A comparability of ‘purchase now, pay later’ providers

Paying your bank card balances in full each month is among the 10 credit commandments right here at TPG — not only for succeeding in journey rewards but additionally for sensible private finance.

Nevertheless, there could also be events when you’ll want to make funds over time for bigger purchases and don’t wish to pay excessive rates of interest for the power to take action. Enter “buy now, pay later,” or BNPL, providers.

A comparability of purchase now, pay later providers

Most BNPL providers function equally. They do a soft credit check to qualify you and decide your spending restrict, supply no curiosity charges and require you to make the primary cost on the time of buy. Usually, you’ll have three remaining funds, due each two weeks. You may sometimes get instantaneous approval at checkout. And a few providers supply a digital card so as to add to your telephone’s digital pockets to pay in-store.

With many BNPL providers out there, it may be tough to differentiate between them and resolve which one to make use of. The notable variations between providers embody buy limits, whether or not or not charges are charged for late funds and whether or not you possibly can pay in month-to-month installments (however you’ll typically should pay curiosity on this feature). We checked out Affirm, Afterpay, Klarna and PayPal, the highest 4 providers in line with a study by C+R Research. Since initially publishing this text, Apple Pay Later launched; we have added this as a fifth possibility in our comparability.



  • The way it works: “Pay in 4” by making 4 funds (one each two weeks) or select a plan with month-to-month installments. You may pay anyplace, even in-store, utilizing a one-time-use digital card.
  • Reimbursement strategies: Checking account, debit card, bank card (however just for some purchases), examine funds by mail.
  • Buy restrict: As much as $17,500.
  • Credit score examine: Mushy. Fee historical past, together with delinquent funds, could also be reported to Experian.
  • Curiosity: No curiosity for the Pay in 4 plan; 0%-36% for the month-to-month funds plan.
  • Late charges: None.

Apple Pay Later

  • The way it works: Make the primary cost with buy, then three extra funds over six weeks.
  • Reimbursement strategies: Debit card.
  • Buy restrict: As much as $1,000.
  • Credit score examine: Mushy; cost historical past could also be reported to credit score bureaus.
  • Curiosity: None.
  • Late charges: None.


  • The way it works: Select cost plans of 4 interest-free funds (with the primary due at buy) or month-to-month installments of six or 12 months. In-store funds can be found with choose retailers, additionally.
  • Reimbursement strategies: Checking account, debit card, bank card. Month-to-month installments can solely be paid by debit card.
  • Buy restrict: Spending limits start at round $500 and improve step by step over time.
  • Credit score examine: Mushy.
  • Curiosity: None on the four-payment possibility; varies on month-to-month installments.
  • Late charges: Capped at 25% of the acquisition worth.


  • The way it works: “Pay in 4” with 4 interest-free funds, paid each two weeks. Extra choices embody a no-interest “Pay in 30 days” plan and a month-to-month plan with versatile financing. Store on-line and pay with the Klarna app. To pay in-store, you possibly can create a single-use card and add it to your telephone’s digital pockets.
  • Reimbursement strategies: Checking account, debit card, bank card.
  • Buy restrict: No predefined spending restrict. An automatic approval resolution is made with each buy.
  • Credit score examine: Mushy for the Pay in 4 possibility. Laborious for the month-to-month financing possibility.
  • Curiosity: None on Pay in 4 or Pay in 30 days choices; variable APR on month-to-month plans.
  • Late charges: For the Pay in 4 possibility, as much as $7 could also be charged for late funds after 10 days (to not exceed 25% of the installment cost quantity).


  • The way it works: The “Pay in 4” possibility requires the primary cost to finish the acquisition, then three remaining funds (one each two weeks. Or go along with the newer “Pay Month-to-month” plan, the place the associated fee is damaged into month-to-month funds over a 6- to 24-month interval, with the primary cost due one month after buy.
  • Reimbursement strategies: Checking account, debit card, bank card (your PayPal stability can’t be used for repayments, and bank cards cannot be used for Pay Month-to-month).
  • Buy restrict: $30-$1,500 for Pay in 4; $199-$10,000 for Pay Month-to-month.
  • Credit score examine: Mushy for Pay in 4; Pay Month-to-month does a delicate examine for prequalification and a tough inquiry when a buyer accepts the mortgage and strikes ahead with financing choices.
  • Curiosity: None for Pay in 4; 9.99%-29.99% for Pay Month-to-month.
  • Late charges: None.

Must you use purchase now, pay later?

The simplicity of paying off a purchase order in 4 funds and never paying any curiosity expenses is interesting.


If you wish to maximize your factors and miles incomes, BNPL isn’t perfect. Although many providers will let you hyperlink a bank card for compensation, you’ll lose out on any category bonuses you might have acquired from procuring straight with the service provider.

As well as, utilizing one type of debt to pay one other type of debt isn’t sensible, particularly in the event you’re not capable of repay the cost in your bank card when the invoice is due.

Moreover, C+R Research found that many individuals used BNPL providers to purchase objects they in any other case could not afford. This creates debt, provides additional curiosity and may negatively have an effect on your credit report.

Can I exploit my Capital One card for purchase now, pay later?

If you happen to resolve to make use of a bank card for compensation, you received’t have the ability to use any Capital One credit cards because the financial institution blocks its playing cards for purchase now, pay later transactions. Nevertheless, Capital One debit playing cards and checking counts might be linked.

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Associated: Are consumers choosing ‘buy now, pay later’ options over credit card rewards?

Backside line

For bigger purchases that you just’d prefer to repay over time however nonetheless wish to earn rewards, take into account credit cards with 0% introductory annual percentage rates and credit card services similar to Chase’s My Chase Plan (no enrollment required) and Amex’s Pay It® Plan It® (no enrollment required). These supply installment plans with fastened month-to-month charges and no curiosity expenses.

Whichever BNPL service or bank card providing you resolve to make use of, accountable spending ought to stay the objective.

Associated: Alternative options for holiday purchase financing: My Chase Plan vs. Amex Pay It Plan It

Extra reporting by Ryan Smith.

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