If you’ve heard the razz about the popularity of buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) apps and asked yourself, “What is Zip Pay (sometimes referred to as Zip,) and is it considered a shop-now-pay-later option?” you’re in the right place. Zip Pay is a program that allows you to make interest-free payments on a purchase over six weeks, and you get to enjoy the purchase while you make the payments.
NOTE: This post may contain affiliate links. Read the disclosure for details.
The Zip brand offers three different financial products: Zip Pay, Zip Money, and Zip Trade. This post covers the details for Zip Pay.
Key Features of Zip Pay
- Zip Pay can be used at any retailer that accepts Visa.
- Zip Pay charges an installment fee on each purchase, and a late fee if you don’t make your payment on time.
- Zip Pay is not an open line of credit. Each transaction is individually reviewed for approval.
- A soft credit check determines the amount of credit you have to spend (called your ‘spending power’.) It does not affect your credit score or show up on a credit report as an inquiry.
- You cannot get cash returned to you when using Zip Pay as the payment option in a retail store.
- Zip Pay has a minimum and maximum purchase amount. Keep reading to find out how to get around this requirement.
- Zip Pay cards are only good to make one purchase at a time – even if you make two purchases in the same store at the same time, you will be required to use two different Zip cards.
- Once issued, a Zip card automatically expires in two weeks. Some online retailers, such as Amazon, don’t charge you until the order ships. In cases like this, if an order does not ship for more than two weeks your Zip payment will be declined since the card will be expired.
How Does Zip Work?
Zip Pay allows you to break any purchase into four installments.
You can use Zip to pay for your purchases once you download the app and attach your payment source (a credit or debit card). Zip then bills your payment source four times: Once on the day of purchase (your first payment) and three times every two weeks after that.
The easiest way to use Zip is to download the app to make purchases in-store and online.
Is There a Minimum Purchase Size When Using Zip?
Decline notice from Zip Pay when attempting to make a purchase of less than $35.
Yes, the minimum purchase of $35 is required.
If you enter an amount under $35, the transaction will be declined when you try to create the virtual card.
QUICK WIN TIP
Workaround to use Zip Pay for a purchase of less than $35
Enter $35 into the purchase amount when you are preparing your virtual card. You don’t have to spend the entire amount, and this will allow you to make a smaller purchase using Zip.
Is There a Maximum Purchase Size When Using Zip?
Yes. When your application for an account is approved, Zip calculates your spending limit. Transactions that exceed your limit will be refused, depending on your plan.
If the purchase amount exceeds your permitted limit, you may be given the option of leaving a down payment on specific products. So, if the purchase is $150 and your budget is $100, Zip may allow you to pay $60 in advance.
This lowers your balance ($90) below your $100 limit. The remaining payments would be broken down into three $30 installments.
Can I Use Zip to Pay Bills?
You can use Zip to pay bills if the company accepts Visa as a payment method.
Do Products You Buy With Zip Ship After First Payment?
Yes, your purchase ships when it is ordered the same as if you used any other method of payment.
Zip is not a layaway plan, so you get to use your items right away and pay for them on a payment plan while you enjoy the purchase.
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Is There a Credit Limit?
The credit limit on your Zip account is the amount that is set as your spending limit once your account is approved.
If you try to spend any amount over your spending limit, the transaction will be declined.
However, once you have established a positive paying history with Zip Pay, you may be given the option to spend more than your spending limit. If you choose to do this, your first payment will be larger to reflect the bigger purchase.
For example, if your spending limit is set at $100 but Zip approves you to spend $150, your first payment might be $60 instead of the typical $25.
When the following three payments are due (with $90 remaining to be paid) they would be $30 each.
What is the Difference Between Zip Pay and Zip Money?
The Zip brand offers three different products: Zip Pay, Zip Money, and Zip Trade.
In looking at the differences between Zip Pay and Zip Money (the two most frequently used), both products are single-use cards that can be used at any retail location or online store that accepts Visa.
Quote directly from the Zip website:
“We offer two consumer products for our customers: Zip Money and Zip Pay. Both products feature our Single-Use card. You can use any Zip account at any Zip retailer, additionally, you can use our Shop Everywhere feature at any online retailer!”
