A buy now, pay later (BNPL) app gives you the ability to make a purchase today and pay for it later. BNPL apps use scheduled installment plans so you can pay for your purchase over weeks or months. Some apps require the first installment payment at the time of purchase, while others require no money down at checkout.
Between Klarna and Affirm, Affirm is the better choice. Consumers can use this app to help rebuild or improve their credit, as Affirm does report payments to the credit bureaus. Affirm is also a better option for those wanting to make larger purchases and pay them back over an extended period of time. Finally, Affirm has no late fees. However, Klarna is a solid BNPL app for those looking for a variety of repayment options and an extensive selection of retail partners.
At a Glance
|Credit Limit||Min $10. Max depends on several personal factors||$50 to $17,500+|
|Amount Due at Purchase||Varies based on amount of purchase and repayment terms||$0|
|Repayment Terms||Pay in 4: Four installments over 6 weeks
Pay in 30: Pay 30 days after item ships
Financing: Ranges from 6 to 36 months
|Variable: usually 3,6, or 12 months|
|Interest||0% to 19.99% APR||0% to 30% APR|
|Credit Requirements||Not available||Not available|
|Credit Impact||Soft credit check for Pay in 4 and Pay in 30 plans;
Hard credit check for some financing options.
Does not report to credit bureaus
|Soft to pre-qualify.
Will report some loan payments to Experian
|Minimum Credit Score||Not available||Not available|
|Late Fees||$7 to $35 depending on repayment option||None|
|Number of Retail Partners||200,000+||11,500+|
|Standout Feature||Multiple repayment plans available||Can be used to help improve your credit score|
Klarna vs. Affirm: Terms
Klarna has a minimum purchase price of $10. The maximum credit limit depends on several factors including how long you have been using Klarna and your repayment history.
Klarna offers several different repayment options:
- Pay in 4. Split up your purchase into four equal payments. The first payment is due when your order ships. The next three are due every two weeks for a total period of six weeks. No interest is charged.
- Pay in 30. Order your item with no upfront payments. When the item ships, you will be sent a digital invoice that is due in 30 days. There is no interest charged.
- Six- to 36-month financing. Klarna offers financing options in partnership with WebBank and has an interest rate of 19.99% for standard purchases.
Affirm offers loans between $50 and $17,500. Affirm loans typically last three, six, or 12 months, although Affirm will sometimes offer an option for up to 48 months for larger purchases. Similarly, for small loans, you may get an option for one to three months. Term length options may vary based on purchase, the store, and your credit profile. With Affirm there is no payment due at the time of purchase.
Klarna vs. Affirm: Credit Requirements
Neither Klarna nor Affirm advertise a minimum credit score required.
Klarna will perform a soft credit check when you are deciding to use the Pay in 4 interest-free installments as well as with the Pay in 30 option. A soft credit check will not impact your credit. However, when it comes to the longer-term financing options, hard credit checks will be performed by Transunion and Experian.
Affirm does not include a minimum required credit score. Affirm uses a soft credit check during the pre-qualification process. Simply creating an Affirm account to see if you prequalify will not affect your credit score.
Klarna vs. Affirm: Interest and Fees
Klarna has different interest rates and fees depending on your plan. Affirm keeps it pretty simple.
Klarna’s Pay in 4 and Pay in 30 plans do not charge interest. Payments for these plans are automatically withdrawn from the card you put on file. When your payment is processed, Klarna will send you an email confirmation with your payment status. Late payment fees are $7 and will be added to your balance. You can make an early payment using your app and no early payment fees will be charged.
If you plan on financing a purchase with Klarna, the longer-term financing options charge an interest rate of 19.99% on standard purchases. Klarna will send you a payment reminder email on the second of every month, and you can use the app to see your statement and make a payment. You have the option to pay your entire balance or choose to pay a customized amount. Missed payments will result in a $35 charge per missed month.
Affirm interest rates typically range from 0% to 30% based on credit and are subject to an eligibility check. The interest rate varies based on the retailer and the payment plan. Be aware that interest rates can be high and rates near the higher end of the spectrum may be higher than your credit card. Make sure you compare interest rates before committing to the payment plan.
Affirm does not charge any late fees and there are no hidden fees.
Payments can be made on the Affirm app or Affirm.com. You can use a debit or credit card or even pay with a check.
