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Affirm’s app lends you money to buy things online

The service extends credit for each purchase instead of a lump balance.
David Lumb, @OutOnALumb
October 23, 2017
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Paypal co-founder Max Levchin launched Affirm back in 2012 to extend credit for folks to buy things online. Today, his company has extended that feature to a mobile app, functionally creating a virtual credit card for anyone who wants to trust a tech company instead of banks.

The service's signature feature (aside from real financial functionality on a mobile app) is up-front and clear disclosure regarding how much a purchase will end up costing you. Affirm gives you a flat percentage interest rate ranging from 10 to 30 percent depending on what you're buying. Lines of credit are extended for each individual purchase, tied to a one-time-use credit card number and three-digit pin that disappear after, and the repayment is dealt with in the app.

Essentially, Affirm is betting that customers will feel better paying off each purchase instead of hacking away at a collective balance. The company aims to be a more honest lender instead of setting up credit lines for customers who cannot afford them. Affirm evaluates each loan based on user credit and perceived ability to pay it back. To apply, users need to provide proof of identity and the apps can be downloaded for iOS here and Android here.

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