Apple eliminates its 'Apple Pay Later' option for purchases

Last year, Apple started allowing customers to apply for loans of $50 to $1,000 to make everyday purchases.
Posted at 8:34 AM, Jun 18, 2024

Apple announced that it is getting rid of its "Apple Pay Later" option for Apple Pay purchases as the company rolls out a new monthly payment program.

In March 2023, Apple started allowing customers to apply for loans of $50 to $1,000, which can be used for online and in-app purchases. Customers could then repay for items through four payments spread over six weeks interest-free.

Apple says that those with existing loans will continue paying them as normal. Apple added that there are no changes to the existing process for refunds being applied after returning an item to a merchant.

The announcement comes ahead of a new iOS that will include a different way for users to access installment plans. Last week, Apple unveiled its iOS 18, which will include an update to Apple Pay.

The new Apple Pay platform will allow customers to split their payments by using Affirm.

"Users in the U.S. will also be able to apply for loans directly through Affirm when they check out with Apple Pay," Apple said.

Apple said the new iOS will be available this fall.

More scrutiny for buy now, pay later services

The change comes as buy now, pay later services become both more popular and scrutinized.

According to a March 2024 report by NerdWallet, 25% of Americans have used buy now, pay later programs. Of those, about 1 in 3 have used them to pay for necessities.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau noted there was a tenfold increase in usage of buy now, pay later programs during the pandemic. In March, the CFPB issued new rules requiring buy now, pay later services to provide the same type of consumer protections offered to credit card users.

What are buy now, pay later services

Unlike credit cards that generally have high interest rates, buy now, pay later programs usually do not. They instead break payments into several monthly installments.

However, consumer groups have expressed concern that these programs could cause more people to go into debt by buying items they couldn't otherwise afford.

"Because buy now, pay later services don’t require a credit check, the barrier to entry is low,” NerdWallet expert Sara Rathner said in the report. “This convenience can work against you, however, if you’re taking on more debt than you can realistically pay off.”

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