Ever see something you really wanted online, but you didn’t have enough money to pay for it? Your next paycheck arrives next week, but the item you want is on sale for one day only. What do you do?
Thankfully, you can now turn to buy now, pay later (BNPL) services to solve your dilemma.
What Are Buy Now, Pay Later Services?
BNPL services are essentially installment payment services. In other words, you purchase something at a fraction of its price, and you pay off the remainder in a set period of time.
So, why are these services becoming popular? BNPL services offer great features that credit cards do not; they commonly give you the option to spread out your payments into weeks, months, and in some cases, years.
They also charge no interest fees or penalties. Plus, you typically don’t have to worry about your credit score because the credit approval process is much quicker than credit card merchants.
Below, are some of the best BNPL services that you can use the next time you shop online.
Afterpay is one of the hottest BNPL services, mainly because it is so easy to use. The site partners with dozens of online retailers to provide customers with a stress-free BNPL experience.
You can split your installments, and pay back what you owe every fortnight. Installments come with no interest rates either, so you don’t have to worry about paying extra—you just pay the exact amount of what you bought.
You can register for an account via your computer or download the Afterpay app on your phone. When checking out after shopping, select Afterpay as your payment method, and you’re good to go.
2. Zip Pay
Zip Pay is another popular choice for many consumers. Its service is divided into two “streams,” which is precisely what makes Zip Pay incredibly reasonable and convenient.
Zip offers two separate payment plans: Zip Pay and Zip Money. If you typically spend below $ 1,000, go for Zip Pay. If you typically spend above $ 1,000, select Zip Money.
Once you have selected your preferred payment plan—weekly, fortnightly, or monthly payment—simply enter your card details and Zip will automatically deduct the sum from your account.
You can even add Zip onto your Apple Pay or Google Pay, and it will do the above work for you. With Zip, you can pay off bills and buy gift cards.
3. Quad Pay
Owned by Zip Pay, Quad Pay is the company’s BNPL service made specifically for the US.
Like the other services on this list, Quad Pay is available both on desktop and as an app. The signup process is the same as Zip—create an account with your card in hand, and you are ready to shop.
When you make a purchase with Quad Pay, you pay 25 percent of the total amount first, and the remaining payments will be charged every fortnight.
Take note that Quad Pay currently supports debit cards, as well as Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express credit cards. PayPal is not accepted.
Founded in 2005 in Sweden, Klarna’s aesthetic and user-friendly interface makes it an attractive service to use.
It is one of the largest services of its kind in Europe, and it is not hard to see why. The company has partnerships with over 200,000 merchants in 17 countries across the US and Europe. Its famous partners include ASOS, Sephora, Macy’s, H&M, and Dr. Martens.
Klarna’s installment payments can be paid every two weeks, and it is interest-free. If you are buying something expensive, its flexible payment schedule allows you to pay the amount back in six months, 12 months, or even 36 months.
Sezzle is known for its fast credit approval process, which makes shopping much easier. The service splits your payments into six weeks and charges no interest fee.
Sezzle also has a special perks program called Sezzle Up. It offers a range of benefits to shoppers, such as exclusive access to a wide variety of stores. Sezzle Up can even boost your credit score, which is something that other services on this list do not do.
If you didn’t already know, PayPal actually has a BNPL payment service, which used to be known as Bill Me Later. It works a little differently compared to others on the list, but it is reliable nonetheless.
PayPal Credit draws the line at $ 98.99. What does this mean? If you make a purchase that is below that amount, you are able to pay it off over time with no specific time frame in place.
If you make a purchase above that amount, you are given the option to pay back the full amount in six months. If you do, no interest fee will be charged. However, a minimum monthly payment is required.
Just keep in mind that your right to pay by installment using PayPal Credit is subject to credit review and approval.
Endorsed by the big names in the service industry, including former OpenTable CEO Christa Quarles, Affirm is designed to help consumers buy and spend sustainably.
The website promises no late penalties of any kind, but may charge an annual payment rate (APR) of up to 30 percent depending on your case. When connected to a payment plan, Affirm will also send you reminders via text and email to make sure that you don’t forget to make the next payment.
When you purchase up to $ 17,500, a down payment may also be required.
Remember to Spend Responsibly
BNPL services are booming in growth, as they are a great alternative to credit cards. Zero interest, flexibility, and instantaneous credit checks almost guarantee that these services are here to stay. Not to mention that they will possibly ruffle the feathers of credit card companies.
However, while you are browsing through the latest collection of sneakers, keep in mind that the availability of BNPL services does not mean that you are now able to buy anything you want without limit. At the end of the day, it is up to you to adjust your spending habits and spend responsibly.