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Afterpay in Canada: What it Is and how it works

Buy now, pay later with Afterpay, which lets you split purchases into multiple, affordable installments.

Afterpay is changing the way we shop. First launched in Australia back in 2014, this popular payment solution spread to the United States in 2018 and is now available in Canada. Tens of thousands of well-known retailers have already partnered with Afterpay outside Canada to let customers buy now and pay later with zero fees (if you pay on time) and zero interest.

Keep reading to learn more about how Afterpay works and to find out which stores are expected to begin offering this payment solution in Canada.

What is Afterpay?

Afterpay is a payment method you can select during checkout on online stores and at certain retail stores. Afterpay allows you to pay off your purchase in 4 installments, paying just the first installment at the time of purchase. All you need to do is create an account with Afterpay and then the payments are automatically deducted from your credit card or bank account every 2 weeks.

The best part? It doesn’t charge any interest or fees, unless you fail to make one of the payments, in which case you will have to pay a late fee of around $10. You won’t be able to continue using Afterpay until your payments are up to date.

Quick facts

  • Term length: 6 or 8 weeks
  • Total number of payments: 3-4 (including any required down payment)
  • Annual interest rate: 0%
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0%
  • Administration fees: $0
  • Is repayment insurance available? No

Is there a limit to how much you can spend with Afterpay?

The spending limit varies customer by customer. Afterpay states that it considers a variety of factors when determining someone’s spending limit, but doesn’t specify what those factors are. The more times you use Afterpay and pay for your purchase successfully, the more you’ll be able to spend. Each time you make a purchase with Afterpay, it makes a fresh decision about your spending limit, so there’s always room for growth.

Who can use Afterpay?

Since Afterpay isn’t a loan company or credit union, you don’t need to be approved for an account like you would to get a credit card or personal loan. The only criteria are that you must be at least 18 years old in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, or 19 in all other provinces. You must also have a credit or debit card you can link your account to, and a working email and mobile phone to confirm your account. Keep in mind that as of September 2020, Afterpay is not available in Quebec.

Does Afterpay run a credit check every time I submit an order?

Afterpay has the right to conduct a credit check when you submit an order, but it doesn’t usually do so. However, if you miss a payment or make a late payment, Afterpay may report this to the credit bureaus, which could hurt your credit score. Afterpay doesn’t regularly report to the credit bureaus, so using the platform responsibly won’t cause your score to increase.

Where can I use Afterpay?

Afterpay is still in the early stages of expanding into Canada, so the list of stores that offer it is still growing. Some Afterpay partner stores include:

  • Huda Beauty
  • GOLI
  • Maëlys Cosmetics
  • Native Shoes
  • Nixon
  • Perfume.com
  • Dermalogica
  • J. Crew
  • DSW

Members use Afterpay to make purchases from both large and small retailers in a huge range of categories. Such categories include shoes, clothes (including athletic wear), jewelry, sunglasses, purses, makeup, skincare, fragrances, boutique items and much more.

Popular Afterpay partners in other countries include Finish Line, boohoo, JD Sports, Ray-Ban, Fenty Beauty, Anthropologie, Nasty Gal, True Religion, Morphe, Tarte, Jimmy Choo, PrettyLittleThing and others.

The exact stores available in each country varies, but you can expect many retailers to jump on board this super-convenient payment platform as the Canadian rollout continues.

Stores that accept Afterpay

How do I sign up for Afterpay?

The true beauty of Afterpay is the simplicity. To sign up, all you have to do is head over to afterpay.com, and select click on Sign Up in the top, right-hand corner. You’ll be prompted to enter a valid email address and cell phone number, which Afterpay uses to send a validation code to ensure your personal details are kept secure and private.

Once you’ve received and entered your validation code, you’ll be asked to enter your legal name, date of birth and residential address. Afterpay may use this information to check your credit score, but is all part of a standard signup procedure. You do need to confirm you’re over the age of majority at this point, and give Afterpay authority to check you are who you say you are, so make sure you use your legal name and not a nickname at this stage.

At this stage, you’re ready to start using Afterpay. You will need to enter a valid debit or credit card to pay your bills, but otherwise the world of Afterpay shopping is yours for the taking.

Step-by-step signup process

How is Afterpay different to a credit card?

Afterpay advances funds you will pay back completely within a short time frame, whereas you can carry a credit card balance as long as you want provided as you make the minimum required payment. A credit card charges interest and other fees, but you won’t pay interest on amounts advanced by Afterpay and no fees apply unless you make a late payment.

Additionally, Afterpay promotes responsible spending by refusing to let members continue using its services if they haven’t made a required payment. With credit cards, the only limit you typically face is the maximum amount available on your card.

How to avoid credit card fees

Is Afterpay safe to use?

Afterpay is a PCI DSS Level 1 certified compliant Service Provider organization. It adheres to the highest standards set out by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI), an organization created in 2006 by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard and Visa Inc. to develop security standards for electronic payment processing and customer data handling.

Frequently asked questions

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