Apple and Best Buy tackle the cost of living crisis with a brand new program

Screenshots from WWDC 2022
(Image credit: Future)

The cost of living crisis has made purchasing expensive tech even more difficult. But Best Buy is offering a new program that it hopes will help those struggling to afford a new computer.

The retail giant announced the Upgrade+ program, which will allow potential buyers to finance an upgrade to Apple silicon, including the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro. Participants can purchase a new Apple laptop and pay across 36 monthly payments, before deciding if they want to upgrade to a newer model on the 37th monthly payment.

For example, for a $999 MacBook Air, each payment in the first 36 months is $19.99, with the final payment being $280.35. However, if you return the product and either leave the program or decide to upgrade to a newer model or eligible MacBook, Best Buy will make the final payment on behalf of the participant.

The list of laptops eligible for the program includes the MacBook Air M1 and M2 versions, the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2), the MacBook Pro 14-inch (M1), and the MacBook Pro 16-inch (M1). AppleCare+ and certain accessories can also be financed through the Upgrade+ program.

How useful is this really?

Financing otherwise expensive products through monthly payment is hardly a new concept, with phone companies having harnessed this business model for years so customers can have the latest phone in their hands.

However, the concept of stretching this to laptops is new and it'll be interesting to see how well the program performs.

This could be beneficial for participants in a number of ways, including being a much more affordable method of buying otherwise pricey laptops, essentially renting a laptop for a few years for a pretty decent price before handing it off after the period is up, or ensuring that you always have the latest machine without dealing with all the waste and extra expenses of buying them normally.

Of course, the Upgrade+ program isn't a charity and there are points you need to consider, like that you have to open a credit line with Citizen's Pay, or if you choose to end the program early you're on the hook for the remaining cost of the laptop (this also includes if you no longer can financially afford these payments).

But if you know what you’re getting into, this is a possibly great way to afford a high-quality laptop at an affordable price during the cost of living crunch.

If you want to see how these Apple Silicon-based Macs stack up against other laptops, read our Best Laptops buying guide.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.