PayPal Pay in 4: 2022 Review

PayPal’s Pay in 4 lets you buy now and pay later with a simple plan that charges zero interest and no late fees.
Dec 20, 2021

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Our Take

The bottom line:

PayPal Pay in 4 may seem similar to other buy now, pay later plans, but its name recognition and purchase protection help it stand out.

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Pros & Cons


  • No fees.
  • No hard credit check.
  • Offers purchase protection.


  • Available for online shopping only.
  • May not report on-time payments to the three credit bureaus.

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Full Review

What is PayPal Pay in 4?

PayPal offers a "buy now, pay later" payment plan, known as Pay in 4, at major retailers like Best Buy, Target and Bed Bath & Beyond.

This plan lets you divide your online purchase into four interest-free installments, with the first due at checkout. It’s similar to plans offered by other BNPL companies like Afterpay and Klarna.

NerdWallet recommends paying for purchases outright whenever you can instead of taking on debt. However, BNPL payment plans can be a smart way to finance a necessary purchase if you can make payments on time.

How does PayPal Pay in 4 work?

To use PayPal Pay in 4, you need to create a PayPal account or have one in good standing.

Once you’re ready to check out online or through PayPal’s mobile app, you can choose to “Pay Later,” then select the Pay in 4 option. Then, you’ll fill out a short application and receive an instant approval decision.

If you’re approved, PayPal will split the total price of your order into four equal installments, due every two weeks, with the first payment due at checkout.

For example, if your total is $300, you’ll pay $75 at checkout. Then, you will have three remaining payments of $75, due every two weeks until you’ve paid in full. PayPal will not charge interest.

Payments are automatically billed to the debit, credit card or bank account you used to check out. You cannot use your PayPal balance to make payments.

Unlike some BNPL providers, PayPal doesn't charge a late fee for missed payments, but it will contact borrowers with past-due accounts. Make sure to read your loan agreement for the full terms and conditions should you fail to repay.

If you pay off your debt early, you won’t be charged a prepayment fee.

How to qualify: According to the company, approval is based on your application, your account history with PayPal and information provided by the credit bureaus.

PayPal may run a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit score. If you aren’t approved, you’ll receive an email explaining why.

The Pay in 4 feature isn't currently available to residents of Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Wisconsin or any U.S. territories. You must be of legal age in your state to use the service.

Should you use PayPal Pay in 4?

PayPal Pay in 4 may be a good option if you:

Are new to buy now, pay later: If you already have a PayPal account and want to fund a necessary purchase with a pay-later plan, the Pay in 4 is a no-frills choice that’s a good introduction to how BNPL works.

Don’t qualify for a credit card: Qualifying for a PayPal Pay in 4 plan could be easier than qualifying for a credit card. Though PayPal may conduct a soft credit pull, it also considers your history with the company.

Want purchase protection: PayPal extends its purchase protection program to some Pay in 4 purchases, meaning if you don't receive your item or it differs from its description, you may qualify for reimbursement from PayPal. This feature is unique to BNPL providers.

PayPal Pay in 4 isn't a good idea if you:

Have a hard time following a budget: BNPL plans can encourage overspending. Since you pay less at checkout, it’s tempting to fill up your cart with more things. If you struggle with overspending, stick to paying with cash.

Want to shop in-store: PayPal offers its Pay in 4 plan online and through its mobile app only. Other BNPL providers, like Affirm and Zip (formerly Quadpay), offer plans that are available online and in stores.

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