Young woman using her credit card online

On 2 February 2021, the government announced its intention to regulate the Buy now, pay later (BNPL) sector

The potential risk of consumer detriment was highlighted in ‘The Woolard Review: A review of change and innovation in the unsecured credit market‘.

This was driven by the significant increase in the popularity of the BNPL products (see here for how BNPL works) over the past year or so, with the volume of transactions tripling in 2020 as the pandemic led to an increase in online shopping.

The current intention to regulate the BNPL industry will mean that potentially, in the next 12 months, BNPL lenders in the UK will be required to submit each month credit consumer data into a UK credit bureau, such as Experian.

BNPL lenders must prepare for this, and with regards to data quality and its many benefits, you can never start too early. Early preparation also means an easier transition to credit data sharing, as well as a seamless and efficient ongoing data sharing process management.

Why good data quality matters

When submitting consumer data to a credit bureau, data quality is essential. Lenders are required to adhere to industry data reporting guidance (SCOR Principles of Reciprocity), CRA reporting specifications, and data protection legislation. As part of this process, lenders are responsible for the quality, completeness and accuracy of the data supplied.

  • Consumer representation – Inaccurate or incomplete data supplied by a BNPL lender can have a significant impact on the way consumers and their credit behavior are represented in the market.
  • Customer experience – Inappropriate product recommendations or lending decisions made as a result of inaccurate data could lead to poor outcomes for consumers, by either extending credit that should not be extended or denying credit that should be allowed.
  • Maintaining good reputation – In a competitive market, bad press and customer complaints could have a significant negative impact, be costly to deal with, and affect market expansion and revenue streams. Any credit data inaccuracies would be visible on the consumer’s credit report and would result in queries directed to the supplier.
  • Regulatory compliance – With an increased regulatory focus on ensuring responsible lending decisions are consistently applied, any reduced accuracy in responsible lending decisions could increase financial risk.

How Experian can help

Experian offers a credit data sharing solution that helps BNPL lenders onboard into the bureau, check and validate data quality ahead of time, and make the transition to data sharing much smoother.

Our data quality and enrichment platform, Aperture Data Studio can help you with the initial bureau onboarding process,as well as ongoing data quality assessment. It enables you to rapidly assess the quality of your data against the CAIS submission acceptance rules to help you meet your reciprocal data sharing obligations.

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De-risk your bureau onboarding with Aperture Data Studio and our expertise

  • Database Management – We have available out of the box connectors for most standard databases as well as numerous big data sources. You can plug payroll, CRM or other data into our platform.
  • Data Discovery and Profiling – During the data discovery and profiling stage, Aperture helps you identify any risks or challenges with your data early on. It validates whether the data is as expected and is of good quality. In particular, it helps to identify any transformations or cleaning needed to create the CAIS data file in the required format and of the required quality.
  • Submission file creation and validation – By using an intuitive visual process builder, Aperture Data Studio helps you build the process that will physically create your CAIS file each month. The tool will read the data from the source systems, transform, clean the data and map it to the CAIS file structure for a quick turnaround. Once this has been done, you are able to instantly test the newly created CAIS file using the set of CAIS rules which are available for you as part of the solution.
  • Analytics and Data Enrichment – Our solution offers you the ability to drill down into the data to look for common issues, providing you with account level detail. You can extract accounts causing issues for root cause analysis and add external data sources such as PAF address validation. Multiple users can be set up so you can transfer analysis and notifications to other users. All processes can be automated thus providing you with consistency of the analysis on the same day of every month.

Enhance your ongoing CAIS submission data quality

Aperture Data Studio enables you to operationalise the monthly CAIS process and ensure you meet the required data quality standards as mandated by SCOR. The tool enables you to automatically create and quality check your CAIS submission file each month against the CAIS rules but also the Experian master file. The master file is the snapshot of your data we hold in the bureau once you begin submitting.

At this stage, you can also easily build additional customer rules to enhance submission quality beyond the CAIS rules. The tool enables you to visualise your CAIS data Quality over time and analyse your CAIS data validation results in easy to understand dashboards you can drill down to individual data records to gain detailed understanding of any issues.


Our solution has been pre-configured to ensure a streamlined bureau onboarding and submission process, delivering:

  • Accelerated CAIS membership onboarding.
  • Minimised file and record rejection by supporting pre-submission validation against the CAIS reporting rules.
  • Improved accuracy by enabling the identification and correction of errors ahead of submission.
  • Time saved with accurate data submission and ongoing data quality monitoring.
  • Reduced manual interventions resulting from submission errors.
  • Faster response to customer queries enabled by quick and easy comparison of customer records against your CAIS master file.

By contributing to a bureau and reciprocally sharing data, BNPL lenders gain access to more information on an individual’s credit behaviour which they can in turn use to better understand consumer risk and affordability.

Find out more about the Buy now, pay later industry and how your business could acquire customers more confidently with the help of Experian’s data and insight.