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Affirm financing review
An alternative to credit cards for online purchases, but with some limitations.
Need furniture for your new apartment or a flight home for the holidays? Instead of slapping it on plastic, Affirm could offer more affordable repayment options. But there are downsides, like racking up debt and hurting your credit score when you make late payments.
Here's what you need to know about this popular buy now, pay later service — from the nitty-gritty to the fine print.
How does Affirm work?
Affirm is an online lender for retail products that works by providing up to $17,500 in financing directly through its partner stores. It’s similar to a credit card, allowing you to make an online purchase immediately and pay it back in fixed installments. Rates typically range from 0% to 30%, though 0% financing isn’t available with every store. You typically have up to one year to pay it back.
You can borrow with Affirm through its website or through one of its partner’s websites. At checkout, simply choose Affirm as your method of payment.
Unlike some other lenders or credit cards, Affirm performs a soft pull on your credit, meaning your credit score won’t be affected. Once you get a loan, you’ll be notified with a text or email before each monthly payment is due.
Choose to pay with an ACH transfer, debit card or check. If you choose to pay back your loan sooner, you’ll save on interest and won’t be charged a prepayment fee.
Features of shopping with Affirm
- Extra security. Because you don't provide a credit card number for purchases made through Affirm, you benefit from an extra layer of protection against identity theft or fraud.
- Flexible payback terms. Depending on how much you can afford to pay each month, choose payback terms of three, six or 12 months using online payments, debit cards or checks.
- No prepayment penalties. Save money and improve your credit score by paying back your loan early — with no added fees.
- No late fees. Don't worry about getting dinged with a late fee if you miss a payment. However, while you might not take a hit financially, missing a payment could negatively affect your credit score.
- Builds credit. Taking out a loan and repaying it on time improves your credit score.
- Take out multiple Affirm loans at once. Each Affirm application is evaluated as a separate, closed-end transaction, so you can have several Affirm loans open at once.
- Soft credit pull. Applying for Affirm financing won't hurt your credit score since it uses a soft credit check, which doesn't affect your credit. However, any purchases you make using Affirm can affect your credit score.
- Get payment reminders. Affirm will send you email and text reminders about upcoming payments.
- Manage your account on the go. Affirm's easy-to-use mobile app lets you make payments and manage your account from any device, anywhere.
How much does Affirm cost?
The only cost associated with Affirm financing is the interest on what you borrow — you'll never be charged a late fee, prepayment fee or other added costs.
Affirm makes it clear how much you'll pay once you apply for your loan. For example, if you borrow $500 and are offered a 20% interest rate, paying back your loan over three months would cost $516.75 — or $16.75 in interest.
Sometimes, Affirm will require a down payment if you're not approved for the full purchase amount. Make your down payment with a debit or credit card, and Affirm covers the rest.
Is Affirm safe?
Affirm takes data protection seriously. All sensitive information that you provide Affirm is transferred with TLS and stored with AES 128-bit or higher encryption, and encryption keys are stored at an offsite facility.
Does Affirm hurt your credit?
Signing up for Affirm will not hurt your credit. However, late or missed payments with Affirm can negatively affect your credit score since Affirm reports to major credit bureau Experian. Make sure you're able to repay the amount that you borrow within the given timeframe.
What are Affirm's interest rates?
Rates range between 10% to 30% APR based on the customer's credit. You can choose a repayment schedule that works for you, with options of three months, six months or 12 months.
Should I use Affirm?
Affirm isn't right for everyone. It can be useful in some situations, but sometimes other options might work better.
Consider Affirm if…
- You need to make a purchase now. Basic household items and emergency plane tickets sometimes can't wait for you to save up. Affirm allows you to make this purchase right away, sometimes even at a lower rate than a credit card.
- You're not eligible for a credit card. Affirm works with a wide range of credit types, including those who haven't yet built a strong credit history.
- Your credit limit is too low. With loans up to $17,500, Affirm beats out many borrower's credit limits.
Look elsewhere if…
- You can pay it off in a month or two. It's cheaper and easier to use a credit card you already have and pay it off before it starts accumulating interest.
- You have time to save. Not an urgent purchase? Avoid taking on unnecessary debt by saving up instead.
- You already have a lot of credit card debt. Consider working on paying off your balance first before taking out a loan to avoid getting caught in a cycle of debt.
Affirm reviews and complaints
Affirm has a mixed online reputation as of November 2020. It scores slightly over 1 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau, based on over 160 customer reviews. Several customers cited unprofessional staff and trouble closing an account as the main source of complaint.
It does better on Trustpilot, scoring 4.6 out of 5 stars based on more than 3,375 reviews, with some shoppers complaining about customer service while others complimented the service for an efficient overall process.
How to sign up for Affirm
To sign up for an Affirm account, you'll need to meet the following criteria:
- Have a credit score of 550 or higher
- Be at least 18 years old (19 in Alabama)
- Be a citizen or permanent resident of the US
- Have cell phone service and agree to text alerts
If you're eligible to apply, simply create an online account with Affirm or choose Affirm as your payment method when checking out on one of its partner merchant sites.
What credit score do I need to qualify for an Affirm loan?
You need to have a credit score of at least 550 to qualify for an Affirm loan. But other factors like income, employment and your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) can also affect loan applications.
To create an account directly with Affirm:
To create your account with Affirm, follow these steps.
- Go to Affirm's site.
- Choose Create Account in the upper right corner to begin the application.
- Enter your mobile number once you're redirected to a simple form.
- Wait for Affirm to text you a confirmation number.
- Enter the confirmation number in the box online and select Verify.
Once you have an account, you can apply for a loan through Affirm for purchases at its partner merchants. Each inquiry begins with a soft credit check, and you'll learn whether you're approved shortly after.
Affirm might ask for additional information about your checking account to verify your identity and ability to pay. If you're offered a loan, confirm it to finalize your purchase.
Alternatives to Affirm
Not feeling totally sold on Affirm? There are other buy now, pay later options you can check out, like Afterpay, Klarna or Quadpay. Browse our list of all the online stores that allow you to take advantage of interest-free financing.
Have more questions about Affirm?
How do I contact Affirm?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-423-3729 to get in touch with an Affirm representative.
Are Affirm loans insured?
Yes. Affirm funds its loans through Cross River Bank, which is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Is there a credit limit with Affirm?
No. Affirm considers each application individually. You can take out multiple loans, but excessive loans or unpaid debts could result in the rejection of future applications.
What should I do if I know I'll be late on my bill?
Contact Affirm as soon as possible to let them know you might be late. While Affirm does not impose late fees, late payments can affect your credit and ability to borrow in the future. Make sure that your budget can handle your loan before signing any contract.
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