Where can you buy now and pay later?


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Imagine this situation: you want to visit an expensive new restaurant but know that you don’t have enough money to pay for your meal upfront. You could wait for your next paycheck or you could use a “buy now, pay later” loan to pay for your dinner tonight.

BNPL, also known as a point-of-sale loan, allows consumers to split the cost of their purchases into installments, usually bi-weekly, sometimes with no interest. While most consumers use BNPL when shopping online at retailers such as Target, Walmart and Amazon, many BNPL vendors also offer a virtual card that allows consumers to use the service when shopping in person.

Popular providers like Klarna, Sezzle, Confirm, additional payment and zipper (formerly known as Quadpay) all have their own virtual cards that allow consumers to split their personal purchases into installments – and in some cases, you can use the credits anywhere, including restaurants. With a BNPL virtual card, you could split the cost of a $ 100 dinner into four installments of $ 25 every two weeks over a six-week period.

It seems easy doesn’t it? Before you rush to fund every aspect of your life with a BNPL loan, Select explains how the BNPL virtual cards work, how consumers can use them, and the pros and cons of paying for everything with one.

Using BNPL Virtual Cards

Many BNPL providers allow you to create a virtual card that you can add to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay. Most cards require you to download an app that you can use to request a virtual card.

For example with Zip payment, enter the amount of money you want to spend in the store in the app. Zip will then do a gentle credit check and will approve or deny you the loan. A virtual card is then generated that you can use at the checkout, just like with Apple Pay.

Although Zip has partnerships with thousands of brands, it also allows its users to use a loan almost anywhere. With the virtual zip card, you can finance everything from paying the dentist’s bill to buying a concert ticket, even if the service is not integrated as a means of payment at your dealer.

Zip (formerly known as Quadpay)

  • interest charges

  • Credit terms

    4 interest-free installments over 6 weeks

  • fees

    Zip charges a $ 4 transaction fee for each purchase or $ 1 per payment.

  • Zip charges a $ 7 late payment fee for late payments (this amount may vary by law and state). If a customer is a day behind on their payment or a customer has a late paycheck, Zip may be willing to reschedule due dates.

  • Take-back guarantee

    Customers must contact the retailer for a refund. Once the merchant has processed the refund, a refund will be processed by Zip and the customer will get their money back.

  • Available dealers

    Zip is connected to over 51,000 merchants worldwide, including Target, North Face and Wrangler. Consumers can also use an app or Chrome extension to shop at merchants that are not integrated with Zip. Customers receive a virtual one-time card to finance their purchase either in-store or online.

  • Loan amounts

    Typical purchase amounts range from $ 35 to $ 1,500, but the maximum amounts vary by retailer.


  • Does not do a credit check
  • Doesn’t report to the credit bureaus, so using the service will not help or harm your creditworthiness
  • 0% interest


  • There is a $ 4 fee for each loan taken ($ 1 for each payment).
  • There is a $ 7 fee for any late payment in installments
  • You can only go for a 6 week BNPL option, so this is not a good choice if you need a longer repayment period

Loans taken out through Zip Pay have a repayment period of six weeks; There is also a long-term funding option called Zip Money for purchases over $ 1,000. Affirm’s virtual cards allow people to choose longer repayment periods of six weeks or three, six or twelve months.

Affirm’s virtual card works similarly to Zip’s and can be used for online purchases or in-store at merchants that are not affiliated with the provider. Affirm is also working on a new debit card, the Affirm Debit +, which will connect to consumers’ existing bank accounts. With Affirm Debit +, consumers can either use the card to pay for their purchase in full, as they normally do with a debit card, or fund them with a BNPL loan. The product is currently in beta testing.


  • interest charges

  • Credit terms

  • fees

    There are no late fees, but late payments can affect your ability to obtain credit in the future and potentially affect your creditworthiness.

  • Take-back guarantee

    Customers are only the main amount will be refundedSo if you do not have a 0% loan, you will not be refunded the interest you paid before the return.

  • Available dealers

    Affirm has 12,000 retailers including Amazon, Peloton, adidas and Target. Consumers can also use the BNPL option at any retailer, either online or in-store, that is not integrated with the company through affirm.com or the Affirm app. Consumers receive a virtual disposable card to pay for their purchases.

  • Loan amounts

    Up to $ 17,500 in one purchase.


  • Does not charge any late fees
  • There are many traders who offer 0% APR
  • You can use Affirm with any online or in-person retailer that you choose to use with their app or through their website
  • The 0% 4 biweekly installment loans are not reported to the credit bureaus


  • Loans reported to the credit bureaus can affect your credit score whether or not you pay them back on time and in full
  • You could end up paying a high interest rate if you can’t secure a 0% loan

Other BNPL providers like Afterpay have virtual cards, but you can only use the card when shopping in person at participating stores.

What are the pros and cons of using a BNPL loan anywhere?

Consumers should be careful when using these virtual cards to fund their personal purchases. BNPL providers can sometimes incur high late fees. You should also consider the interest rates and how they affect your business Credit-worthiness.

While Zip Pay offers 0% interest rates on its BNPL loans, there is a $ 4 transaction fee ($ 1 per payment) for each purchase, and a $ 7.95 monthly fee if you don’t see the final balance on your bank statement Pay in full by the due date. So your $ 100 meal really costs $ 104, and possibly more if you don’t pay on time.

Affirm has no default interest, but the interest rate can be up to 30%. In addition, Affirm reports some loans to Experian. So, opting for a longer term BNPL loan (or even a six week loan) with the virtual card could have a negative impact on your credit as BNPL loans can reduce your average account age and the length of your FICO loan history. (Note: Affirm does not report its 0% and four bi-weekly payment credits or loans that have an option of a three-month 0% payment period.)

Bottom line

The BNPL virtual cards give people the ability to split the cost of dinner or an unexpected medical bill, sometimes with no interest fees, so extending their payment plan is good business for anyone.

But as convenient and easy as it may seem to use a BNPL virtual card, consumers should be careful about using it regularly to pay for their next in-person or online purchase. There is the potential for a BNPL to have a negative impact on its creditworthiness and interest and late fees may apply. You also have no way of earning Rewards or cashback like a credit card.

Also, think about your spending: using BNPL can lead to over-spending on your purchases as you may be spending money you don’t already have.

If you pay with BNPL on a regular basis, be sure to track your expenses so you can keep a close eye on the various outstanding invoices from different BNPL providers. And consider if you really want to pay for this meal six weeks after you first enjoyed it.

Note to editors: Opinions, analysis, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are solely those of the Select editorial team and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by third parties.


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