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Eyeing the Apple Vision Pro? From the Apple Card to BNPL, Here Are Your Best Financing Options

This virtual reality tech costs a pretty penny -- 349,900 of them to be exact.

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Apple’s latest virtual reality tech gadget comes with a hefty price tag. The Apple Vision Pro starts at a whopping $3,499, an amount outside of most people’s budgets. While experts generally recommend setting up a sinking fund to save for big purchases like these, it’s clear that not everyone’s willing to wait to buy this tech. But that isn’t stopping people from buying one anyways -- even if it means taking on new debt.

I went to Reddit to see what people were saying about buying the Vision Pro. Many cited living within their means and being able to afford it, which is great. But others were juggling bills and other financial priorities and didn’t have the funds casually available.

That means they’ll likely turn to credit cards, 0% APR offers, or BNPL to foot the bill. But with the average credit card debt in the US sitting at $6,501, according to Experian’s latest debt survey, adding more debt to your plate is risky. 

If you use credit responsibly, you can use any of these financing options without hurting your credit score or falling into debt, said Jason Steele, a credit card expert and CNET Money Expert Review Board member. “But if you have a lot of debt or make payments late, each could hurt your credit. It all depends on how you use them.”

Here’s what you’ll want to think carefully consider before financing this gadget.

The Apple Card’s 0% APR offer

One of the first options you’ll encounter on Apple’s Vision Pro page is the Apple Card’s 0% introductory financing offer, which can be tempting. The Apple Card* is a no-annual-fee rewards card offering 3% Daily Cash on all Apple purchases, including the Apple Vision Pro. Its 0% APR monthly installment plan lets you pay for the device over 12 months (then 19.24% to 29.49% variable), giving you more time to pay for this tech.

“I’d recommend the no-cost Apple financing for most people, but a 0% APR card for those needing to extend payment beyond 12 months.”

A 0% introductory APR credit card is the option Rita-Soledad Fernández Paulino, personal finance coach and founder of Wealth Para Todos recommends most if you don’t have the $3,500 to pay for the Apple Vision Pro outright. But that’s only if you can pay off the full balance within 12 months. That means not missing payments and committing to your repayment schedule. 

There’s an added benefit to this financing plan if you use it responsibly. “It would help build a customer’s credit score if they pay it off in full before the 0% interest rate period is over.” Fernández Paulino, who goes by “Soledad,” added. 

Taxes and shipping are not included in the Apple Card Monthly Installment plans, so you’ll pay those costs upfront. If you don’t already have the Apple Card, you can check to see if you’re approved and what your credit line will be without impacting your credit. If approved, a hard inquiry will appear on your credit report, which could temporarily ding your credit.

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5.4/10 CNET Rating CNET rates credit cards by comparing their offers to those of their categorical competitors. Each card is individually evaluated through a formula which reflects the standards and expectations of the contemporary market. Credit card issuers have no say or influence in our ratings. How we rate credit cards
Intro Offer
No current offer
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19.24% to 29.49% Variable
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2% – 3% Apple Card gives you unlimited 3% Daily Cash back on everything you buy at Apple; With every purchase you make using your Apple Card with Apple Pay, you get 2% Daily Cash back
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3%
Apple Card gives you unlimited 3% Daily Cash back on everything you buy at Apple
2%
With every purchase you make using your Apple Card with Apple Pay, you get 2% Daily Cash back

What about Apple Pay Later?

Apple has its own version of a BNPL service called Apple Pay Later. It offers financing over 12 months but without interest or fees. It doesn’t require you to sign up for the Apple Card, but you will need an iPhone or iPad with the latest version of iOS to use it.

But if you were planning on using Apple Pay Later, I’ve got bad news. It’s not a financing option for the Apple Vision Pro because it’s only available for purchases between $75 and $1,000. 

A better rewards card with a 0% APR offer

If you’re considering Apple’s 0% APR offer, you might first want to explore other 0% introductory APR purchase offers. While Apple’s rewards card earns a competitive rate on Apple products, it’s not the best card to use anywhere else. A more general rewards card with a 0% intro APR offer might be a better fit for you after you pay off the Apple Vision Pro.

