About Affirm

By Derek Lakin
HighYa Staff Published on: Oct 27, 2017

With over 1,000 retail partners, Affirm has helped more than one million consumers pay off their large online purchases over time across easy, fixed monthly payments, with upfront pricing, no extra costs, and no hidden fees.

In other words, the website emphasizes that the total you see at checkout is always what you’ll actually pay. Just enter a few pieces of information—which always remain secure—and you’ll receive a real-time decision about whether or not you’re approved for a loan.

Then, complete the checkout process like normal. Alternately, customers can generate a single-use virtual card that can be accepted by any MasterCard retailer.

Afterward, you’ll pay for your Affirm loan on the same date each month, and once you’re finished paying, you’re free and clear—and perhaps even eligible to take out another loan.

The website certainly makes this whole process seem simple, straightforward, and crystal clear. But will you pay a lot for the convenience provided by Affirm? Here, we’ll provide the details that can help you make up your mind.

Affirm vs. Credit Cards: How Does It Work?

The website tells us that among Affirm’s 1,000+ merchants, popular examples include Wayfair, Expedia, Casper Mattress, Peloton, and Motorola (to name just a few). Whichever merchant you’re purchasing from, though, they explain the process works over a few simple steps:

  1. Select the Affirm payment option on the checkout page.
  2. Enter your information (we'll talk specifics in the Fees section below), and you'll be notified in real time if you're approved.
  3. Finalize your loan and make payments when they’re due.

Compared to a traditional credit card, Affirm emphasizes that their loans—which are provided by NJ-based Cross River Bank—are not revolving lines of credit. Their FAQ explains: “While customers can take out multiple Affirm loans at once, each Affirm loan application is evaluated separately as a closed-end transaction.”

Also, unlike a credit card, Affirm only performs a ‘soft’ credit check to verify your identity and determine your loan eligibility, which will not affect your credit score. However, for all loans requested on or after August 3, 2016, they do report “information about your loan and payment activity” to Experian, with “plans to report to other credit bureaus in the future.”

All sensitive information submitted to Affirm, including Social Security numbers, is encrypted for security, and is never sold or rented to anyone.

What’s the Difference With Affirm’s App?

Affirm’s iOS and Android apps also help consumers “split any big online purchase into smaller, fixed payments” in just a few steps, but they go about it differently.

Instead of applying for the loan directly through a participating merchant’s site, users simply open the app, enter how much they’re planning to spend, and choose their payment schedule (three, six, or 12 months).

If approved, the app will generate a pre-loaded, single-use virtual card that can be redeemed wherever they're shopping; just “show the card to the salesperson, tell them that you’re paying with MasterCard, and ask them to key in the number just like a credit card.”

Affirm Mobile AppCompared to merchant-direct purchases, Affirm’s iOS and Android app generates a single-use, pre-loaded credit card that can be redeemed anywhere that accepts MasterCard. Image credit: Google

Then, monthly payments are made as scheduled. You can even do this, as well as manage other aspects of your account, while on the go through the app.

Speaking of which, what can you expect to pay for an Affirm loan?

Affirm Fees, Eligibility Criteria, & Return Details

Affirm offers short-term loans (three, six, or 12 months) ranging between $100 and $10,000. All loans are issued through Cross River Bank, with available rates between 10 and 30 percent, based on your credit. Some merchants offer zero percent.

Pro tip: To get an idea of what this means from a real-world perspective, we found Affirm’s cost calculator to be a handy tool.

Outside of this finance charge, Affirm emphasizes that they don’t assess “late fees, service fees, prepayment fees, or any other hidden fees.” “What you see is what you'll pay—never a penny more,” their website reports.

In order to qualify, at minimum, you must be a United States resident 18 years or older (19 years old in Alabama or if you’re a ward of the state in Nebraska), and not a resident of IA or WV.

During the application process, you’ll need to provide your name, email address, mobile phone number (and also agree to receive SMS texts), date of birth, and the last four digits of your Social Security number to verify your identity. Sometimes, they might require borrowers to link their online checking account if more financial verification is required. If approved, it can be unlinked at any time.

Before accepting any Affirm offer, you’ll know exactly what your interest rate is (and how much you’ll pay above your original amount), as well as each of your monthly installment amounts. There are no hidden fees or compounding or deferred interest.

In some instances, Affirm may not be able to approve financing for the full purchase price. Here, they’ll require a fixed (i.e., it cannot be changed) down payment that can be processed via debit card. In other instances, they may not be able to approve any type of financing, at which point the applicant will be immediately notified.

