Afterpay has followed the path set by others in the Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) space and offered a virtual card solution allowing customers to BNPL just about anywhere .. provided it’s still an Afterpay vendor. Unlike others in this space which have allowed users to use the BNPL card anywhere, with Afterpay, you’re still limited to Afterpay approved merchants.
The new Afterpay card works with Apple Pay or Google Pay.
Created through the Afterpay app, the card is stored in your phone’s digital wallet just like any other physical card.
However, unlike every other digital card, you can’t just pay directly from your wallet of choice – there’s a catch you have to remember each and every time.
You see, when it’s time to pay at your store of choice, you have to open the Afterpay app first, click “Pay with Afterpay card” which will then launch your digital wallet. You then select the Afterpay card, and tap to pay, and your purchase will be charged back to your Afterpay balance to pay off in accordance with the service’s usual terms.
For those in iOS land, you will also be able to link your Afterpay card with your Apple Watch.
Afterpay has previously tried to allow BNPL at payment terminals a few years ago with a barcode scanning solution, but unsurprisingly perhaps, it didn’t really take off in the Australian market which is very much focused on the tap-to-pay process.
We think this new process could’ve been so much better. Requiring users to open the Afterpay app first before accessing their digital wallet is really counterintuitive, and isn’t much easier than the barcode scanning option it replaces.
Despite this, Afterpay has recorded strong performance with in-store sales, with 22% of its business coming from in-store transactions.
The new feature will make things somewhat easier for customers, of course, but will also streamline the Afterpay process for merchants, too – no longer will they need to do anything special to integrate with Afterpay’s systems, they can simply ask customers to use the Afterpay card instead.
If you’re an Afterpay customer and would like to set up your virtual card, simply open the app and tap the “Add to Google Pay or Apple Wallet” button and follow the prompts.