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Apple discontinues its buy now, pay later service in the U.S.

New protections for "buy now, pay later" shoppers
White House announces protections for "buy now, pay later" shoppers 02:21

Apple has shut down its buy now, pay later service known as Apple Pay Later, less than a year after launching it.

The service was discontinued in the U.S. as of Monday, ahead of Apple's launch of new Apple Pay features, set to hit iPhones this fall. The changes will let Apple Pay users make purchases, as well as access installment loans through Affirm. 

"With the introduction of this new global installment loan offering, we will no longer offer Apple Pay Later in the U.S." Apple said in a statement to 9to5mac.

"Our focus continues to be on providing our users with access to easy, secure and private payment options with Apple Pay, and this solution will enable us to bring flexible payments to more users, in more places across the globe, in collaboration with Apple Pay-enabled banks and lenders," the company added.

Apple Pay users with active Apple Pay Later loans can still manage them through the Apple Wallet app, the company told 9to5mac. Apple did not immediately respond to CBS MoneyWatch's request for comment on the discontinuation. 

What to know about "Buy Now, Pay Later" online shopping option 04:32

More than 40% of Americans say they have used so-called buy now, pay later services, according to a Lending Tree survey. The loans are designed to encourage consumers to borrow in order to spend more, and users are subject to fees if they miss payments, which can lead to their accumulating debt.

In 2021, buy now, pay later loans totaled $24 billion, up from $2 billion in 2019, according to a CFPB report. The popular payment option has become ubiquitous in stores and online, but many consumers struggle with the "pay later" part of the equation. 

Financial regulators have been studying the industry since 2021, and have since issued rules designed to protect consumers. For example, in May, the CFPB issued a rule mandating that BNPL lenders give consumers the same protections that apply to conventional credit cards, including the right to dispute charges and receive a refund from a lender after returning a purchase made with a BNPL loan. 

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