Ideally, you could get a new 0% credit card that offers rewards or a welcome bonus that would offset the cost of the Apple Vision Pro, Soledad added. Then, you could use the welcome bonus to pay down your bill and pay the rest off before the introductory period ends. Doing this could help you boost your credit score and avoid interest, she added. 

Pro Tip

Make sure the 0% APR card you use has a long enough introductory period to allow you to pay off your purchase in full. If not, you’ll start accruing interest on your remaining balance once the card’s standard variable APR kicks in.

“I’d recommend the no-cost Apple financing for most people, but a 0% APR card for those needing to extend payment beyond 12 months,” said Steele. “A 0% APR card could offer a greater financing period, such as 18 months, but requires opening a new account.”

Here are a few introductory APR credit cards our CNET Money editors recommend:

If you have less-than-perfect credit, getting approved for a 0% introductory purchase card with a long repayment period may be hard. In this case, you may be better off with a BNPL plan. However, experts recommend looking into a secured credit card to work toward a better credit score for future purchases. 

A BNPL plan

Buy Now, Pay Later plans have more lenient credit requirements, which makes them easier to qualify for -- but that also makes them the easiest way to accrue debt. Some BNPL apps perform a soft credit check, which doesn’t impact your score. 

“Buy Now, Pay Later programs like Afterpay or Klarna allow customers to buy the Apple Vision Pro immediately and pay over time in installments, often with no interest if paid in time,” said Soledad. 

So, if you have a lower credit score, this could be a viable financing option for getting the Apple Vision Pro. But if you miss a payment, it could be reported on your credit report as a late or delinquent payment. Since most of these services split your cost into four payments over six or eight weeks, avoid this option if you won’t have the money to pay off the full amount in two months.

Since Apple is the only retailer selling the Apple Vision Pro right now, you’ll need to make sure your BNPL provider lets you make purchases with Apple or offers a virtual card that you can use online. For example, Afterpay does. Sezzle and Affirm both let you make purchases using a virtual card number.

Watch Out

You may also be able to find a BNPL provider with a longer payback period. But many BNPL services will charge you interest if you extend your payback period over more than two months.

For example you use one of Affirm’s longer-term financing options, you’ll be charged 0% to 36% APR, based on your credit. Unlike credit cards, though, BNPL apps usually charge simple interest, which makes it easier to calculate how much you’ll owe in advance. So, if you’re approved for a six-month financing plan at a 20% APR, you’ll pay $206.92 in total interest for financing the most affordable Apple Vision Pro option (excluding taxes). 

The number of installments and the amount you’ll pay will depend on your BNPL provider and the Apple Vision Pro you choose (plus tax). 

Expert tips to make the Apple Vision Pro more affordable

If you’re expecting a tax refund this year -- or have yours sitting in your bank account -- you might want to put all or a portion of it toward the Apple Vision Pro rather than relying entirely on credit. With the average tax refund of around $3,081, you could knock a considerable amount off the Vision Pro’s high price tag.

Tip

If you take this route, Soledad recommends paying with your credit card to take advantage of cash back or points. That way, you’ll earn rewards you can redeem for travel or another purchase. Just be sure to pay off your balance right away.

You could also check your current credit cards to see if you have any rewards you could put toward the cost. While you may not be able to use your rewards specifically at Apple, you can pay for the Vision Pro with your credit card and then use your rewards to pay your bill. Again, only use this method if you can pay off your balance right away; otherwise, the interest charges could eat into the value you earned from your rewards.

You can also keep an eye on CNET’s Apple Vision Pro coverage to see when this device might go on sale in the future.

*All information about the Apple Card, and the Chase Freedom Flex has been collected independently by CNET and has not been reviewed by the issuer.

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective, independent assessments by our writers and is not influenced by advertising or partnerships. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Dashia is a staff editor for CNET Money who covers all angles of personal finance, including credit cards and banking. From reviews to news coverage, she aims to help readers make more informed decisions about their money. Dashia was previously a staff writer at NextAdvisor, where she covered credit cards, taxes, banking B2B payments. She has also written about safety, home automation, technology and fintech.
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