The Anxiety of Afterpay

January 24, 2023 - Reading time: 3 minutes

I recently made use of Afterpay for a few small purchases given my limit. Here is my take on both the platform, and my experience with buy-now-pay-later.

If you don't know what Afterpay is, it is a platform that allows people to make purchases and pay for them in four interest-free instalments. It means they'd make the payment to the vendor (and take any fees associated with it), while I'd then be paying them the instalments (and any penalties for non-payment.)

Starting out, it's easy enough to do. Find an item you want, buy it, and pay it off over a few weeks. It almost seems effortless, and without any anxiety, right?

Well, you would think!

The reality is, my experience using Afterpay has left me never wanting to use it again. While the idea of having four payments come off your card sounds appealing, the reality is I was anxious of every time I came close to needing to do the payment. I would have to login to my bank account, and double-check that there are sufficient funds.

Secondly, once you have more than one purchase coming off on Afterpay, my anxiety levels increased dramatically. How many extra payments do I need on track one that I'm paying off, vs. how many on track two. I can only imagine if I had three or four things on the go with Afterpay... The cycle actually starts to feel never-ending with a stream of different payments coming off at different times during the week based on when you bought something.

It was terrible. I basically never want to do it again.

I had a few other issues with the platform, that I even went to lengths to try and explain and get resolved. So much for "support your customer".

Issue 1:

I wasn't able to confirm my identity up-front, so I deferred adding in those details. However, when I had all my details at hand, I couldn't get to the appropriate part of the app! The app kept routing me to the help page, instead of routing me to the "add your details" page even though that was the button I was pressing!

The support agent was clearly foreign (from the bad English and grammar) and couldn't make heads or tails of my requests, of which there were two:

  • Help me get my account activated
  • Help you to fix a bug in your platform

The agent was able to get the account activated; but thereafter the wheels fell off. I got to the point of sending them a video of the issue. In the end, I just gave up trying to help them resolve a problem in their own UI.

Issue 2:

Afterpay doesn't clearly mention that they only support using Google Wallet. I mean, is it really so difficult to just do things through NFC?

My support agent was also foreign. My original query was whether Google Wallet is the only wallet that can be used (as much as I use an Android-powered device, Google is not my choice of anything.)

The response was that they were sorry my phone didn't support NFC.

So I sent them a follow up... whereby the response was... even further off the mark! The follow-up response was that if I don't have access to the Google Play store, that I should download the APK. I mean, sure Afterpay, tell people to do an insecure way of getting access to your service.