With so many Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) providers, what’s another one on the list?
No credit checks, no interest, and instant approval — that’s Zip’s promise to you. But does Zip deliver on its promises?
In this guide, we’ll help you answer that question while looking at how Zip allows you to pay later.
Let’s start with the basics first.
What Is the Zip App?
Zip is a BNPL platform with a list of over 80,000 global merchant partners. Previously known as Quadpay, the company is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.
Zip offers users financing options through its app which is available for download on the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
How Zip Pay Works
To help you better understand how Zip works and if it’s the right product for you, we take a closer look at Zip’s BNPL service starting with its application process.
The process starts when you sign up for a Zip account or select the Zip payment option upon checkout. Sign-up can be done through the app while checkout can be done in-store or online. You can also add its Chrome extension to your computer and make shopping online with Zip easier.
If you’re downloading the app, you must first create an account and set a password. Then, you can browse the list of stores and add the products you want to your cart. Once you’ve confirmed the amount, Zip auto-fills your payment details, and you’re done.
If you’re shopping in-store, you can directly open the app and go to the in-store tab during checkout. You will then have to enter the purchase amount. Zip will generate a virtual card that you can add to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay. You can now use your virtual card to complete the purchase.
Zip runs soft credit checks at the time of order placement. This is done almost instantly.
The platform processes every order through an automated system. Orders are reviewed individually at the time they’re placed. This means that if you don’t have enough available balance, your order might get declined.
Zip is currently only available to users who reside in the United States and are at least 18 years old. Here are other requirements to qualify for its services:
- Must have a valid and verifiable mobile number
- Must use a US debit card to make a purchase
- Must have a valid US mailing address
Zip requires you to submit a list of documents to verify your identity and the above-mentioned details.
Zip doesn’t give you a common credit/spending limit since each order is assessed separately. Your spending limit is based on your repayments and for how long you’ve been using Zip.
However, a minimum purchase limit of $35 is required to use Zip as a financing option.
Zip’s unique offering is its installment plan. It divides your total purchase into 4 equal installments that you need to pay for over 6 weeks.
The first installment is paid upon checkout. The remaining 3 installments are paid every 2 weeks over a total 6-week period. If you fail to pay the first installment, your order will be declined.
More expensive purchases might need a higher initial payment. This can be off-putting for some users who are looking for lighter payment options.
Though the app allows you to remit installment payments earlier than their due dates through the “Orders” section, it requires you to pay each installment one at a time.
Annual Percentage Rate
Zip charges an annual percentage rate (APR) based on the creditworthiness of the consumer. The fee is 4% for every purchase and is charged separately from the installments. This means that each installment payment has a 1% APR charge.
Zip charges you $4 for every purchase and a late fee for missed installments. There are no other hidden fees.
The late fee often changes based on the statute and the state you’re in but usually varies from $5, $7, and $10.
Since Zip installments are automatically collected from your default card account based on when each installment is due, missed payments can only happen if you don’t have enough funds in your account.
To keep this from happening, you can use a secondary card as a backup and add it as a backup payment option. Installments that get declined on the default card are automatically redirected to the secondary card.
Zip Pay FAQs
Does Zip Pay Run Credit Checks?
Yes. Zip runs a soft credit check every time a purchase is made. Since it isn’t a hard check, Zip’s credit check doesn’t affect your credit score.
Where Can I Shop With the Zip App?
Zip has an ever-growing list of retailers across five continents. Some of its popular merchants include:
1. Famous Footwear
2. Fashion Nova
6. Best Buy
Does Zip Affect Your Credit Score?
Paying off installments doesn’t affect your credit score, however, Zip sends users with multiple missed payments to collections. Being sent to collections will negatively reflect on your credit score.
Zip Pay: Pros and Cons
Now that we’re familiar with how Zip works, let’s have a quick review of its pros and cons.
- No hidden fees
- Soft credit checks
- A long list of in-store and online retailers
- Does not report to credit bureaus
- Fixed installment percentage
- Fixed-term repayment
- Late fees
- $4 interest fee on total purchase amount
- Does not help you build credit
To Zip or Not to Zip?
Since Zip only conducts soft credit checks, applying for its services won’t hurt your credit score. This is a particularly attractive feature for consumers who have no credit history or have a poor credit rating.
In terms of its BNPL features, Zip fails to stand out in any significant way. Its 4 installments to be paid over a 6-week period are at par with other BNPL providers like Affirm, Sezzle, and PayPal’s Pay in 4 program.
Despite the fact that the company boasts zero interest fees, Zip charges $1 every time you make a payment using it. Considering that there are 4 installments for every purchase, you end up paying $4 for each purchase. This can deter some users, especially those who know that other BNPL services don’t charge anything other than the purchase price of the item being bought.
Overall, we recommend Zip for consumers who may not have the best credit rating. It can also be useful if you need to pay for something urgently but don’t have the funds for it. For those looking for a true interest-free BNPL service, however, it may be better to keep looking and to look at companies offering similar services.