Affirm Review

A BNPL app with a high credit limit and multiple payment options

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Affirm logo

Affirm logo

Our Take

Affirm is a buy now, pay later (BNPL) app that can be used to fund purchases between $50 and $17,500 using multiple repayment options. Although Affirm offers loans with interest rates ranging from 0% to 30%, it does a soft credit check before you’re approved for a loan. If you’d prefer a lower interest rate or no credit check, you might want to pick another provider.

  • Pros and Cons
  • Key Takeaways
  • Specifications
Pros and Cons
Pros
  • Easy to sign up

  • No payment due at time of purchase

  • High credit limit

Cons
  • May report delinquent payments to credit bureau

  • Some loans come with high interest

  • Complaints about customer service

Key Takeaways
  • Affirm is a BNPL service that offers customers a variety of repayment terms usually ranging from three, six, or 12-months with no payment due at the time of purchase.
  • With Affirm there are no hidden fees and no late fees. 
  • Affirm can be used at more than 11,500 stores including Peloton, Adidas, Pottery Barn, and Neiman Marcus. 
Specifications
  • Credit Limit $50 to $17,500+
  • Amount Due at Purchase $0
  • Number of Installments Variable: usually 3, 6, or 12 months
  • Interest 0% to 30% APR
  • Credit Check Required Soft to pre-qualify
  • Minimum Credit Score Not available
  • Reports On-Time Payments to Credit Bureaus Affirm will report some loan payments to credit bureau (Experian)
  • Late Fees None
  • Other Financing Products Interest-bearing savings accounts in partnership with Cross River Bank
  • Company Website www.affirm.com

Introduction 

Affirm is an American buy-now-pay-later app that allows customers to choose how they want to pay for their purchase, in installments over three, six, or twelve months. We reviewed several Affirm features including repayment terms, credit limit, interest rate, and fees to help you decide if this app is right for you. 

Company Overview

Affirm is a BNPL app that was founded in 2012 by Max Levchin and is headquartered in San Francisco. As of July 2021, Affirm has processed over 17 million purchases. 

The mission behind Affirm is to provide customers with a more convenient, flexible, and transparent option to credit cards by showing customers exactly how much they will end up paying for their purchase using the Affirm app. And, unlike a credit card, Affirm doesn’t charge any late fees. 

How It Works

When you are ready to checkout, simply choose Affirm as your payment option. You will then be asked to enter some personal information including your name, email, phone number, date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number. Then, you will get a real-time decision in regards to your payment options, and you can select the repayment schedule that works best for you. 

If your loan is approved, Affirm will lay out the details of each option including the total amount you owe each month, the number of payments, and the total amount of interest you will pay throughout the loan. You can then use the Affirm app or sign up on the website, to make your payments. Affirm will even send you email and text reminders to help ensure that you never miss a payment. 

With Affirm there are no hidden fees, however, depending on the repayment terms you choose, you may be charged interest. Interest ranges from 0% up to 30%. It’s important that you are aware of the interest rate associated with your loan, as an interest rate of 30% is higher than most credit cards. While a BNPL app can be a convenient and useful way to manage your monthly finances, if not used responsibly it can just turn into another way to wrack up debt. 

Approval Process

Affirms approval process takes several factors into consideration including your credit score, your payment history with Affirm, how long you’ve had an account, and the interest rate offered by the merchant. 

Note that interest rates and loan eligibility criteria are subject to change and vary from merchant to merchant. This is because Affirm negotiates directly with each merchant rather than using one uniform set of criteria, and it means you may be approved for a loan with one merchant and not another. 

Be aware that just because you get approved for one loan doesn’t mean you will get approved for another. This can occur for several reasons. For instance, you may have taken on additional debt, or perhaps you missed one of your current loan payments. In these cases, you may need to wait a while before you get approved for another loan from Affirm. 

Your credit score will not be impacted by the approval process. 

Interest and Fees

Affirm does not charge any upfront or late fees. However, Affirm does charge interest on some loans, and interest rates typically range between 0% to 30% based on the customer’s credit and are subject to an eligibility check. 

In addition to the factors considered during the approval process, your interest rate will also depend on the size of your purchase and the specific store you are shopping at. 

It is possible that you could end up with a higher interest rate using Affirm than you would with a credit card. The average credit card interest rate is 20.28% and Affirm interest rates range from 0% to 30%. Make sure you compare interest rates before committing to a payment plan.

Mobile App: Highly Rated

The Affirm app can be downloaded for free from the Apple or Google Play stores. Once it’s downloaded, you can use the Affirm app to get special deals and discounts, browse new brands, and check out how much you are pre-qualified to spend. You can also use the Affirm app to view exactly how much you owe on your purchases. 

The Affirm app is highly rated by customers in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store. Customers like how easy the app is to set up and use and appreciate the convenience that Affirm offers. Customers also enjoy the quick pre-approval process and that, if used responsibly, Affirm can help improve your credit score. 

Customer Service: Online Help Only 

If you require help, Affirm offers several ways to get assistance. First, you can check out the help center’s large catalog of articles to answer your questions about everything from prequalifying to disputing a purchase and making a payment.  

You also can go to Affirm’s “Contact Us” page where you are given a selection of help options to choose from including help using Affirm, troubleshooting the app, managing your account, and more. Depending on your selection, you will be directed to additional relevant information in an attempt to help you solve your issue or answer your question. 

Affirm also has a digital chat assistant which can help to answer questions about managing your account, refunds, and questions about your application or loan. However, if you are interested in speaking to a live person about your problem, this might not be possible as there was no phone number or email provided on Affirm’s website. 