Here is a breakdown of each product for comparison:
Zip Pay vs Zip Money
Online & In-Store
Yes/One-Time Use Per Card
$40 - $80 per Month
[depending on credit limit]
Greater of $40 per Month or 3% of Balance Due
$1 per Installment + $7.95 per Month if Balance is not Paid by Due Date
99 Cents - $7.95 per Month Depending on Balance at End of Month
$350 - $1,000
$1,000 - $5,000
[up to $50,000 with private merchant account]
0% First 3 Months, 19.9% After Promotions Expire
Direct Debit using Credit or Debit Card
Direct Debit using Debit Card or Bank Account
Pay Personal Bills
Shop Everywhere Available
Mobile App [tap and zip]
Does Zip Affect Your Credit Score?
Zip Pay can affect your credit score if you miss a payment.
In the Terms and Conditions under section 4.2 Collection, the consumer agrees to make their payments on schedule and if they default on a payment, quote:
“We may report information about this Agreement to credit bureaus. Late payments, missed payments, or other defaults on this Agreement may be reflected in your credit report.”
Does Zip Check Credit?
Yes, Zip Pay will check your credit when you complete an application for an account. In the Terms and Conditions under section 3.3 Credit Bureau Reporting, quote:
“You authorize us to investigate your creditworthiness and to obtain consumer reports about you in connection with your application for the right to use our Services and for as long as your account is open and/or this Agreement is in effect.”
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Does Zip Report Your Activity to Credit Bureaus?
If the funds are not available when a payment is due, Zip may report the late installment to the credit bureaus per their Terms of Service section 3.3.
What Credit Score Do You Need to Use Zip?
As far as I can tell after extensive research, there isn’t a ‘hard and fast’ rule for needing a specific credit score to qualify for a Zip Pay account.
By making a soft pull on your credit report to approve or deny you for a Zip account, there are likely multiple aspects of your credit history that are taken into consideration.
Does Zip Charge Interest?
Zip Pay does not charge interest when you use its funds to make a purchase.
Does Zip Charge Fees?
Yes, Zip charges fees to use their program.
The fees can be an installment fee, late fee, or monthly account fee.
There is a charge of $1 per installment on every purchase. This means if you keep the regular payment plan of paying off the balance in four payments, your purchase will cost an additional $4 in Zip installment fees.
However, if you pay off the purchase in less than four payments (meaning you pay it off early), you will save $1 on each installment fee you skipped.
Zip Pay charges an initial late fee of $7 if the funds are not in your account when an installment payment is due.
However, Zip is open to the possibility of reversing this fee (they refund it back to you) if you contact them and make the request.
Monthly Account Fee
Zip charges a monthly account fee of $7.95 if the customer does not pay off the statement balance by the due date.
A monthly account fee will never be charged as long as installments are paid on time, or at least all payments are caught up and paid by the due date.
Stores That Accept Zip
Any store that accepts Visa is a store that accepts Zip, both online and in-store.
Using the Zip App, simply create your virtual Zip Visa credit card, then use the number to pay for your purchase. If you are shopping in-store, the credit card number can be entered manually, or if the retailer accepts Apple Pay and you use a smartphone, you can add the Zip Pay card to your Apple Wallet or Google Pay.
Products You Can’t Use Zip to Purchase
There are several product categories that Zip does not include in their purchase options. Examples include legal cannabis, vaping products, guns, and ammunition.
How to Use Zip Online
Shopping online with Zip Pay is a simple process.
- Find the retailer that carries the products you need
- Add the items to your cart, tap ‘Pay with Zip’
- Check the cart total to be sure the amount matches your payment request
- Check out using your Zip virtual one-time card to complete your purchase
How to Use Zip in Stores
To make a purchase in-store, follow these steps:
- Tap the In-Store tab in your Zip app
- Select Pay In-Store
- Create your Purchase Request by entering how much you plan on spending
- Review your installment summary and tap Continue
- Your Zip virtual card is now ready for payment! Tap Pay with Apple/Google Wallet
- You can now scan your Apple/Google Pay using the Zip virtual card for your order.
