About Affirm Loans
Thinking about making a large purchase? Maybe you’ve had your eye on some new furniture or a big project for your home. Perhaps your car broke down, and you need car parts or even just new tires. Sadly, if you don’t have cash in hand, this can be an impossible endeavor.
Enter Affirm. Affirm offers quick, easy financing options to consumers. They are upfront, offering no hidden fees and easy-to-understand terms. If you’re in the market for something new, consider our review of Affirm for your next purchase.
How Does Affirm Work?
Affirm was founded in 2012 by PayPal cofounder Max Levchin. It has uprooted the financial lending industry, and operates at multiple point-of-sale systems. All you need to supply is your social security number, name, date of birth, and phone number.
Affirm partners with hundreds of retailers to help offer you a variety of financing options. All you need to do is sign up for an account on the Affirm website, or select them as a payment option when you are on the checkout page of one of their retail partners. Through this method, you can access Affirm installment or travel loans to make life a little easier.
What are the Requirements for Affirm Loans?
There is no minimum credit score required for an Affirm loan. Affirm will complete a soft check on your credit - a bonus to many consumers, since it won’t affect your credit score. Some borrowers will be required to submit a down payment, but once you have been approved, you can choose from three repayment period options.
Once you select your choices, your payment then proceeds as normal. Affirm will send you monthly reminders of your payments, which start one month after your loan is processed.
One of the nicest features of Affirm is that it offers instant approval and financing at the point of sale (in most cases), whereas as a personal loan or credit card application will take a flat minimum of twenty-four hours to process. Affirm offers lower interest rates than most credit cards, particularly for consumers with excellent credit.
Do Affirm Loans Affect My Credit Score?
A soft credit check by Affirm will not affect your credit score, but it should be noted that it shows up on your credit report as a consumer financial loan. This can signal as a red flag to some lenders, as it makes you look a riskier borrow.
Many consumers ask the question, “How many Affirm loans can I have at once?” The short answer is no more than one. It should not be used by individuals who are trying to rebuild their credit, as each loan exists as a separate line entry.
That being said, if used responsibly and only when absolutely needed (especially if paid off early or on time), these loans do not do any more damage to your credit than any other loan, and can actually help build your credit if your history is nonexistent.
Cost of Plans
Interest rates vary from ten to thirty percent, with repayment terms offered in three, six, or twelve month chunks. There is no prepayment penalty for these loans, so if you pay your loan back before the due date, you only pay the interest that has already accrued.
When you make a purchase of $100 or more with Affirm, you can pay over 3, 6, or 12 months. For those between $50 and $99, you can pay over 3 or 6 months. Other merchants may offer different terms. Interest rates range from ten to thirty percent depending on your credit.
Because it’s a newer company, Affirm is dedicated to customer service and offers several ways to get ahold of them. There are no refund or cancellation opportunities, but you can pay off your Affirm loan without any prepayment penalties. To get ahold of Affirm, you can email them at [email protected] or call their hlepine at (855) 423-3729.
Most consumers appreciate Affirm’s easy-to-use programming and flexible repayment terms. The fixed monthly payment schedule makes it difficult to skip a payment, and while it’s not totally risk-free, it is a safe alternative to credit cards or other higher-interest options. It requires no minimum credit score or credit history. It’s a good option if you are new to credit and need to make an immediate purchase.
That being said, some customers have gotten themselves into trouble by thinking this is a low-interest loan. The opposite is true. Interest rates on these loans are high, and using Affirm is only slighter better than paying for something you cannot afford using a credit card with a high APR and even higher late fees.
One of the biggest criticisms of Affirm is that it targets millennials who have no interest in obtaining credit cards, but who are comfortable with reaching out for a one-shot line of credit for impulse purchase. Many users are choosing to take on small loans with higher interest rates, when in reality the purchase probably could have been paid off more quickly using a standard credit card.
Competitors and Alternatives to Affirm
Besides a personal loan or a high-interest credit card, there aren’t a ton of options besides Affirm. Some programs you can consider are Upstart, Karrot, and Splitit, but none of these operate in the exact way that Affirm does.
Splitit is a service that allows customers to pay for their purchases using existing credit cards and dividing the cost across as many payments as they choose. It doesn’t require opening a new line of credit, like Affirm, but if you’ve already maxed out your existing cards or don’t have credit cards, this is not an option.
Upstart is designed for borrowers and investors seeking low-interest loans. These loans are lower interest, with APRs starting below seven percent, and can act as more long-term solutions. However, they aren’t really practical for smaller purchases, since it takes at least twenty-four hours to get approved.
Finally, Karrot is another alternative that offers loans with rates as low as 6.44 percent APR to qualified borrowers. It takes at least a day to process, however, making it inopportune for last-minute or emergency purchases.
Where Can I Buy Affirm?
You can purchase Affirm via checkout at over 700 online merchants, or you can order a virtual card that can be used just about anywhere. This allows you to use Affirm for anything from digital or brick-and-mortar stores to your regular flight club.
Should I Consider Affirm?
In an ideal world, you would always have cash on hand to cover unexpected expenses. Unfortunately, in reality, this is not always the case. Life happens, and you need to have a solution in case you don’t have money to pay for whatever it is you need at that exact moment.
While not ideal for every consumer, Affirm is a great way to help make ends meet in the meantime, especially if you organize your finances wisely and are aware of the risks associated with a short-term loan.