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Apple Embraces Third-Party Partners for 'Buy Now, Pay Later' Service After Discontinuing Its Own

Apple is discontinuing its own BNPL service, but wants to launch a successor through agreements with third-party suppliers. BNPL loans accounted for US$75 billion in online expenditures in 2023, up 14.3% from the previous year. Existing Apple Pay Later users can continue manage and repay their debts using the Wallet app.

Apple Pay
Credit: REUTERS

However, the technology behemoth is not abandoning the concept entirely. Instead, Apple intends to launch a successor to its BNPL programme later this year, partnering with third-party suppliers like as Affirm.


BNPL's popularity soared during the COVID-19 epidemic, as more consumers switched to online buying. According to Adobe Analytics, BNPL loans accounted for a staggering US$75 billion in online spending in 2023, marking a 14.3% increase from 2022. In a statement released on Monday, Apple stated that its new solution would allow for flexible payments to reach a wider user base across the globe.


To reach this goal, the business plans to work with banks and lenders that accept Apple Pay. However, Apple did not share any additional information regarding the reasons for suspending its independent BNPL business. Existing users of Apple's BNPL service, Apple Pay Later, will be able to manage and repay their loans using the Wallet app, guaranteeing a smooth transition for clients.


Last week, Apple revealed that Apple Pay users would have access to additional installment lending alternatives starting in the fall. This includes the opportunity to apply for BNPL loans directly through Affirm while making purchases with Apple Pay. Customers will also be able to pay in installments using credit and debit cards. Industry commentators first saw Apple's original BNPL product as a threat to existing players such as Affirm.


Customers could make purchases and pay in four interest-free installments for things worth up to $1,000. In comparison, Affirm allows users to pay in two or four installments, as well as monthly installments for more expensive purchases.


"To me, this sounds a lot like what we see happening with debit cards," said Sean Gelles, director of payments intelligence at J.D. Power. "Regardless of which debit card a consumer has funding their purchases, as long as they use Apple Pay, it’s Apple that owns the experience."


Gelles also stated that by distributing its new BNPL items via Apple Pay, Apple reduces the danger of losing customer relationships.


While Apple may consider collaborating with other BNPL providers in the future, like as Klarna, a source close with the subject underlined Affirm's technology, underwriting experience, and user-friendliness, particularly the lack of late penalties. Klarna declined to comment on the situation.


Shares of Affirm fell 0.7% on the day, which one analyst ascribed to weaker-than-expected retail sales data in May.

 
  • Apple discontinues its own BNPL service but plans to introduce a successor through partnerships with third-party providers.

  • BNPL loans drove $75 billion in online spending in 2023, up 14.3% from the previous year.

  • Existing users of Apple Pay Later can still manage and repay their loans through the Wallet app.


Source: REUTERS

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