How positive friction can make a positive difference for you and your customers

As the cost of living crisis affects many people’s expenditure, and with uncertainty about what the future may hold, it’s not surprising to see that people are spending less on non-essential purchases. In fact, more than two-fifths of consumers have confirmed they are spending less on non-essentials, with more than 1 in 10 (12%) nervous about spending too much money at the moment1. With this in mind, it’s understandable that people may not be spending the way they used to. Consumers still need to buy essential items, but it’s important they fund these purchases in a sustainable way, which doesn’t risk creating problems for them over the long term

Offering responsible retail finance to your customers can be a great way to help them spread the cost of those larger essential purchases, such as a new boiler or a new fridge, in a way which makes them more affordable and suits their monthly budget. At Barclays Partner Finance we understand that to deliver a great customer experience we need to meet two main objectives; a straightforward, simple and speedy application process, and an application that gives the customer chances to stop, reflect and make informed financial decisions. If we strike the right balance and achieve a journey that is both seamless and considered, we’ll provide a great customer experience, underpinned by responsible and sustainable lending.

Removing frustration

When we create any customer journey, we always have the customer’s best interests at heart. We design the end-to-end purchase cycle with the principles of clarity, simplicity, and trustworthiness, putting the customer in control of their spending. That’s why we build in the positive friction points where they’re needed in the application process. It’s also why we refined the journey process to remove unnecessary elements of frustration. It means that the customer finds it easy to go through, reducing the likelihood of dropping out, while driving conversion uplifts for our partners at point of sale.

Remote Document Verification

To help reduce fraud, customers can confirm their identity online as part of the application process. It means there’s no need for them to visit a store or to print and complete additional paperwork.

Once this step is completed, they get an instant decision and can move straight back into the application journey, speeding up the overall application process.

53% of respondents admitted they would be more likely to take out retail finance if it meant less physical contact when purchasing.2

Sign Anywhere

Using our paperless Sign Anywhere feature, customers can review their finance package, agree with its terms, and sign the loan agreement – all with just one click. They don’t need to be in a store to sign in person, or to print any paperwork.

When friction can be positive

Positive friction can add value to the finance application process and, if used correctly, it could enhance the customer’s experience and make them feel more in control and more confident in the decisions they make.

We’ve developed and refined our finance application process to include ‘positive friction’:

Eligibility Checker

Before they apply for credit, customers want to know if they are likely to be approved. That’s where our Eligibility Checker, powered by Experian, comes in. It helps remove uncertainty about finance and gives customers the confidence to apply without impacting their credit score.

It also helps them consider budgeting and could help them towards purchasing a better quality item in an affordable way. Instead of assuming an item’s unaffordable because they can’t pay for it immediately, customers can think about whether fixed monthly payments would work for them.

56% of consumers said that if they were planning a larger purchase and were able to check their eligibility for retail finance before completing the full credit application, it would make them more likely to use it.3

Finance application process

A short application could be a deciding factor in whether someone applies for credit or not. That’s why our latest application journey has just 15 questions, allowing customers to apply for finance in a matter of minutes.

However, we’ve still introduced moments of positive friction, with questions about possible changes to the customer’s future income and outgoings. This helps the customer make a more informed decision – and helps us better understand a customer’s financial circumstances during the life of their loan.

Creating a positive outcome for your customers is more than just getting them through the door, it’s about the whole customer journey.  

“At Barclays Partner Finance we understand the challenges rising prices are causing for our customers. We want to offer customers who need to make a large purchase options when it comes to how they pay -  but in a responsible way. As a business we put the customer’s best interests at heart, and ensure they can afford finance now and in the future.”
To deliver a great customer experience, our journeys need to be simple and quick, but they also need to give customers the chance to stop, reflect, and make controlled financial decisions. We’ve removed journey steps that create unnecessary ‘frustration’ and slow the customer down, but also designed targeted checks that ensure we’re making responsible lending decisions, which allow the customer to pause and ensure they’re clear and confident with the commitment they’re taking on. This helps build a positive, sustainable relationship with the customer, enabling them to consider shopping with that partner again in the future”  - Joshua Fabian-Miller, Head of Product & Proposition Director

Get in touch

To discuss your business requirements and how Barclays can support you, contact us today.


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The role of positive friction in a great customer journey

In our latest report we look at how we’ve reduced customer frustration while embracing positive friction moments in our customer journeys. Find out more about how we’ve achieved this balance for our partners.


1 Consumer research carried out by YouGov Plc between 28 and 29 June 2022 on behalf of Barclays Partner Finance. The sample size was 2,125 adults providing a representative of all UK adults (aged 18+). Fieldwork was conducted online

2 & 3 Barclays Partner Finance consumer research based on the responses of 1,006 UK consumers, June 2021