Dive Brief:

  • Apple, which offers buy now, pay later financing through its payment service, will bring rival installment plans onto the service later this year, the company said Tuesday in a press release.
  • BNPL provider Affirm will be a payment option for U.S. consumers making purchases via Apple Pay, as well as flexible financing options linked to debit and credit cards issued by Citi, Fiserv and Synchrony, according to the release.
  • The partnership between Affirm and Apple “provides users with additional payment choices and offers the ease, convenience and security of Apple Pay alongside the features users love in Affirm,” an Affirm spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Payments Dive.

Dive Insight:

Cupertino, California-based Apple launched its own “pay-in-four” service, called Apple Pay Later, in March 2023. Roughly one-fifth of BNPL customers had tried the offering by July 2023, according to a J.D. Power report. The tech giant then began sharing data on the short-term loans with credit bureau Experian in February, making it the first BNPL provider to do so.

Apple rival Google has already partnered with San Francisco-based Affirm to offer BNPL financing to users of its Google Pay payments service. Apple’s willingness to allow Affirm and card issuers to compete with its own service runs counter to its long-running strategy. The tech giant usually creates a “walled garden,” where its hardware, software and services are tightly bundled together.

That strategy, including its payments services, has faced increasing pressure. The Department of Justice sued the tech giant over antitrust concerns in March. That same month, the European Commission fined Apple 1.8 billion euros (USD $2 billion) for restricting access to third-party payment options on apps downloaded on its iOS software. The tech giant bowed to pressure from the EU in March, by allowing iOS app developers in the region to use third-party payment processors

Affirm confirmed the partnership with Apple in a Tuesday securities filing. “Affirm does not expect this partnership to have a material impact on revenue or gross merchandise volume in fiscal year 2025,” Affirm said in its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Affirm CEO Max Levchin didn’t give an explicit reason for setting those expectations during a Tuesday interview with CNBC. “It’s just always a good idea to aim really high and take your time to build something worth building,” he said.

A Citi spokesperson confirmed the bank’s partnership with Apple in an emailed statement. “US customers will be able to access Citi Flex Pay, a payment feature built into eligible Citi credit cards that allows customers to pay for purchases over time in fixed payments, when shopping with Apple Pay,” the statement said.

Fiserv Senior Vice President Katie Whalen also confirmed the payment processor’s partnership with Apple in a Tuesday email, adding that the card-linked installment plans would “provide customers with more flexibility and additional ways to pay with ease, convenience and security.”

Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment about the details of the BNPL offerings, including when the loans would become available or when the agreements to offer the short-term financing were made. A Synchrony spokesperson declined to comment.


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