It looks like Apple’s buy now, pay later (BNPL) service won’t be seeing the light of day for some time yet.
Apple Pay Later – an extension of Apple Wallet that will let shoppers split the cost of a purchase made with their device into four equal payments over six weeks, without incurring interest or late fees – is facing some “significant” setbacks that could delay its launch until next year, according to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman.
Having first announced the BNPL service at WWDC in June 2022, Apple had hoped to launch Apple Pay Later alongside iOS 16 this September. But with the new operating system now out in the wild and no Apple Pay Later to speak of, Gurman predicts that the service may yet be delayed until the release of iOS 16.4 in the spring of 2023 (i.e. between March–June next year).
Pay Later… much later
This new estimated timeframe comes as Apple, at the foot of its official iOS 16 page, writes that Apple Pay Later is “coming in a future update”, where other features on the same page (like no-setup Siri shortcuts) are listed as “coming later this year.”
“Apple isn’t completely certain when Apple Pay Later will be ready for launch,” Gurman adds in his Bloomberg report. “I’m hearing there have been fairly significant technical and engineering challenges in rolling out the service, leading to the delays.”
These “technical and engineering challenges” remain unclear for now, but we do know that Apple plans to end its partnership with Goldman Sachs – which currently handles credit checks and lending for Apple Card – and move its financial services in-house (under Apple Financing LLC) in time for the arrival of Apple Pay Later.
Apple Pay Later has faced its fair share of pre-launch criticism, too. BNPL services have come under fire in recent years for encouraging unsustainable spending, and Apple Pay Later – when it does eventually launch – will reach far more users than comparable services like Klarna and Afterpay. Some financial experts fear that the widespread accessibility of Apple Pay Later could make it easy to abuse when used for nonessential purchases.
By Axel Metz