Zip Buy Now, Pay Later: 2023 Review
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The bottom line:
Zip may deliver on ease and convenience, but its payment plans are more expensive than other BNPL providers.
Pros & Cons
- Available at many retailers.
- Multiple customer service channels.
- Charges convenience fee.
- Charges late fee.
- No option to turn off automatic payments.
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Full Review of Zip
Zip — formerly known as Quadpay — offers “buy now, pay later” payment plans mostly through its mobile app. You can use Zip to shop at many large retailers, including Best Buy, Amazon and Walmart.
Zip lets you split your purchase into smaller, equal installments, so you don’t have to pay the full price upfront. It’s similar to other BNPL providers like Sezzle and Affirm.
Though NerdWallet recommends paying for purchases outright whenever possible, BNPL is sometimes a good fit for borrowers who need to cover a necessary expense and can afford the installments.
Zip at a glance
$35 - $1,500.
Available online and in stores.
Conducts soft credit check
Minimum credit score
$5, $7 or $10.
$1 convenience fee per installment.
Option to reschedule a payment
Pauses account when payment is missed
How does Zip work?
Zip is available through its mobile app anywhere Visa is accepted, making it a viable payment option at most retailers.
Once you’re ready to check out, Zip displays a pay-in-four payment plan, which splits the total price of your order into four equal installments that are due every two weeks, with the first payment due at checkout.
For example, if your total is $100, you’ll pay $25 at checkout. The three remaining $25 payments will be due every two weeks until you’ve paid the full $100. These payments are automatically billed to the debit or credit card you used to make the original payment, and Zip sends a reminder before billing you.
Zip charges a $1 convenience fee for each payment, meaning every purchase with Zip will cost an extra $4. This is unusual among BNPL providers, which typically don’t charge fees unless you miss a payment. Zip’s convenience fee is nonrefundable if you make a return.
Zip also charges a late fee, which can be $5, $7 or $10, depending on your state.
Should you use Zip?
Zip is a reputable provider of BNPL loans, but it may be more expensive than other BNPL options. Also, BNPL plans tend to be risky in general, especially if you struggle with overspending. Since you only pay a quarter of the price upfront, it feels like you’re taking on less debt than you are. Make sure to read Zip’s terms carefully before agreeing to the loan.
Zip may be a good option if you:
Need to cover an emergency expense: Since Zip payment plans are widely available, you could use one to cover a necessary expense you can’t afford to pay all at once. Even if the store doesn’t advertise a BNPL plan, there’s a good chance it’ll accept Zip if you shop through the Zip mobile app.
Have bad credit or no credit: Zip doesn’t do a hard credit check, so it's an option if you need access to financing and have no other way to get it. Zip is a better choice compared with much higher-interest loans like payday loans.
Zip is not a good idea if you:
Want a zero-cost BNPL loan: There are other BNPL providers, like Afterpay and Klarna, that offer pay-in-four plans without charging a convenience fee. That means they’re more affordable and likely a better choice than Zip when possible.
Want to build credit: Some BNPL providers help borrowers build credit by reporting payments to the credit bureaus. Zip does not report payments, and borrowers who are notably past due on their account may be sent to collections, which can hurt their credit. According to the company, this is an automated process, and Zip customer support agents can’t tell borrowers when it will happen.
Struggle to keep track of your money: Unlike other BNPL providers, Zip doesn’t let you turn off automatic payments, which means your card will be charged on the due date whether you have the funds or not. If you miss a payment, Zip charges a late fee, and your bank or credit card issuer may charge a penalty fee. Zip lets you reschedule a payment at least 24 hours in advance, which may help you avoid these charges.
How to get approved for Zip
To be eligible for Zip, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, live in the U.S. and have a valid phone number and mailing address. Some applicants may be asked to provide their Social Security numbers.
Approval decisions are instantaneous, but Zip doesn’t disclose what factors it uses to decide.
Does Zip check credit?
Zip may perform a soft credit check, which does not hurt your credit score. Zip says it does not rely solely on credit scores and doesn’t state a minimum credit score requirement, so if you have bad credit or no credit, there’s a good chance you can still use Zip.
How does Zip 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 Zip
Download the Zip app
The easiest way to use Zip is to download its mobile app. Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll create an account and add a payment method. If approved, you’ll be shown your spending limit with Zip.
Shop with Zip online and in stores
You may also see a Zip button on some retailers’ online checkout screens, meaning you can opt into Zip without leaving the retailer’s website.
If you want to shop in person with Zip, you’ll need to find the “in-store” tab on Zip’s mobile app, enter a total purchase price and receive access to a virtual card you can use to pay at the counter.
Alternatives to Zip
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.