More people are going away from credit cards to buy now, pay later services. These apps allow consumers to split their purchases into several installments. Unlike credit cards, BNPL programs do not impose interest rates or require credit checks.
If you maintain on-time payments, buy now, pay later apps can become a better alternative to conventional credit institutions. You need to choose the best one, so we will look at the ten top-rated options. Choose the one that fits your needs.
The list will include well-known services like Amazon to BNPL-only apps like Klarna. We will also elaborate on the perks and risks of buy now, pay later. You can choose the right buy now and pay later app for your daily needs.
Here are the top ten BNPL apps for 2022:
- Affirm – Best buy now, pay later app
- Afterpay – Great BNPL app for budgeting
- Klarna – Buy now, pay however you want
- Perpay – Buy now, pay later, and raise your credit score
- Zip (previously named QuadPay) – Buy now, pay later at thousands of stores
- Splitit – Buy now, pay later with no credit check
- PayPal – Popular way to pay later
- Uplift – Buy now, pay later for the frequent flyer
- Sezzle – BNPL app for socially-conscious shoppers
- Amazon – Your favorite eCommerce store has a BNPL feature
1. Affirm – Best buy now, pay later app
This mobile application is the top-rated option for BNPL because it does not charge late fees. That is one less worry when you are shopping on the internet.
Affirm is available for over 29,000 retailers across the United States. These include online retailers and physical stores. You could avoid paying any interest on monthly installments depending on your choice.
You can divide those installments into three, six, or twelve submissions. Registration requires a soft credit check, so you do not have to fret about your credit history.
Once you qualify, Affirm will show the payment choices, showing their number of payments, payment amount, and interest rate. Yet, your available options will depend on what you are buying, your credit history, and your merchant.
Affirm enables you to defer payments for purchases of as much as $17,500. Alternatively, you can borrow that as a personal loan, and you will only go through a soft credit check.
It is not easy to find a regular bank that would offer this option. However, late payments for Affirm loans could hurt your credit score. The app also works for retailers who do not use it.
Affirm lets you create a virtual credit card number to defer payments for those stores. You can do it via its online site or mobile app.
2. Afterpay – Great BNPL app for budgeting
The biggest issue with buy now, pay later is that you still need to exercise discipline when spending. Like conventional credit cards, buy now, pay later apps can still cause bad credit.
That is why it is great to see that Afterpay promotes personal finance. It is one of the few BNPL apps that let users set a spending limit. Afterpay alerts customers when their balance reaches a specific limit.
As a result, Afterpay can help consumers stay within their budget. Afterpay only provides one payment schedule. It lets you divide them into four installments spanning six weeks.
You must place one down payment which is 25% of the total transaction amount. Then, you will have to submit money once every two weeks. Your loan amount will depend on how long you have been using Afterpay.
The app will also verify if you frequently submit complete and on-time payments. As you build a long payment history with Afterpay, it will let you borrow increasing amounts of money.
Unlike Affirm, it charges late fees. Afterpay late fees typically ask for 8% or 25% of the total transaction amount. Also, its return policy may seem unfavorable for some users.
You will have to speak with the merchant directly if you want to return an item. Until they approve your request, you will be responsible for the subsequent payments before processing.
3. Klarna – Buy now, pay however you want
The best feature of Klarna is the freedom it provides for users. They could submit future payments in three different plans:
- Pay in 4 – You could divide your plan into four interest-free payments that you will pay every two weeks.
- Pay in 30 days – You may get your item now and submit complete payment within 30 days. Like the Pay in 4 plan, you will not have to pay interest.
- Monthly financing – You may submit monthly payments over a period of six to 36 months. Unlike the previous options, you will have to pay interest.
This flexibility allows more users to use Klarna. For example, a freelancer may appreciate how they could get a payment plan that fits their work schedule.
Another significant aspect of Klarna is that it works for any establishment that accepts Visa. You may also use this buy now, pay later app on browsers such as Google Chrome.
Like Afterpay, Klarna charges late fees. Miss a payment, and you will have to pay $7 for every late payment. Still, the late fee will not go over 25% of the initial order value.
That number could exceed the interest rates of a typical bank account. Whether you use buy now, pay later apps or credit cards, financial discipline is a must.
4. Perpay – Buy now, pay later, and raise your credit score.
This BNPL app is one of the few that helps users build credit. Perpay reports future payments to major credit bureaus, so they can immediately update your payment history.
This factor makes up 35% of a credit score. Perpay will report your on-time payments to credit bureaus Equifax and Experian so that they can raise your credit rating.
The Perpay website states that you could add as much as 39 points to your rating with its services. However, it will only report on-time payments worth more than $200.
You may only receive your item once you have made your first payment. Perpay sets itself apart from most buy now, pay later apps because it does not accept payments via credit or debit card.
Instead, you must connect this app to your paycheck. It will base your payment plan based on your employer’s payroll schedule. Each time you receive your pay, Perpay will automatically receive an installment payment.
