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The ugly economics behind Apple’s new Pay Later system

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

This article was originally published in June 2022. We’re reviving it today since Apple has finally gone through with its plans to launch the service.

Apple is getting into the “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) business with its new Pay Later service built into Apple Pay and Apple Wallet. While Apple bills the service as “designed with users’ financial health in mind,” BNPL is a practice that has come under scrutiny by government regulators as something that could potentially harm customers.

Apple’s Pay Later service, which has been in the works since at least last year, lets users make a purchase with Apple Pay and then pay it back in four equal installments over the course of six weeks. There’s no interest on these installments, but it…

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