Afterpay Review: Flexible Options for Shoppers Who Want To Buy Now, Pay Later

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Our take: If you've ever needed to buy something and thought how nice it would be to push back the payment due without having to pay interest and finance charges, you'll be happy to hear there's already such a thing. Afterpay is one of the "buy now, pay later" platforms that give you the option of splitting up your purchase into digestible amounts that won't wreck your budget. The service can help you free up your cash flow by breaking your purchases down into four installments. Here's what you need to know before you get started.
  • Fees
  • Ease of Use
  • Mobile App
  • Customer Experience
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  • You won't be charged any fees or interest (for on-time payments)
  • Instant approval
  • Manually pay your bill or schedule your installments to automatically draft 
  • Payments can be scheduled with a debit or credit card
  • You can change your payment due date
  • Make custom payments


  • Only available at participating online and brick-and-mortar retailers
  • Late fees can amount to up to 25% of your initial order value
  • Not available with Capital One credit cards
  • Only one order allowed at a time at first until you build a history with Afterpay

What Is Afterpay and How Does It Work?

Afterpay launched in Australia in 2015 as a new and improved, Gen Z form of layaway. Instead of paying off the layaway before you can take the product home, you purchase the product with Afterpay and pay it off in installments later.

To get started, you’ll need to set up an account by registering. Downloading the app is recommended. Once you’re approved, you’ll need to follow the on-screen instructions and add the Afterpay virtual card to your mobile wallet.

Afterpay will decide on how much you can spend based on your relationship — initially, you may only be allowed to push back payments on one purchase. If you spend responsibly and make your payments on time, Afterpay will approve larger installments and multiple orders at a time.

You can shop online or in-store at a growing list of participating retailers. Afterpay claims there are more than 48,000 merchants worldwide. Some of the stores include:

  • Old Navy
  • Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Ulta Beauty
  • Gap
  • Urban Outfitters
  • Cost Plus World Market
  • Forever 21
  • DSW
  • MAC

If you’re planning on shopping at a store location, you can find retailers through the mobile app and see how much you’re approved for. Once you’re ready, use the virtual card stored in your mobile wallet to pay.

The service is free, as long as you make your payments on time. You can add a credit or debit card as your preferred payment method and let Afterpay set up automatic withdrawals for the four installments. It’s the best way to ensure you don’t make a late payment, especially if you have several orders set up for installments.

You can also manually make payments when they’re due by tapping or clicking on “PAY NOW” on the app or website. Your first payment is due at the time of purchase, with the remaining three installments due every two weeks.

User Experience

Afterpay is a great way to avoid the high interest rates you’ll pay if you use a credit card to pay your balance off over time. Here’s more about what it’s like to be an Afterpay customer.

Customer Service

To get in touch with customer service, you have the following options:

  • Submit a request via the Afterpay website. Assistance is available online seven days per week.
  • Call 855-289-6014, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT on Saturdays.

Mobile and Digital Experience

The mobile app is the best way to find your favorite retailers, see how much you have available for spending and manage your installments. Customers give the app a near-perfect score:

Convenience and Ease of Use

Using Afterpay is easy. You may occasionally be declined for a purchase because Afterpay may be concerned you’re not spending responsibly, but generally, using the platform is a pleasant experience.

Afterpay Fees

There are no fees except late fees that can amount to up to 25% of your initial order value.

Afterpay vs. Competitors

Afterpay isn’t the only platform available for deferring payments, but it’s one of the best ones. Here’s a look at how Afterpay stacks up against its competitors.

Platform Best For
Afterpay No fees
Quadpay Shopping everywhere
Affirm Longer repayment terms
Klarna More payment options

Afterpay vs. Quadpay

Unless you’d like to shop anywhere and everywhere Visa is accepted, Afterpay is the better option. Quadpay does provide you with the freedom of picking any retailer, but you’ll need to apply for approval for each purchase first and pay a fee of $1 per installment payment for the convenience.

Afterpay vs. Affirm

Affirm lets you pay off your purchases over a term of your choice — typically up to 12 months — instead of Afterpay’s six weeks. The issue is that Affirm will charge you interest of up to 30% APR. Afterpay is free — if you can repay your balance on time over six weeks.

Afterpay vs. Klarna

Klarna and Afterpay both work with a list of participating retailers, but Klarna gives you more payment options. With Klarna, you can pay back your purchase in four installments; choose to pay the full balance in 30 days after the item is delivered; or go with up to 36-month financing like a credit card or loan, but you might have to pay interest.

Final Take

Afterpay can’t be beat — what other method of payment lets you defer your payments over six weeks for free? And best of all, using the service won’t affect your credit. If you manage your spending responsibly, being able to break up larger purchases into four smaller installments can help you manage your cash flow better.

Editor’s Favorite

Afterpay’s payment flexibility is the best part. Competing platforms typically lock you into automatic installment payments. You can change your payment due date and even adjust the amount you’d like to pay by manually paying your installments using the “PAY NOW” button.

Afterpay FAQ

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Afterpay.
  • How many orders can you have with Afterpay?
    • Having more than one order at a time requires an established relationship. You'll only be able to have one open order at first, and as you make your payments on time, you'll get approvals for more. 
  • What stores accept Afterpay?
    • The growing list of participating retailers includes Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond, Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.
  • How long do I have to repay my Afterpay purchase?
    • You'll have six weeks to pay off your order balance. The first 25% is typically paid for at the time of the purchase, with the remaining three installments due every two weeks.

About the Author

Cynthia Paez Bowman is a personal finance writer with degrees from American University in international business and journalism. Besides writing about personal finance, she writes about real estate, interior design and architecture. Her work has been featured in MSN, Brex, Freshome, MyMove, Emirates’ Open Skies magazine and more.

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