Affirm will make your first payment due one calendar month from the date your loan is processed, at which point they’ll send you an email and SMS text message as reminders. All future payments will be due the same day each month, which can be made via the lender’s website, debit card or ACH transfer, or autopayment.

The Affirm FAQ emphasizes that, “returns are subject to the merchant's return policy. Please contact the merchant if you would like to return your item(s).” If processed by the retailer within 120 days of purchase, Affirm will credit any payments you’ve made on the loan. But if the merchant issues you store credit, you’ll still be responsible for repaying your loan.

Have additional questions? Support can be reached at help@affirm.com.

What Are Affirm’s Customers Saying In Their Reviews?

Although the company has been in business for five-plus years, we didn’t encounter a whole lot of direct online customer feedback for Affirm during our research.

Even recent professional feedback was limited, albeit mostly positive. MoneyUnder30’s Lauren Barrett wrote that Affirm’s ease of use, lack of fees, and transparent business practices make it a solid option if “you’ve got pretty good credit, (because no one should ever sign up for a 30 percent interest rate), and want an alternative to credit cards or bank loans for financing big (but not huge) purchases.”

NerdWallet’s Amrita Jayakumar also liked the fact that an Affirm loan won’t impact your credit score (unless you make late payments or default, of course).

Affirm’s iOS and Android app seemed to have a mostly positive online customer reputation as well, with 3,500+ reviews across iTunes and Google Play, with an average combined rating of about five stars.

Most compliments appeared to reference its simplicity and ease of use, clean interface, and helpful support, while common complaints (what relatively few there were) frequently related to bugginess.

From a company perspective, Affirm was founded in 2012 by serial entrepreneur Max Levchin (previously of PayPal, Slide, Yelp, and Evernote). They held an A+ Better Business Bureau rating, based on 19 customer reviews and 40 closed complaints, as of 10/26/17.

Most of these appeared related to problems resolving difficulties through customer support. A company representative responded with a resolution in each instance.

Are There Other Point-of-Sale Financing Companies Like Affirm?

There are many other point-of-sale financing companies competing for the same customers as Affirm, including popular options like Klarna, PayPal, Vyze, Bread, and Blisplay, to name just a few. With so many options, how does Affirm compare?

The reality is that most of these options share more in common than they do differences. For example, nearly all provide quick application processes, the ability to split purchases into equal installments ranging from months to years, and APRs under 35 percent.

However, perhaps the biggest distinguishing factors regarding Affirm are their immediate decisions, as well as the fact they only perform ‘soft’ inquiries that won’t impact your credit score. From a convenience standpoint, they’re also the only major player that offers single-use virtual cards that can be obtained in advance and then used anywhere MasterCard is accepted.

Our Final Thoughts About Affirm

Based on their overwhelmingly positive online reputation among consumers, it seems the vast majority of their customers have been pleased with Affirm’s services, whether at the point of sale, or through the iOS and Android app.

And based on the fact that they provide real-time decisions that won’t impact your credit score, it seems you might not have much more to lose than a few minutes of your time by applying.

Just keep in mind that—like any form of credit—you’ll want to make sure you can make any scheduled payments on time, so that you’re not financially overextending yourself.

Read next: The Complete Guide to Credit Card Fees and How You Can Avoid Them

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20 Consumer Reviews for Affirm

Average Consumer Rating: 1.7
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 3 4 star: 0 3 star: 0 2 star: 2 1 star:  15
Bottom Line: 15% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 20
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  • Love it!

    • Louisiana,
    • Sep 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I don't know what's up with all the negative reviews. I think Affirm is great, especially when you can't drop money for the things you want or need. Some of y'all are talking about them wanting y'alls license info. I don't remember it asking for mine. But if y'all didn't know, they do have an app where you can use a pin you chose to login in with instead of using the different pin they send you everytime you go to log in because that's frustrating. If y'all don't know about the virtual card, y'all can spend it on any website, just be careful about eBay, if the buyer does PayPal. I made that mistake after Affirm told me it might be declined.

    And now I have money from my Affirm loan. I'm waiting to go back into my Affirm spending amount so I can order my truck part off Amazon instead.

    By the way, they do let you pick your payment plan and by that I mean, they give you the option to pay off in 3, 6, or 12 months. But keep in mind, the longer you choose to pay on it, the more you pay in interest. But anyway, I have 6 active loans out and 3 past loans through them. So far I have had no problem with them.

