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Buy now, pay later app review methodology

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At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) apps can be used to split big purchases while avoiding paying hefty interest fees. Typically, these platforms finance between $35 and $1,000 — though some offer more. Lenders use a soft credit pull to determine approval, which doesn't affect your credit score. If approved, you pay off your balance in four equal installments.

Although buy now, pay later financing was initially limited to online purchases, this payment method has become more mainstream and is now available at many brick-and-mortar stores.

To help consumers narrow down their choices, the Bankrate team developed a ranking system that allows us to determine which buy now, pay later apps offer the best financing plans.

How does Bankrate evaluate buy now, pay later apps?

Our editorial team uses a 12-point scale known as the Bankrate Score to evaluate buy now, pay later services. This scoring system focuses on three key factors: availability, affordability and customer experience.

How does Bankrate assign app stars?

Our team starts the app evaluation process by collecting data related to the three main factors considered in the Bankrate Score. Once that phase concludes, apps are rated with a score from one to five — the latter being the highest. For example, the fewer fees an app charges, the higher it will score.

Although Bankrate may have partnerships with some of the apps we review, these do not influence our scoring process. Scores are based on hard data and expert analysis to promote transparency and help consumers find the best service for their needs.

Here’s a more in-depth look at each of the data points Bankrate considers when evaluating BNPL apps.


  • Minimum loan amounts.
  • Maximum loan amounts.
  • Types of interest-free plans available.

Why we consider this

Availability factors allow us to determine which consumer profiles benefit the most from a specific company's product and make recommendations accordingly.


  • Minimum and maximum APR after 0 percent introductory offer ends.
  • Fees, including those for late payments, card payments and account reactivations.
  • Exclusive rewards and discounts.

Why we consider this

Affordability factors serve as a marker for how competitive a company’s products and services are — financially speaking — compared to the industry standard.

Customer Experience

  • Purchasing flexibility.
  • Return and refund policies.
  • Mobile app rating.
  • Customer support options and service hours.
  • Complaints filed with the CFPB.

Why we consider this

Customer experience factors help us understand a company’s ability to serve its customers. It also demonstrates the ease of use of its products. These factors give us an insight as to how likely consumers are to be satisfied with a particular service.