CBA to launch buy now, pay later platform – how it stacks up against Afterpay

CBA to launch buy now, pay later platform – how it stacks up against Afterpay

CBA has today become the first big four bank to create its own buy now, pay later platform.

Launching in mid-2021, ‘CommBank BNPL’ will be available anywhere Mastercard is accepted for purchases over $100 with a total borrowing limit of $1,000.

Unlike market leader Afterpay, CBA will take a more comprehensive look at a potential customer’s finances, including a credit check, before approving them.

The platform will only be available to eligible CommBank customers who deposit their regular salary into a CBA transaction account.

CBA’s announcement comes just a week after payments giant PayPal revealed it was also entering the Australian buy now, pay later market.

How new players CommBank BNPL and PayPal ‘Pay in 4’ compare to market leader Afterpay

(CBA and PayPal to launch in mid 2021)

  CommBank BNPL PayPal 'Pay in 4 Afterpay
Interest charged No No No
Account fees None None None
Credit check Yes No No
Individual purchase price $100 - $1,000 $50 - $1,500 Up to $1,500
Max credit limit $1,000 Determined on case-by-case basis $2,000
Where you can use it Anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Anywhere PayPal is accepted. Affiliated retailers.
Payment plan 4 instalments over 6 weeks. 4 instalments over 6 weeks. 4 instalments over 6 weeks for new customers.
Late fees $10 per missed payment, capped at $120 per year. $10 for purchases under $125. $10-$30 for purchases over $125. $10 per missed payment, plus $7 if not paid within 7 days. Late fees capped at 25% of the purchase price or $68, whichever is lower. research director, Sally Tindall, said: “The buy now, pay later market is heating up faster than Sydney property.”

“The number of big names piling on is indicative of the strength of Australia’s buy now, pay later sector,” she said.

“This new offering from CBA is likely to erode some of Afterpay’s businesses, however, is unlikely to eclipse it.

“To get access to the platform you need to deposit your salary into a CBA account, which could be all too much effort for people who bank elsewhere, especially when there’s easier BNPL options on the table.

“CBA is in a unique position to properly assess a customer’s ability to pay back their buy now, pay debt, and has developed a platform with the most comprehensive checks we’ve seen so far.

“CommBank BNPL has a relatively low credit limit of $1,000. It cuts off customers when they skip a BNPL payment, and also if they’re late making a credit card or home loan repayment with the bank.

“CBA has now set the bar for banks entering into this sector. It will be interesting to see if Afterpay, when they start white labelling Westpac products, will have the same checks and balances.

“Australia’s largest bank is extending its tentacles across the buy now, pay later sector. It has a zero per cent ‘Neo’ credit card, a stake in Klarna and soon its own buy now, pay later platform.

“This new platform is likely to appeal to existing CBA customers who want to test out buy now, pay later in an environment they trust.

“At some point, Australia’s love affair with buy now, pay later may slow down, but with so many heavy hitters now in the mix, we might have a way to go yet,” she said.

Key BNPL services available in Australia – excludes personal loan payments plans.

BNPL provider Where you can use it Payment schedule Borrowing limit Account fees Late fees  
CommBank BNPL Anywhere Mastercard is accepted 4 instalments over 6 weeks.


None $10 per missed payment, capped at $120 a year.  
Afterpay Affiliated retailers 4 instalments over 6 weeks

(8 wks for ppl who pay on time).


No interest or monthly fees. $10 per late repayment and an extra $7 if you don’t pay in 7 days. Max fee 25% or $68 whichever is lower.  

“Pay in 4”

Anywhere PayPal is accepted 4 instalments over 6 weeks

Total amount varies per person.

No interest or monthly fees. $10 per late payment, capped at $30  
Zip Pay Anywhere + BPAY Flexible repayment schedule (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) provided you pay a min $40 / mth.


$6/mth if you have money owing. Late payment fee of $5 after 21 days of not paying the minimum.  
humm (Little Things) Use at affiliated retailers as well a majority of BPay billers. 5  or 10 weekly or fortnightly instalments


$8 monthly fee charged on payment plans 5 months or greater. $6 for each late payment  
Klarna  Use in most stores via the Klarna app (excludes supermarkets). Pay in 4 fortnightly instalments. Can extend for 10 days as a one-time courtesy.


Up to $7 fee to extend for 2 weeks (dependent on purchase price). $3 - $15, depending on purchase price, per late payment. Max fee is $45. A grace period is provided.  

Note: CBA and PayPal platforms are launching mid 2021.

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Learn more about credit cards

How do credit cards work?

Think of credit cards as a short-term loan where you use the bank’s money to buy something up front and then pay for it later. Unlike a debit card which uses your own money to pay, a credit card essentially borrows the bank’s money to fund the purchase. When you apply for a credit card, the bank assesses your income and assigns you a credit limit based on what you can afford to pay back. At the end of each billing cycle, which is usually monthly, the bank will send you a statement showing the minimum amount you have to pay back, including any interest payable on the balance.

How to pay a credit card

There are a few ways to pay a credit card bill. These include:

  • BPAY - allows you to safely make credit card payments online.
  • Direct debits - set up an automatic payment from your bank account to pay your credit card bill each month. You can choose how much you want to pay of your credit card bill when you set up the auto payments.
  • In a branch.
  • Via your credit card provider's app.

What is a credit card?

