Which Buy-Now-Pay-Later Apps Are Worth Your Time?

March 18, 2021 • Devin Partida

Life’s circumstances often mean people need to buy things but can’t or don’t want to pay for them immediately. Buy-now-pay-later apps cater to such situations, and the market for them is rapidly growing. 

Here’s a look at some of those apps that are worth checking out and considering as options to get more financial flexibility. 

1. Afterpay

This company operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, and it offers Android and iOS apps. The concept behind its service is that you can purchase goods immediately and pay for them in four monthly installments. 

You simply choose Afterpay as an option at an e-commerce store’s checkout, then get an instant decision without a credit check. There are no additional fees as long as you pay on time. Plus, users can reschedule their payments up to three times every year — giving them more freedom to pay their debts on the most convenient timeframes. 

2. Sezzle

More than 17,600 online retailers let shoppers make purchases today and pay for them later through this app. This choice also stands out from other buy-now-pay-later apps due to achieving a 4.8 out of 5 Trustpilot rating from more than 3,800 reviews. 

Sezzle spreads four interest-free payments out over six weeks. The app also offers an instant approval decision, and using it does not impact your credit score if you pay on time. 

3. Affirm 

Some people likely prefer if their buy-now-pay-later apps show them which stores accept that form of payment instead of waiting to get through the checkout process to find out or trying to discover the answer in advance. Affirm offers that by providing an in-app directory of participating retailers. 

Like the other applications listed so far, it gives you instant approval during checkout. Affirm checks your credit, but that doesn’t affect your score. However, Affirm functions differently by giving you a choice of payment schedules. You’ll then get email and text reminders to help you stay on track with paying on time.

4. Klarna

Klarna is a bank headquartered in Sweden, but its service to pay later operates elsewhere, including the United States and some European countries. It offers a rewards program, giving it an advantage over some other buy-now-pay-later apps. Bear in mind that you must have the Android or iOS app to benefit from it.

The company’s website confirms that the service has more than 85 million users worldwide. Besides letting you pay in four interest-free installments, Klarna offers a wish-list feature. Add items that you want to buy at some point, then get alerts if the prices drop. 

5. Splitit

Splitit only works as a web-based application for now. It’s crucial to be aware of that since there are several smartphone apps with similar names that could steer your search in the wrong direction. The way Splitit works is different from the other buy-now-pay-later apps because it lets you buy things in segments using an existing credit card. 

It does not require a credit check, and there are no interest charges or additional fees. Once you’re checking out at an e-commerce site offering Splitit, you get a choice of installments and then enter the details associated with your Visa or Mastercard. Some merchants only let you use Splitit when paying with a credit card, while others accept debit cards from those providers too. 

Tips for Using Buy-Now-Pay-Later Apps

Many people love the convenience of buy-now-pay-later apps, especially when buying costlier items like workout equipment or pieces of furniture. However, if you plan to use them, it’s wise to take a closer look at your budget and figure out how much you can comfortably pay back and how often. 

Some of these apps also keep a tally of how much you owe as you shop with multiple supported merchants. Consider giving yourself a limit for the amount of outstanding debt. 

The ability to pay $25 across four payments sounds a lot more manageable than parting with $100 at once. The situation becomes more complicated if you have several amounts owed to merchants around the same time and discover that your budget won’t sustain all those financial obligations, however. 

Finally, take some time to see which buy-now-pay-later apps work with where you shop most often. Most have search features via their websites, so you can review the store assortment before downloading.

It’s also worth checking the stores listed by category. Doing that might make you come across places to shop that hadn’t crossed your mind. 

Flexibility for Your Modern Needs

Even people who take the utmost care with budgeting occasionally find that they need to buy something urgently and don’t have the money to cover it. Buy-now-pay-later apps cater to that situation while giving people other options besides going without a necessary item or charging to a credit card in one large amount. Use this overview when getting acquainted with what these apps offer and deciding if they fit your needs. 

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