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Flight Hacks - American Express Plan It vs AfterPay & Zip

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Immanuel Debeer | 16/11/2020

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American Express has launched its own “buy now, pay later” scheme which is now available to all existing members (except David Jones Amex card holders, charge card holders, and corporate card holders). It’s easy to use and allows members to space out an amount of their statement balance of $150 or greater for a small monthly fee. The plan can be set up for a period of 3, 6, 9 or 12 months.

Of course, if you’re a BNPL user, you want the best possible deal so in this guide we’ll look at the differences in features and fees between Amex Plan It, AfterPay and ZIP.

Pros of American Express Plan It™ Instalments

American Express is a well-established credit card provider; this means that they can easily extend the benefits of their credit cards and further enhance them with the additional perks of Plan It.

No Application / Credit Enquiry

Do you know your credit score? If not, go read our complete guide on credit scores and why they matter. For those that monitor their credit score, you will know that every time you sign up for a new financial product, there will be an enquiry on your file. Since Plan It is available to all eligible American Express members, there are no sign-ups required and no additional checks.

No pre-approvals or credit checks are a big deal if your credit score is important to you (hint: it should be)!

More Time To Pay It Back

AfterPay works with 4 equal payments which are due every fortnight, this works out to a payment term of roughly 2 months. With Zip, you get 3 months interest-free, after which they start charging 19.99% interest on top of the account fee which is also charged if you don’t pay the balance in full.

Plan It allows you to choose between 3, 6, 9 and 12 month plans with equal payments for each plan. There’s no interest, and the fee for using the feature is calculated upfront, so you know exactly how much extra it will cost you for using it.

Shop Everywhere Amex is Accepted

The American Express network is exponentially larger compared to retailers that accept After Pay and Zip. This makes it easier to shop where you want and get the best price for your purchases instead of being limited to the retailers that accept your other BNPL schemes. For retailers, it’s much cheaper to accept payment by American Express compared to ZIP and AfterPay.

American Express has the added benefits of being a global payment provider so you could potentially use Plan It for purchases made overseas when travelling (when that’s a thing again) or when you’re shopping up a storm at your favourite international stores.

Easy To Set Up And Use

You can set up a plan in seconds from your mobile phone or via the account page on the American Express website. A couple of clicks and you’re set!

Easy To Manage

Once you’ve set up a plan, it will be added to your credit cards minimum payment in the monthly statement. This makes it very easy to get a total overview of your financial position instead of having all your finances spread out across different providers.

Cons of Using Plan It

The one drawback of using Plan It is, of course, the monthly fee for using the service. While there is no interest charged for the duration of your plan, you will be charged a monthly fee which is calculated depending on the amount you are looking to add to your payment plan.

AfterPay charges no fees as long as you make the full payment which is split into 4 equal amounts billed every fortnight. This means you have approximately 2 months to pay back the total amount after which late payment fees will quickly add up.

Zip works slightly different again; they charge no fees as long as you pay off your purchase in full. For example, if you buy something with Zip in October, your statement will be issued on the November 1 which will allow you to pay in full before the end of November to avoid fees and interest. This means you get approximately 1.5 to 2 months to repay your purchase.

Plan It In Conclusion

Plan It would be ideal for those looking for a much longer payment term compared to the competition (After Pay and Zip) with up to 12 months of equal payments. For shorter payment terms of 2 months or less, AfterPay comes out on top since there are no fees to use the service.

Check out our full guide to: American Express Plan It™ Instalments

Full disclosure: This guide is sponsored by American Express

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Immanuel Debeer

Chief points nerd and travel hacker at Flight Hacks

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