A credit card is a payment method which lets you pay for goods and services without using your own money. It’s essentially a short-term loan which lets you borrow the bank’s money to pay for things which you can pay back – potentially with interest – at a later date. Credit cards can also be used to withdraw money from an ATM, which is known as a cash advance. Because you’re borrowing money from a bank, credit cards charge you interest on the money you use (unless you repay the entire debt during the interest-free period). When you apply for a credit card, the bank gives you a credit limit which sets the maximum amount you can borrow using your card. Credit cards are one of the most popular methods of payments and can be a convenient way of paying for goods and services in store, online and all around the globe.

How do you use a credit card?

Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.

How do you pay off credit cards?

The best way to pay off a credit card bill is to set a realistic spending budget and stick to it. Each month, you’ll get a credit card statement detailing how much you owe and how long it will take to pay off the balance by making minimum repayments. If you only make the minimum repayments, it will take you years to pay off your outstanding balance and add extra costs in interest charges. To avoid any extra charges, you should pay the entire bill. 

How does the Commonwealth Bank credit card instalment plan work?

Commonwealth Bank credit card instalment plans allow you to structure the schedule for repaying your outstanding credit card balances. So, rather than pay the entire amount on the due date, you’ll pay a fixed amount on every due date for a particular period.

You can choose from three types of plans. The first is to pay-off a one-time large purchase exceeding $100 made during the previous 14 days. The second plan is to pay off the credit card balance (excluding cash advance, balance transfers, and existing instalment plans) of $600 or more in whole or part over a predetermined period. The last plan allows you to pay off the cash advance balance of $600 or higher in part or fully, over a certain period.

You can break down large purchases into affordable instalments over some time that you specify. Additionally, you enjoy the flexibility to cancel or prepay the plan before its last instalment. You can simultaneously have ten active plans without additional credit checks on all eligible cards.

Once you select the eligible purchase or balance and the desired repayment term, the monthly instalment and due date are shown in the next statement, which includes the new payment and the summary of the plan’s progress. In case you miss a payment, the plan isn’t cancelled, but an unpaid instalment is re-transferred to the applicable balance, and you’ll be charged the standard rate. The plan can be revoked at any time, and the outstanding amount is added to the cash advance or purchase balance as applicable.

How do you use credit cards?

A credit card can be an easy way to make purchases online, in person or over the phone. When used properly, a credit card can even help you manage your cash flow. But before applying for a credit card, it’s good to know how they work. A credit card is essentially a personal line of credit which lets you buy things and pay for them later. As a card holder, you’ll be given a credit limit and (potentially) charged interest on the money the bank lends you. At the end of each billing period, the bank will send you a statement which shows your outstanding balance and the minimum amount you need to pay back. If you don’t pay back the full balance amount, the bank will begin charging you interest.

Can we pay stamp duty by credit card?

Different states also have different rules about whether you can pay stamp duty with a credit card. Check the payment options for stamp duty on your local state revenue office website.

Some allow payments only from a savings or chequing account, whereas others allow payment through BPAY using your credit card. Also read the fine print to see if BPAY payments on your credit card are considered cash advances, as this could attract a higher interest rate.

How to pay a credit card from another bank

Paying or transferring debt from one lender to the other is called a balance transfer. This involves transferring part or all of the debt from a credit card with one lender to a credit card with another. As part of the process, your new lender will pay out the old lender, so that you now owe the same amount of money but to a new institution.

Many credit card providers offer an interest-free period on balance transfers to help new applicants better handle their debt. During this period, cardholders are not required to pay interest on the debt they brought over from the other card. This can be a great opportunity for consumers to pay off credit card debt with no interest. There are often fees associated with balance transfers; normally, these are a percentage of the amount transferred.

So make sure you read the terms and conditions of the card before transferring any debt across.

How is credit card interest charged?

Your credit card will be charged interest when you don’t pay off the balance on your credit card. Your card provider or bank charges you the individual interest rate that is associated with your card, which is usually between 10 and 20 per cent. 

The interest will be added onto your bill each month or billing period if you don’t pay off the balance, unless you are in an interest-free period.

You will be charged interest on anything that hasn’t been paid for inside the interest-free period. Usually you will receive a notice on your bill or statement saying you will be charged interest so you have some form of notice before you’re charged.

How do you apply for a credit card?

You can apply for a credit card online, over the phone or in person at the bank. Once you’ve compared the current credit card offers, the application process is quick and easy. Before you get your application started, you’ll need to gather your personal information like proof of ID, payslips and bank statements, proof of employment and details of your income, assets and liabilities. To be eligible for a credit card, you’ll need to be an Australian citizen over 18 and earn a minimum of $15,000 each year. Once you’ve applied for a credit card, you should get a response fairly instantly. If your credit card application has been approved, you should receive a welcome pack with your new credit card within 10-15 days.

Are there credit cards for students?

Yes, there are credit cards available with students in mind. These can help young Australians to build their credit report and learn crucial life skills around budgeting and managing personal finances.

What is the lowest monthly repayment on my credit card?

As a rule of thumb, this tends to be around 2-3 per cent of the outstanding balance. You can choose how much you want to repay each billing period as long as it is higher than this minimum required amount.

How long does it take to get a credit card?

There are a few stages you need to go through to get a credit card; each one takes a different length of time.

Applying for the card online, over the phone or in person is the fastest step. This usually takes around 15 minutes, provided you have all of your documents handy.

After submitting your application, it usually takes between one to 10 business days for the lender to assess your eligibility. Some lenders offer instant approval, although you will need to send supporting documents before it is official.

Once your application has been approved, expect to wait between one to 14 days to receive your card in the mail. Keep in mind that delays can happen during busy periods, such as if the lender has launched a special deal.