‘Buy now pay later’ from Affirm sneaks into Apple Pay

    Apple Pay users will soon be able to use buy now pay later (BNPL) loans on their iPhones and iPads thanks to a deal between Apple and the fintech company Affirm.

    Per CNBC, the partnership with Affirm will be part of a collection of features coming to Apple iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 this fall. This was confirmed by Apple in a post-WWDC roundup of features, and in a Security and Exchange Commission filing from Affirm on June 11.


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    Apple already has its own BNPL system called Apple Pay Later, which lets users buy a product on credit and pay for it in interest-free installments. The tech giant has a tendency to acquire or replicate existing products and features and integrate them into Apple operating systems (RIP Dark Sky and watch out, Grammarly). So it’s a noteworthy move to allow a third-party competitor like Affirm to operate within Apple’s app ecosystem. As CNBC noted, it’s a testament to Affirm’s strong brand and offerings. Apple also said U.S. users will be able to access debit and credit card payment installments through Citi, Synchrony, and Fiserv.

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    BNPL financing has surged in recent years, thanks in part to financial insecurity brought on by the pandemic. It’s a temptingly easy way to pay for things if you don’t have cash on hand. But is also dangerous for that same reason and especially for the financially vulnerable; consumers might end up spending more money by being lured into the appealing alternative of paying for products in small amounts.

    In other words, it’s a really easy way to wind up in debt, as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau noted in a 2021 inquiry to BNPL companies, like Affirm, Klarna, and Afterpay. Thankfully, BNPL companies are now classified as money lenders, which grants consumers the rights to dispute charges and demand refunds.

    Apple didn’t announce the Affirm partnership in its WWDC keynote. The only reference to it came in the follow-up press release. But that might’ve been because the event was jam-packed with arguably flashier features related to Apple Intelligence. There’s no official release date for iOS 18 or iPadOS 18. But some (although not many) of the features announced are available in the iOS 18 developer beta.

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