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The Affirm buy now, pay later (BNPL) app finances purchases with rates as low as 0% for up to 36 months with no hidden fees. The app charges simple interest on its loans, and you'll never pay more than your original payment schedule, even if your payment is late.
- Pros and Cons
- Key Takeaways
- Company Overview
Interest rates as low as 0%
Does not charge late fees
Purchase amounts up to $17,500
Interest rates as high as 30%
May require a credit check
Prequalification does not guarantee transactions are approved
- Instant buy now, pay later financing at over 11,500 stores
- Customers can choose payment plans that work for them at checkout
- Charges simple interest on loans without any hidden fees
- Affirm credit card allows charges over $100 to be split into four payments
- Can be difficult to reach customer service if problems arise
Affirm is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: AFRM) with a market cap of over $18 billion. It was founded in 2012 and is located in San Francisco, California. This buy now, pay later lender has funded over 17 million customer purchases. Customers can shop at over 11,500 participating retailers online or through its app. Additionally, you can use the Affirm app to create a virtual card number to shop online or in-person wherever Visa is accepted.
- Credit Limit Varies per person; Maximum purchase amount is $17,500
- Amount Due at Purchase Can be as little as $0
- Repayment Terms Pay in four loans: 25% upfront and 25% every two weeks; Longer-term loans: Up to 36 months
- Interest Varies by retailer and customer credit; Rates as low as 0%; Standard rates from 10% to 30%
- Credit Check Required Credit check may be required
- Minimum Credit Score Not available
- Late Fees None
- Other Financing Products Virtual card to use in-store or online; Affirm credit card (waiting list available); Affirm savings account
- Company Website www.affirm.com
Affirm is a buy now, pay later app that enables customers to buy items today and pay for them over time. Unlike a credit card, Affirm loans have a fixed payment schedule that is known prior to the completion of each purchase. Because Affirm does not charge any fees, customers will never pay more for their purchases than the agreed-upon payment schedule.
Customers can shop online or through the Affirm app at over 11,500 participating retailers. The Affirm app can create virtual card numbers to shop online or in-store at any retailer that accepts Visa credit cards. Customers can choose from a variety of payment schedules of up to 36 months when completing their purchase instead of the standard Pay in 4 method that most competing BNPL apps offer.
- Interest rates as low as 0%. When you shop with Affirm, some retailers offer rates as low as 0% on your purchases. This no-interest financing ensures that you won't pay anything extra beyond the purchase price of your items.
- Does not charge late fees. Affirm does not charge hidden fees of any kind, including late fees. If your payment is late, you will not be charged a fee; however, your ability to shop will be turned off. In some cases, partial and late payments may hurt your credit score and reduce your odds of getting another loan with Affirm. Since Affirm does not charge any fees, it is one of the best options for customers who have trouble making payments on time.
- Purchase amounts up to $17,500. Affirm offers financing for larger purchases, up to $17,500, as well. Your ability to make such a large purchase depends on your credit, and a down payment may be required. This is one of the largest purchase amounts that we've been able to confirm from any BNPL app.
- Interest rates as high as 30%. Shoppers who use BNPL services are often trying to avoid high interest rates that are comparable to credit cards. With standard interest rates ranging from 10% to 30%, customers may want to explore other payment options first for retailers that do not offer 0% financing.
- May require a credit check. Affirm may do a soft credit inquiry to verify a customer's identity and to prequalify them for their spending limit. While this does not affect their credit score, some competing BNPL lenders do not check credit at all. For customers who have bad credit or limited credit experience, this may affect their ability to get approved for a purchase or the interest rate that they pay.
- Prequalification does not guarantee transactions are approved. Prequalification provides an estimate of how much you can spend while shopping with Affirm. However, each potential purchase must be approved before you can complete your transaction. This means that, although you are prequalified, your transaction can be declined.
How It Works
When you open an account with Affirm, you receive prequalification and a maximum spending limit. These limits vary by customer, but the maximum purchase amount allowed by Affirm is $17,500. Each time that you attempt a purchase, that transaction requires approval by Affirm, even if you are well below your spending limit.
During checkout, you will be presented with multiple payment options that you can select based on your budget. While some transactions are the standard Pay in 4 that other buy now, pay later apps offer, many purchases receive payment plans of three, six, or 12 months. Some transactions may have even more time to pay off the purchase.
Payments are automatically withdrawn from your bank account or debit card according to the details of your purchase contract. You will not be charged a late fee if your payment is late, but late payments could affect your ability to make purchases with Affirm in the future.
Since most BNPL apps focus on Pay in 4 financing, customers who want more time to pay off their purchases may choose Affirm over its competitors.
Interest and Fees
Interest rates vary based on which retailer you are shopping with and, in some cases, your personal credit history. You'll find many retailers with financing as low as 0% on Affirm's website and in the app. These retailers include popular brand names like Ring, Casper, Dyson, and Mirror.
Other purchases that charge interest have rates ranging from 10% to 30%, depending on the retailer and your credit history. Affirm charges simple interest, rather than compound interest, so your payment schedule remains the same throughout your payback period.
Affirm does not charge any fees on its loans or to open an account. There are no hidden fees, and you will not pay a fee if your payment is late; however, it is possible that your late payment will impact your credit history and credit score.
