Sezzle review: Buy-now-pay-later service for shopping online

Adam Rozsa
10.07.21
4 minute read

Sezzle is a company in the long and growing list of buy now, pay later services available. Like Quadpay or Afterpay, Sezzle allows you to put a down payment on an item—through one of their affiliated merchants—and then pay off the item over the next six weeks.

The loans are interest free, and there are no fees unless you miss a payment or reschedule too many times. It’s a great way to purchase needed items if you’re low on funds at the moment.

This article explains exactly how Sezzle works and will give you a rundown of the fees, payment methods, credit score implications for using the service, and the pros and cons.

Sezzle only works for US and Canadian-based customers, so if you’re looking for an alternative to pay for items worldwide, why not try Wise?

With a Wise debit card you can pay for items globally and in the local currency. Plus, Wise only uses the mid-market rate for currency conversions so you’ll never be hit a markup or foreign transaction fees.

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📝 Table of contents

How does Sezzle work?

With a Sezzle account, you have the ability to buy items now and pay for them later with an interest free loan. Their payment plan runs for four installments over the course of six weeks, and typically the first payment is 25% of the total.¹

You can use Sezzle online with any of their lengthy list of affiliates—like Target, Keen, and GameStop. Or you can use the service in affiliated stores by accessing a virtual card within the app. This card ties to your Google Pay or Apple Pay account which allows you to tap your phone for payment at checkout.

Once you purchase an item, it’s just like a regular purchase so it’ll ship normally or you can walk out of the store with it in hand.

Sezzle fees

Sezzle offers interest free loans, so you won’t be charged interest on any item you purchase. However, they will charge a fee in two situations:

  1. You fail to make a payment on time
  2. You reschedule a payment more than once.

When Sezzle charges a fee, they add it on to your next payment which will run as one charge. Just be aware that it’s possible to get multiple fees on one payment amount as in:

💡 Payment + Late fee + Rescheduling Fee = Total Charge

What payment methods can you use to pay Sezzle installments?

Sezzle allows you to link a US or Canadian-based bank account, or a debit or credit card, and you’ll need one of these to make a purchase. However, you can use a prepaid card to make a payment on an installment.

Remember that if you link a credit card to your Sezzle account, you may be subject to interest fees via the credit card if you don’t make those payments on time.

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Does Sezzle check your credit score?

Sezzle does check your credit score, but they run what is known as a soft credit check to establish a credit limit for your account. This differs from a hard credit check in that it doesn’t affect your credit score at all.

Unfortunately, the company doesn’t offer a credit score minimum for approval, but they could deny you their service if your credit score isn’t up to par.

Also, paying off purchases through Sezzle alone won’t build your credit. But they do offer a way to build credit through their Sezzle Up service. To set it up, you’ll need to do the following:²

  • Link a bank account to your Sezzle account
  • Pay off one item through the service
  • Verify your account by adding your social security number to your account and confirming your personal information

Once you sign up for Sezzle Up, they’ll start reporting your account activity to TransUnion only, which can help build your credit for both Sezzle and other purchases. Just know that it could take up to 90 days for it to show up on your credit report.²

How to apply with Sezzle?

The format for setting up a Sezzle account is fairly simple, but you’ll need to meet the following requirements:¹

  • 18 years old or older
  • Have a US or Canadian phone number with SMS capabilities
  • Have a Working email address
  • Have a US or Canadian bank account, a debit card, or credit card—prepaid cards will not work for an initial purchase

From there, you can sign up for an account at the Sezzle website or by downloading the Sezzle app on your phone. Once you click or tap sign up, the app or site will prompt you to fill in your phone number, set a PIN, and then provide your personal information.

After that, you can begin shopping, but you won’t be able to make a purchase until you verify your email address and link a payment method. The app will prompt you to link your payment method with your purchase, or you can tap or click ‘account’ on the platform and then ‘payment methods’ to link it there.

Is Sezzle good to use? Pros & cons

Pros

Like any of the buy now, pay later services, Sezzle is a viable option to purchase needed items and pay for them in interest free installments. They offer the ability to shop online or in-store at over 34,000 stores and signing up for an account won’t affect your credit.³

Plus, you have the ability to build credit through their Sezzle Up service.

Cons

Buy now, pay later services can be risky for individuals who have difficulty managing their budget. Just like a credit card, the service presents the temptation of purchasing items when you don’t have the funds to pay. The only positive side here is that there’s no interest to accumulate, but you could still rack up additional fees.

Alternatives to Sezzle

If you’re not sure about Sezzle, there are a lot of other buy now, pay later alternatives out there to explore. Affirm, Quadpay, and Afterpay all offer payment installment plans through thousands of retailers, so be sure to look into all of your options.

And if you need a solid option for paying for things online outside of the US and Canada, Wise could be a great solution. With a Wise debit card, you can avoid currency conversion markups and foreign transaction fees internationally.

Verdict: Is Sezzle for you?

Like all buy now, pay later services, there are risks and rewards. Sezzle could be a great option if one of your favorite retailers is partnered with the company. It’s an opportunity to get needed items with no interest and build some credit along the way with their Sezzle Up service.

Just be sure you can make the payments on time to avoid any fees!

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Frequently asked questions

Is using Sezzle safe?

Yes. Sezzle has a level 1 PCI DSS certification with the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. They’re the top global certification service in regard to data compliance, and Level 1 is their highest certification.⁴

Is Sezzle better than Afterpay?

That’s for you to decide! But here’s the rundown on Afterpay to help you make an informed decision.


Sources:
  1. Sezzle - What is Sezzle and How does it work?
  2. Sezzle - Sezzle Up
  3. Sezzle - How it works
  4. Sezzle - How secure is Sezzle?

All sources checked on 8 July 2021


This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from TransferWise Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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