What is Sezzle and How Does it Work? [Full Guide]
Buy now pay later apps, often shortened to BNPL, is a popular service that allows consumers to make purchases and then make installment payments over a set period of time. Sezzle is one such payment platform.
If you’re considering the different BNPL lenders, Sezzle is one you should look into to see if it’s right for you. Read on to learn more about this payment method. We’ll also compare it to other popular platforms so you can discover which meets your needs the best.
Exploring the Sezzle Payment Options
When you make a purchase with Sezzle, you have several options. Sezzle prides itself on allowing for flexibility.
If you want interest-free options, you have two to choose from:
Option 1 is to pay off the purchase balance in two weeks, with two payments. So, you’d pay half of the full balance the day you make the purchase, then the other half two weeks later. You won’t pay any interest this way.
Option 2 is to split your bill into four equal payments, paid over six weeks. The first is due at the time of purchase, then you’ll make equal payments on weeks 2, 4, and 6.
In addition, there are monthly payment options. With these, you can spread out your payment from between 3 and 48 months. Note that you will pay interest, though. Also, this payment method is subject to approval by a third party; Sezzle is not the direct lender in this case. The interest rates can range from 5.99% to 34.99%, and that will depend on your current credit scores, how much you’re borrowing, when you will pay it off, and other factors.
While Sezzle charges merchants a small processing fee, buyers won’t pay any on any of these payment methods.
Comparing Sezzle to Traditional Credit Cards
Whether you’re just starting out in the world of credit or you have some experience under your belt already, you might be wondering what the differences are between Sezzle and traditional credit cards. Here are some ways your Sezzle account will differ from a credit or charge card account:
The payment terms are different. When you use your Sezzle account, you’ll be choosing whether to pay off your balance in two weeks, six weeks, or a longer timeframe up to 48 months. You’ll have equal payments for each time period. With a credit card, you’re able to make just minimum payments or to pay your purchase off more quickly.
You might not need a credit check. With a typical credit card, you’ll have a “hard pull” credit check (more on this later), and you may or may not qualify for credit. With the Sezzle app, however, you won’t have a hard pull when you choose to pay off your balance within six weeks. If you want to spread out your payments over a longer period of time, you may need a full credit check by a third-party lender.
Interest charges differ. A credit card will have a specific interest rate for each purchase. Sometimes there are introductory terms with low rates or even a 0% rate, but at some point it will typically rise. With Sezzle, you won’t pay interest when making your installment payments all within two or six weeks.
Credit limits can vary. Sezzle will take a look at your repayment history and will do a soft credit check to determine your credit limit. With a credit card, they’ll do a hard credit check. Also, Sezzle can change your credit limit over time to reflect your current behaviors with the app; a credit card company might raise your limit sometimes or if you ask, but it’s not as responsive to your behaviors with the card.
Get to Know the Advantages and Disadvantages of Sezzle
|Flexible payment plans
|Soft credit check; won’t harm credit.
|Low spending limits at first
|Tons of merchant partners
|Must have Premium for some partners
|Ability to reschedule payments
|Complicated refund policies
Unlock the Advantages
You might be wondering about the advantages of using Sezzle and why you might choose it over other methods.
As with all buy now pay later lenders, Sezzle allows you to break up the payments for your purchases over a set period of time. The most popular timeframe is the six-week plan with four equal payments, but you can choose others, too.
You’ll enjoy the convenience of being able to postpone paying for your items for a short time period, and you’ll also benefit from not having your credit pulled. In addition, you won’t pay interest if you make your payments as agreed.
The soft credit check Sezzle uses won’t affect your credit score. They also have lower credit requirements, so even if you don’t qualify for a credit card, you still might be able to get a credit limit through Sezzle.
Sezzle has over 75,000 merchant partner stores, so it’s likely you’ll find what you want through the Sezzle app. These include Apple, Disney, Amazon, Target, Walmart, Hotels.com, and Target.
You can reschedule payments if you find you’re not going to be able to make one, but be advised that there is a fee for doing so.
Tally the Disadvantages
As with anything else, Sezzle isn’t perfect. There are some considerations you should keep in mind if you’re thinking about signing up.
There are some fees involved if you reschedule payments or miss a payment. If your goal is to not pay extra fees and you’re looking into Sezzle as an alternative to credit cards that pay interest, just make sure you don’t end up paying even more with the late fees.
