Credit & Debt Buy Now Pay Later

Affirm Review

Loans as low as 0% for up to 36 months with no late fees

We recommend the best products through an independent review process, and advertisers do not influence our picks. We may receive compensation if you visit partners we recommend. Read our advertiser disclosure for more info.

Our Take

The Affirm buy now, pay later (BNPL) app finances purchases with rates as low as 0% for up to 48 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

Pros
  • Interest rates as low as 0%

  • Does not charge late fees

  • Purchase amounts up to $17,500

Cons
  • Interest rates as high as 30%

  • May require a credit check

  • Prequalification does not guarantee transactions are approved

Key Takeaways

  • Instant buy now, pay later financing at over 235,000 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 to be split into four payments
  • Can be difficult to reach customer service if problems arise

Company Overview

Affirm is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: AFRM) with a market cap of $4.9 billion (as of October 14, 2022). It was founded in 2012 and is located in San Francisco, California. This buy now, pay later lender has over 14 million active consumers. You can use the Affirm app to create a virtual card number to shop online or in-person wherever Visa is accepted.

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 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 48 months when completing their purchase instead of the standard Pay in 4 method that most competing BNPL apps offer.

Pros Explained

  • 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. 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.

Cons Explained

  • 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, Room & Board, and Figs.

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 48 months.

Affirm does not charge fees of any kind, including late fees.

Approval Process

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.

Mobile App

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 participating 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.

Customer Service

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.

If you have additional questions that cannot be answered via the Help Center, 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 help@affirm.com or cares@affirm.com 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.

Customer Satisfaction

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.

Other Services

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 debit 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 Nov. 14, 2022, the account is offering a 3.25% APY.

Affirm has released its own debit card. The Affirm Debit+ offers 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.

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.

  Affirm Klarna 
Credit Limit Varies Varies 
Amount Due at Purchase  As low as $0 25% 
Repayment Terms  Varies by loan type Varies by loan type 
Interest  0% or 10% to 30% 0% to 24.99%
Credit Check Required  Varies by loan type Varies by loan type 
Minimum Credit Score  Not available Not available 
Late Fees  None $3 per installment
Other Financing Products  Virtual card numbers; The Affirm Debit+ Card; Affirm Savings Account Pay in 30 days with no interest; 6- to 24-month financing; Virtual card numbers

Final Verdict

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.

Methodology

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.

Compare This Card
See how this card compares to similar cards
CURRENT CARD
Recommended Credit
Score Our recommended ranges are based off of the FICO® Score 8 credit-scoring model. Credit score is one of the many factors lenders review in considering your application.
No Credit Check Required
Investopedia Credit Card Rating Methodology
Investopedia is committed to delivering the best credit card recommendations in the industry. We’ll tell you when a card is good, we’ll tell you when a card is bad, and we’ll only call a card the best if we would recommend it to our friends or family members.
Overall Star Rating Explained
To rate credit cards we objectively assess, score and weight nearly 100 individual card features which roll up into five major feature sets: fees, interest, rewards, benefits and security/customer service. Here’s how we weighted those feature sets for the overall star rating of a card:
We have applied our proprietary rating methodology to every generally-accepted credit card in the U.S. domestic market to allow consumers to make fully informed choices. It’s important to note that for our overall score that we make a number of assumptions about how you would be using your credit card:
  1. While we make no assumption as to whether balances are carried on a given card we do assign varying weights to all credit cards’ introductory APR (if present) in addition to the regular, long term purchase and balance transfer interest rates.
  2. We utilize BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) income and average category spending data to calculate annual earnings rates for rewards cards that offer cash back, points or miles rewards at a set rate on all spending or in consideration of bonus rewards for certain spending categories, like gasoline, groceries, restaurants or travel.
  3. We determine the maximum points value of rewards cards by dividing the points, cash back or miles required to exchange for the retail price of the most valuable redemption option (for example, in the case of a card that offers a domestic roundtrip airline ticket as a redemption option vs. another redemption option of lesser value that requires the same amount of points or miles to acquire, we would base the rewards value on the airline ticket).
  • Cards that are selected best overall in their respective categories generally feature most if not all of the following attributes:
  • Low or Reasonable Fees Credit card fees come in many forms but the primary ones involve those for annual card membership and balance transfer. There are a myriad of reward and non-reward card options that charge no annual fee but for the many that do assess an annual fee the cost is often justified by their lucrative ongoing rewards and initial signup bonuses. Balance transfer fees are occasionally waived during introductory periods with certain cards, a factor which is heavily and positively weighted in our scoring model for cards offering this benefit. When charged, balance transfer fees range between 3% - 5%, which we grade accordingly. Other standard fees can generally be avoided, such as those for paying late or taking cash advances but we rate those relative to other cards in the market for reference, though with less weight assigned
  • Competitive Interest Many cards offer 0% introductory APR on purchases and balance transfers for varying lengths and then revert to a permanent or regular APR (based on a variable rate tied to the prime rate) that applies to any balances not paid in full. We rate both introductory APR percentage and length (in months) along with the midpoint of the variable regular APR interest rate range.
  • Valuable Rewards Credit card reward programs can be based on cash back, points or travel rewards (which can be generic or travel partner-specific, as with airline and hotel co-brand card programs). For cards that offer rewards we determine the value per dollar spent along with average redemption values and assign more favorable ratings to cards that offer superior consumer value. We also assign value to sign-up bonus offers and their initial spending requirements, when present.
  • Excellent Benefits Credit card benefits cover a range of offerings like concierge service, TSA Pre-check, auto rental coverage, travel accident insurance, lost luggage assistance and free credit scores. We rate cards on the number and level of over a dozen standard and upscale benefits and provide extra weighting emphasis for those travel-related perks that apply to premium travel cards when present.
  • Solid Security/Customer Service Security and customer service features like lost or stolen card replacement, being able to lock one’s card from an issuer app and 24 hour customer support are becoming more standard across the card market and we provide a significant amount of weighting to features in this area.
  • You can also read the full version of our methodology for a more in-depth look at how we assess cards and award them the best in various categories.