12 Buy Now, Pay Later Options with Bad Credit

Buy Now Pay Later Bad Credit

Emergencies happen — cars sputter, pipes leak, appliances break — and fixing these unpleasant surprises rarely comes cheap. If you have a big expense that’s due now, but don’t have the money to replace or service an item, you may want to look at options for buy now, pay later.

Bad credit certainly won’t improve your chances of getting approved for a loan or credit card when you’re in one of these tight spots, but it’s not a deal breaker either.

We’ve researched the various buy now, pay later options available and categorized our list of the best lenders and retailers so you can find one that specializes in the type of financing you need.

Cash Loans | Credit Cards | Stores | BNPL Apps | FAQs

“Buy Now, Pay Later” Loans for Bad Credit

Personal loans provide more flexibility than any other kind of loan. That’s because these loans won’t place restrictions on how you use the money you borrow. Once the lender deposits the money into your bank account, you choose how to spend it.

Our top bad credit lenders below are loan marketplaces, meaning you won’t borrow money from that company, but rather from one of the many partner lenders within its marketplace.

Most marketplaces require you to fill out one preliminary loan application, which the company then shops to its partner lenders. Depending on your loan needs and credit history, you could receive multiple loan offers to choose from, or just the best match. Many approved loans offer payouts to a bank account within 24 hours.

  • Short-term loans up to $5,000
  • Online marketplace of lenders
  • Funds available in as few as 24 hours
  • Simple online form takes less than 5 minutes
  • Trusted by more than 2 million customers
  • Not available in NY or CT
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Loan Amount Interest Rate Loan Term Loan Example
Up to $5,000 Varies Varies

See representative example

Since each personal loan marketplace partners with several lenders, each loan will come with varying terms and conditions. Before you accept a loan, study the fees, interest rates, and potential penalties associated with every offer so you can get the best loan terms for your needs.

 “Buy Now, Pay Later” Credit Cards for Bad Credit

As Americans continue to shop online in large numbers, and many more choose to pay their monthly bills using plastic, the need for a good buy now, pay later credit card only grows.

Credit cards not only allow you to shop online and pay your bills, but they can offer emergency funding when you’re in a financial pinch. A good credit card, like our top choices listed below, will also report your payment history to the three major credit reporting bureaus. This means you can use the card to improve your credit score with responsible usage.

  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • When you need assistance our award-winning US-based Customer Service agents are there to help.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Issuer Website Yes 9.0/10
  • You don’t need good credit to apply.
  • We help people with bad credit, every day.
  • Just complete the short application and find out in 60 seconds if you’re approved.
  • You can build* or rebuild your credit: apply for a PREMIER Bankcard credit card, keep your balance low, and pay all your monthly bills on time.
  • Don’t let a low FICO score stop you from applying – we approve applications others may not.
  • FICO scores are used to represent the creditworthiness of a person and may be one indicator to the credit type you are eligible for. However, credit score alone does not guarantee or imply approval for any PREMIER Bankcard® product.
  • *Build credit by keeping your balance low and paying all your bills on time every month.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
4 minutes See Issuer Website Yes 9.0/10
  • Up to $1,000 credit limit doubles up to $2,000! (Simply make your first 6 monthly minimum payments on time)
  • All credit types welcome to apply!
  • Free access to your Vantage 3.0 score From Experian* (When you sign up for e-statements)
  • Initial Credit Limit of $300 – $1,000* (subject to available credit)
  • Monthly reporting to the three major credit bureaus
  • See if you’re Pre-Qualified without impacting your credit score
  • Fast and easy application process; results in seconds
  • Free online account access 24/7
  • Checking Account Required
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
9 minutes 24.99% – 29.99% (Variable) Yes 8.5/10

No two credit cards are the same. Each card issuer sets different interest rates, fees, and penalties for cardholders. Many cards have varying fees that depend on the cardholder’s credit history and verifiable income information.

Before you add a new credit card to your wallet, make sure you understand exactly how much you’ll have to pay for the credit and how it will affect your monthly budget.

“Buy Now, Pay Later” Retail Stores

Most everyone has a favorite shop or brand they remain loyal to over the years. Whether it’s a type of car, a clothing store, or kitchen appliance, having a go-to manufacturer gives you peace of mind and some dependability when making a purchase.

But staying loyal can sometimes come with a price. If you need to replace lost or broken items or furnish a new home or business, sticking to one brand can get expensive. That’s why many retailers offer their own branded credit cards or credit accounts that allow you to make the purchases you need and pay your bill over time.

These accounts only work at the specified retailer, so make sure you regularly shop at the business before adding an account to your credit profile.

  • Easy application! Get a credit decision in seconds.
  • Build your credit history – Fingerhut reports to all 3 major credit bureaus
  • Use your line of credit to shop thousands of items from great brands like Samsung, KitchenAid, and DeWalt
  • Not an access card
  • Click here for official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 Minutes See issuer website Yes 9.0/10

The Fingerhut Credit Account is a great option for anyone with poor credit who needs a few items they can buy now and pay for later. This card is one of the easiest cards to be approved for, making it our top buy now, pay later credit line.

8. Montgomery Ward

Montgomery Ward’s founder, Aaron Montgomery Ward, started the company in 1872 as a mail-order dry goods business in Chicago. Over the next several decades, the company expanded into brick-and-mortar retail locations and became the third-largest department store chain in America.

Today, Montgomery Ward offers quality merchandise at deep discounts online. The Ward’s Credit Account makes it easy to purchase the items you need and pay for them over time. And since your credit comes directly from Ward’s — and not from a lending bank — you won’t find third-party fees or other hidden charges on your monthly bill.

Montgomery Ward Logo

  • Monthly payments as low as $10
  • Increase your credit line with responsible use
  • No third-party fees or hidden charges
  • Instant access to your credit line upon approval

Ward’s boasts that its revolving line of credit offers payments as low as $10 a month, which makes your purchases affordable and easy to manage. You can apply for an account through the link above or during checkout while making an online purchase at Wards.com.

9. Zebit

Zebit sources name-brand goods at wholesale prices and passes the savings onto its customers. With a ZebitLine account, you can purchase from the online retailer and pay no interest on purchases of $2,500 or less. That perk alone can save you hundreds of dollars in fees compared to personal loans and credit cards.

Zebit uses your income and employment information to determine credit eligibility, which means you won’t have to undergo a credit check for approval. Once approved, you can instantly access your credit line to make purchases.

Zebit Logo

  • Up to $2,500 of interest-free credit
  • No credit check required for approval
  • Down payment (usually 20% – 30%) required at checkout
  • Instant access to your credit line upon approval

Zebit does not report your information to the credit bureaus, so your on-time payments won’t improve your credit score. That’s one of the only downfalls of this program that allows you to make purchases without paying the stiff interest rates that many consumers who have bad credit often face.

Retail credit lines can allow you to purchase many types of items — often at discount prices — without having to immediately pay at the register. Some retail accounts come with higher interest charges, though, so read the fine print on any application before submitting it.

“Buy Now, Pay Later” Apps

Buy Now Pay Later apps have taken the ecommerce sector by storm, allowing consumers to finance online purchases without credit, and sometimes without interest. These services are quickly gaining momentum and are available on thousands of ecommerce websites. Some even allow you to request a virtual card so you can use the service for any product you wish to buy.

Most BNPL services perform a soft credit check to determine your eligibility for financing, and you can expect an instant approval decision. This is not an exhaustive list of BNPL apps — as the industry grows, so, too, do the number of providers.

10. Affirm

Affirm LogoAffirm offers two ways to finance purchases. The first breaks your total amount into four interest-free payments that you repay every two weeks. The second is generally for big-ticket items and allows repayment over several months, but you’ll be charged interest.

You can see whether you prequalify for financing on its website, and you can request a virtual card in the Affirm app if you don’t see Affirm listed as a payment option during checkout.

11. PayPal Pay In 4

PayPal Pay In 4 LogoThis BNPL service can only be used with retailers that already partner with PayPal. Simply choose PayPal during checkout and select Pay Later before choosing to pay in four installments.

A soft credit check will be performed to determine whether you qualify. Payments are automatically deducted from your PayPal account every two weeks.

12. Afterpay

Afterpay LogoAfterpay is a buy now, pay later app that differentiaties itself from the above two options in that it can also be used in stores. Payments are split over six weeks, and you won’t be charged interest for the convenience.

You can choose Afterpay during checkout online if it’s available, or you can set up the Afterpay Card in the app, which can then be added to a digital wallet for use in stores.

What is Buy Now Pay Later?

The buy now, pay later industry continues to get bigger, particularly post-pandemic. But there are different types of buy now, pay later plans. The most popular is a traditional credit card, which allows you to make purchases with any retailer or service provider that accepts the card.