Also, you may make extra payments with a debit card, credit card, or personal account. Perpay does not charge interest or other late fees, but it has the following requirements for first-time users:
- Maintain full-time employment
- Work with the same company for a minimum of three months
- Able to set up several direct deposit accounts
- Own a smartphone or mobile phone
- Earn a minimum annual income of $15,000
Perpay does not require a credit check, but users must not have active bankruptcies. Moreover, their current financial accounts must also be in good standing.
Aside from the tight requirements, Perpay limits users to its online marketplace. You can only buy stuff from its affiliate brands like Apple, KitchenAid, and Nintendo.
5. Zip (previously named QuadPay) – Buy now, pay later at thousands of stores.
What if you want access to a wide range of retailers? In that case, Zip might be the best buy now, pay later app for you. It lets you buy from over 51,000 merchants worldwide.
These retailers include Sears, Zara, ASOS, Target, and Apple. What’s more, people can use Zip as a browser extension so that they can buy at stores not integrated with the app.
Zip provides a virtual, single-use card for your next purchase at a physical or online store. This feature expands the use of the app, allowing you to pay for groceries or online fashion orders.
LIke Afterpay, consumers buy stuff and pay it with interest-free financing. The payment schedule requires four interest-free payments spread over six weeks.
Zip has a value limit on transactions. You may only spend a maximum of $1,500, depending on the retailer. However, it does not report transactions to the credit bureaus.
It does not perform credit checks before approving clients for a loan. Unfortunately, it is the only buy now, pay later app that charges a convenience fee per installment payment.
As mentioned earlier, Zip lets you cover a transaction in four payments. The convenience fee is $1.00, so you will have to pay an extra $4.00 for every transaction.
As a result, Zip is one of the few BNPL apps that does not allow interest-free payments. What’s more, Zip charges late fees. Based on your state, they cost $5, $7, or $10.
This BNPL app does not publicly disclose how it approves clients. Still, Zip would likely verify if you have enough money on your credit or debit card, the purchase price, and payment records.
In other words, it would likely perform a soft credit check. If you are interested in the Zip app, it would be best to visit the website for more information.
6. Splitit – Buy now, pay later with no credit check.
Some BNPL apps keep potential customers away by requiring credit checks. Splitit lets you use the buy, now, pay later feature without credit inquiries.
Instead, it lets you link to your existing Visa, Discover, Mastercard, or Union Pay credit cards. You can select Splitit at checkout without advanced registration or application.
Alternatively, you can use a debit card for Splitit. Make a purchase, and the buy now, pay later app will implement a temporary hold on your credit card for the total purchase amount.
In other words, Splitit keeps you from using the amount of money for another purchase. If you used Splitit with a debit card, this suspension ends after five days.
The BNPL app will show your payment plan and amount during checkout. It will also charge your card for the first payment once your item ships to your location.
Splitit will charge your card for each due payment and reduce the pending amount with that same amount. You will not get penalized if you pre-pay your loan.
You do not have to pay interest or late fees for Splitit. However, you might need to do that for your Mastercard, Discover, Visa, and Union Pay Credit Card.
Splitit may not be the best choice if you have bad credit. Those cards require good credit, so you may not have one for Splitit. Again, make sure you pay your cards on time to avoid penalties.
7. PayPal – Popular way to pay later
We cannot talk about online payments without mentioning the most well-known name in the industry. PayPal account holders may avail of its buy now, pay later feature.
Like the previous BNPL apps, PayPal offers a Pay in 4 feature. It works with the retailers available through the PayPal mobile app, such as Target and Best Buy.
It may require soft credit checks based on a user’s application, their credit record with PayPal, and other info from the credit bureaus. PayPal divides payments into four installments two weeks apart.
You have to complete the first payment at checkout. Like typical buy now, pay later apps, PayPal does not charge late fees or interest, and it implements PayPal Purchase Protection for the BNPL plans.
The problem with this BNPL feature is that it allows a maximum purchase of $1,500. It is not available in all the US states. Worse, you will have to approve every purchase.
8. Uplift – Buy now, pay later for the frequent flyer.
Many people want to book vacations to foreign countries nowadays. Fortunately, you can use the buy now, pay later app Uplift for your next flight. It works like the other BNPL apps:
- Book a flight to its partner websites.
- Pick Uplift as your payment method.
- Fill out the necessary information.
- Choose from the available payment plans.
- Confirm your purchase.
Uplift allows purchases worth a minimum of $100 and a maximum of $25,000. It will also perform a soft credit check at checkout to see if you qualify for financing.
If you get approved and confirm the loan, Uplift will then perform a hard credit check. Remember that this will harm your credit score whether you pass or fail.
Uplift also reports your payments to credit bureaus, so you can also use the app to build credit using punctual payments. Yet, this feature could also work against you.
Late payments harm your payment history so that you could decrease your score instead. Unlike the other buy now, pay later apps, Uplift charges interest.
If you have good credit, Uplift is likely to offer interest-free financing. If you have poor credit, interest rates can reach 36%. Also, Uplift is technically not a BNPL app because you can only use its website.