Klarna vs. Affirm: Mobile App
Both Klarna and Affirm apps can be downloaded for free from the App Store or Google Play.
Klarna has highly favorable user ratings, a simple design that makes it clear and easy to use, and you can use it to browse different items from the 7,500+ retailers. With the app, you’ll use a one-time card to split any online purchase into four smaller payments and you can track all of your orders.
If you’re unhappy with a purchase, you can also use the app to report returns so your payment will be paused.
The Affirm app is free to download and has an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars from over 636,000 ratings according to the App Store. You can download the easy-to-use app and prequalify for your loan completely on your mobile device. If approved, you will get a virtual card to use at participating online stores or in-store checkout. With Affirm, you can shop directly through the app or you can make a purchase at a partner store or on the Affirm website.
Affirm is currently partnered with over 11,500 merchants at millions of stores in the U.S. including brands like Walmart, Peloton, Oscar de la Renta, Audi, and Expedia.
Klarna vs. Affirm: Other Products
In addition to Klarna’s Pay in 4 and Pay in 30 plans, it also offers six- to 36-month financing options in partnership with WebBank. Payment plans and financing are the only products currently offered by Klarna in the U.S. It does not offer any banking or other financial services and products.
Affirm has partnered with Cross River Bank to provide interest-bearing savings accounts. The savings account is available from the Affirm app and comes with no minimum deposit requirements and no fees. Once you’ve linked your bank account to your Affirm savings, you can transfer money into your account. You are limited to no more than six withdrawals or transfers from your account during a monthly cycle.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Do Klarna and Affirm Work?
Klarna and Affirm are both apps that let you make a purchase now but pay for it at a later date, in installments, or on a payment plan.
With the Klarna app, you can shop and buy from any U.S. online retailer with Klarna’s virtual single-use card that can be used in the checkout of any online store, similar to a regular credit card. Depending on your purchase, Klarna will offer you different payment options. Payments on the Pay in 4 or Pay in 30 plans are made with a credit or debit card, but if you use financing, you must pay with a debit card or your bank account; no credit cards are allowed. With the Pay in 4 option, your first payment is due at the time of shipment.
If you want to make a purchase from a retailer that isn’t on Klarna, you can request a single-use digital card. If approved, you can use the card to complete your purchase.
With the Affirm app, you can shop online at your favorite participating stores; when you are ready to check out, select Affirm, enter some personal information, and a real-time approval decision is made. Next, select the payment schedule that works for you. Payment plans will vary based on duration, the number of installments, and interest rate. No payment is due upon purchase or shipment.
Affirm will send you email and text reminders to help ensure that you don’t miss a payment.
Do Klarna and Affirm Require a Credit Check?
Both Klarna and Affirm require a credit check. Klarna performs a soft credit check when you choose the Pay in 4 and Pay in 30 options, which does not impact your credit score. However, when it comes to the longer-term financing options, Klarna might perform a hard credit check, which can affect your credit score, as it will show up as an inquiry on your credit report.
Affirm usually does a soft pull of an applicant's credit before approving them for a loan.
Can You Build Credit With Klarna and Affirm?
Klarna does not report to the credit bureaus for its Pay in 4 and Pay in 30 plans. When it comes to Klarna financing plans, these are provided in partnership with WebBank, and Klarna does not specify whether WebBank reports to the credit bureaus. However, the WebBank Klarna Credit Account Agreement states, “a negative credit report reflecting on your credit record may be submitted to a credit reporting agency if you fail to fulfill the terms of your credit obligations.”
Affirm will report loan payments to the Experian credit bureau, but there are exceptions. For instance, Affirm won’t report a loan if the loan is 0% and four biweekly payments or if you were only offered one option at the time you applied for a three-month payment term at 0%. Affirm may report your payment history for other loans to Experian.
To evaluate which buy-now-pay-later app is better, we looked at variables including interest rates, fees, repayment options, and pre-approval process. We also considered the impact on your credit score, the number of affiliated merchants, mobile app, and any other services offered.
After considering all the features, we concluded that Affirm is the better choice due to its lack of fees, simple approval process, soft credit check, and the option to open an interest-bearing savings account. However, Klarna is a good choice for those looking for no-interest repayment plans and a large number of merchant options.