Insight & Analysis

Press release: Retailers adopt embedded finance following shift to online shopping

Published: Aug 2023

4th August 2023 – Research from Freedom Finance, one of the UK’s leading digital lending marketplaces and embedded finance providers, reveals that the extent to which the UK’s most valuable retail brands are adopting financial services.

The analysis reveals three of the top ten most valuable retail brands in the UK1 already offer embedded finance services to customers, while Morrisons is the only retailer in the top 10 not to offer financial services of any sort.

When it comes to the top 15, only Ocado and Pets at Home joined Morrisons in not offering customers finance options. However, many of the finance options were limited to Buy-Now-Pay-Later (BNPL). None of the retail brands outside the top-ten offered the range of finance available via a full embedded lending offering.

Top 15 Retail Brands1 Offers financial service products Full embedded finance (lending) offering
Tesco YES NO
Sainsbury’s YES NO
Ocado NO NO
Next YES (BNPL only) NO
Morrisons NO NO
Boots YES (BNPL Opticians only) NO
Waitrose YES (via John Lewis) NO
JD Sports YES (BNPL only) NO
Pets at Home NO NO
B&M YES (BNPL only) NO
Dunelm YES (BNPL only) NO

Embedded finance has become increasingly popular in recent years as retailers and brands have sought to create a smoother online experience for customers while diversifying their income streams. It involves non-financial brands offering financial products to customers within their online ecosystem, via a website or app. In its simplest form it is offering BNPL services via a single provider like PayPal or Klarna at the point of sale, but more sophisticated providers can offer range of products from a wide panel of financial institutions via a full embedded finance (lending) offering.

Recent research from Freedom Finance has revealed how rising interest rates and tightening lending criteria have made the need to for access to a wide range of products and lenders is more important than ever. The research revealed that as interest rates on overdrafts and credit cards have increased rapidly since the middle of last year, so have the number of people looking to consolidate more expensive, ongoing debt into lower-cost, fixed-term personal loans. While its latest Credit Monitor revealed that credit card rates are now at their highest level since December 1997.

Freedom Finance allows customers to choose from the widest panel of unsecured loan providers on the market. Its proprietary technology is dedicated to helping consumers find the best deal, in the easiest possible way, without damaging their credit scores.

Emma Steeley, CEO at Freedom Finance said that tightening credit conditions meant that a wide range of credit options was increasingly important for borrowers, lenders and brands.

She commented: “The boom in embedded finance has for a long time been linked to growth in BNPL seen during the pandemic lockdown, but the adoption of financial services by retail brands is far more sophisticated than that.

“The best retail brands want to offer their customers the most appropriate credit options available to them and an embedded finance platform with a wide panel of lenders is a user-friendly way to do that.

“By adopting this type of technology, brands are offering consumer the best financial services options that are available to them and lenders get higher-quality loan applications, which they are willing to pay for, so it creates a whole new income stream for the brand.”


1.Kantar BrandZ UK Brands Report, 2022:  

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