Apple Pay Later is here for some – but how does it hold up to BNPL scrutiny?

lady using apple pay later BNPL platform in place of afterpay

As if there weren’t enough Buy Now Pay Later options on the market, Apple’s long-awaited addition to the world of BNPL has finally arrived. 

Sorry, I should say, only if you live in the USA.

And, sorry, it’s only if you live in the USA and for online purchases if you have iOS 16.4 (or iPad iOS 16.4) and up.

Okay: only if you live in the USA and for online purchases if you have iOS 16.4 (or iPad 16.4) and up, and if you’ve been randomly selected as a part of Apple’s “randomly selected” early access trial. 

With growing scrutiny over the BNPL industry and its potential to create long-term impacts on your credit score, how does Apple’s offering actually look?

What is Apple Pay Later?

Apple’s Pay Later payment platform functions similarly to Afterpay or Paypal Pay in 4, allowing users to split purchases into 4 over 6 weeks. The service, called Apple Pay Later, does not charge interest (making it potentially feel more accessible to many than a credit card) or any joining fees. 

Users are currently only able to use the payment method where Apple Pay is available, and on purchases between the values of $50 and $1,000.

These payments will be linked via Apple Pay to a debit card, with credit cards not being accepted. This is to minimise the risk of people falling into the trap of debt.

How will Apple Pay Later impact my credit score?

Notably, Apple’s announcement at the launch of this product says that Apple Pay Later will be able to “apply for a loan within [Apple] Wallet with no impact to their credit”. This may not mesh with new rules for regulation around BNPL in Australia

Thankfully there is clarification that the application process will involve an assessment of creditworthiness, so there will be no applying for the product when you’re drowning in debt. If you comb through the fine print, you’ll also find Apple reporting that “a user’s Apple Pay Later loan and payment history may be reported to credit bureaus and impact their credit”. 

By the time Apple brings their BNPL platform to Australia, we will be able to tell how this product has had an impact on the American market. Hopefully it will be clear how this can be integrated into our market alongside our regulatory requirements.

Keep up to date with all the latest in BNPL news! If you want to know how the platforms stack up, find the best of Buy Now Pay Later.