Affirm Buy Now, Pay Later: 2023 Review
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The bottom line:
With zero fees and a no-interest option, Affirm may be a smart way to fund a necessary purchase — as long as you can make the payments.
Pros & Cons
- Offers zero-interest loans.
- No fees.
- Some loans include credit reporting.
- Monthly payment plans may charge interest.
- No option to reschedule payment.
- No phone number for customer service.
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Full Review of Affirm
Affirm offers “buy now, pay later” payment plans for online and in-store purchases when you shop at select partners, including Amazon, Walmart, Nordstrom and Best Buy.
Its zero-interest, pay-in-four loan is similar to those offered by other BNPL providers like Afterpay and PayPal. It also has longer monthly payment plans that may charge interest.
If you’re shopping for something you don’t need, NerdWallet recommends paying for it with cash. But if you need to fund an essential purchase, a BNPL plan can help you break it up into more manageable chunks. Just make sure the loan comes with zero interest or a low enough rate that you can comfortably afford the monthly payments.
Affirm at a glance
$50 - $17,500.
Monthly payment plan.
0% for pay in four.
Monthly payment plans may charge up to 30% interest.
Available online and in stores.
Conducts soft credit check
Minimum credit score
No late fee.
No other fees.
Option to reschedule a payment
Pauses account when payment is missed
How does Affirm work?
Affirm loan terms vary by merchant, meaning your repayment options and annual percentage rate will depend on where you shop with Affirm. Affirm never charges fees, which is a nice perk among BNPL lenders.
Split Pay is Affirm’s most straightforward plan and mirrors the classic pay-in-four structure common with BNPL loans. With Split Pay, Affirm divides your total purchase into four equal installments for zero interest. The first installment is typically due at checkout, and the three remaining installments are automatically billed to your debit card, checking account or credit card (whatever you used to make the purchase) every two weeks until the loan is paid off.
For example, if you have a cart totaling $100 and opt into Split Pay, you’ll pay $25 at checkout. You’ll then make three remaining payments — each $25 — over the next six weeks.
Affirm also provides longer payment plans ranging from three to 60 months. These plans can charge 0% to 30% APR, and payments are due monthly, with the first payment due one month after your purchase is processed. You may have to make an initial payment at checkout if you don’t qualify for the full loan amount.
Affirm will display all available repayment terms when you check out. Though a longer term means lower monthly payments, you’ll pay more in interest.
For example, if you took out a $500 loan with a 15% APR, here's how your monthly payment and interest would vary based on Affirm’s most common repayment terms.
Should you use Affirm?
Affirm is a reputable provider of BNPL loans and offers more repayment options than other providers. But spreading out a purchase for a longer period of time, especially if it’s something you don’t need, isn’t always a good idea. Carefully consider how long you’ll be in debt and what interest you’ll pay, if any, before agreeing to the loan’s terms.
Affirm may be a good option if you:
Are offered a zero-interest loan: Some Affirm merchants — like Amazon, Peloton and Neiman Marcus — offer zero-interest financing. As long as you make your payments on time, you can break down your purchase into installments for no additional cost.
Need to fund a large expense: If there’s a big-ticket item you need to purchase (like a new mattress or a computer), but can’t afford it outright, Affirm is a way to get your item now and pay later. Since it offers longer terms than other BNPL providers, your monthly payments could be very affordable.
Don’t qualify for a credit card: Qualifying for a BNPL plan could be easier than qualifying for a credit card, especially for borrowers who don’t have an established credit history. According to the company, Affirm never conducts a hard credit check and considers other data besides your credit score when deciding whether to approve or deny you for a loan.
Affirm is not a good idea if you:
Want to use a BNPL plan to build credit: Affirm reports payment history to Experian for some of its loans, but it isn’t guaranteed. If building credit is a priority for you, it’s best to go with a financing option where payments are always reported, like a personal loan or credit card.
Prefer to deal with issues over the phone: Users who run into a problem with their BNPL plan and need to contact Affirm will have to do so by chat, email or social media. If it’s important to you to reach a customer service agent by phone, you may want to go with another provider.
Struggle to keep track of expenses: Payment plans work best for borrowers who are certain they can keep up with the installments. If you have a hard time tracking where your money goes, you may want to avoid taking on this type of debt. Unlike some BNPL providers, Affirm also sends borrowers to collections if you’re more than 120 days delinquent on a payment, so there could be consequences for your credit if you fall behind.
How to get approved for Affirm
To be eligible for Affirm, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, be a U.S. resident, have a Social Security number and have a U.S.-registered phone number that receives texts.
According to Affirm, loan approval decisions are instantaneous. Affirm will consider your credit score, as well as any prior payment history with Affirm (including loans you may have outstanding) and how long you’ve had an Affirm account. Affirm also looks at your credit utilization, income, existing debt and any recent bankruptcies.
Each application with Affirm is assessed separately, so you may be approved for a loan at one store but denied at another. If you aren’t approved, you’ll receive an email explaining why.
Does Affirm check credit?
Affirm checks your credit with a soft credit pull, which doesn’t hurt your credit score. Though there’s no minimum requirement, Affirm considers your credit score as part of your application.
How does Affirm compare?
APR (monthly payment plans)
4 installments, due every 2 weeks; monthly payment plans range from 3-60 months.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks; monthly payment plans of six or 12 months.
$8 late fee.
Not yet rated.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks; monthly payment plans of 6-24 months.
$7 late fee.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks; monthly payment plans of 6, 12 or 24 months.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks.
4 installments, due every 2 weeks.
» COMPARE: 6 popular buy now, pay later apps
Alternatives to Affirm
If you have good or excellent credit (690 credit score or higher), you may consider a 0% APR credit card. These cards offer introductory periods of up to 21 months and charge no interest during that period. You may also receive a sign-up bonus or access to a rewards program.
If you’re looking to fund a large, essential purchase, you could apply for a personal loan. Personal loans have fixed interest rates and longer repayment terms, and there are options for borrowers with fair or bad credit (689 credit score or lower).
You can pre-qualify with NerdWallet to see your loan options. Pre-qualifying doesn’t affect your credit score.
How to get Affirm
Shop with Affirm online and in stores
Many retailers have Affirm directly integrated into online checkout, which means when you go to pay, you can apply and opt into an Affirm plan directly on the retailer’s website.
If you want to shop in person with Affirm, you can apply for a one-time virtual card at Affirm.com or on the mobile app. Once approved, you can save this card to your mobile wallet and use it to check out at a physical store (or online, too).
Download the Affirm app
You can download the Affirm app to create an account and see what type of loan you may be eligible for by pre-qualifying. Pre-qualifying isn’t the same thing as getting approved for a loan, but it gives you an idea of how much you can borrow with Affirm.
Select the button below to get started on Affirm.
NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates “buy now, pay later” loan products from the top financial technology providers. We collect over 40 data points from each lender, verify the information with company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar BNPL product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.
Our star ratings award points to BNPL providers that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, zero interest and minimal fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service and built-in borrower protections. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.
This methodology applies to classic BNPL loans, which divide payment into four equal installments, typically due over six weeks. Some providers offer other loan products with longer terms, which may be mentioned in the review but are not part of the rating process. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for buy now, pay later and our editorial guidelines.