helping fashion brands tackle wasted inventory, drastic sales tactics and the profit erosion that comes with it is the London-based startup Purple Dot. It allows consumers to request a ‘worth-the-wait’ lower price, and in return, retailers may then decide whether or not to release a product mid-season at a slightly reduced rate. The UK BNPL company completed its first major partnership with SPOKE London, the online men’s trouser retailer, allowing SPOKE’s customers to pre-order a new style eight weeks before production.