The popularity of “buy-now, pay later” apps BNPL soared during the pandemic. As many as 60% of used this service. Some consumers even used it more than once per week.
What is this trend?
BNPL applications allow consumers to buy a product, then pay it off in monthly installments, usually over a period of a few weeks or even months. This means that consumers may take out short-term debt in order to meet their immediate needs and buying desires.
This payment model is very popular in furniture stores and in the automotive industry. This payment model is ideal for purchases that are not financially feasible. Split payments are becoming more mainstream thanks to BNPL options.
Affirm and Sezzle are two BNPL apps that allow consumers to access the products they need. We’re going to review Affirm vs Sezzle and help you decide which app is best for your business.
Let’s get down to business!
Sezzle, a fintech company with its headquarters in Minneapolis, has been around since 2016. It was founded with the mission of empowering change-makers. The e-commerce vendors include small businesses, black-owned businesses, sustainable and ethical brands, and small businesses. To support smaller entrepreneurs, they even support artisanal merchandise.
Unfortunately, it isn’t as popular as Affirm. One study shows that 28% BNPL users choose Affirm over Sezzle. It’s worth noting, however, that Sezzle offers similar services, works alongside many online vendors, offers amazing deals, and offers great discounts.
Affirm is a bit older. They have assisted over 17 million transactions since its 2012 founding. Their goal is to offer a transparent financial service that enhances people’s economic power and improves their lives. Its primary goal is to provide transparent interest rates and payment plans to shoppers so that they don’t have to worry about unexpected costs.
Let’s now look at the shopping experience of Sezzle and Affirm. Affirm is our first stop.
Shop with Affirm
Download the app from Google or Apple and then enter your details including your email address and phone number. You can then shop. Affirm will be listed as a payment option at the checkout for eligible vendors such as Adidas and Target.
You can also apply for a virtual credit card. You will need to meet Affirm’s eligibility requirements. Your credit score won’t be affected by this eligibility check. A virtual Affirm card works in the same way as a credit card. You receive a loan from Affirm directly to pay for your purchase. This is useful if you want to “buy now and pay later” with a company not affiliated with Affirm. This means that you can use your Affirm virtual credit card at any checkout. You must be at least 18 years old, live in the US and have a social insurance number to be eligible for this card. Affirm accounts are also required.
Affirm’s website allows you to browse shopping categories and find brands that accept Affirm payment.
These categories include:
- Beauty and Health
- Fitness and gear
- Furniture and home
Sezzle offers a similar shopping category list on their website, but their selection is slightly wider.
They include, for example:
- Arts and crafts
- Toys and Games
- Entertainment and travel
- Food and beverages
- Artist merchandise
- Baby and children
- Outdoors and sports
- Fashion for men and women
The list goes on.
Sezzle’s website allows you to search for deals from their partners. You can filter these by country (US, Canada), and category. Deals offer free shipping, cashback or discounts. You won’t be disappointed by the 44,000 brands Sezzle partners with.
Sezzle is a similar shopping platform to Affirm in terms of how it works. Sezzle can be used as an online payment option for any eligible checkout.
A virtual payment card called Sezzle can also be used. The Sezzle virtual credit card functions in the same way as a credit card. Sezzle will take on the loan amount. Sezzle will take on the remainder of the amount due for you to pay later. You only pay 25% of your order price upfront. Sezzle is different from Affirm. You must pay 25% upfront. The remainder of the payment will be made over six weeks and three additional payments.
How payments work
Let’s now get down to the details of how Affirm and Sezzle pay their customers. Let’s start with Affirm.
It’s easy to shop with BNPL apps. Affirm demonstrates this. The app allows you to shop virtually anywhere online and in-store with merchants that accept Apple Pay and Google Pay. There are also a few payment options:
Affirm Pay in 4 is the first. You can choose to make four interest-free monthly payments here. The loan has no fees and won’t affect your credit score. You can also set up automatic payments (called Autopay). You can also set up automatic payments (called autopay) that automatically debit your account on the due date.
You can also choose the “Monthly Payments”option. The concept is the same except that instead of four payments, you pay a monthly fee up until the big-ticket item is paid off. You have the option to choose how much you want to repay each month. This model does however incur interest. The interest is charged upfront and forms part of your monthly payments. Based on your credit score, your interest rate could be between 10-30% APR. This is subject to an eligibility review.
It is worth noting that Affirm does not run a hard credit check, which won’t impact your credit score. They state that they will report back to the credit bureau if your loan has more than 0% interest. Except for the interest, which you will need to review and agree with when you buy, there are no prepayment fees, hidden fees or account fees. There are no late fees!
Affirm’s credit card is the last payment option. This is still being developed and there is a waiting list. The Affirm credit cards can be used as a regular card. However, it can also be used with installment plans. This allows you to split your purchase into four monthly payments or one-time payments.
Sezzle looks very similar at first glance.