    The only thing I don't like is that I have to contact them by email instead of over the phone. Oh yeah, I don't know about the credit score needed. Mine has gone a ways down from all my credit cards. Since I'm making my payments on time with Affirm, they've bumped up my loan amount. I've been using Affirm for a year and it doesn't show on my credit report.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    They charged me 8 times.

    I was on Cheapair trying to order my plane tickets, and I wanted to use Affirm. I used them for other services and everything went well. This time I did the same thing as I did with the other tickets. When I got to the sign loan agreement and clicked ok, it routed me to a Google page, and I checked my bank account and the $600 for the down payment was taken out. So I waited to see if I would receive s confirmation email from Cheapair.com or Affirm. Nope. So I called Cheapair and I wasn’t in their system for the tickets and also I talked to Affirm and they told me I was approved but the refund would take 7-10 days but I haven’t received anything yet. It’s been past the allotted time they said I’d receive the money.

    I will never ever use these people. They will overcharge you and not want to pay you back.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Scam

    • Ohio,
    • Aug 13, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    This company is a scam. Why would I provide a copy of my driver's license to verify and update my phone number? My number isn't listed on my license and considering they ask you the same verification questions over and over and even call you and ask the same thing AGAIN why would my license be needed? The process of updating anything is terrible, and the representatives just use templates to respond to everything. I would not recommend them to anyone, not even an enemy.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 6 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Scam

    • Cincinnati, OH,
    • Aug 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had a loan with Motorola with Affirm. My number changed and they stopped taking payments and would not talk to me on the phone, would not give me a payment address at all, even after I paid $150, 1/2 of my loan off, they reported me to the collection agency.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    Identity verification fail

    • New York, NY,
    • Aug 1, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I have been a consumer with Affirm since 2015. I currently have an open account with them, however, they cannot verify my identity, seems strange yet true. I was told to do the license thing, apparently, this is to data farm you and sell your information because soon thereafter I received scam-like calls and texts. The item was under $300 and I was not approved. The customer service SUCKS, they cannot help you, all they say is "I'm sorry" and "I will pass this information to this department and it will take 3 to 10 business days." Such a SCAM. Avoid Affirm at all costs.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 5 out 5 people found this review helpful

    I got data farmed for nothing.

    • North Carolina,
    • Jul 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I wanted to buy a sewing machine for my wife and heard about Affirm. I had to give just a little info so they could do a "soft" credit history. They make it sound so simple that it's easy to get hooked. They evaluated the info for a few minutes and then I had to give them more information and confirm all that. Then they asked me to send them pictures of my face, both the front and back of my driver's license and a picture of me holding my license to verify my identity for security purposes. A few minutes later I got a welcoming email telling me "we're not a fan of fine print." I should have walked away then. Instead, I read the parts about how to use my account and make my payments and assumed I was approved. They seemed so positive and upbeat that it was hard not to think that.

    Instead, they wanted more info and verification. After that, I was directed that it was time to go make my purchase, so I shopped around their suggested stores that they directed me to. I found the best price at certain big box retailer site that is not affiliated with Affirm. They said not a problem because they would issue me a prepaid Mastercard number to use for check out. Then they wanted me to enter the total amount of the purchase which was only $174 - fifty bucks less than their suggested store wanted for exactly the same item. I suddenly got a message saying oh sorry, no you're not approved. We can't help you. You've got to pay for it yourself.

    They got me to jump through all kinds of hoops and give them my personal information, and I got nothing. I really should have known better.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 10 out 10 people found this review helpful

    Sketchy that they ask for your banking user ID and password

    • Kentucky,
    • Jun 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was really excited at the prospect of financing our family vacation and was applying through the Affirm site off of the Groupon app. It was odd that they wanted a pic of my face and a pic of my license, but I thought that was fairly reasonable to verify my identity online. Then it asked for my banking "User ID" and "Password." That is where I stopped. If I had been approved and they wanted my banking account info for making payments that would be one thing, but it is extremely sketchy to ask for your login information. I have never been asked that by a company. I am not doing business with them unless there is some other way for them to verify me. I don't know at this point whether I would refer someone or not. If they have an alternative method of verification, I might.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 15 out 15 people found this review helpful

    Fraud

    • United States of America,
    • May 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Somebody obtained my information from my AT&T account (AT&T is assuming someone hacked the information, I believe it was sold internally). This individual(s) did a lot of damage that I have had to deal with personally between myself and AT&T, but they also got the last 4 of my social, my phone number, and my email address from my account.

