The Pay Later financial service was first announced by Apple at WWDC in June to provide users in the US with a seamless and secure way to split the cost of Apple Pay purchases into four equal payments spread over six weeks.
Originally, the service was supposed to arrive with the release of iOS 16, but that didn’t happen. Now, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims that the service isn’t available yet because Apple is facing significant technical and engineering challenges, leading to the delay.
“Apple isn’t completely certain when Apple Pay Later will be ready for launch,” says Gurman. Indeed, that seems to be the case judging by the iOS 16 overview page, which states that the service is “coming in a future update for qualifying applicants in the United States for purchases online and in apps on iPhone and iPad.”
The exact reasons why the Pay Later service has been delayed so much are unknown at this point. What we do know is that Apple Financing LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary, will oversee credit checks and make decisions on loans for the service.
The global buy now pay later (BNPL) market was valued at $90.69 billion in 2020, and some analysts expect it to reach $3.98 trillion by 2030. In the United States, it’s estimated that more than half of all Gen Z digital buyers ages 14 and older use a BNPL service at least once this year.
BNPL services are slightly less popular among millennials, and their popularity keeps dropping progressively further among older generations. The most popular BNPL services currently available include Affirm, Afterpay, Zip, Sezzle, and PayPal’s Pay in 4.
Most of these services, including Apple’s upcoming Pay Later service, attract buyers with 0% interest rates, but they come with the inherent risk of late payments/loan defaults and subsequent credit score damage.
A survey conducted by Piplsay reveals that 43 percent of those belonging to the Gen Z generation have missed at least one payment in 2021. That’s why BNPL services are now in the crosshairs of government regulators like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which is concerned about accumulating debt, regulatory arbitrage, and data harvesting.