Microsoft is tacking on a “buy now, pay later” extension to Edge that prompts users to use short-term financing service Zip (formerly QuadPay) when making a purchase on the browser.
The company introduced the service earlier this month, and now some users are reportedly seeing it integrated into their browsers after updating to Edge version 96, as noted by Ars Technica. The option to sign up and use Zip will be displayed on checkout pages, appearing in the same area where you’d enter your credit card number on Edge (or access a previously used one), and will sometimes be ingrained in the checkout page itself. Zip will pop up when Edge detects that your purchase costs between $35 and $1,000, the price range that the service can cover.
While Zip lets you make purchases without spending anything upfront, this comes in exchange for four interest-free payments over a six-week period. Even still, the service technically isn’t free — it charges $1 for every payment you make, meaning you’ll end up spending $4 more on your purchase, no matter the price.
Edge will give you the option to pay through Zip by default, whether the store even offers the option or not. On a Microsoft support page, the company indicates that merchants will actually have to contact Microsoft if they don’t want customers using the service.
Microsoft added Buy Now Pay Later into Edge (and so Windows 10 and 11 base OS), a thing which is known to be abused to harm people.— Kevin Beaumont (@GossiTheDog) November 30, 2021
The tags on the post on Microsoft’s website say it all. Keep speaking out. pic.twitter.com/wsujv2VdWN
The feature has come under heavy criticism, with some users upset about the extra bloatware slowing down their browsing experience and others concerned about the potential financial ramifications on users, especially for those who struggle to manage their credit. “Buy now, pay later” services have also been a target for criminals, who can exploit them to score free goods, as they typically don’t check credit scores.
Plus, Edge already has built-in promo code and coupon alerts, as well as product price comparisons that pop up while you’re shopping. Microsoft even goes out of its way to explain that it doesn’t collect a fee for using Zip, so it’s unclear why the company is opting both buyers and sellers into an offer no one asked for.