Affirm to Launch ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Debit Card

Affirm Card Review

Affirm, a fintech company out of Silicon Valley, is launching a debit card with buy now, pay later (BNPL) functionality. The Affirm Card is heralded as the first U.S. debit card to have direct access to pay-over-time functionality. Since 2012, Affirm has offered point-of-sale or installment loans for retailers like Walmart and thousands of others. These  financing options let customers pay off their purchases in monthly installments, sometimes even at a 0% interest rate.

The Affirm Card will allow consumers to pay upfront, from their bank account, or pay later, by using a unique post-purchase feature. In just a couple of taps, consumers will be able to instantly convert any eligible transaction into one that is pay-over-time.

“We know consumers are looking for financial control and flexibility. In the last year, we’ve seen two key trends: huge growth of buy-now-pay-later transactions, and consumer preference shift to debit cards over credit cards. The Affirm Card combines the two, allowing Affirm to meet consumers where they are and empowering them to pay on their own terms,” said Max Levchin, CEO and founder of Affirm, in the blog post announcing the card.

The company is announcing its plans for the Affirm Card to address both trends. According to research from The Ascent, over a third of U.S. consumers have used a BNPL service. Additionally, a recent study reports that debit accounted for 30% of all payments.

The card sounds interesting, but the fine print will be important once more details are released. While it’s possible to pay over time with no interest, it can get really expensive. You will likely get hit with interest if you miss a payment, or if your repayment period is longer than what’s required for that 0% interest rate. Affirm has not revealed much about how the card will exactly work. It does say that “you’ll be able to use the Affirm Card app to split eligible purchases into 4 interest-free payments”. It also says the card will have no fees. That includes late fees, no prepayment fees, no annual fees, and no fees to open or close your account. But interest is the one you need to watch out for.

Affirm expects to make the Affirm Card broadly available later this year and invites all consumers interested in early access to sign up for the Affirm Card waitlist today at https://www.affirm.com/card.

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