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Fly away before you pay: Millions of Aussies plan to use BNPL to fund their international travel

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Millions of Australians are planning to fund their international flights using buy now pay later (BNPL) services, according to new research by Finder.

A nationally representative survey of 1,015 respondents found nearly 1 in 10 (9%) Australians – equivalent to 1.75 million people – plan to fund their flights overseas using either BNPL services or a personal loan.

For millennials and generation Z, this number is even higher (both 15%).

The survey revealed almost 3 in 5 (59%) plan to use their savings, while 24% were unsure.

Amy Bradney-George, credit card expert at Finder, said at a time when everyone's itching to travel but don't want to pay a lump sum all at once, BNPL services are a great alternative.

"Booking travel in such unpredictable and unprecedented times can be challenging, and it's made even harder during an expensive time of year.

"Having the opportunity to space out repayments can be tempting for people who might not have the cash on hand to pay all at once. For the travel industry, it can also encourage sales after such a tough time."

A number of airlines are offering their customers the opportunity to fly away before they pay, including Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Cathay Pacific.

Bradney-George said it was important to remember that BNPL is still a form of finance, even when it's interest-free.

"So you do need to keep on top of the payments."

Other means of funding overseas travel reported were credit cards (20%), reward points (18%) and borrowing from a friend or family member (3%).

A further 2% plan to use their cryptocurrency.

"BNPL can be a great way of spacing out your cash flow as long as you're keeping it to one purchase at a time and limiting your accounts to one.

"A dream vacation is on everyone's minds, but before you commit to a large repayment, think about your current and future financial obligations and whether you can afford it," Bradney-George said.

How do you plan on funding your flights when you travel internationally?
I'm not sure24%
Credit card20%
Reward points18%
Buy now pay later services6%
Personal loan4%
Borrowing from a friend or family member3%
Source: Finder survey of 1,015 respondents, November 2021

Want to fly now and pay later? Check out all the buy now pay later options available.

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