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Affirm financing review: Buy now, pay later

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Affirm
Terms and conditions apply. Rates and fees
Annual fee
$0
Recommended credit score
740

Our verdict

Pay for your purchases over time with several payback options — but your repayment history could negatively affect your credit score.

Affirm is a point-of-sale (POS), buy now, pay later (BNPL) service that gives you flexible payback options to shop from over a dozen categories and retailers, including Black-owned businesses. It stands out for charging no fees: no annual fees, no prepayment fees and no late fees. Plus, it advertises APRs of 0% to 15% for different loan terms.

But the fine print states APRs can be anywhere between 0% and 36%, based on your creditworthiness and loan amount. While there's no hit to your credit score to open an account and prequalify, don't expect to build your credit with an Affirm loan. It doesn't report on-time payments to the credit bureaus — only late ones and only to Experian.

Best for: When you need to make an emergency or urgent purchase but don't own a credit card and are short on the total purchase amount.

Pros

  • Charges no fees or penalties
  • Offers flexible, 0% APR for short-term loan options
  • No hard credit check to open an account and prequalify
  • No minimum credit score requirement

Cons

  • Doesn't build your credit score
  • Reports late payments to Experian
  • Charges up to a 36% APR based on creditworthiness
  • Can contribute to an ongoing cycle of debt

In this guide

  • Our verdict
  • Details
    • Features
    • Fees
  • Your reviews
  • Ask a question

Details

Features

Annual fee $0
Welcome offer N/A
Rewards N/A
Balance transfer APR N/A
Minimum credit score 740
Issuer Store card

Fees

Security deposit N/A

What does it mean to prequalify?

Once you create an account, Affirm does a soft pull on your credit to determine your borrowing limit. There’s no effect on your credit rating, and you only start repayments after you make your purchase

Affirm allows you to buy items you need now without paying the total cost. Depending on what you buy, you can choose three different loan plan options and payback terms.

Loan planRepayment termsAPR
Pay in 4
  • First payment at purchase
  • Pay each installment every 2 weeks over a total of 8 weeks
0%
6-month
  • Pay on the same day each month for 6 six months
15%
12-month
  • Pay on the same day each month for a year
15%

Purchase small, everyday items and choose Affirm at checkout to pay the amount back in equal biweekly installments over eight weeks. Or choose monthly repayments for big-ticket items over six to 12 months.

The Pay in 4 repayment plan is interest-free, whereas the six-month and year-long plans carry a 15% APR. The longer your plan, the more you’ll pay in interest. Let’s suppose you need to purchase a $1500 plane ticket to visit a sick relative:

$1500 airfarePaymentAPRTotal cost
Pay in 4 (8 weeks)Down payment up front, then $375 every 2 weeks0%$1500
6-month term$261.05 monthly15%$1566.30
12-month term$135.3915%$1624.65

How do I borrow and repay with Affirm?

Borrow with Affirm through its website, app or browser extension. At checkout, simply choose Affirm as your payment method.

Choose to pay with a debit card, checking account or mail in a check. You may repay some Pay in 4 loans with a credit card other than a Capital One card.

Autopay is a handy way to set up regular payments from your bank account or debit card. If you choose to repay your loan sooner, you won’t be charged a prepayment fee, and you’ll save on interest if your loan comes with an APR.

Take note: You’ll have separate loans each time you borrow from Affirm. So, if you purchased that plane ticket, then needed to shop for new luggage to take on the trip and take your cat to the vet before leaving, you’ll have three separate active loans each with their own terms and repayment schedules.

What credit score do I need to qualify for an Affirm loan?

The Affirm website states there’s no minimum credit score to qualify for a buy now, pay later (BNPL) loan. Along with a soft pull on your credit, Affirm determines whether you qualify for a loan based on your:

  • Income.
  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI).
  • Previous repayment history with Affirm.
  • Loans you already have with Affirm.
  • Length of time with an Affirm account.
  • Verification of income and debt obligations.
  • Recent bankruptcies.

Is Affirm safe?

All sensitive information 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.

