Apple to launch 'buy now, pay later' service in Canada

Apple to launch 'buy now, pay later' service in Canada

Mac and PayBright are planning to launch a 'buy now, pay later' program for Apple products in Canada, stepping up the iPhone makers ambitions to provide more financial services.

The companies plan to announce the initiative this month at Apple's online and physical retail stores in Toronto, according to a message sent to Apple retail employees in the region by Bloomberg News. The service will let iPhone, iPad, and iPod buyers in Canada pay for purchases over 12 or 24 months instead of in-full at the time of the transaction. Apple told staff that it will offer the program interest-free for a limited time after the launch.

This will be Apple's first installment program in Canada in several years. Apple has offered a buy now, pay later system for Apple purchases with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in the U.S. since last year, but the card isn't available internationally. Apple has also long offered monthly payment plans in some countries for mobile iPhones.

'Some customers visiting Apple want to pay for earlier and buy now, told Apple staff in Canada. 'Now they have a new option that lets them pay over time for their favorite Apple products. The company also told staff the program would roll out on Aug. 11. Spokespeople for Apple and Affirm declined to comment.

Shares of Apple Inc. rose 3.3% to $66.67 at Tuesday's close, recovering from what had been a decline of about 6% before learning of the Affirm partnership. Canada is one of Apple's largest retailers with almost 30 stores, coming behind the U.S. China and the U.K. Apple doesn't disclose how much revenue it generates in individual countries, but about 50% of smartphone sales in the second quarter of last year in Canada were iPhones, according to data from Counterpoint Research.

The monthly payments system for Canada will support down payments via trade-ins of existing instruments. While AppleCare also can be included in the installment plan for purchase of iPhones, iPads and Macs, the new offering will not include other Apple products such as the Apple Watch and AirPods which are supported with the AppleCare ATM card via monthly payments in the U.S.

PayBright is a popular, Canada-based purchase now pay later service which was acquired for more than $260 million by Affirm last year. In recent months, the buy now, pay later space exploded and Square Inc. agreed this week to buy Australia's Afterpay Ltd. for $29 billion.

The planned Canada system is just another step toward Apple’s expanded Buy Now, Pay Later - plan. The Cupertino, California-based company is working on a service called Apple Pay Later that will allow the cost of any item purchased through Apple Pay to be spread over multiple payments. Apple is working on two versions of this service: a zero-interest plan that consists of four payments, or a plan with interest which runs over several months, Bloomberg News has reported.