Apple Pay Later review: A buy-now, pay-later service for Apple users

A man wearing a blue sweater and headphones sits on a park staircase and uses his smartphone to look into the upcoming Apple Pay Later service.Image: A man wearing a blue sweater and headphones sits on a park staircase and uses his smartphone to look into the upcoming Apple Pay Later service.

In a Nutshell

Apple’s upcoming buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) service, Apple Pay Later, splits purchases into four equal payments over six weeks, without fees or interest. But you’ll need an Apple device to use Apple Pay Later.
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Pros

  • No interest or fees
  • Gives you a little more time to pay for purchases
  • Use easily through Apple Pay

Cons

  • Limited repayment options
  • Made only for iPhone and iPad users and may not be available in all states
  • May encourage overspending

What you need to know about Apple Pay Later

At the Worldwide Developers Conference in June 2022, tech giant Apple Inc. announced that it would be entering the buy-now, pay-later (BNPL) market with upcoming Apple Pay Later service. Like well-known BNPL services such as Klarna or Afterpay, Apple Pay Later will allow customers to spread out the cost of purchases into four equal payments over six weeks.

Apple Pay Later will work only with iPhones or iPads for Apple Pay purchases, and only online or in apps — it’s not for use in stores.

Apple Pay Later doesn’t charge interest or fees

Unlike some other financing methods, such as personal loans or a credit card, Apple Pay Later won’t charge interest or origination fees. While this may help you split up your payments into smaller chunks without extra costs and help you stick to a budget, it’s important to note that six weeks is a relatively short time to spread out payments for any large purchases — so you’ll want to make sure you can make them on time and in full.

Repayment options are limited

Apple Pay Later allows you to make four equal payments over six weeks but it doesn’t offer any other repayment options. That’s in contrast to some services like Affirm, which lets you choose from several options, including the ability to make payments over 12 months — though Affirm does charge interest for its longer repayment terms. While a credit cards and personal loans are typically interest-based, they offer the benefit of allowing you to spread out payments over a longer period of time than what you can expect via Apply Pay Later.

Apple Pay Later could lead to overspending

Although BNPL services like Apple Pay Later can make large purchases more manageable with installment payments, they can also promote overspending — especially if you use multiple BNPL loans to buy things. If you’re considering using a BNPL like Apple Pay Later, it’s a good idea to use a budget calculator to help you stay on top of your bills.

Apple Pay Later has been delayed

Initially, Apple Pay Later was supposed to launch in September 2022, but there’s been some delay.

On its website, Apple states in a footnote that Apple Pay Later is coming in a future iOS update for qualifying applicants in the U.S., and it may not be available in all states.

Who is Apple Pay Later good for?

Apple Pay Later will allow eligible customers looking to buy something online to split the purchase into four payments over six weeks without paying interest or added fees.

BNPL services are best for customers using it to make a single purchase and who can comfortably afford the payments. Just remember, with Apple Pay Later, you’ll have to pay off the entire purchase amount in just over a month, so if you need more time, you might want to explore other financing options, such as 0% interest credit cards — or maybe just wait and save up the cash you need if you can.

How to apply with Apple Pay Later

Once it’s available, Apple Pay Later will be accessible for iPhone and iPad users in Apple’s digital wallet, Apple Wallet. You’ll be able to track what you owe Apple Pay Later and the payment due dates there.

Here are some alternatives to Apple Pay Later that you might consider.

  • Uplift: If you’re planning a vacation, Uplift allows you to book airfare, hotels and more and pay for your travel arrangements in installments. Just note that Uplift does charge interest.
  • Affirm: Unlike Apple Pay Later, Affirm allows you to spread out your payments over a period of up to12 months — though it will charge interest on its six- and 12-month repayment plans.

About the author: Kat Tretina is a personal finance writer with a master’s degree in communication studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Obsessed with her many side hustles, she focuses on helping people pay down their … Read more.