Apple Begins Rolling Out BNPL Platform Apple Pay Later
More than nine months after initially announcing plans to offer its own “buy now, pay later option, Apple has begun rolling out its new platform. With Apple Pay Later, customers will be able to finance purchases by paying them off over the course of six weeks. These short-term loans come with no fees or interest. Currently, the company is inviting certain (randomly selected) users to access the platform. Like with the Apple Card, Apple Pay Later is a collaboration with Mastercard and Goldman Sachs.
Akin to other BNPL services, Apple Pay Later enabled customers to split purchases across four equal payments. Specifically, the first payment is due as a down payment, with subsequent payments due every two weeks. To get started, eligible users will be able to open the Wallet app and apply for an Apple Pay Later loan ranging from $50 to $1,000. In order to approve a request, a soft credit pull will be performed.
Once approved, customers can use the platform to make online and in-app purchases with merchants that accept Apple Pay. Of note, support for the service does require iOS 16.4/iPadOS 16.4 or newer.
After making purchases using Apple Pay Later, customers will be able to view and manage their loans in Wallet. This will allow them to see upcoming payments including amounts due in the next 30 days. Additionally, users will receive an email notification before a payment is due. In a bid to prevent users from overextending their finances, Apply Pay Later does require customers to link a debit card for payments; no credit cards are accepted.
Announcing the launch of Apple Pay Later, Apple’s VP of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet Jennifer Bailey said, “There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to how people manage their finances. Many people are looking for flexible payment options, which is why we’re excited to provide our users with Apple Pay Later.”
Bailey continued, “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.”
Given their past interest in creating financial products (namely the Apple Card), it’s not remarkably surprising that Apple would want to get in on the current “buy now, pay later” craze. As for whether the offering is a good deal for customers, that will likely depend on how the service is used. That said, for iPhone users, the ability to use the platform without having to sign up for an additional service does give it an advantage over other offerings. Of course, with Apple Pay Later just beginning its initial roll-out, we’ll have to wait and see how the platform is embraced over time.