9. Sezzle – BNPL app for socially-conscious shoppers
Some people want to make sure they can help the environment with their actions, even when they shop online. Sezzle is an excellent choice for these folks.
It is a certified B Corporation, so it passed a strict assessment to demonstrate its commitment to environmental and social issues. It even has a segment for ethical and sustainable brands.
Sezzle does not charge late fees and interest. However, it will charge a penalty for “failed payments” if you use an expired credit card or if your debit or bank account lacks funds.
Failed payment fees usually cost $10, but you might need to pay more depending on your state. You may also reschedule one payment for each order for free.
Rescheduling the remaining three payments will cost $5, but that amount depends on your state laws. Sezzle offers a short-term and long-term financing options:
- Short-term – You get a six-week loan that requires a down payment. If your purchase reaches $2,500, you have to submit equal payments every two weeks.
- Long-term – Otherwise known as a Sezzle + Ally, it provides financing for purchases up to $40,000 with a loan period that lasts 60 months. You submit monthly payments with interest rates.
You could sign up for a virtual card similar to the Zip app. Then, you could add that to your Apple Pay or Google Pay for checkout. Sezzle does not report to credit bureaus, but you should make sure to spend responsibly.
10. Amazon – Your favorite eCommerce store has a BNPL feature.
People worldwide use Amazon, and it now has a buy now, pay later feature. That is why it counts as a BNPL app nowadays. Amazon calls the feature “monthly payments.”
Amazon offers this feature for select products. However, it will only do that after checking your Amazon purchase history and the price of your chosen product.
The eCommerce store does not use soft credit checks. The Monthly Payments feature lets you submit five equal payments that are 30 days apart. You must submit the first payment on the shipment date.
If you are an Amazon Prime customer, you may divide your payments into a longer repayment period with more installments. Here are the options available to you:
- Three or six months for purchases worth $50 or more.
- Twelve months for purchases worth $100 or more.
- Eighteen months for purchases worth $250 or more.
- Twenty-four months for purchases worth $500 or more.
- Thirty-six months for purchases worth $1,000 or more.
- Forty-eight months for purchases worth $1,500 or more.
Surprisingly, the Affirm BNPL app makes this Amazon feature possible. However, based on your credit score, you may have to pay 10% to 30% APR for the Affirm loan.
Read More: The Best Apps For Instant Money
Benefits and potential risks of BNPL apps
We just talked about the best buy now, pay later apps, so let us check their benefits. Take a look at the following list:
- You will not have to go through a credit check, making them a promising alternative to credit cards. Some use your credit card, so they do not need to perform an inquiry.
- Buy now, pay later apps can help you cover essential purchases like utility bills and groceries. They could space out the payments, so you are more likely to meet your needs.
- BNPL apps let you try on clothing before purchasing them. For example, some shoppers buy multiple clothes with Klarna and return the ones they do not want.
- They are convenient because you could use them at physical and online stores.
On the other hand, buy now, pay later apps could bring more issues. Check the ones you may encounter if you try these services:
- Buy now, pay later apps could encourage bad spending habits. You are more likely to buy things you do not need because most of them do not require a credit check. As a result, you receive a higher chance of accruing more debt.
- BNPL apps may work like credit cards because some of them impose spending limits and charge interest.
- It could become difficult to receive a refund. BNPL services do not process them, so you will have to work directly with the retailer. You will have to cover payments during the process so that the refund request may become useless.
- Many BNPL loans have a higher interest rate than regular credit lines. For example, Amazon can charge as much as 30%.
- BNPL apps have more lenient oversight than banks. If something goes wrong, you may struggle to find assistance.
- You can still receive penalties for paying late.
- If your BNPL app reports to credit bureaus, you could ruin your credit.
BNPL apps are an exciting credit solution. They could provide the funding you need without going through the hassle of credit checks.
However, it is not an ideal solution for personal finance. Reckless spending can still put you in a lot of debt and decrease your credit score. Instead, you should try and maintain a budget.
Reduce spending and boost savings so that you will have enough money for basic necessities. Consult a financial advisor if you are struggling with your daily expenses.
Frequently asked questions
Which apps let you buy now, pay later?
Amazon now has a BNPL feature, but you could use apps like Afterpay and Klarna. Soon, Apple will offer this option once it releases the iOS 16 upgrade.
How do buy now, pay later apps work?
A retailer works with a BNPL company to provide this option. The BNPL firm covers the full amount of each purchase, and the store owner repays with the installments from customers.
Can buy now, pay later apps aid in building credit?
You could build credit with BNPL apps because some of them report to credit bureaus. Note that this could ruin your credit if you are not careful.
Which websites allow you to buy now and pay later?
Amazon and PayPal are some of the well-known sites with BNPL options. On the other hand, you could use mobile apps like Klarna, Affirm, and Zip.
Can you buy now, pay later with Amazon?
Amazon offers BNPL as “Monthly Payments,” spread into five equal payments that are 30 days apart. Meanwhile, Amazon Prime members could choose longer repayment periods.