7 Best Buy Now Pay Later Sites of 2022 Ranked and Reviewed


Buy Now, Pay Later sites have exploded onto the market in the last few years. In just one month of 2020, the number of active users jumped 186% year-over-year, according to data from Sensor Tower.

It’s easy to see why BNPL apps are so popular: they’re easy to use, available almost everywhere, and often interest-free. But with so many different apps it’s not always easy to see what sets them apart.

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We’ve gathered together the factors that matter to you– interest rates, late fees, credit checks, and more. Then we used those to find the 7 best Buy Now Pay Later sites of 2022. Afterward, read on to learn more about how BNPL apps work and how they affect your credit score: 

1. Affirm: Best Buy Now Pay Later App for In Store

Affirm buy now pay later site

Affirm is the best BNPL app for in-store because it charges no fees, it’s accepted nearly anywhere, and it offers the widest range of payment options. Buyers can choose from a standard Pay in 4 plan or a monthly loan that stretches up to 48 months.

For smaller buys, the Pay in 4 option is a great choice with no interest and no fees of any kind. Larger purchases may qualify for monthly payments with an APR from 0% to 30%, but still no fees.

Plus Affirm works at thousands of retailers, including major names like Target or Amazon. Don’t see Affirm at checkout? No problem. Affirm’s BNPL app allows you to create a virtual credit card that can be used for online or in-store purchases.

Pros:

  • No late fees
  • Can be used online or in-store
  • Accepted almost anywhere thanks to a virtual card
  • The longest payment terms of any BNPL

Cons:

  • Monthly loans have rates that could be as high as 30%
  • Interest rates vary based on length, purchase amount, and even merchant – so they can be hard to predict
  • Monthly loan activity may be reported to credit bureaus

Interest:

  • No interest for Pay in 4
  • 10-30% interest for monthly loan

Terms:

  • Pay in 4 (4 payments over 6 weeks)
  • Monthly (1 to 48 months)

Purchase Limit: Up to $17,500 depending on credit score

Credit Check? Soft pull

Down Payment? Only if you don’t qualify for the full purchase amount

2. Klarna: Best Buy Now Pay Later with a Virtual Card

Klarna buy now pay later site

We’re calling out Klarna as the best virtual card, but it could also fit as the best in-store BNPL app, too. With Klarna you pay no interest on most plans, and there are no fees as long as you make your payments on time.

Plus, you can add your virtual card to your mobile wallet, like Apple Pay or Google Pay. This lets you combine the convenience of BNPL with the ease of contactless payments. Simply tap your card, and you’re instantly approved.

And speaking of mobile, the Klarna app also gives you curated shopping tips, rewards points, and exclusive discounts.

Pros:

  • Works with over 400,000 merchants in 45 countries
  • App offers curated shopping tips
  • No fees as long as you’re on time
  • Rewards program with exclusive discounts

Cons:

  • Late payments or non-payment may be reported to credit bureaus
  • $7 fee for each late or returned payment (up to 25% of the purchase price)
  • Monthly loans may carry an interest rate up to 29.99%

Interest:

  • 0% for Pay in 4 or Pay in 30
  • Up to 29.99% for monthly loan

Terms:

  • Pay in 4 (4 payments over 6 weeks)
  • Pay in 30 (Full purchase due after 30 days)
  • Monthly (6 – 24 months)

Purchase Limit: Depends on credit score and purchase history

Credit Check? Soft pull

Down Payment?

  • 25% for Pay in 4
  • No down payment for Pay in 30 or monthly loan

3. Splitit: Best Buy Now Pay Later for No Credit Check

Splitit buy now pay later site

Splitit is unlike any other BNPL site, because it uses your existing credit, with no further credit check. If you have a credit card, you’re already approved for Splitit. You get the savings of a 0% interest loan, with the security of your credit card.

When you make a purchase with Splitit, the app places a temporary hold on your credit card funds. Payments are then automatically deducted when they’re due.

As a bonus, this means your purchases still qualify for any card perks, reward points, or airline miles you’d normally get from your card provider.

