Affirm Review: Is It the Right Option for You?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Nov 20, 2019

Affirm is a lending company that provides financing for one-time online purchases.

The company’s integration with hundreds of online retailers as well as brick-and-mortar stores isn’t just convenient, it’s also transparent. They show you your loan repayment terms in an easy-to-understand manner.

Affirm’s service allows you to skip the process of signing up for a credit card to make a purchase. You don’t have to wait for a card to arrive in the mail, nor do you have to worry about signing up for a store credit card that often makes it hard to understand repayment terms and interest rates.

In our review of Affirm, we will tell you how its loans work, what customers are saying about it, and what the lending company’s overall pros and cons are.

How Affirm Works

The Affirm financing process breaks down into three steps:

  • Application
  • Loan offer
  • Loan Acceptance and Repayment

Loan Application

Affirm works with more than 1,500 retailers that provide Affirm as a payment option when you’re ready to pay for your purchase. Some of those stores include Walmart, Priceline, Peloton, Casper, and iRobot.

When you choose Affirm as your payment option at checkout, you’ll offer basic information with which Affirm will determine what kind of loan they give you.

Affirm won’t run a hard credit check, which means getting quotes for loans won’t hurt your credit. Instead, they do a soft check, using basic information to get a glimpse of your credit profile.

This soft check presents a great opportunity for you if you have bad credit but need a way to make a big purchase. The lack of depth in their credit check may increase your chances of getting financing for your purchase.

In some cases, Affirm will ask to connect to your checking account so they can get a better picture of your financial situation before approving your application.

When they have enough information, they’ll make an offer. Keep in mind that their fine print states you can’t open an account under your name to buy something on behalf of someone else. Also, you can’t purchase the following items with Affirm financing:

  • Currency (including crypto)
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Ammunition
  • Firearms
  • Firearm parts and accessories
  • Certain weapons and knives

Affirm also gives you the option of requesting a loan for a purchase. You’ll tell Affirm how much you need to spend and where you’re shopping and they may be able to offer you financing.

For example, Affirm’s website has a page for Target. You apply for a dollar amount you want to use to shop on Target, they approve you and then give you a single-use credit card number you use to make your purchase.

Loan Offer

If you are approved, Affirm will give you a single or multiple loan options. Most of these loans will have a repayment period of between 3 and 12 months. In some cases, they’ll ask you to make a down payment as part of the loan.

Affirm offers interest rates between 0% and 30%. These rates are similar to what you’d get with a credit card. Many leading credit cards have 0% interest offers that last up to 21 months, which is longer than Affirm’s loan terms.

If you’re someone with good credit scores (700 and higher) and Affirm gives you a 30% APR, you can do better through a credit card.

If you have bad credit, then Affirm’s rates will probably be equivalent to what a card would offer you.

Affirm will make clear how much your monthly payment will be, how long your repayment period is, what your interest rate is and how much you’ll pay in interest over the life of the loan. You’ll notice that longer loan repayments result in higher interest payments.

This simple presentation gives you the advantage of knowing exactly what you’re getting into before you make your purchase.

A credit card, on the other hand, isn’t going to give you this information before you make your purchase. This is one of the big advantages of Affirm and is one of the reasons shoppers turn to Affirm as opposed to signing up for a store card.

Loan Acceptance and Repayment

Once you accept your Affirm loan, you’ll create an account through which you can make payments and track when your payment is due.

You can pay your payment via a debit card, bank account or check.

Affirm charges no late fees if you don’t pay on time. However, their fine print says they can send your account to collections if you don’t meet the terms of the loan agreement. One of those terms would be paying your bill on-time.

What this means is that there is a possibility your account could go to collections after a late payment. While this isn’t a guarantee, it’s important to remember that an absence of late fees is not your license to stop making payments or pay late.

Furthermore, even if they don’t charge late payment or choose to send your account to collections, your credit score will drop the moment you’re 30 days late on your payment.

Returns

If you return an item you bought with Affirm financing, Affirm will subtract the refund amount from your loan balance.

If the refund amount is less than the balance, your monthly payments will remain the same but your repayment period will be shorter.

You won’t get a refund for any interest you paid, though. Because of this, you need to be sure of your purchase before you make it. Affirm calculates interest daily, so even if you make a return before your first payment, you’ll still have to pay off some interest.

Analysis of Customer Reviews

The company has a 1.5-star rating and only eleven percent of reviewers would recommend the company to a friend. Here are our main takeaways from these reviews:

Common Compliments

There are relatively few positive reviews, all of which praise the company for smooth financing and multiple loans paid off without any issues.

Common Complaints

Denials without explanation: Readers complained that Affirm denied their application for financing without giving a reason. While this can be frustrating, it’s a common part of applying for credit.

Refusal to honor returns or lost orders: In several instances, readers said Affirm held them responsible for their loans even when the readers made a return or did not receive what they bought. This is concerning, as their policy clearly states they will subtract the amount of your return from your loan balance.

