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Apple Now Offers a Buy Now Pay Later Option (That You Probably Shouldn’t Use)

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

Apple Card on top of other credit cards.
Jason Fitzpatrick / Review Geek

Following countless rumors, today, Apple launched “Apple Pay Later” in the United States, the Cupertino company’s service that’ll allow customers to buy stuff and pay for it later.

For better or worse, Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) services are readily available everywhere on the internet, like Affirm or Afterpay. Now you can use the same system from your favorite smartphone maker.

Apple Pay Later will allow users to split up a purchase (between $50 and $1000) into four “easy” payments or six weeks with zero interest or fees. Basically, you can buy something without paying for it, then make payments until it’s paid in full. You’ll be able to get a quick loan instantly and make purchases online or in apps on the iPhone or iPad. Well, as long as the site accepts Apple Pay.

During the announcement, Apple said, “Apple Pay Later was designed with our users’ financial health in mind, so it has no fees and no interest, and can be used and managed within Wallet, making it easier for consumers to make informed and responsible borrowing decisions.” However, it’s widely known that these services aren’t the best idea for being financially responsible.

Sure, there’s no interest or fees, but what happens when you miss a payment or two? Apple may not ding users right away, but on a hefty $1,000 loan, you’ll likely get hit with a big penalty and could quickly get behind on payments.

Apple Wallet with Pay Later option.

For example, according to ConsumerAffairs, a third of Americans using BNPL have missed a payment or are behind. That’s why this is bad news, because these payment methods are notoriously dangerous, and now it’s readily available right from Apple.

I’m not saying everyone that uses a BNPL can’t afford what they’re buying, but that’s often the case, which isn’t a good habit. More importantly, BNPL services aren’t regulated, and you don’t get the same protections as a credit card. Things like lost shipments, return policies, fraud, or damaged and defective goods typically aren’t covered.

For now, it looks like Apple is  “randomly selecting” users to invite into its Apple Pay Later service, and if you’re selected, you’ll get an invite and can use it on iOS 16.4 or newer. Then, it plans to make it readily available for eligible US users soon.

We’ve reached out to Apple regarding the system for missed or late payments, purchase protections, and the “fine print” about how its new pay later service works. We’ll update you if we hear back.

Source: Apple

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »