Microsoft released its all-new Edge browser last year, powered by the open-source Chromium engine instead of the custom Microsoft-made rendering engine found in the original version (and Internet Explorer). The browser has generally been received well, as it adds plenty of helpful features on top of the speedy Chromium engine, but not all of Microsoft’s ideas have been winners. The latest example is a new feature that adds interest payments for online purchases to the browser itself.
Microsoft announced the new functionality on its Microsoft Edge Insider forum, which adds a “Buy now, pay later” option to your list of payment methods when checking out in an online store. The functionality is powered by a third-party company, Zip (previously Quadpay), and allows you to split up payments for $35-1,000 purchases into four installments over the course of six weeks. There are no interest fees, assuming you pay each installment on time.
Zip already has a mobile application and a Chrome extension for making purchases, but it’s hard to see the new integration in Microsoft Edge as anything but bloatware. I don’t want to see advertisements from my browser for a payment company when I’m trying to buy something, and at least right now, Microsoft hasn’t mentioned any way of turning it off. Besides the feature bloat aspect, “Buy now, pay later” services are built to encourage people to make more purchases than they otherwise would, similar to credit cards.
Shockingly, reactions from people using Microsoft Edge don’t seem to be positive. BioTurboNick wrote on the community post, “please stop bloating the browser with these revenue grabs. It’s like you’re recapitulating the worst IE browser extensions from the 90s/00s and installing them by default.” Another comment from Jozef Izso reads, “This is a terrible bloatware baked directly into to browser.”
Microsoft Edge’s Zip payments integration is already available in the Canary and Dev channels, and it will roll out to everyone in the stable release of Microsoft Edge 96. If you don’t want a browser that encourages unnecessary purchases, I recommend Firefox.