How to Use Zip on Amazon
You can use Zip Pay to make an Amazon purchase following these steps:
- Add the items you need to the shopping cart
- Go to the checkout
- Tap Pay with Zip and enter your purchase amount to create your Zip virtual card
- Tap ‘Payment Method’
- Add your Zip card number to your Amazon account as a payment method by selecting ‘Add a Payment Method’, then tap ‘Add a credit or debit card’
- At the bottom of the screen tap ‘Add this one-time card as your payment method’
- On the next screen, your Zip virtual card information should automatically populate, then tap ‘Add your card’
- Do not select ‘Set as default payment’ or future purchases will be declined since Zip Pay cards are only good for one purchase at a time
Products You Can’t Use Zip to Purchase
It’s highly recommended to delete your Zip card from your Amazon payment methods after you’ve received your Amazon order using the Zip card.
How Do Returns Work When Using Zip?
If you return part or all of an order where you used a Zip Pay card for payment, the merchant’s return policy is followed by Zip.
When you return the items, typically the merchant refunds the company of the card that was used, which would be Zip in this case. Once Zip receives the refund from the merchant, they adust your payment schedule within 13 days to reflect the returned products.
How Do I Pay Zip?
When you apply for a Zip account, you are required to enter the debit card that will be used for payments, which are automatically direct debited on your payment schedule.
How do Zip Pay Repayments Work?
Your first payment is due at the time you make the purchase, then every two weeks for the next four weeks.
However, if you need to change your installment schedule, Zip Pay is flexible and works with their customer.
You can change the payments to weekly, keep them every two weeks, or monthly, as long as you pay a minimum of $40 per month if your spending power is under $1,000, or $80 per month if your credit limit is higher than $1,000.
There are other options, just be sure you make the mistake of carrying the balance of the purchase past the initial due date or you will incur the $7.95 monthly account fee.
What Happens if I Don’t Pay Zip?
If you don’t pay Zip a payment that is due, and you haven’t made other arrangements to change your installment due dates, you will be charged a late fee, which is $5, $7, or $10 depending on the state you live in.
Late payments can also be added to your credit report by Zip, which may lower your credit score.
Is Zip Pay safe?
Zip Pay is a leading company in the buy-now-pay-later space.
The company was started in Australia in 2013 and has grown to 14 international markets, and serves nearly 10 million active customers.
Zip Pay is as safe as the consumer allows it to be. In today’s world, financial fraud is happening constantly; however, much of it could be mitigated if consumers take extra steps to protect their information.
What is Zip Pay Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between Afterpay and Zip Pay?
Afterpay and Zip Pay are both buy-now-pay-later services.
They are similar in how they work, meaning the consumer can purchase a product and take it home right away while making payments on it.
A key difference is that Afterpay does not charge fees to use their service, whereas Zip Pay does charge fees for general use. However, Afterpay does charge a fee if payments are not paid on time.
Another significant difference is where the card can be used. Afterpay requires the store to be on their list, whereas Zip Pay can be used anywhere, including to pay bills.
These are a couple of the key differences between the two apps, although there are other differences if making a comparison.
For a complete guide on Afterpay, this post will give you all the details: What is Afterpay: Ultimate Guide for this ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ App and if you need the details to log in to your Afterpay account, this post will take you there: Afterpay Login, Payment, Customer Service
How do you increase your Zip spending limit?
After you have been a Zip Pay customer for six months, you can request an increase in your spending power up to $1,500.
The initial spending limit on a Zip Pay account is between $350 and $1,000.
What is Zip Pay [Final Thoughts]
A popular buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) app, Zip Pay has grown in popularity since its inception in 2013.
Although BNPL apps are convenient and offer quick cash, they can also take you off track of your financial goals if you allow them to.
In fact, a survey completed by Rate City revealed the following statistics:
- 28% of people who have used BNPL have created financial trouble in their budget
- 14% have paid a late fee
- 16% have struggled to make a payment on time
- 9% overdrew their bank account to make a payment
To stay on track with your budget, only use BNPL apps when you need the convenience but you know the purchase is in your budget.
If you haven’t started a budget yet, or need to sharpen up the budget you have, the free Budgeting Basics eBook is the perfect resource to simplify the process or fill in any holes that may be missing in your current spending plan.
If you need ideas for creating your budget, hop over to 20 free printable budget templates to get you started!
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