Apple Pay Later: What You Need To Know and How To Use It
Apple Pay provides a safe, convenient way to shop in-store, online and via apps by enabling you to store your debit and credit cards in Apple Wallet. One of Apple Pay’s upcoming features is Apple Pay Later, which allows eligible users to choose an interest-free, four-installment payment plan for some purchases.
This quick guide explains what Apple Pay users need to know about using Apple Pay Later and its availability.
What Is Apple Pay Later?
Apple Pay Later is the upcoming buy now, pay later feature within Apple’s virtual wallet app. It allows Apple Pay users to pay for online and in-app purchases in four interest and fee-free installments over six weeks.
When Pay Later is selected at checkout, the first payment is due at the time of purchase, and the remaining three payments are spread out over the following six weeks, with a payment due every two weeks.
How Do You Use Apple Pay Later Online?
Apple Pay Later works like many other buy now, pay later providers. BNPL allows you to make a purchase using short-term, interest-free credit. Many BNPL platforms require repayment within six weeks for interest-free plans, with the first payment due at the time of the purchase and then additional payments due every two weeks until paid in full. Some also offer a monthly payment option that does accrue interest.
When you make an online or in-app purchase with Apple Pay, if eligible, you will be able to choose Pay in Full or Pay Later at checkout. The Pay Later option will display the amount due at the time of purchase and the amounts of the three additional payments, so you know exactly how much is due and when. You can then easily track your payments in Apple Wallet.
Is Apple Pay Later Available Yet?
Apple Pay Later is listed on the Apple site as one of the new features introduced with iOS 16, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, which was released back in September. However, Apple Pay Later was delayed and isn’t yet available.
Apple does not have a release date published on its site, but it does state that it is “coming in a future update.” According to Apple, the initial release of Apple Pay Later will be for qualifying U.S. applicants and might not be available in every state — so you still might be unable to take advantage of Apple Pay Later even once it’s released.
Does Apple Pay Allow Installments?
Until Apple Pay Later is released, the only installment plan currently offered by Apple is Apple Card Monthly Installments. It is a 0% APR financing option for eligible customers to pay in installments for select Apple devices purchased with the Apple Card.
Once available, Apple Pay Later can be used for any eligible online and in-app purchases made with Apple Pay and will not require Apple Card.
Apple Pay Later Alternatives
If you like the convenience of having an interest-free BNPL option for some purchases, consider these alternatives until Apple Pay Later is released.
PayPal Pay in 4
PayPal’s Pay in 4 BNPL option can be used on eligible PayPal digital wallet purchases and works much like Apple Pay Later. Your purchase gets divided into four interest and fee-free payments that are automatically deducted on your due dates. You can use Pay in 4 on purchases as small as $30 or as much as $1,500.
PayPal also has a monthly installment option that may come with interest charges. You must apply and be approved for Pay in 4.
With Affirm, you can choose the Affirm payment option when shopping from retailers that offer it or apply for a virtual card through the Affirm app and use it when shopping on any site. You can choose between an interest-free four-installment payment plan or monthly installments that do accrue interest.
Affirm has an AutoPay feature, but it is not required like it is with PayPal Pay in 4.
Apple has yet to announce a 2023 release date for Apple Pay Later. But once available, it can make paying for larger purchases easier for eligible users.
However, before making any BNPL purchase, carefully consider your budget to determine if a BNPL payment plan makes sense. Six weeks is a short repayment term, so if you don’t have the money to pay the purchase in full, you still may not have it in six weeks. You might be better off saving up for those six weeks instead, or using a credit card for the purchase if you need to make it right away.
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- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 2022. "CFPB Study Details the Rapid Growth of “Buy Now, Pay Later” Lending."