Affirm is a fintech that offers pay-as-you-go (PAYG), mobile savings accounts, and virtual cards, among other services. It offers multiple loans after only performing a soft credit check, which helps you keep your credit history clean, and you can get quick online financing through an all-in-one app without paying any fees.
On the flip side, Affirm does charge a very high Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of up to 30%, and you can only use it at partner stores.
What Is Affirm?
Affirm is a financial technology or fintech company that strives to keep shoppers out of unhealthy debt by allowing them to buy now and pay later. Affirm was founded in 2012, and the company’s headquarters are in San Francisco, California. The company also has branches in major cities like New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, and Toronto, Canada.
Affirm partners with major e-commerce brands, including Walmart, Amazon, Shopify, BigCommerce, ZenCart, and many others. The partnership aims to give e-commerce and merchant service providers support, benefits and tools to help their clients get the most out of Affirm.
Affirm provides annual percentage rates (APR), ranging from 0% to 30%, based on your credit history. You can apply at the point of sale with only a soft credit inquiry, but your APR may be higher than you expect. Affirm offers personal loan terms of 3, 6, or 12 months. The terms can be as short as two weeks, three months, or even 36 months, depending on the retail outlet and the size of the purchase. There is no minimum credit score required to qualify for an Affirm personal loan since the company considers current economic conditions, your credit score, and your history with them.
Features Of Affirm Canada
Affirm offers several features that will make online and in-store purchases easier. In some ways, it functions like an online bank, while in others like a payment processing service.
#1 Pay As You Go
Pay As You Go (PAYG) is a method of paying in small installments to people who cannot afford or are unwilling to pay cash for goods. Companies under PAYG not only provide products and services to customers but also the necessary financing.
With PAYG, you have complete control over the amount of credit you load onto your phone, and you can add as much as you want throughout the month. You can also leave or change parts of your plan whenever you want because you are not bound by a strict contract.
To enhance the plan's usability, Affirm released a mobile app available on Apple App Store, and Google Play Store. The app has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to navigate and conduct transactions easily.
Using the app, you can stay on top of your finances. You can manage your Affirm account, shop on the go, and make payments at any time and from any location.
Related: You may be interested in our Afterpay Canada review.
#2 Mobile Saving Account
Affirm lets its users open a financial saving account. To open the saving account you have to use the Affirm app, which is available for iOS and Android.
There is no minimum deposit required to open an account, and Affirm does not charge any fees for its savings account. The account has an annual percentage yield (APY) of 0.65% and there is no minimum balance requirement to earn interest on your savings. The interest you earn will be credited to your account on the last day of each month.
The savings from the app can be useful for small purchases, budgeting for large purchases, or repaying loans.
Pre-qualification is a credit estimate provided by a lender based on information provided by the borrower. Pre-qualifications are conditional, and the lender will review a borrower's creditworthiness before issuing a pre-approval.
Lenders like Affirm rely on existing consumer information to pre-qualify a person. This could be data from a previous application or buyer information as a customer. Some people mistake pre-qualified loans for pre-paid credit cards, but they're totally different. Pre-qualifications are typically unsolicited credit offers that grant customers preferential treatment in a credit application.
Prequalifying for an Affirm loan does not need any special processing. Just a check to see how much money you are eligible to spend using your Affirm account. You can prequalify for an Affirm personal loan through a retail partner or Affirm’s mobile app.
#4 Virtual Cards
Virtual cards are credit or debit cards that are generated online. They work the same way as traditional credit and debit cards, except there is no need to carry a physical card.
The biggest benefit of using a virtual card is the increased level of security. Virtual cards are a great way to make safe and secure online payments.
They are impossible to clone since they are not physical objects. They can also be set up as single-use cards, which means they will expire immediately after use, and you won't have to worry about fraudulent payments from your card in the future.
If you are buying from an outlet that is not an Affirm partner, log into your Affirm account to get pre-qualified and pay with a virtual card number. Then you can buy from any online vendor with a one-time-use virtual card.
#5 Multiple Loans
A point-of-sale (POS) loan is a type of loan you apply for when you’re checking out of a store, just when you’re about to pay. The ability to take out multiple POS loans from Affirm at once may be a good or bad thing depending on how you use it. When you need to make payments, Affirm allows you to choose the purchase you want to repay. This way, you can repay more than one loan without going into default.
People take out multiple loans for several reasons. For instance, income and repayment capacity increase over time, and people no longer hesitate to take out separate loans for different needs. However, you should not accept a loan just because it is available and you qualify for it.
#6 Access To Vendors On-Site
Affirm provides you with access to a list of partner merchants, including links to each vendor's website. On the main page, you may explore featured stores and special offers or navigate to any product category using the “Shop” menu.
Affirm has over 7,500 retail partners in the United States and Canada, with more vendors added every year. Affirm loans are available for online purchases through retailers like Amazon and offline purchases through shops that show the Affirm logo at point-of-sale.
Some of the major brands in partnership with Affirm include Walmart, Amazon, Simply mac, Adidas, Gucci, and Samsung.
Pros And Cons Of Affirm Canada
As with any product, Affirm has its upsides and downsides. Here’s a list of the most important pros and cons of Affirm to help you decide whether the good outweighs the bad.