The 0% offers from Affirm provide the same no-interest financing as other buy now, pay later services. However, most of those require a 25% down payment upon approval and 25% payments every two weeks until your transaction is paid off. While Affirm may charge a higher rate of interest, many of its loans are three, six, or 12 months long. Some are even as long as 36 months.
Affirm does not charge fees of any kind, including late fees.
When you're ready to use Affirm to finance your purchases, you start by opening an account with Affirm. Affirm will perform a soft inquiry into your credit report to verify your identity and review your credit. This will not impact your credit score, and the soft inquiry will not post to your credit report.
Based on your credit report and personal information, you'll be prequalified to make purchases up to your spending limit. Each time you want to make a purchase, Affirm will approve each transaction individually. Although you may have available credit under your spending limit, that does not guarantee that your transaction will be approved.
To make purchases, you'll need to link your bank account or debit card number. This is where your payments will be made from each billing period.
Affirm offers mobile apps for both Apple and Android mobile devices. In the app, you can access your account to browse and make purchases, view your transaction history, and pay your bill. The app offers a personalized experience based on your shopping history, favorite merchants, and spending limit.
Using the app, you can shop at over 11,500 merchants or create a virtual card to shop anywhere Visa is accepted. The app gives you exclusive offers and special financing rates as low as 0% at participating merchants. If you need to return an item or request a refund, you can also coordinate that through the app.
Beyond shopping, customers may open a high-yield Affirm Savings Account through the app. It has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements, so you can open it with just a few dollars.
Getting in touch with Affirm to discuss your account can be a challenge. The website does not provide a phone number or email address for customer service. Instead, you have to go through Help Center menus to try to find solutions to your questions or problems. Some Help Center articles provide webforms to request information, such as requesting verification that a loan was paid off.
Affirm also has a Digital Assistant bot that uses artificial intelligence and chatbox technologies to try to address your questions.
If you have additional questions that cannot be answered via the Help Center or Digital Assistant, Affirm requests that you send a letter to the Customer Care team at Affirm, Inc., 30 Isabella Street, Floor 4, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
Through outside sources, we identified 855-423-3729 as Affirm's Customer Service phone number. Additionally, you may email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions that you cannot get answered on its site.
Affirm does not readily disclose direct contact information for customer service on its website.
While many customers are satisfied with Affirm's financing options, the lack of straightforward options to communicate with customer service can lead to breakdowns in communication. From customer reviews online, this seems to be the root cause of the issues that lead to negative experiences with the company.
Buy now, pay later financing is the primary service that Affirm offers, but it is branching out to other financial services, as well. Affirm customers can open an Affirm Savings Account today and join the waitlist for its forthcoming credit card.
The Affirm Savings Account is a high-yield online savings account that has no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. It is totally free, and you'll earn a high annual percentage yield on every dollar that you deposit. As of June 13, 2021, the account is offering a 0.65% APY, which Affirm states is 13 times higher than the national average.
Affirm will soon release its own credit card. The Affirm Card will offer the benefits of BNPL to eligible purchases so that you can pay for them over time without incurring any interest. Eligible purchases over $100 can be split into four easy payments to fit your budget. The card does not have any fees for late payments, prepayments, annual fees, or to open or close the account. The Affirm Card is not yet available, but you can add your name to the waitlist to be notified when it is released.
Affirm vs. Klarna
Klarna and Affirm offer similar buy now, pay later services with longer financing terms than many competitors offer. These longer-term loans make it easier to purchase big-ticket items and spread out the payments without the high interest rates of traditional credit cards.
Both companies also allow customers to use virtual card numbers to make purchases where traditional credit cards are accepted. These virtual card numbers make it easier to shop at your favorite stores, even if those stores don't have a direct relationship with either financing company.
|Amount Due at Purchase||As low as $0||25%|
|Repayment Terms||Varies by loan type||Pay 25% every 2 weeks|
|Interest||0% or 10% to 30%||None if paid on time|
|Credit Check Required||Varies by loan type||Soft credit check|
|Minimum Credit Score||Not available||Not available|
|Other Financing Products||Virtual card numbers
The Affirm Card
Affirm Savings Account
|Pay in 30 days with no interest
6- to 36-month financing
Virtual card numbers
Affirm provides attractive buy now, pay later financing for customers at thousands of retailers. Customers can create virtual card numbers to shop online or in-person at their favorite stores, even if they don't offer Affirm financing directly. When its credit card is released, it will be even easier to tap into BNPL financing to spread out the payments on eligible purchases.
While its financing options are appealing, reaching customer service in case there is an issue can be troublesome. Customer service phone numbers and email addresses are not available on its website, so reaching someone can be frustrating. Online reviews from dissatisfied customers reinforce this issue.
As long as you are confident that you won't have any issues, Affirm is a good choice to finance your purchases. If you're the type of shopper that wants easy access to customer service to resolve potential issues, you should steer clear of Affirm.
To create this review of the Affirm buy now, pay later app, we analyzed publicly available information from its website, mobile apps, and other relevant sources. We focused on information that we considered most important to our readers as they consider using a BNPL service for their shopping needs. Data points related to interest rates, credit limits, repayment terms, credit requirements, fees, app features, and more were gathered to provide the most up-to-date review possible of Affirm's services. This information is updated on a regular basis to ensure that readers can make an informed decision when financing their purchases.