Afterpay isn’t a credit card but it acts a little like one, albeit without any interest to pay! For better cash flow management, vendors integrate Afterpay with accounting systems and allow their customers to defer paying for an order or to split the repayment into manageable chunks.
There are a few caveats, as each user has a maximum spend. However, you can raise your Afterpay limit with a good account management history and avoid having your Afterpay account frozen by making payments on time.
Let’s look at how Afterpay compares to a conventional credit card and how it all works.
What Is Afterpay?
Afterpay is one of a new breed of ‘buy now, pay later’ providers offering interest-free payment plans through vendors who accept it as a payment method. There are more than thirteen million Afterpay users in the U.S., and it’s one of the most popular services for retailers looking to offer versatile and flexible payment options to incentivize customers.
You can structure your Afterpay transactions in a few different ways:
- Split the cost into four payments, made once every two weeks.
- Pay 25% of the cost upfront and remit the full balance later.
- Set up an Afterpay Card (like a digital credit card) for contactless payments.
Provided you pay your balances on time, there are zero fees or interest charges because Afterpay makes a profit through commissions paid by the store, not the customer.
How Is an Afterpay Card Different From a Credit Card?
An Afterpay card differs from a credit card because it doesn’t charge interest, and you can only use the card to pay for goods in participating stores or through digital retailers. The original Afterpay app worked with a barcode, which customers would use to pay via contactless pay points when buying something in-store; they now get a virtual MasterCard.
Card details are stored in your Afterpay wallet, so you can simply open the app and tap your phone on the contactless symbol to complete the transaction. From there, it works the same as any online Afterpay purchase – you’ll normally pay back the cost over four payments and won’t be charged fees unless your payment is late.
Where Can I Use My Afterpay Card?
Since Afterpay made its way to the U.S. in 2018, it’s grown massively, with about 63,000 brands and retailers accepting it as a payment option, in-store or online.
As a few examples, Afterpay is accepted by:
- Shoes stores such as Puma, Crocs, and Robert Wayne;
- Clothing stores such as J Crew, Forever 21, and Cettire;
- Home goods stores such as Pier 1, Bed Bath N Beyond, and Anthropologie;
- Beauty brands such as Estee Lauder, Too Faced, and Ulta Beauty.
You can also pay with Afterpay at Target, Walgreens, CVS, and Kroger, as well as using a one-time payment option through your Afterpay app to check out online on Amazon. There’s a maximum spend limit, which varies between accounts depending on spending habits. You can double-check whether you have enough capacity in your account before you check out by looking for the ‘pre-approval’ amount available.
Depending on the retailer and their policies, some stores set a minimum purchase limit, which is usually about $35.