    They then proceeded to open an account with "Affirm" under my identity, and opened two loans. They did not request any further information to protect me, other than the basic address, phone number, last 4 social and birthdate. The individual had paid off my cell phone plan ($50 shy of owning my cellphone) upgraded it to the new iPhone X, using my phone number. Because they had done this, opening an Affirm account with my phone number was possible. They took out two loans under my identity, costing over $7,000 in airline tickets with Delta and Southwest.

    I contacted Affirm the day it happened, because I saw a welcome email and I had never heard of affirm before. The Affirm customer service representative informed me what the company does, that the fraudster opened an account using my information and took out the loans, but luckily they had not been approved and they had only attempted but were not successful.

    The next morning, I logged onto the account (your sign-on is SO safe, it's just your simple phone number and a verification code...yipee) to see what the website was like. I saw that the loans had went through. Devastated, I called back Affirm customer service, telling them about what happened. They could not do anything to help me, other than tell me the fraud department would contact me within 3-5 days. I asked her if she could shut down the account, as I was afraid this individual would continue to open more loans, and she said she had no authority to do so. I asked if she could shut down the cards they provided so no debt accumulated, or if she could see what the individuals purchased, and she again said she had no authority to do so nor could she see what had been purchased other than that it was from Southwest and Delta. All she could do was request fraud to call me in 3-5 days.

    It has been over a week and I have heard nothing back from Affirm. I will continue to call until I get this resolved. I had never heard of Affirm until this issue, but I could not believe a website like this exists. It offers no protection against fraud and is as simple as having basic information on someone (obtaining last 4 of social is not that difficult if you can hack or are close to an individual). Disgusting company and poor customer service. It was extremely irritating that I had called customer service and was told the loans had been denied, and the next day the loans were approved. If a company is going to be able to provide loans and money, it should be more difficult and offer protection to citizens against possible fraud. The customer service representatives had no power to help me and the fraud department either has no sense of urgency, or is dealing with too much fraud and can't get to me yet. Either way, poor company.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Jul 4, 2018

      Kelly M.

      Hi Gaby! Did you ever get this resolved? The same thing just happened to me. I’d like to hear how it went for you.

    • Jul 5, 2018

      Ryuzo A.

      The exact same thing is happening to me now. I randomly got a text message saying to enter a verification code to my account from Affirm. I received multiple requests from this company and tried to call them but the office was closed until the next day. I got more texts messages the next day, so I called again and got through to customer service who gave me the exact same story about not being able to access or change the account. They told me that they noted the system and will get back to me in a couple of days with an affidavit to fill out. I asked them to freeze the account but all they said: "made a note on the account."

      I didn't want to wait for them as I do not trust them, so I filed a report with the FTC ID Theft Division, filed a local police report for a criminal fraud case, filed an incident report with BBB, activated the fraud alert on the Experian Credit Agency which notifies the other agencies, and signed up for LifeLock for me and my wife.

      I will be hounding these people until I get results. This is such a waste of my time and I am pissed that I have to go through this. Beware of this company.

    • Jul 21, 2018

      Diana C.

      I am going through the exact same thing. I am so frustrated. I also tried stopping the loan before it went through, I was told all the same things. I will never use them again.

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  • 6 out 8 people found this review helpful

    Stay away!

    • West Hollywood, CA,
    • Apr 30, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    Do not engage or sign with this credit line! It’s unreliable!

    They will, however, collect your info and sell it off, so be prepared to receive a ton of ad calls and possibly a dent in your credit score.

    Avoid dealing with them!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 9 out 11 people found this review helpful

    It's complete crap!

    • Las Vegas, NV,
    • Apr 21, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I used Affirm a long time ago, and it was okay but this time around it is complete crap. They couldn't verify my identity and they didn't know my updated email address when it's clearly stated there. I went to my account, updated the email formation and they told me it took 7 to 10 days to update. I try to get refinanced again for a small amount under a thousand and cannot identify my identity for some reason. And I called customer service and they cannot give me relevant answers. The professionalism sucks. I would not go to them, not unless you absolutely had to. Good luck.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 6 people found this review helpful

    Not user-friendly

    I have tried multiple times to finance phones through Affirm since it's what my phone company recommends. Every single time they give me a terrible runaround. They insist the only way to log on is by using codes that they text you, however, when you're trying to finance a phone because yours is broken, it doesn't make much sense to have to be able to access a cell phone in order to log on. When I called they were extremely rude and didn't even listen to my problem before snapping at me that it would be 7 to 10 business days before they would be able to fix any issues with my account.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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