Poor customer service: Several readers complained that Affirm’s phone agents were not helpful or made promises the company never honored. This can be particularly stressful and frustrating if you never received a purchase, for example, and need to work out a refund.

Pros

  • Affirm’s transparency at checkout allows you to make a smart buying decision. Use this to your advantage. Subtract the cost of the item you want to buy from the total loan payment Affirm gives you. This is the interest amount you’ll pay. Ask yourself if the convenience of getting financing at checkout is worth the interest.

  • Affirm does a soft credit check, so even if they deny your application it won’t hurt your credit.

  • Affirm’s personal loan is more beneficial to your credit score than a credit card. If you have $900 left on a $1,000 loan balance, your score won’t drop. However, if you have a $900 balance on a credit card with a $1,000 limit, your score will decrease. (Lenders see a nearly maxed-out credit card as a sign of financial distress, which is why your score will drop.)

  • Affirm charges no fees. There are no application fees, no late fees, and no fees or penalties for paying the loan off early.

  • Affirm lets you have multiple loans at once, all of which you can easily manage through your account.

Cons

  • One of the subtle drawbacks to using Affirm is that each loan you get is reported as a separate loan. So, if you use Affirm to pay for five different purchases on five different sites, your credit report will show five new accounts. This will lower the overall age of your credit and lower your score. Lenders don’t like to see multiple new accounts because they see it as you scrambling for funding to compensate for overspending.

  • Returns are more complicated with Affirm than they are with a credit card. If you purchase something with Affirm and return it, you have to deal with the retailer and with Affirm. Credit cards are much easier for returns because you only deal with the store. And, if an item you buy doesn’t arrive, you can call your credit card company and dispute the charge.

  • The terms and conditions make it possible for your account to go to collections if you pay late. If this happens, the damage to your credit is not worth the money you’d save on a late fee.

The Bottom Line

There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to using Affirm’s personal loans. It can be a good option when you need to make a purchase and don’t have the cash or credit cards to pay for it. The company’s straightforward pricing ensures you won’t face any surprises.

However, the consequences can be dire if you make a late payment or skip a payment. Should Affirm choose to send your account to collections, your credit score will drop significantly.


Customer Reviews

Start your review of Affirm:
  • 51 Customer Reviews
  • 10% Recommend This Company
1.4 out of 5
5 star: 9% 4 star: 0% 3 star: 0% 2 star: 3% 1 star: 86%

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  • 90 days to refund false payment

    • By Tiffany,
    • Hamilton, NJ,
    • Dec 30, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    The Affirm company wrongly charged my card for almost $300 within seconds but said they can’t refund until 90 days. Let’s not forget they are supposedly open 7 days a week.

    Terrible customer service. I do not recommend anyone use them.

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


  • Bad customer experience

    It took three minutes to create my account. I changed my phone number, and three months later they still did not change my number. Then, when I closed my account and I never bought anything, they told me I would never be able to use affirm again. They have made it impossible to do business with them. Best to buy with cash, period, than to deal with these people.

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


  • Don't trust

    Due to internet issues, we tempted to book a flight and using Affirm as a form of payment. In the end, after three tries, three loans were approved, and three of our deposits ($430) were accepted. A big error on their system, if you ask me! I went two days dealing with them, and I'm still waiting to hear back in regards to getting my three down payments returned. Keep in mind, I never booked a flight!

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


  • Paperless company

    • By Sarah Watson,
    • Houston, TX,
    • Mar 16, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I changed my cell number and reported the new number to Affirm. I have sent my new number and my driver license twice, but could not be verified. I asked for my billing statements to be mailed to me and was told Affirm is a paperless company, and they do not email and/or mail billing statements. But I get an email saying my payment is due! As I pay my payments, I would like to know my balance each month. No statement, no payment! I would not recommend this company.

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


  • Unreliable

    In the past, I have had several loans with Affirm. I have had four loans at the same time, even paid extra on them to pay them off early. I go to apply for something like $100 and was turned down. Four months later I come back and then they give me the item paid off, and I'll try to get the $100 item and was turned down. Credit rating is even better at this time, and I was still turned down. I have found that Affirm is unreliable. You would be better off with a payday loan, or Short Term Loan, or go through your credit union. Don't use them, get yourself a line of credit at your credit union.

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


  • Requested information on banking passwords

    • By Arthur Cour,
    • Mecosta, MI,
    • Apr 15, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer

    I applied for a small loan through these people, and while doing the application, they asked for info for a credit check. After supplying this info they came up with an "oh, by the way, we want your banking passwords." I, for one, do not feel confident with their need for my passwords and I don't trust them enough to provide them with info that they have no business having or even asking for. Be very careful with them.

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


  • 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


  • It's complete crap!

    • By Jess,
    • 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


  • Stay away!

    • By Raphael Gamon,
    • 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


  • Fraud

    • By Gaby,
    • 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


  • I got data farmed for nothing.

    • By Michael B.,
    • 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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