The card lets you complete your purchase and pay off the total cost over time in monthly installments. Once you pay off part of your debt, you can then reuse that part of your credit line again. Banks refer to this as a revolving credit line.

Some merchants extend single-use credit that you can use to make a one-time purchase. But once you pay the credit off, you cannot use it again. You can often find this type of credit at specialty stores, such as furniture or appliance dealers. They’re essentially a one-time loan you pay off in monthly installments.

This type of credit differs slightly from a traditional loan because you don’t always have to use your entire approved credit amount to make a purchase.

For example, if you take out a loan for $2,000, you receive that exact amount (minus any origination fees or other charges) when the loan closes. You must then pay back however much you borrow, plus interest charges.

With one-time use credit lines, a retailer may approve you for a certain amount of credit, but you aren’t required to use it all. You can receive a $2,000 credit line but use only $800 to buy a couch. In that case, you’re only required to pay back the portion of the credit that you use.

The type of buy now, pay later credit you’ll need will depend on your desired use for the credit and how much debt you can realistically take on. Few lines of credit come with no interest charges (and the ones that do usually require good credit to qualify), so make sure you factor in those costs when determining if you can afford a buy now, pay later loan.

Does Buy Now, Pay Later Affect Your Credit Score?

Your current debt load accounts for nearly a third of your credit score. When you take out a loan, your overall debt increases, which could lessen your credit score. Any decrease you see will disappear over time as you make on-time payments and pay down your total balance.

On the other hand, a new loan can increase your credit mix. Lenders like to see that you can responsibly manage multiple loan types, so this could work in your favor.

Other types of loans — mainly revolving credit cards — can give an instant boost to your credit score. That’s because adding a new credit line improves your credit utilization. Lenders calculate your credit utilization by dividing your current credit card balance by your overall credit limit.

For example, a credit card with a $2,000 limit and a $500 balance has a 25% utilization rate. Your credit score improves when you keep this number low.

Credit Utilization Chart

So, when you add a new credit card, you’re expanding the amount of available credit at your disposal. As long as you don’t run up several charges on your new card, you will lower your utilization and improve your credit score.

That’s not to say that one form of credit is better than others. Any credit line can improve your score when you make on-time payments and reduce your balance. Lenders make money by lending money, so they don’t want to punish you for taking out loans.

You’ll improve your chances of future credit approval when you use your credit responsibly.

What is No-Credit-Check Financing?

Most credit lines rely on banks to fund your transactions. When you use a credit card to make a purchase, the card’s issuing bank sends the money to cover your purchase to the retailer or service provider. The bank is essentially loaning you the money, which you agree to pay off — often with interest.

Since a bank loans you the money, it wants to make sure you can repay the loan. That’s why you typically must pass a credit check to get approved for a loan.

Not all merchants use banks to fund their credit lines. Some retailers, such as Zebit, simply loan you the money themselves. So, when you pay your bill, you aren’t paying the bank, but rather the actual store.

Zebit Screenshot

Zebit provides no-credit-check financing with 0% interest. Applicants must show proof of income for approval.

Many service providers have similar bank-free credit lines. Your plumber, mechanic, or handyman may allow you to pay for their services over time.

Since you aren’t dealing with banks in these cases, merchants can use their own means to decide whether to extend you credit. That often means you won’t have to pass a credit check for approval.

The merchant may want to see verifiable employment and income information. This could be pay stubs, tax returns, or another form of proof that you can repay the debt.

This can greatly work in your favor if you have bad credit. Quite often, lenders charge consumers with imperfect credit higher interest rates or require an upfront deposit to secure the loan. If you’re approved for no-credit-check financing, you’ll often pay the same fees and charges as everyone else.

The only downfall for this financing option is that it typically won’t help your credit score. When you make your monthly payment on a traditional loan or credit card, the lender reports your behavior (both good and bad) to at least one major credit bureau, which affects your credit reports. This doesn’t happen with no-credit-check financing.

Obtain a Manageable Payment Plan for Your Favorite Items

Buy now, pay later financing can help increase your purchasing power and improve your credit score at the same time if you choose a loan or credit card. But not every loan offer is the same.

Depending on your credit history and the type of loan you accept, you may have to pay higher fees and interest rates — or maybe no fees at all. That’s why it’s so important to study the best buy now, pay later options for bad credit before signing on the dotted line and accepting a loan.

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