Affirm reviews and complaints

As of April 2023, Affirm scores 1.15 out of 5 stars on the Better Business Bureau, based on over 800 customer reviews. Several customers report paying for products never received, trouble getting refunds for canceled flights and making payments on time but still getting reported to Experian.

It scores low on Trustpilot as well, earning 2.6 out of 5 stars based on over 4,800 reviews. Some shoppers report customer service issues and trouble getting refunds, while others complimented the service for an efficient overall process.

How to get approved for Affirm

You must meet the following criteria to create an Affirm account:

  • Be at least 18 years old (19 in Nebraska)
  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • Have a social security number
  • Have a US-registered cell phone that receives 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 in-store or online.

How do I create an Affirm account?

Follow these steps to create your account with Affirm.

  1. Go to Affirm’s site.
  2. Choose Create your account in the upper right corner to begin the application.
  3. Enter your mobile number once you’re redirected to a simple form.
  4. Wait for Affirm to text you a confirmation number.
  5. Enter the confirmation number in the box online and select Verify.

Once you have an account, you may 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. If you’re offered a loan, confirm it to finalize your purchase.

Compare buy now, pay later services

Narrow down BNPL products to find the best for your budget and financial goals. Select up to four services and hit Compare to see them side by side.

Name Product Convenience fee Payment term Number of merchants
PayPal
PayPal
$0
Pay in 4 (four interest-free payments) or Pay Monthly (6, 12, or 24 payments)
Available where PayPal is accepted
Buy now, pay later. Choose Pay in 4 or Pay Monthly when you use PayPal for purchases.
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Bottom line

Affirm is a BNPL service that could be useful for emergencies and other unexpected expenses. It offers three repayment terms, sometimes without an APR. And there’s no negative effect on your credit rating to prequalify for an account.

But if you want to build your creditworthiness, your payment history won’t boost your credit score. In fact, Affirm reports to Experian if you’re late making repayments, potentially lowering your credit rating. And if using Affirm becomes a habit, it could lead to an ongoing cycle of debt.

If Affirm doesn’t quite meet your BNPL needs, you may find other options on our BNPL comparison page.

Frequently asked questions

How do I contact Affirm?
Email help@affirm.com 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. Multiple loans are possible, but excessive loans or unpaid debts could result in a cycle of ongoing debt and getting rejected on 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 your budget can handle your loan before signing any contract.

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Melanie Finder

Editor

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Avatar

Maria

November 15, 2019

Did I fail the credit application?


Avatar

Joshua Finder

November 18, 2019

Hi Maria,


Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃


If you already have an Affirm account and you started your application, you usually learn whether you’re approved or not shortly after. If you’re offered a loan, they let you know. You can then confirm it to finalize your purchase.


To confirm whether you are approved or not, you can directly get in touch with Affirm.


I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.


Have a wonderful day!


Cheers,

Joshua


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Jeremy

August 27, 2019

Is Affirm still barred from giving loans to WV residents?


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Charisse Finder

August 29, 2019

Hi Jeremy,


Thanks for reaching out to Finder.


Yes. Unfortunately, residents of West Viginia as well as Iowa cannot sign up for Affirm and use their service.


I hope this helps.


Cheers,

Charisse


Avatar

Polly

August 01, 2019

My payment is due in the first of each month. I overlooked making my July 1 payment and did not make it until August 1 with the August payment. When I logged in it stated my July 1 pay was 31 days late. I wanted to know if this will cause a negative mark on my credit.


Avatar

Jeni Finder

August 02, 2019

Hi Polly,


Thank you for getting in touch with Finder.


Sorry to hear about your late payment. Please note that Affirm reports information about your loan and payment activity to credit reporting bureaus. Your late payment might reflect on your credit report. I suggest that you contact Affirm directly on this matter for further clarification.


I hope this helps.


Thank you and have a wonderful day!


Cheers,

Jeni


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Vlad

July 24, 2019

Does Affirm operate in UK?


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Jhez Finder

July 24, 2019

Hi Vlad,


Thank you for your comment.


Affirm works across the U.S. only, hence, it does not operate in the U.K.


Regards,

Jhezelyn


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