Your credit limit might start out small, since there’s no hard pull of your credit report. Most people start with a small limit and can work their way up with on time payments and keeping up a good payment history with Sezzle itself.
Finally, there are some Sezzle reviews that indicate potential difficulty with processing refunds. You would have to go through the original merchant or store, even though the payment method would have gone through Sezzle.
How to Use Sezzle
Your Sezzle experience begins with downloading the app on your phone. Then follow these steps to start Sezzling.
Click “Get Started” and sign up for an account. Fill out the basic account information, confirm you’re at least 18, and verify that you’re not a robot. You’ll get a verification code texted to you to continue.
Enter your address, and the app will do a soft credit check.
Once you’re on the main page of the app, you can choose which store you’d like to shop at. Some stores will have a virtual card requirement, and some others will require you to sign up for premium. (We’ll talk more about these below.)
When you choose a store, you’ll see what your credit limit is for that store at the bottom of the screen.
Make your purchase by entering a credit or debit card for your down payment, then choose which type of payment plan you’d like for the rest.
Get to Know the Different Sezzle Options
With Sezzle, there are several options you should be aware of.
Sezzle Premium: This program gives you access to bigger brands, like Lowe’s and Hotels.com. You’ll also get extra Sezzle Rewards points, priority customer service, and exclusive discounts. This comes at either a monthly or annual cost.
Sezzle Virtual Card: Some merchants, like Target, allow you to use the app only when you have a Sezzle virtual card. This is a “card” that is stored on your mobile wallet. You’ll use this to complete transactions. To pay off the card, you’ll still pay the 25% down payment and then the rest will be your agreed-upon installments.
Sezzle Up: This is an optional feature that allows you to opt into a credit-building company. You’ll get the benefit of having your payment history reported to the credit bureaus. In turn, this will help you build a strong credit profile over time.
Sezzle Anywhere: You don’t have to be limited to the merchants who have an agreement with Sezzle. Instead, you can shop online retailers, pay in store, or even pay bills with the same payment plan by using your Sezzle virtual card. It’s accepted anywhere Visa is accepted, so you’ll have the flexibility of carrying a credit card without having to deal with a credit card company’s fees and interest.
How a Credit Limit Works With Sezzle
The credit limit you get with Sezzle is called a “spending limit,” and it may vary from store to store. Many new users will start with a lower spending limit, then it will grow as you demonstrate a positive payment history by honoring your payment date each time it’s due.
You’ll see what your limit is when you sign into the store you want to make a purchase from. Customer service agents cannot manually change this spending limit, so if yours is lower than you want it to be, the recommendation would be to continue using your app and making on time payments to raise that limit over time.
Understanding How Sezzle Reports to Credit Bureaus
Sezzle doesn’t report to credit bureaus unless you have Sezzle Up, which is optional.
The advantage of using Sezzle Up is that you’ll get points with the three major credit bureaus for using the program and paying it off as agreed.
The disadvantage is that if you do miss a payment, that will be reported to the credit bureaus.
So, if you’re not sure you’ll be able to make all of your payments on time, consider not signing up for this program. Bad credit is hard to overcome, so it makes sense to avoid doing anything to downgrade your creditworthiness.
Comparing Sezzle to Other Buy Now Pay Later Providers
There are several other buy now pay later services you might want to look into. Here are some of them as compared to Sezzle.
Affirm: Affirm is similar to Sezzle in that it’s a BNPL lender with several payment options available. Like Sezzle, they have options for in-person shopping, and in some cases, they’ll report to credit bureaus. Unlike Sezzle, however, they don’t have late fees.
Afterpay: Afterpay is a provider with interest free loans. Unlike Sezzle, they only offer one type of payment plan. They don’t report to the credit bureaus, and the do have late fees, similar to Sezzle.
Klarna: Klarna also offers flexible payments, including “pay in four installments” and “pay in 30 days” options. You can pay in store, and you can extend due dates. Like Sezzle, they have late fees.
You can find more information on these BNPL providers here:
Manage Your Bank Account and Personal Finances
The most important thing to keep in mind is to make sure your payments are on time and paid as agreed. This is what will build credit, allowing you to have higher spending limits and also helping you to qualify for personal loans, car loans, mortgages, and other important financial tools.