Customer Satisfaction: Mixed Reviews 

Customers enjoy the convenience offered by the Affirm app. However, when it comes to customer complaints, many of them center around the frustration of not being approved for a purchase. Long-time customers and those who claim to have made all of their payments in full and on time wonder why they can’t get approved for a new purchase. Affirm customer support says this is because each application is uniquely written and results can vary after applying. 

Customers also express frustration when it comes to trying to get a refund from Affirm or when trying to change personal information. The main complaint is that it takes a great deal of time and effort on the part of the customer to make anything happen. 

Additionally, customer service seems to be an issue. This is primarily because you cannot find a phone number or email address and instead must rely on different help articles.

Other Services

Affirm has partnered with Cross River Bank to provide a high-interest savings account. The account is free and there is no minimum deposit required, and the account offers a 0.65% APY. 

Once you’ve linked your bank account to your Affirm savings, you can transfer money into and withdraw money out of your account. Note, though, that when it comes to withdrawing funds, you are limited to six withdrawals per calendar month. 

Affirm’s high-interest bank account does not come with a debit card and you must use a linked bank account to transfer funds.

How Affirm Compares to Other Buy Now, Pay Later Apps

Affirm may be a good option for those looking for a BNLP app with a large credit limit. With a maximum credit amount of $17,500, Affirm offers loan amounts that are much higher than some of its competitors. Affirm is also a great option for customers who want a variety of repayment terms and options. While other BNPL apps stick to a “pay-in-four” type structure, Affirm provides customers with multiple options to choose from.

Unlike other apps including Afterpay or Klarna, Affirm doesn’t charge any late fees. However, it does include interest on some of its loans and, in some cases, interest payments can be higher than if you were using a credit card. Other BNPL apps including Perpay and Afterpay don’t charge any interest. 

Another thing to consider is the impact that using a BNPL app can have on your credit. Your credit will not be affected during pre-qualification as Affirm only uses a soft credit check. However, for some loans, Affirm may report your payment history to the Experian credit bureau, which can affect your credit score. Other BNPL apps do not report to any credit bureaus.

Affirm vs. Klarna  

Affirm and Klarna are similar in that they both offer customers a variety of repayment plans. For instance, Affirm offers three, six, or 12-month terms as well as an option for 48 months for larger purchases (in some cases). Klarna offers its Pay in 4, Pay in 30, and long-term financing options. Both plans also charge interest on some loans, with Affirm’s interest rates ranging from 0% to 30% and Klarna’s ranging from 0% to 19.99% (interest is only charged on long-term [six to 36-month] financing options). 

However, these companies also have some notable differences:

  • Affirm only requires a soft-credit check to prequalify and this will not affect your credit score. 
  • Klarna also requires a soft check on its Pay in 4 and Pay in 30 options but with the longer-term financing options, a hard credit check will be performed by Transunion and Experian. 
  • Affirm will report certain loan payments to the Experian credit bureau. 
  • Klarna does not report payments for the Pay in 4 and Pay in 30 plans to the credit bureaus
  • Affirm does not charge any late fees whereas Klarna charges late fees starting at $7 up to $35, depending on the repayment option. 

Both Affirm and Klarna are solid choices, but which one you select will depend on what you’re looking for. If you want a higher limit and no late fees with zero due at the time of purchase, you’re better off choosing Affirm. But if you want a BNPL that has a lower interest rate and doesn’t report late payments to credit bureaus, Klarna is the better option.

  Affirm Klarna 
Credit Limit $50 to $17,500+ Min $10.; max depends on several personal factors
Amount Due at Purchase  $0  Varies based on amount of purchase and repayment terms 
Number of Installments  Variable; usually 3, 6, or 12 months  Pay in 4: Four installments over 6 weeks
Pay in 30: Pay 30 days after item ships
Financing: Ranges from 6 to 36 months 
Interest  0% to 30% APR  0% to 19.99% APR
Credit Check Required  Soft to pre-qualify  Soft credit check for Pay in 4 and Pay in 30 plans; hard credit check for some financing options 
Minimum Credit Score  Not available  Not available
Reports On-Time Payments to Credit Bureaus  Affirm will report some loan payments to Experian  Does not report to credit bureaus 
Late Fees  None  $7 to $35 depending on repayment option 
Other Financing Products  High-interest savings account in partnership with Cross River Bank  Six- to 36-month financing options in partnership with WebBank 
Company Website  www.affirm.com klarna.com/us
Final Verdict

Affirm may be a good option for you if you are looking for a high credit limit, no fees, and a variety of repayment terms. If you are considering Affirm, be aware that while it offers a large credit limit in comparison to some other apps, some loans also come with a hefty interest rate. If you want to use a BNPL app to help manage your budget and monthly finances, be sure you can afford to pay off your loan on time and in full or you can easily acquire debt. 

Though many customers find the Affirm app easy to use and a convenient way to pay for purchases, others are less than satisfied with Affirm customer service. With no contact phone number or email readily available, some customers have struggled to find the answers and assistance that they needed promptly.

Methodology

All of our reviews of buy now pay later companies are based on extensive research and analysis of each company’s credit options, fees, and overall availability. To rate Affirm, we developed a buy now pay later app review methodology that compares credit options offered, repayment terms, interest rates, mobile app features, and borrower requirements to help us provide insights into the user experience.

Article Sources

The Balance requires writers to use primary sources to support their work. These include white papers, government data, original reporting, and interviews with industry experts. We also reference original research from other reputable publishers where appropriate. You can learn more about the standards we follow in producing accurate, unbiased content in our editorial policy .
  1. App Store Preview. "Affirm: Shop and pay over time." Access June 18, 2021.