Apple is one of the few technology giants exploring the BNPL space. Although the plans have not been finalized, the company already aces some scrutiny. The CFPB wants to “closely look” at the involvement of Apple in the buy now, pay later market and the precedent it may create.
Apple And BNPL Isn’t A Go Yet
The plans by Apple to venture into the buy now, pay later scene took many people by surprise. Even though the company has its native Apple Pay solution, a move into BNPL is a different caliber. Moreover, there are some concerns over how Big Tech may impact the space, either for better or worse. Until now, technology firms have mainly ignored this new industry vertical, although that may not remain the case for much longer.
Apple’s BNPL product is not available yet, although it already attracted keen interest. As was expected, that includes some scrutiny from the US consumer watchdog. Per the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), it is time to take a “careful look” at what Apple offers and what that might mean for the BNPL sector. That doesn’t mean the product is faulty or banned, but it is advisable to tread with caution for now.
Another topic of concern for the CFPB is how Apple may collect and use data through this new product. More specifically, they may combine it with browsing habits, geolocation data, health data, other applications, etc. There is still much uncertainty regarding those aspects, warranting a deeper investigation into the BNPL offering. Big Tech companies have a colorful history of creatively collecting and linking data for their benefit.
In addition, Big Tech has the reputation of trying to dominate the digital wallet system. Apple is notorious for preventing third-party payment support through its App stores. Such an approach to BNPL could prove disruptive for the industry vertical, although not in a positive way. There is still much to figure out before Apple can offer this service to its customers, that much is certain.