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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To safeguard you and ensure helpfulness and relevance, our compliance team manually assess every customer review before it goes live.

We have a zero-tolerance policy for fake reviews, and companies cannot control or alter any reviews at any time.

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  • Fraud

    • By Gaby,
    • United States of America,
    • May 20, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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


  • Sketchy that they ask for your banking user ID and password

    • By Sabrina B.,
    • Kentucky,
    • Jun 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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


  • Requested information on banking passwords

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

    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


  • Misleading interest!

    • By Roz L.,
    • Pennsylvania,
    • Dec 27, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Affirm charges you interest on day one! They say you won't get charged if you pay early, but it is a total LIE! This company is doing BUSINESS ILLEGALLY and MISLEADING customers.

    I wrote them an email but never heard from them. Finally, I went to their Facebook account and then I was told to contact their number. I called the number and was told that INTEREST ACCRUES on DAY ONE! I TOLD the staff that this is MISLEADING, otherwise, I would have just used my credit card because credit cards won't charge me daily interest. I was off to pay the full loan on my first due date but now was charged $101. The staff was not helpful at all and just kept saying I agreed to it!

    DON'T waste your time on this company! I don't know how PEOPLE can SLEEP with their LIE stealing from PEOPLE!

    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
    Overall Experience:

    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


  • Scam

    • By Josephina A.,
    • Cincinnati, OH,
    • Aug 9, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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


  • Extremely dishonest!

    • By Rozain C.,
    • Maryland,
    • Jan 22, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    On September 23, 2018 I booked a ticket to Tulsa, Oklahoma and then found that the trip should be put on hold. When trying to pay I was directed to Affirm and signed an agreement with them. The next day (September 24th) I called them and the Affirm rep, after a 10-minute call (according to my Sprint bill), said I did not have to pay because they will not pay Priceline. I had NO agreement with Priceline. Affirm later charged me with the account. I asked them for a copy of the call recorded on September 24th. They sent me an edited version of the call that was 4.06 minutes. They are dishonest as heck. If you get caught, collect your evidence and email them, so that you have proof.

    I disputed the debt. Now I cannot access any Affirm documents to even get the order number.

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


  • Watch out!

    • By Wayne M.,
    • Oklahoma City, OK,
    • Jan 20, 2019
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Affirm approved me for a second loan/card. I made the purchase online, went to the store the next day to pick it up, at which point the MERCHANT told me the card was declined. I purchased two scopes, one of which is for an air rifle I bought through PYRAMYD AIR, who sells air guns and scopes...who is partnered with Affirm, who financed it.

    AFTER arguing with the most product illiterate people on the planet, and getting nowhere, I finally gave up and paid cash at the register. I then logged into my account later that day to see the loan still processing. I called to find out why, I was told that until the merchant reverses the charge, they will not close the card/loan. Now keep in mind, Affirm DECLINED THE CHARGE. Now they refuse to close the account unless they get the money back that they never paid from the retailer, on a charge THEY declined, of which I had to pay cash for, BECAUSE they felt MY purchase violates their "moral" policy, of the same item that is sold by one of their other "contracted" merchants, PYRAMYD AIR. Oh yea, Affirm even had the disgusting nerve to ask me where is the loan money then, and how are they supposed to get it back. Are these idiots for REAL?!

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


  • Identity verification fail

    • By Octavia J.,
    • New York, NY,
    • Aug 1, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    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


  • Scam

    • By Chemika L.,
    • USA,
    • Oct 2, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I am being held responsible for a debit that I did not authorize and merchandise I did not receive. I reached out to the company when I got the initial email and notified them that I did not request credit with this company every time I received an email. Now I am being told that I am responsible for the debit. How is the consumer supposed to protect themselves from this company?! This is NOT, I repeat, this is NOT my account!

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


  • Charged for three loans

    • By Henry Q.,
    • Virginia,
    • Dec 14, 2018
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    They charged me for three loans that the vendor never received and after almost 60 days have not solved the problem. The customer service is terrible. I will never use their service and recommend that no one else does.

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


Showing 1-11 of 51

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