Should I Use Afterpay on Travel?

If you’ve got travel plans coming up and not enough cash in your checking account to cover everything you need to book, you may be wondering what your choices are.

Credit cards are always an alternative, but could using a buy now, pay later (BNPL) app like Afterpay for travel purchases be an option? We break down the pros and cons and how it works.

What is Afterpay and how does it work?

One of many buy now, pay later options, Afterpay is an app and website that is essentially a personal loan that spreads the cost of purchases across multiple payments. It works in person at many stores and for online spending, including some travel purchases.

What sets Afterpay apart from a credit card or other personal loan is that as long as you pay off the entire purchase in four payments every two weeks for six weeks, you won’t pay any interest. This payment plan is dubbed Pay in 4.

Buyers can also select longer periods (six or 12 months) to pay off larger purchases, but interest is charged in these circumstances. No additional fees are charged so long as you pay on time.

When you first sign up or check out with Afterpay, the app may conduct a soft credit check to determine your spend limit for Pay in 4. Another credit check will be run if you opt to make monthly payments on purchases over $400.

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You’ll have to link a credit or debit card or a bank account for automatic payment withdrawals (which will be the original payment method you used to make the purchase), then, the platform will automatically calculate a payment plan.

Where can I pay for travel with Afterpay?

Afterpay isn’t available as a payment option on a wide variety of travel-related websites. In fact, as of this writing, you can choose to pay with Afterpay on a few major platforms only including:

You can also use Afterpay on travel-related purchases, such as luggage, with a handful of brands, like Herschel Supply Co., Swiss Gear and Steamline Luggage.

How to make an Afterpay travel purchase

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When it comes time to make a travel purchase, you can start on the app or the Afterpay website and search for brands, products and stores from the homepage.

Locate the merchant you want to shop with and select it, then, you’ll be taken to a new webpage on that site to search and book.

Note that Afterpay may not show up as a payment option if you start on the merchant page.

How to pay off an Afterpay travel purchase

There are two repayment options when using Afterpay: Pay in 4 or monthly payments.

Pay in 4

For a no-interest loan that you are able to pay off quickly, Afterpay offers a Pay in 4 plan. What this means is that you commit to paying off the entire purchase in four installments over six weeks. If you do, you won’t be charged any interest.

With this payment method, you can change the date of a scheduled payment, just not the first or last via the self-service feature. You also can’t change a payment that’s scheduled in the next 24 hours. You can reschedule one payment per order only.

Monthly payments

For larger purchases (over $400), you can choose to pay over a six- or 12-month loan period. In this case, your interest rate — which will accrue daily — is based on your credit history and past Afterpay payments if applicable.

If you’re paying in monthly installments over a longer period, scheduled payments can’t be changed.

When should I avoid Afterpay?

Here’s when to skip financing with a BNPL loan:

  • If your goal is to avoid paying interest but Afterpay’s six-week payment schedule doesn’t work for you.

  • If you know you need longer to pay back purchases and the interest rate Afterpay offers is higher than what’s offered by your credit card.

  • If interest, fees and payment details are similar between your travel credit card and Afterpay, a travel credit card can earn points for your spending. Afterpay doesn’t.

When to consider Afterpay

If you find yourself in a place where emergency travel plans are required and paying in full upfront isn’t an option, Afterpay can be a quick, easy and effective way to book and pay over time.

  • If you’re certain you can pay off your zero-interest loan on time.

  • If you need a bit of flexibility when it comes to repayment dates (Pay in 4 only).

  • If you need a fast and straightforward financing option.

The bottom line

While BNPL platforms may not be the best option for building credit or earning points to use on travel, and Afterpay, in particular, doesn’t partner with many travel brands (just a few booking platforms), it can be a valid way to pay for emergency travel purchases, especially if you know you’ll be able to pay them off before the no-interest period ends.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

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