Customers can make four interest-free installments over six weeks under their primary payment plan. The first installment will be due on the day you make the purchase. The remaining three equal-sized installments will be due every two weeks. A payment can be rescheduled once, and you will not have to pay any additional fees. A fee of $5 is charged for each additional order.
There are no fees if you pay on-time. Your credit score doesn’t get affected if you pay your bills on time.
Sezzle runs a soft credit check when you first create an account. Your credit score will not be affected. They will report missed payments to the credit bureau each month. A late charge is charged if you miss a payment. This fee can be as high as $50, but it’s usually $10. This is subject to individual state regulations.
Sezzle and Affirm both want to encourage responsible spending. They also want to impose spending limits upon their customers. Let’s take a closer look…
Sezzle employs an automated system that takes into account many factors such as your soft credit score and how long you have been a Sezzle shopper. It can be difficult to determine your spending limits in Sezzle.
Only US shoppers can sign up for Sezzle UP to check their spending limits or request a limit increase. Sezzle UP is a service that’s free and specifically for people who want to improve their credit scores. Sezzle UP allows you to increase your spending limit by paying on time and using Sezzle UP. This will reflect your credit score growth. This means that you can monitor how each purchase affects credit scores before they are sent to credit bureaus. You can also manage credit credit as needed.
Affirm also considers your financial situation before approving a loan. Your credit score, payment history, length of time you have had an Affirm account, and the interest rate offered by the merchant are all factors that affect your eligibility. Each merchant will discuss the eligibility criteria and they may differ. Currently, the maximum purchase amount is $17.500. However, this can change depending on the customer.
Sezzle offers a vast online knowledge base, which includes a FAQs page for shoppers. You’ll find information about how to make payments, products and services, as well as ways to reach Sezzle if you have any questions.
But what if you need to talk to a customer service representative? You can reach Sezzle by email or phone between 8 and 5 p.m. CTM.
Affirm also offers an online help center that answers common questions. Affirm can also be reached via phone or email between 8 and 8 PM Monday through Sunday, EST.
The Pros and Cons of Sezzle vs. Affirm
Let’s compare the services in a quick overview.
Their website allows you to view all available deals.
There are more than 44,000 vendors to choose.
You get one free payment reschedule
Sezzle has a wider range of shopping categories that Affirm, but it offers more options.
Sezzle doesn’t charge interest
In six weeks, you can spread the purchase cost over four equal installments
Shopify integrates with Sezzle
If you miss a payment, you will be charged a late fee (which we believe is fair and reasonable).
Sezzle’s spending limit is not clear.
You will be charged a fee if you need to reschedule more than one payment.
Payment schedules are not flexible.
It is impossible to pay your balance off early.
Sezzle does not automatically approve all orders. If you are late on payments or have not paid your orders, it may decline to approve your order.
Affirm the Pros and Cons
Account fees, annual fees and late fees are not charged to users. If you miss a payment you will be notified but not fined.
You can arrange monthly installments for high-ticket items over three, six, and twelve months.
You can pay your balance with Affirm when you receive your next payment date.
To make installment payments, sign up for the Affirm debit cards
Some retailers offer rates as low as 0% interest.
Shopify integrates with Affirm
There are fewer vendors than Sezzle; Affirm currently has 2,569 companies, while Sezzle has 40,000.
Affirm charges interest for payments. These can range from 0% to 10-30% APR. It all depends on the vendor and your credit score. Therefore, it is difficult to predict when and how much you will be eligible for a loan.
Affirm’s signup process takes a bit longer as you will need your social security number in order to verify your identity.
Late payments don’t incur charges but may impact your credit score.
Some purchases may not be approved due to the pre-qualification process for each transaction.
Our Last Thoughts
There you have it. This concludes our Sezzle vs Affirm review.
It is easy to see why Affirm has become the most popular of both. This app is compatible with many vendors who charge 0% APR. Late fees are not charged, making it the most flexible of both.
Affirm’s flexible payment options make it a more flexible option. Affirm allows you to pay in monthly installments while Sezzle is limited to six weeks. Affirm is better suited for larger purchases that require repayment over a longer time period.
Sezzle is a good option for smaller purchases. It’s also well-suited for those who can afford to make a 25% downpayment on such investments. It charges no interest as long as you pay your payments on time. However, late payments or the need to reschedule repayments may result in additional fees. Sezzle will require you to be more cautious with your finances.
Affirm is considered slightly safer because it has a few more failsafes in place. You’ll know exactly how much you are spending before you pay. Sezzle does not charge interest but you may be charged a fee for late payments. Affirm’s preapproval process ensures that you don’t spend more than you are able to repay, even if your credit score is lower.
What do you think? What do you think? Sezzle vs. Affirm: Which app would you choose to “Buy Now, Pay Later?” Or are there other payment platforms like Klarna and Afterpay? Let us know what you think in the comments below!