Citizens Advice North Herts is offering essential information on how to use the 'Buy Now Pay Later' scheme.

Despite the Buy Now Pay Later sector growing rapidly, it remains unregulated. This means people have less protection as opposed to more traditional forms of regulated borrowing, such as credit cards and overdrafts.

Citizens Advice North Herts are outlining six need-to-knows:

1. Understand what you’re signing up for. Check how and when you’ll need to pay, and if you could be charged late fees or interest. It’s also worth noting your credit score could be affected if the BNPL firm reports late payments.

2. Have a plan for how you’ll repay. Make sure you have a plan for how to pay the money back - particularly if your circumstances or income were to change. Also, make sure you know how much you owe in total.

3. If you need to cancel or return items, contact both the retailer and the BNPL firm. Your consumer rights are with the retailer, but you have a separate agreement with the BNPL firm to pay for what you buy. Generally, the retailer will refund the BNPL firm, which will refund you, or adjust the amount you owe if you only returned part of an order. 

4. If something goes wrong you can complain to the BNPL firm and the retailer. Again, your consumer rights are with the retailer, but your payment agreement is with the BNPL firm. BNPL firms have different rules on resolving disputes and so check what happens to your payment plan during this time.

5. If you pay with a credit card beware of extra fees and less protection. Your credit card provider may help if something goes wrong with purchases over £100. But this protection doesn’t apply to BNPL purchases as you didn’t pay the retailer directly.

You could try the Chargeback scheme that is offered by card providers to help get refunds, though there are no guarantees with this and you’ll need to continue paying the BNPL firm to ensure you're not in breach of contract. It’s also worth noting that some credit card firms may charge interest or a fee so it’s worth checking before opting to pay this way.

6. If you’re struggling to pay, get help ASAP. You can call the Citizens Advice Hertfordshire Advice Line on 0800 144 88 48