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Affirm is a US-based Buy Now, Pay Later fintech that allows customers to split purchases into monthly payments with interest rates between 0 – 30%
The Key Takeaway: Financing purchases through Affirm is an excellent way to spread out the cost of purchases if you are approved for 0% interest. Alternatively, suppose you are approved for financing with interest. In that case, this is an advantageous way to avoid revolving consumer debt since you know the total amount you will pay upfront.
I am always apprehensive about paying any interest, so knowing the total cost upfront is essential.
I’ve used Affirm twice – Once to finance a set of west elm chairs and another time financing a set of dining chairs. Overall, I am pleased with their services. Both times I was approved with 0% interest.
Pros & Cons
|✔ 0% APR for qualified applicants||X APR as high as 30%|
|✔ No late fees||X On-time payment history do not always impact your credit score|
|✔ Purchasing power up to $17,500||X Downpayment may be required (10 -50%) of the purchase cost|
- Customers can split purchases into monthly payment plans – 3, 6, 12 month options
- Loans from $50 – $17,500
- No hard credit checks
- APR ranges from 0 – 30% depending creditworthiness and where you are shopping
- No late fees or prepayment fees
- You will know exactly how much you are paying at checkout
Who Should Use Affirm?
Affirm is a good option for:
- Offered 0% percent financing through Affirm
- You do not qualify or necessarily want a credit card
- Looking to responsibility fund a large purchase and know how much you will pay upfront
Affirm is not a good option for:
- People looking to build their credit
- You are looking to finance everyday purchases
- You have poor credit history and trouble making on time payments
What Is Affirm?
Affirm is a San Francisco-based publicly traded financial technology company founded in 2012 by Max Levchin, the co-founder of PayPal.
The company allows customers to split purchases into multiple payments with APRs ranging from 0%-30% depending on the customer. The company also offers an FDIC high yield savings account.
Affirm is accepted by 29,000 retailers worldwide and has 7.1 million active customers.
How Does Affirm Work?
Affirm allows its customers to split purchases made at its partner stores into monthly payment plans, usually 3, 6, or 12-month plans.
Depending on your creditworthiness and where you are shopping, your APR can range from 0% – 30%, with purchasing power up to $17,500 for qualified applicants.
In other words, you may see some merchants offer 0% APR with a payback schedule of 6, 12, or 24 months, while other merchants do not have a special APR and a payback schedule of 3, 6, or 12 months.
Affirm also offers 4 interest-free payment plans depending on the merchant and the order value, paid every two weeks.
Affirm negotiates loan eligibility and criteria individually, so there’s no way to tell where you will and will not be approved with favorable terms or approved at all.
Payments are due 1 month after the purchase processing date and on the same day in the subsequent month.
There are no prepayment or late fees. However, Affirm may report delinquencies to the credit bureaus.
Step-By-Step: How Using Affirm will work
- Shop for your item at one of Affirm’s partner stores
- Choose Affirm at checkout and apply for your loan right then
- Choose your repayment plan per the options available.
Does Affirm Approve Every Purchase?
While no minimum credit score is required for approvals, Affirm does not guarantee Approval. Affirm considers a variety of factors, including:
- Credit score
- Payment history with Affirm
- How long you have had an Affirm account
Affirm negotiates loan eligibility and criteria individually, so there’s no way to tell where you will and will not be approved with favorable terms or approved at all. You may be approved at some merchants but not at others.
What’s The Downside To Using Affirm?
Affirm loans can be as high as 30%, not a minor detail. Affirm does not necessarily report payment and history information to credit agencies, unlike a revolving credit card. Furthermore, you may not be approved to purchase at all retailers as Affirm negotiated has different approval standards for each retailer.
So if you are looking for a build credit, an introductory credit card may be a better option.
Frequently Asked Questions
Alternatives To Affirm
An endless number of Buy Now Pay Later firms to appear seemingly weekly.
- Klarna (Allows customers 3 methods of financing including interest-free financing.)
- Afterpay (Allows customers to split into 4 interest-free payments for purchases as small as $10). The average purchase size using Afterpay is $150. They do not charge interest, but have late fees. Each purchase must be approved.
- Zip (Quadpay)
- Sezzle (Online only BNPL, available in the U.S. and Canada. Offers credit building through its Sezzle Up option).
The Bottom Line: Is Affirm Worth Using?
I am always apprehensive about making purchases when any interest charges are involved. However, I see value in purchasing without going through the hassle of a hard credit check and applying for a revolving credit card. To that end, you may be giving to credit-building activities as Affirm does not necessarily report all payment history to credit bureaus.
Affirm certainly has a time and place for usage – which would be for one-off purchases, perhaps for a birthday or holiday gift. I do not think it should be used for daily purchases. But I do find solace that you know up-front how much interest you will be paying which makes the cost appear more “real.”
Have you used Affirm or any other Buy Now Pay Later services? Comment below and let the RWPF audience know your thoughts.