How Does "Bill Me Later" Work?

Uh-oh -- your significant other decided to go shopping and left home with the credit cards. Even so, you can still shop online or pay bills even if your credit card is off paying for bricks-and-mortar purchases. If you qualify for Bill Me Later, your transactions are just a click away. It works like a credit account without some of the issues associated with credit cards.

Getting Started

Anyone can apply for Bill Me Later access at the checkout point of any participating company. They only need your birth date and your final four Social Security numbers. However, Bill Me Later is not for everybody. Don't even think about it if your credit rating is less than stellar. To qualify, you must be approved by WebBank, the Bill Me Later lender, which can access your credit ratings. Only those with ratings of 650 and up receive approval. You must live in United States and be of legal age to make such transactions in your home state.

Advantages

Bill Me Later is for people who don't feel comfortable sharing their credit card information online. It's also faster since you don't have to type in a card number. It does share some things you might associate with some credit cards, including zero fraud liability protection and no annual fee. The service also has exclusive discounts and deals for its members, and you get one bill regardless of how many places you shop. Like credit cards, members can pay the bill in full or through installments with interest. They'll accept money from a checking or savings account, but not with a credit card. If you don't bank online, you can send a check to its snail mail address.

Where to Use

As of the time of publication, Bill Me Later could be used at more than 1,000 retailers, as well as with travel companies and catalogs. Even some utility companies and loan services accepted Bill Me Later payments. Just look for the Bill Me Later button on the retailer or service's website.

Considerations

The name Bill Me Later suggests you can have it all now and think about paying later. It's not quit that easy. Compare all your options before paying with Bill Me Later, or you could later face a bill you won't like. As of the time of publication, Bill Me Later's annual interest rate was 19.9 percent. That can add up fast if you aren't prepared to pay off the entire amount each month.