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What Credit Score Do You Need for Affirm Paybright Approval?

Jessica Martel

Dec 14, 2021 5 min read

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Credit score needed for buy now pay later plans.
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    Affirm is an American-based buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) company that allows consumers to finance their purchases over time using a series of installment payments. In January 2021, Affirm acquired PayBright, one of Canada’s leading BNPL providers. 

    What Credit Score Do You Need for BNPL Approval?

    BNPL providers like Affirm and Paybright do not provide a minimum credit score needed to qualify for their installment plans. When applying for an Affirm plan, several factors are taken into account, including your credit rating, credit history, as well as your current credit balances. 

    The approval process is automated and uses all of these variables to determine whether or not you can use an Affirm plan to make your purchase. This automated process also determines the credit limit you will be approved for. 

    The exact requirements needed to get approved for an Affirm loan vary between retailers. Retailers can individually specify the credit score required to use Affirm in addition to other loan variables such as the interest rate. 

    Affirm and PayBright also partner with other third-party lenders including a company called EasyFinancial. EasyFinancial offers loans to people with “damaged credit.” EasyFinancial will look at your entire credit profile, not just your credit score when you apply for a loan. 

    Affirm and PayBright allow retailers to integrate EasyFinancial into the BNPL process. This way, if a customer doesn’t have a great credit score, they can still try to proceed with EasyFinancial. 

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    Does Affirm or Paybright Credit Show On Credit Report?

    Affirm offers two main installment plans, the “Pay in 4” and the “Pay Monthly." The Pay in 4 plan is built for small purchases and requires four installment payments to be made within six weeks. The first installment is due at checkout. 

    The Pay Monthly plan is for larger purchases and monthly payments can be spread out over a three to 60-month time period. 

    If you sign up for a Pay Monthly plan, a hard credit pull is required and it will appear on your credit report. A hard inquiry can stay on your credit report for up to 36 months.  

    Is Checking Your Credit for Affirm Paybright a Hard or Soft Pull to Your Credit?

    Affirm uses both a hard and soft credit pull depending on the plan you choose. 

    The pre-approval process for both the “Pay in 4” and “Pay Monthly” plan requires only a soft credit pull. This will not affect your credit score. A soft credit pull will also be performed if you sign up for the Pay in 4 plan. 

    A hard credit pull is required if you sign up for Affirm Pay Monthly plan. A hard credit pull may impact your credit score. If you apply for multiple monthly payment plans through various retailers, each application is subject to a credit check. Having multiple hard credit inquiries in a short period of time can lower your credit score and it can make it more difficult to get more credit. 

    Can I use Affirm or Paybright to Build Credit?

    Currently, Affirm does not report on-time payments to TransUnion or Equifax. As a result, you can’t use Affirm to build credit. While most BNPL programs won’t help you to build your credit, there are some exceptions, like Sezzle. 

    Sezzle is another BNPL company that operates in Canada, and it offers an upgrade program called Sezzle Up. Sezzle Up can be used to improve your credit providing all payments are made in full and on time. Sezzle Up is considered a revolving line of credit (similar to a credit card).

    Does Affirm or Paybright Affect Credit Score?

    Using Affirm can affect your credit score in a few ways. First, your credit score may be impacted if a hard credit pull is done when signing up for an Affirm Pay Monthly plan. Second, if you make a late payment or miss a payment, this will likely be reported to the credit bureaus which can negatively affect your credit score. 

    Using Affirm is very similar to getting a loan, and loans impact your credit score either positively or negatively, depending on how you manage your finances and your repayments.

    Is It Safe to Use Affirm or Paybright Credit?

    Affirm is a legitimate company that consumers can use to help fund their purchases over time. 

    Whether or not Affirm or PayBright is safe or a good idea will depend a lot on you. Like any loan, there is risk involved. An Affirm loan can be a convenient way to break up your purchase into smaller payments. If you ensure all of your payments are paid in full and on time then, you likely won’t have any issues. 

    An Affirm plan can also be a good alternative to using a credit card because the Pay in 4 plans offer 0% interest, as do some of the Pay Monthly plans. However, many of the Pay Monthly plans do charge interest which can reach as high as 29.95%. This is higher than most credit cards. 

    A BNPL option is probably not a good idea for you if you are someone who makes late payments or misses payments. If you do this, your credit can suffer. A better choice is to save up to make a purchase in advance and pay for it in full -- which is easier said than done. However, when you save up and pay in full, at least there is no chance of a late payment or a hit to your credit score. 

    Before you use any BNPL service, it’s important that you read and understand the terms of your agreement. This includes having a solid grasp of how the loan can potentially impact your credit score. The main risks involved with using a BNPL product include borrowing more than you can pay back and the impact this can have on your personal finances and ultimately your credit.

    The Bottom Line

    When you use a BNPL service, remember you are taking out a loan and taking on new debt. If you have a good repayment plan in place, then using a BNPL payment option like Affirm PayBright can be useful in breaking up your purchase into more manageable payments. However, if you miss a payment and have to pay high interest, then a BNPL option is no better than a credit card. 

    Affirm does not provide a minimum credit score for approval in part because the approval process varies between retailers. If you are concerned that your credit score is not high enough to secure an Affirm loan, you can always apply for a Pay in 4 loan and get an instant answer without impacting your credit score. 

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    Jessica Martel
    Jessica Martel

    Jessica Martel is a freelance writer and professional researcher. She specializes in personal finance and financial literacy. Her work has appeared on websites such as Investopedia, The Balance, Money Under 30, Scotiabank, Seeking Alpha, and more. Jessica has a Master of Science degree in Cognitive Research Psychology.

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