PayPal Pay in 4: 2023 Review
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The bottom line:
PayPal Pay in 4 may be similar to other buy now, pay later plans, but its name recognition and purchase protection help it stand out.
Pros & Cons
- Offers zero-interest loans.
- No fees.
- Includes purchase protection for eligible purchases.
- Available for online shopping only.
- No option to reschedule payment.
- No hardship program.
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Full Review of PayPal
PayPal offers a “buy now, pay later” payment plan for online purchases at major retailers like Walmart, Home Depot and Best Buy.
The plan lets you divide your purchase into smaller installments with zero interest. It’s similar to plans offered by other BNPL companies like Sezzle and Afterpay.
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.
PayPal Pay in 4 at a glance
$30 - $1,500.
Online purchases only.
Conducts soft credit check
Minimum credit score
No late fee.
No other fees.
Option to reschedule a payment
Pauses account when payment is missed
How does PayPal Pay in 4 work?
PayPal’s Pay in 4 splits 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 doesn't charge interest for using its plan.
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 fees, including no late fee for missed payments. However, it sends past-due borrowers to collections, so there may be consequences for your credit score if you fail to repay.
If you pay off your debt early, you won’t be charged a prepayment fee.
PayPal also offers monthly payment plans with terms up to two years. These plans charge interest, ranging from 9.99% to 29.99% APR, and are available for larger purchases.
Should you use PayPal Pay in 4?
PayPal is a reputable provider of BNPL loans, and its instant name recognition may put some borrowers at ease. However, no BNPL plan is risk-free, and breaking up purchases into smaller installments can lead to overspending. Make sure to read PayPal’s loan terms carefully before agreeing to the loan.
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: For borrowers who need access to financing, qualifying for a PayPal Pay in 4 plan may be easier than getting a credit card. Though PayPal conducts a soft credit pull, it also considers your history with the company.
Want purchase protection: PayPal extends its purchase protection program to Pay in 4 purchases, so if you don't receive your item or it differs from its description, you may qualify for reimbursement from PayPal.
PayPal Pay in 4 isn't a good idea if you
Want to shop in-store: PayPal’s Pay in 4 is available for online purchases only. Most BNPL providers offer plans that work online and in stores, so you can shop at a physical location, too.
May miss a payment: If you fall behind on its payment plan, PayPal doesn’t have the same protections in place as other BNPL providers. For example, it won’t pause your account after a missed payment, which can keep debt from spiraling further, and it won’t let you reschedule a payment. According to the company, it also doesn’t offer a hardship plan.
How to get approved for PayPal Pay in 4
To be eligible for PayPal Pay in 4, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old and have a PayPal account in good standing or be willing to open a PayPal account in order to apply.
PayPal Pay in 4 isn't available if you live in Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Wisconsin or any U.S. Territories.
Approval decisions are instantaneous and depend on a few factors, including information provided on your application, information from the credit bureaus and any past usage or history with PayPal.
Does PayPal check credit?
PayPal will conduct a soft credit pull when you apply for a payment plan. This doesn't affect your credit score, and there is no minimum credit score requirement to use PayPal.
How does PayPal Pay in 4 compare?
APR (monthly payment plans)
4 installments, due every 2 weeks; monthly payment plans range from 3-60 months.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks; monthly payment plans of six or 12 months.
$8 late fee.
Not yet rated.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks; monthly payment plans of 6-24 months.
$7 late fee.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks; monthly payment plans of 6, 12 or 24 months.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks.
» COMPARE: 6 popular buy now, pay later apps
How to get PayPal Pay in 4
Download the PayPal app
The company directs users to download the PayPal mobile app. You can shop directly in the app or use it to manage your repayments.
Shop with PayPal online
You may also see the option to check out with PayPal at some retailers. If the purchase is eligible for Pay in 4, you’ll fill out a short application and receive an instant decision.
Alternatives to PayPal Pay in 4
If you have good or excellent credit (690 credit score or higher), you may consider a 0% APR credit card. These cards offer introductory periods of up to 21 months and charge no interest during that period. You may also receive a sign-up bonus or access to a rewards program.
If you’re looking to fund a large, essential purchase, you could apply for a personal loan. Personal loans have fixed interest rates and longer repayment terms, and there are options for borrowers with fair or bad credit (689 credit score or lower).
You can pre-qualify with NerdWallet to see your loan options. Pre-qualifying doesn’t affect your credit score.
NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) loan products from the top financial technology providers. We collect over 40 data points from each lender, verify the information with company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar BNPL product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.
Our star ratings award points to BNPL providers that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, zero interest and minimal fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service and built-in borrower protections. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.
This methodology applies to classic BNPL loans, which divide payment into four equal installments, typically due over six weeks. Some providers offer other loan products with longer terms, which may be mentioned in the review but are not part of the rating process. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for buy now, pay later and our editorial guidelines.