Pros:

  • 0% interest
  • No credit check
  • If you have a credit card, you’re already approved
  • You can collect any rewards points or perks from your existing credit card

Cons:

  • You have to already have a credit card
  • Doesn’t work with American Express
  • While Splitit has no interest, your payments may be subject to your credit card fees if not paid in full

Interest: No interest

Terms: 3, 6, 12, or 24 monthly payments

Purchase Limit: Same as your credit card limit

Credit Check? No credit check

Down Payment? First installment

4. Afterpay: Best Buy Now Pay Later for Smart Spending

Afterpay buy now pay later site

Unlike some other choices, Afterpay has a fast and simple application process that may or may not include a soft credit check. They offer 0% interest and don’t report purchases or payment history to the credit bureaus.

But what makes Afterpay shine are the features designed to prevent overspending, and reward smart spending habits. One example is a purchase limit that grows with your history of good payments. They also feature automatic payment reminders to make sure you never miss an installment.

Pros:

  • 0% interest
  • No credit checks after the first application
  • Doesn’t report purchase history or payment history to credit bureaus
  • Purchase limit increases with good payment history

Cons:

  • Can only be used with participating merchants
  • Steep fees for late payments ($10 for the first late payment, then $7 each up to 25% of the purchase amount)

Interest: No interest

Terms: 4 payments over 6 weeks

Purchase Limit: Starts at $600 and increases with payment history

Credit Check? May do a soft pull for new applicants

Down Payment? 25% upfront

5. Sezzle: Best Buy Now Pay Later for Bad Credit

Sezzle buy now pay later site

We’ve chosen Sezzle as the best for bad credit because it’s the only BNPL app with the potential to help improve your credit score. The trick is that on-time payments allow you to upgrade to Sezzle Up.

Sezzle’s basic plan is a standard Pay in 4 option, with 0% interest, no late fees, and a 6-week installment schedule. With this plan, Sezzle doesn’t report payment history to the credit bureaus. But Sezzle Up is a reusable, revolving credit line that does report your purchases and payment history. This allows you to improve your credit score with on-time payments you already planned to make.

Sezzle also partners with Ally or Bread to offer long-term financing. These loans do come with interest but allow for much larger purchases over much longer periods.

Pros:

  • 0% interest on Sezzle or Sezzle Up
  • Can reschedule one payment (per purchase) for free
  • Sezzle Up can be used to improve your credit score
  • No late fees

Cons:

  • Can only be used at participating merchants
  • $10 fee for rejected payments (card expired or insufficient funds)
  • Late payments with Sezzle Up could hurt your credit score

Interest:

  • 0% interest for Sezzle or Sezzle Up
  • Long-term loan APR depends on creditworthiness

Terms:

  • 4 payments over 6 weeks
  • Long-term loans are monthly payments up to 60 months

Purchase Limit:

  • $2,500 per order
  • Long-term loans up to $40,000 depending on credit history

Credit Check? Soft pull for Sezzle or Sezzle Up; Hard pull for long-term financing

Down Payment? 25% for Sezzle or Sezzle Up

6. PayPal Pay in 4: Best Buy Now Pay Later for Online

PayPal buy now pay later site“Pay in 4” is a term used for many BNPL plans, but it’s also the name of a specific app. The ‘Pay in 4’ app is backed by the trust and convenience of PayPal. You can use it anywhere that PayPal is accepted– which gives you access to literally millions of businesses.

But the best part is that Pay in 4 uses the same app as all of PayPal’s other services. That means you can manage your loans, P2P payments, mobile wallet, and even crypto transactions all from your smartphone.

Just don’t confuse Pay in 4 with PayPal Credit. PayPal Credit is a traditional, revolving credit line that comes with its own interest rates and a hard credit check.

Pros:

  • Use it anywhere that PayPal is accepted
  • Access it from your existing PayPal app
  • No late fees
  • 0% interest

Cons:

  • You can only use it where PayPal is accepted
  • Doesn’t work for in-store purchases
  • Relatively low purchase limit
  • Not available outside the U.S. or in all 50 states

Interest: No interest

Terms: 4 payments over 6 weeks

Purchase Limit: $30 minimum; $1,500 maximum

Credit Check? Soft pull

Down Payment? 25% upfront

7. Zip (Quadpay): Best Buy Now Pay Later for Starters

Zip buy now pay later site

Zip (formerly known as Quadpay) is a good option for those looking to skip the credit check. Zip offers 0% interest and doesn’t report purchases or payment history to the credit bureaus.

The trade-off is that Zip charges buyers a small fee for each transaction. With their limited installment options and low purchase limit, Zip offers a foot in the door for those who may not qualify for other BNPL options.

