Apple is finally launching Apple Pay Later, making it that much easier to buy, buy, buy.
On Tuesday, the tech giant announced that Apple Pay Later is now available in the U.S.
The Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) service allows users to split payments into four installments over the course of six weeks, with no interest or fees. Apple Pay Later was initially announced at WWDC last year and was expected to come with the iOS 16 update. But it was hampered by “technical and engineering challenges” per Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
As of today, the service is available to “randomly selected users” and will continue to roll out to more users in the coming months.
How Apple Pay Later works
In Apple Wallet, iPhone and iPad users can apply for Apple Pay Later loans between $50 to $1,000. If users are in good financial standing, they’ll be approved to use Apple Pay Later at online checkout and with in-app purchases. According to the announcement, the approval process, which involves a soft credit pull, will not impact the user’s credit. Users can keep track of their payments in Apple Wallet and will receive an email and Wallet notification before their payment is due. Apple Pay Later users must use a debit card linked in Apple Wallet, no credits cards allowed.
Apple’s foray into the lending business is an assertive push to lock users into the Apple ecosystem. Apple Pay Later makes Apple devices even more indispensable now that they’re tied to your finances. BNPL services like Klarna, Affirm, Afterpay, and now Apple Pay Later are essentially the same layaway plans that have been around forever. But instead of the occasional large purchase like a TV or a couch, you can do this with anything you’re tempted to buy. No interest, no additional fees, and immediately getting your purchase with the first payment is a seductive concept that has become mighty popular in recent years.
But it’s also a really easy way to accumulate debt. “Because of the ease of getting these loans, consumers can end up spending more than anticipated,” said the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a 2021 statement announcing an inquiry into BNPL services. The inquiry also noted potential risks for data harvesting and potentially inadequate consumer protection.
Apple assures users that Apple Pay Later data is private and protected. Payments are authenticated through Face ID, Touch ID, or passcode and users’ data is never shared or sold to third parties.
The BNPL service is managed by Apple Financing LLC, which plans to report loans to U.S. credit bureaus this fall “so they are reflected in users’ overall financial profiles,” the announcement states.