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Acima Credit: 2018 Review

Oct. 9, 2018
Loans, Personal Loans
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Acima Credit provides lease-to-own financing on items such as furniture and home appliances. It’s an option for borrowers with bad credit, though leasing is costly if you’re unable to pay it off early.

Acima Credit rates and terms

Lease amountsUp to $5,000
Repayment options and costs
  • Repay over 12 months: Pay approximately two times original invoice amount.
  • Repay within 90 days: $10 fee.
  • Repay after 90 days but before 12 months: Discount on remaining payments owed, depending on payoff date and state.
All leases have a $40 rental agreement fee.

Payments can be made weekly, twice a week, monthly or twice a month.
Time to fundingImmediate
Soft credit check?Yes
How to qualify
  • Minimum credit score: None.
  • Minimum income: $1,000 per month in checking account over at least 3 months.
  • Must have no non-sufficient funds, overdrafts or negative balances on a checking account.
Best for:Bad credit; purchases for which the lease can be repaid in full within 90 days.

Acima Credit review

Acima Credit offers point-of-sale financing with instant approval. Applications for its lease-to-own financing are made online or in-store through participating merchants, such as furniture and appliance stores.

Upon applying, Acima does a soft credit pull, though approval is based mainly on your income and checking account history instead of credit history. To qualify, you’ll need a monthly income of at least $1,000 over the past three months, deposited into a checking account.

Early repayment options

Acima offers one lease model — a 12-month rent-to-own agreement — but customers can request one of two early payoff options to lower costs:

Repay within 90 days: You pay the price of the item, plus a $10 payment processing fee and a $40 rental agreement fee. About a third of Acima’s customers use this option, according to the company.

Repay after 90 days, but before 12 months: You pay an amount that’s less than the remaining payments owed. The amount of the discount is based on the payoff date and your state’s lease laws, according to Acima.

You must contact Acima’s customer service department to exercise either early payoff option. Acima takes automatic electronic payments from your checking account over the repayment period.

Lease example: You purchase furniture that costs $1,000 and sign a lease agreeing to pay $2,000 over 12 months. If you pay off the lease in the sixth month, the total cost would be approximately $1,500, according to the company.

Returns: You can return an item, but only after your first payment. Some retailers may accept returns within 60 days of purchase; after 60 days, returns go through Acima.

Customer complaints: Acima Credit has more than 150 complaints with the Better Business Bureau, the majority on billing and collections. Several customers have reported issues exercising Acima’s 90-day, early-payoff option.

Acima says its legal department responds to all complaints at the BBB.

» MORE: Rent-to-own: Be informed before you sign

Is Acima Credit right for you?

ACIMA CREDIT MAY BE A GOOD OPTION IF YOU:

Must buy something immediately and you don’t have savings or a credit card: Acima offers financing on items typically made with a credit card. Given the high costs, it makes sense only if you pay off the lease within 90 days. Paying it off over 12 months doubles the cost of your purchase.

Have bad credit: Acima has no minimum credit score requirement and approval is based mainly on your income. Acima also reports payment activity to credit bureau Experian, so timely payments may help build your credit.

ACIMA CREDIT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA IF YOU:

Can’t pay it off early: Acima technically owns the item until you’ve repaid the lease in full. If you choose the 12-month term, you’ll pay almost double the purchase price. Read the terms and conditions carefully before leasing.

Have unstable income: If your income is volatile or uncertain and you miss a payment, you become ineligible for the early payoff options and your lease defaults to a 12-month payment plan.

Have good credit: Better financing options may be available to you. For example, credit cards can offer cash back, rewards and 0% interest promotions, and personal loans typically cost less and have longer repayment terms than Acima.

How Acima Credit compares

Credit cards and personal loans are two less expensive alternatives to Acima Credit, and you’ll own the items immediately upon purchase.

 Acima CreditCredit cardsPersonal loans
Used forMaking a purchase at a retailerMaking a purchase at a retailer, paying bills, consolidating debtAny purpose (debt consolidation, small or large purchases, medical expenses)
Loan amountsUp to $5,000Up to $5,000 or more Between $1,000 and $50,000
APR rangeMore than 100% (if repaid over 12 months)15% to 20% or higher5% to 36%
Loan duration12 months; early payment options availableNone 2 to 5 years
Time to fundingImmediate7 to 10 daysUp to a week
FeesRental agreement fee, early payoff feeAnnual fee, late fee, over the limit fee, returned payment feeOrigination fee, late fee
Credit checkSoft checkSoft and hard checksSoft check, followed by hard check

NerdWallet recommends comparing borrowing options to find what works best for you. To compare personal loan options, click the button below to see estimated rates from multiple lenders on NerdWallet.

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