Should You Use Afterpay for Flights When Booking Your Vacation?
There are many ways you can pay for your next vacation. Is using buy now pay later programs, like Afterpay, for flights a good way to do it?
August 30, 2022
Sooner or later, we all need to take a vacation. Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or flying to Australia for a two-week trip, a vacation can provide some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Of course, like everything else in life, it costs money to book flights. Rather than simply putting their vacation travel on their credit card, some people use Afterpay for flights and other expenses to split their travel purchase into four installment payments.
At first glance, the ability to make interest-free installment payments on your travel can seem like a great option. But there are downsides to consider. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how using Afterpay for flights works and why you’re typically better off avoiding book now pay later programs when planning your next vacation.
How does using Afterpay for flights work?
Afterpay is made available at checkout with select travel and entertainment retailers. When you go to checkout, you select Afterpay from the available payment options. If you’ve never used this buy now pay later app before, you will need to register with Afterpay and set up your payment method (such as a debit card or credit card) before you can complete your booking.
For travel and all other purchases, Afterpay requires that you make an initial down payment at the time of purchase. This is typically worth 1/4 of the total cost of your purchase. So, if you buy airfare that is worth $400, your first payment of $100 would be due upfront when you check out.
The remaining balance is split across three additional installment payments, which are charged to your linked payment method every two weeks. So based on the above example, two weeks after your initial down payment, you’ll be charged another $100. Your final payment will be due six weeks after you booked your flight.
What are the advantages of Afterpay?
Afterpay, as well as competing buy now pay later programs like Klarna and Affirm, market themselves as easier, more affordable ways to finance expensive purchases.
The following are some of the potential advantages of using Afterpay for vacations and other major purchases:
You don’t pay any interest on your payment plan.
The four installment payments are relatively easy to plan for, and for many, spreading out a travel purchase in four smaller payments can make it more manageable.
Afterpay does not run a credit check to determine eligibility for its services. This improves the accessibility of the payment app, even for individuals with low credit scores.
Compared to other financing options (like taking out a personal loan for your vacation), Afterpay can be cheaper and lower risk. As long as you make your payments on time, you don’t pay any fees or interest, whereas interest on a personal loan accrues from the time the funds are disbursed. Plus, late payments aren’t reported to credit bureaus, so missed payments won’t hurt your credit score.
Of course, using Afterpay for flights does have some disadvantages as well.
What are the drawbacks of using Afterpay to book flights?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand that just because Afterpay doesn’t charge interest, that doesn’t mean there aren’t financial risks to worry about. Afterpay charges late fees of up to $8 when you miss a payment. Total late fees for a transaction can reach 25% of the total cost of your purchase, significantly increasing your total spending on a purchase.
While this may not seem like much, those late fees can add up quicker than you might expect, particularly if you get in a habit of missing payments. You’ll ultimately end up paying more for your trip than if you had just paid the full amount upfront.
And even though Afterpay doesn’t charge interest fees on its loans, you can still rack up additional interest on your credit card bill. If you link Afterpay to your credit card, you’ll accumulate interest on whatever balance you don’t pay off at the end of your statement. If you’re in a financial tight spot, this could result in you paying late fees and credit card interest.
Another drawback of Afterpay is that you can’t book flights with anyone you want. Websites like Alternative Airlines accept Afterpay, but many airlines don’t work with Afterpay, which can limit your flight options.
Afterpay’s spending limits can also be a factor. First-time users have a $600 spending limit imposed, which gradually increases as you use the app responsibly. Of course, plane tickets can be a lot pricier than that. You might be able to book a flight to New York or Los Angeles, but that dream vacation to New Zealand or the United Kingdom is probably still out of reach.
Of course, as your spending limit with Afterpay increases, you face a different risk: being tempted to spend more on vacation travel than you can actually afford. Breaking flight costs into four separate payments can make your travel seem less expensive than it actually is and tempt you to book a more expensive ticket than your budget can handle.
That first payment might seem easy to make, but when the next installment comes around two weeks later, you may suddenly find that the extra bill makes it harder to manage other important expenses.
How should you pay for your vacation travel?
The best way to pay for vacation travel is to budget for it. This means carefully planning the trip you want to take, calculating how much it will cost and then saving accordingly.
After all, there are more costs that come along with a vacation than booking a flight. You may also need to spend money on:
One way to save for your vacation is to open a savings account with your bank and schedule automatic deposits to that account. Over the months, you’ll gradually save enough to pay for your trip in full. Many savings accounts also provide small interest payments on your account balance, so the money that goes into that savings account will grow beyond what you put into it.
Monthly deposits to your savings account will allow you to pay for everything upfront when you’re ready to book your trip — instead of worrying about interest charges or late fees.
Pay down your debt so you can save for your dream vacation
Going on a vacation can be a great way to unwind and get the stress out of your life — but you don’t want your trip to become a source of financial stress. When you use Afterpay for flights and other vacation purchases, you run the risk of dragging out your payments for your travel and incurring late fees if you forget about the payments you owe. Plus, if you have a high spending limit, you might end up buying more than you can actually afford for your trip.
Instead, try to save up money and reduce debt so you can afford to pay for your entire trip upfront. This way, you won’t have to worry about the cost of your trip and can just focus on enjoying your travels.
If you’re having trouble paying down credit card debt, check out the Tally† app. Our credit card payoff app allows you to combine your credit card debts into a single monthly payment.
†To get the benefits of a Tally line of credit, you must qualify for and accept a Tally line of credit. The APR (which is the same as your interest rate) will be between 7.90% and 29.99% per year and will be based on your credit history. The APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate. Annual fees range from $0 - $300.