- No fees: Affirm does not charge any late payment fees, service fees, prepayment fees, or other hidden fees.
- Soft credit inquiry prequalification: Affirm conducts a soft credit check that does not affect your credit score.
- Affirm does not have a revolving line of credit, unlike a credit card. Customers can apply for multiple Affirm loans at the same time. Each Affirm loan application is analyzed individually as a closed-end transaction.
- Quick financing: Affirm offers clear, simple, and instant financing options for online buying.
- All-in-one App: You can manage your account and make payments on the go with Affirm's mobile app.
- Your Annual Percentage Rate (APR) may be higher than the average APR for a credit card (up to 30%). This mainly depends on your creditworthiness, but still a drawback for the app.
- Affirm is not available for all retail stores, limiting customers' options
- If you return a purchase, Affirm will not refund the interest you paid on the cash borrowed to purchase it.
Some personal loans from Affirm are interest-free. Over 100 of Affirm's partner vendors finance the split payment plans you get from them up to a certain amount. It is a good way to entice customers to return. However, you could end up paying 10% to 30% of the purchase price as interest for the installment loan, spread out over time.
AfterPay and Klarna are two of Affirm's main personal lending competitors. AfterPay uses a compounding penalty charge model to fund interest-free consumer loans. Klarna, on the other hand, allows you to pay over a short period (14 to 30 days) with no interest and no fees. However, if you make an early repayment, you will be charged a prepayment fee, and if you make a late repayment, you will be charged a late fee.
Let's not get into the specifics of how they both operate. Keep in mind that Affirm outperforms its competition by charging no late fees or penalty APRs and offering flexible loan terms.
Customers want faster access to goods and services, but not having ready cash can sometimes limit them. Affirm is a convenient, faster, and less expensive way to buy and pay later – over one year. On top of that, many vendors are already in partnership with Affirm. Therefore, there is no shortage of places to buy using the platform. Paying with Affirm at the checkout is also safer than using a credit card.
Affirm provides a great payment option for financing large purchases such as furniture or a luxury bike. Whether you have a credit limit, are new to credit, or need to improve your credit score, Affirm can offer a lot of value for many different consumers.
Affirm’s weaknesses are not unique and are shared by the many POS lending services. If you have a good credit history and a high credit score, you should look into alternative options for financing your big tickets or larger purchase. Alternatively, if you can afford it, we recommend paying in cash upfront.
Is Affirm safe?
Affirm takes many security measures to secure personal information. This includes securing data with encryption and doing background checks on all employees.
From a financial perspective, there are several risks to determining if Affirm is safe. Even though Affirm promotes itself as an interest-free option, using this payment service creates a financial obligation. After all, a point-of-sale installment loan is still a loan.
Is Affirm worth it?
Affirm is worth it if you:
- Qualify for a zero-interest loan. Some Affirm retailers provide no-interest financing. As long as you make on-time payments, you can divide your purchase into installments at no extra cost.
- If you want to fund a big ticket. If you want to make a large purchase (like furniture or a luxury bike) but can't afford it all at once, Affirm is an opportunity to get it now and pay later.
- You are not eligible for a credit card. Qualifying for a buy now, pay later plan may be easier than qualifying for a credit card, particularly for individuals without a credit history. Affirm considers your credit score, but it also considers whatever past experience you may have with the company.
Affirm might not be worth it if you:
- Have trouble keeping track of your expenses. These payment plans are suitable for borrowers who are confident in their ability to make monthly payments. You should avoid taking on extra debt if you have trouble keeping track of where your money goes.
- Want to improve credit using a BNPL plan. Although Affirm reports to the relevant consumer credit reporting company when you make on-time payments, there is no guarantee. As they also report late payments, using such services might hurt your credit. If you want to improve your credit, choose a financing option that always reports on-time payments, such as a personal loan or a credit card.
- You've fallen behind on your payments. It's not a smart idea to take out another loan if you have other debts, such as credit card debt, especially for luxury spending.
Does Affirm have a credit limit?
No. There is no such thing as a minimum or maximum credit limit with Affirm. Although there is an upper limit of $17,500 on purchases, what determines your credit limit is your credit history. Your loan repayment history, interest offered by merchants, and how long you've had an account with Affirm are also used to determine your credit limit.
Can using Affirm hurt your credit score?
Yes, if you are late on payments or do not pay at all, Affirm can report this to the relevant consumer credit reporting company, hurting your credit score. In the future, you may also have trouble qualifying for new loans with Affirm.
How do returns work with Affirm?
If you have a problem with your purchase and need to return the item, Affirm recommends contacting the seller directly. You would then have to follow the store's return policy.
There are a few options for what happens to your Affirm loan once you make a return. Affirm, for example, can cancel your loan entirely if the retailer has finalized the return. If the amount returned to you exceeds the loan amount, Affirm may refund the difference.
The outcome may differ if the seller just pays a partial refund or provides shop credit instead of a refund. In such a case, you are still liable for any outstanding balance on your Affirm loan, even if you have returned the item.
Does Affirm charge interest?
Affirm does not guarantee that you will be eligible for 0% interest financing. Based on your credit history and eligibility, your Annual Percentage Rate (APR) might range from 0% to 30%. Some purchases may also need a down payment.