Pros:

  • 0% interest
  • No credit check
  • Doesn’t report purchase history or payment history to credit bureaus

Cons:

  • $4 transaction fee for every purchase
  • $7 fee for each late payment
  • Only one option for installment terms

Interest: No interest

Terms: 4 payments over 6 weeks

Purchase Limit: Up to $1,500 (retailers may set a lower limit)

Credit Check? None

Down Payment? 25% upfront

  Interest Term Purchase Limit Credit Check Down Payment Late Fee
Affirm 0% (Pay in 4);
10-30% (monthly)
Pay in 4;
1-48 months
Up to $17,500 Soft Possible No
Klarna 0% (Pay in 4); up to 29.99% (monthly) Pay in 4;
Pay in 30;
6-24 months
Variable Soft 25% (Pay in 4); None for Pay in 30 or monthly $7 each up to 25%
Splitit 0% 3-24 months Card limit None 1st payment No
Afterpay 0% Pay in 4 Variable w/ payment history Possible soft 25% $10, then $7 each up to 25%
Sezzle 0% Pay in 4 $2,500 per order Soft 25% No
PayPal Pay in 4 0% Pay in 4 $30 min.; $1,500 max. Soft 25% No
Zip 0%; ($4 trans. fee) Pay in 4 Up to $1,500 None 25% $5, $7, or $10 each

 

What are buy now pay later apps?

Buy Now, Pay Later apps are really just micro-loans. They allow you to buy something today and split the cost over the next few weeks or months– often with 0% interest.

Some BNPL sites partner with merchants to offer these loans at checkout. Others offer a virtual card that you can use like a credit card. BNPL apps are most often found online, but some can be used at in-person retailers as well.

For these reasons, you’ll sometimes see BNPL apps referred to as “point-of-sale installment loans.”

How do buy now pay later apps work?

Buy Now Pay Later apps turn bigger purchases into bite-sized payments. The details may vary from company to company, but they all essentially work the same way.

They start out just like a normal shopping experience. You browse your favorite merchants on their own sites or stores. When you’re ready to checkout, you choose the BNPL app as your method of payment.

If you haven’t already been pre-qualified, you’ll fill out a short application that looks just like a payment screen. Within seconds, you’ll be notified if you’ve been approved for a loan.

Here’s where things start to feel different. Your purchase is made, but you only pay a small down payment. The BNPL provider pays the merchant for the rest. You’ll pay the balance back over a set of small, equal installments.

How do buy now pay later apps make money?

While a few BNPL apps charge late fees or transaction fees, most make their money from partnerships with merchants. The merchant offers a BNPL option at checkout and, in return, the BNPL app charges the merchant a small transaction fee.

So what does the merchant get? The BNPL provider pays upfront for a sale they may not have gotten without the loan. In fact, according to Klarna, BNPL leads to 44% of shoppers making a purchase that would have otherwise been delayed.

Does buy now pay later affect my credit score?

Most BNPL loans don’t affect your credit score, for good or for bad. The loan terms are usually too short, and most BNPL providers don’t report your payment history.

Applying for a BNPL app may involve a credit check, but this is usually a soft inquiry. A soft inquiry, or soft pull, is like a background check for your credit. These soft checks won’t affect your credit either.

That said, you should pay close attention to the details of your BNPL loan. Some lenders do report your purchases and payment history to the credit bureaus. This means they can be used to improve your credit score. But it also means that late or missing payments can damage your credit, too.

Buy Now Pay Later vs Credit Card

Both BNPL apps and credit cards can be used to defer payments, but they come with some important differences.

  • BNPL loans always come with a set number of payments– and as long as these payments are on-time, they’ll usually charge 0% interest. Credit cards also have payments, but if you don’t pay the full balance, you’ll start to accrue interest on whatever’s left.
  • When BNPL apps do charge interest, it’s almost always simple interest. This means you only pay interest on the borrowed money. Credit cards charge compound interest instead. This means you’ll pay interest on both the balance and any existing interest.
  • Lastly, each BNPL purchase is its own lump-sum installment loan. These one-time credit lines must be approved each time. Credit cards, on the other hand, are revolving credit lines that can be used again and again.

Decide Now, Buy Later

Since most BNPL apps won’t affect your credit score, you could test out a few options until you find one that you like. Just be careful not to overspend. Having more than one loan option makes it easy to forget how much it adds up. The best plan is to choose a BNPL site ahead of time, then stick with it until your loan is paid off.

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