Acima Credit Review: Point-of-Sale Financing When You Need it

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Acima Credit Review: Point-of-Sale Financing When You Need it

We only recommend Acima Credit to bad credit borrowers who have limited options and are also confident that they can pay their loan off quickly. Otherwise, there are better and cheaper options.

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Acima Credit is a good option for borrowers looking to purchase large items like appliances or furniture and have poor credit. However, borrowers who can't pay off their full amount owed quickly shouldn't consider Acima as costs rise quickly throughout the financing term. Acima offers point-of-sale financing to qualified borrowers regardless of credit score.

You can take up to 12 months to pay for your purchase, but the finance charges are significant that they should give any prospective customer pause before signing up. Ultimately, Acima’s lease-to-own model may be ideal only if other forms of financing are not available to you.

  • What is point-of-sale financing?
  • How Acima financing is different
  • Applying for Acima Credit
  • Alternative financing options
  • Making a good financial decision

What is point-of-sale financing?

If you’ve ever shopped at a big-box retailer or gone on a website and seen offers inviting you to apply for financing using a store credit card, you’ve seen examples of point-of-sale financing. This type of financing takes your credit score into consideration.

The benefit to point-of-sale financing is usually instant approval and relatively lenient credit score requirements compared to more traditional financing tools like personal loans. However, be wary of high fees and interest.

How Acima financing is different

Acima is different than other forms of financing like credit cards because it doesn't rely primarily on your credit score for financing and you have a specific repayment period (12 months) to adhere to.

Instead of credit sore, Acima considers other factors, like how long you’ve been employed, how much money gets deposited into your checking account each month and if you’ve had a lot of overdrafts. For that reason, Acima may be a good option for financing if you have less-than-ideal credit or you want a way to build credit history that has a low barrier to entry. The Acima website is unclear about which of the three credit bureaus it reports customer activity to. While it says in its FAQ section that it has partnered with "a number" of them, it only explicitly states that it reports activity to Experian.

If approved, you can shop for leasable items valued between $500 - $5,000. You’ll own the property after renting it for 12 months unless you use one of Acima’s early purchase options, which allows you to own sooner.

Applying for Acima Credit

Applying for Acima financing is a fairly straightforward process, but you need to meet certain criteria to be eligible. You will need the following:

  • U.S. government-issued photo ID
  • Social Security number or ITIN number (for certain nonresident and resident aliens)
  • Three months salary history with current employer|Deposits of at least $1,000 per month into a checking account open for at least 90 days|No negative balances, excessive overdrafts or non-sufficient funds on your checking account

You can apply online, from your mobile device or at a participating seller’s showroom. The application and a list of Acima merchants can be found on acimacredit.com. They filter merchants into the following categories:

  • Furniture and mattress
  • Appliances
  • Home electronics
  • Mobile electronics
  • Car audio electronics
  • Auto wheel and tire
  • Outdoor goods
  • Eyewear
  • Power tools
  • Jewelry

Chances of approval

Acima says it uses a proprietary technology, which results in an immediate approval decision once you complete the application.

You’ll need to show a three-month history with your employer, have at least $1,000 deposited into your checking account each month and have that account open for at least 90 days. You’ll also need to show that your account is free of non-sufficient funds and provide a Social Security number and valid government-issued ID.

Loan terms and requirements

With Acima, you can take up to 12 months to repay your lease-to-own agreement, but borrowers should avoid taking the full 12 months if possible. If you extend payments over the full 12-month period, you will pay about twice the invoice amount of your item, which generally doesn’t equate to a good borrowing decision. However, that is not your only option.

You can choose from two different early-payment options.

The 90-day option lets you acquire ownership earlier by paying a $10 payment processing fee on top of the invoice price of the item within the first 90 days.

After 90 days, you can go with the early buyout option, which allows you to pay a discounted amount on your remaining lease (typically 75% of remaining payments owed on your lease agreement).

FeatureDetails
Loan amount range$500 - $5,000
Repayment options and fees
  • $10 fee + invoice price of the item if paid within 90 days
  • 75% of remaining lease payments paid in a lump sum after 90 days, but before 12 months
  • No fees, but twice the invoice price if paid over 12-month term
Funding timeThis is not indicated on the website. However, most point-of-sale funding decisions are typically made instantly at the merchant store or online.
Credit reportingReports to Experian
Terms accurate as of September 2019

Alternative financing options

While Acima may be a good option for those with bad credit or no credit, it’s a terrible option if you can’t pay off the lease in less than 12 months. Thanks to fees, you could end up paying about twice the price of the same item you might find elsewhere if you use Acima-approved merchants and financing.

Likewise, if you have good credit, you may be able to find better financing deals with certain cash-back credit cards, rewards credit cards or a personal loan.

Acima Credit vs. personal loans

There are a few major advantages to getting a personal loan as opposed to Acima.

  • If you have good credit, you could end up paying less for financing with a personal loan
  • You may be able to finance higher-ticket items. Acima maxes out at $5,000, whereas a personal loan can be approved for much higher amounts
  • You can use them for a larger variety of items, such as home renovations or paying down expensive medical bills, depending on the lender and your creditworthiness.

Acima Credit vs. credit cards

  • Credit cards may offer cheaper financing alternatives to Acima, especially if the buyer qualifies for 0% interest, cash-back or rewards credit cards. These types of credit cards can be used to save on future purchases or to help pay down existing balances using the cash-back feature.
  • In addition, credit cards offer consumers more buying power since you can shop merchants with the best deals for you.
  • One big advantage of using credit cards is that many have their own warranty agreements, and you can often dispute the charges if you’re not satisfied with the products you purchase.

Making a good financial decision

Acima financing approvals are merchant-specific and can only be used at an authorized Acima merchant listed on the buyer application. Another thing to consider before using Acima is that they have received hundreds of customer complaints with the Better Business Bureau.

However, if you can pay off your Acima account using one of the early repayment options, you’ll likely save some money as opposed to paying over the 12-month term. Also, Acima may provide a good way to finance typical household purchases ranging between $500 to $5,000, while potentially helping build your credit.

Regardless of how you finance your purchase, it’s best to consider all financing options available to you and carefully compare terms to know the true cost of the merchandise you’re buying and how much it will cost you in the long run.

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