No matter how direly you need it, bad credit and no cash will keep you from making the purchase you want when you want to make it.
Cautious lenders can make it difficult or even impossible to make those bigger purchases by not giving you the credit you need.
Your credit score shouldn't be the only thing that decides whether you can put gifts under the tree or get much-needed furniture for your apartment—there has to be another way!
One in three Americans has a credit score below 601—that's "Poor" credit—according to Experian.
That means a lot of people are unable to shop on credit even when they need to.
And it's only getting worse with a new generation becoming credit users themselves; Millennials have credit scores almost 80 points below Baby Boomers', again according to Experian.
But just because you struggle with getting a good credit score, doesn't mean you should have to struggle with shopping as well.
Believe it or not, there are shops that let you buy now and pay later!
Even if you've never financed anything in the past, the options listed here might be just what you need to save that upcoming birthday or anniversary.
Don't let bad credit hold you back—check out these options for shopping that'll let you buy now and pay later, so you can get the things you're looking for!
Fingerhut is one of the oldest and best-known shopping sites to offer buy now pay later.
The company is over 70 years old and originally sold items by mail before the internet came along.
When I was younger, my parents often shopped Fingerhut, mostly because my mom is an expert bargain shopper who loves finding good deals!
Now, Fingerhut is a time-tested online retailer with a large selection of over 550,000 items from very popular brands, all financed through their credit line.
They offer two different lines of credit, depending on your score
All purchases on Fingerhut are made through a line of credit extended by the store itself, and that means even those with poor credit can finance some new electronics, furniture, or clothes.
When you apply for an account, WebBank, a secure internet banking service working with Fingerhut, almost instantly verifies the type of account you qualify for: Fingerhut FreshStart, or Advantage.
A Fingerhut FreshStart account is for those with low or no credit. One of the best things about Fingerhut is that it offers customers a chance to shop even when their credit card company won't!
If that describes you, you'll most likely be approved for a FreshStart account at first.
The Fingerhut FreshStart account acts as a one-time-usage installment loan.
You'll use it once, to make one purchase, with a down payment of $30 on the item bought.
From there, if you make your payments regularly, you'll graduate to an Advantage account.
A FreshStart account comes with an APR of 24.9%, and late fees of $4.90 for balances between $15 and $50, and $14.90 for balances higher than $50.
So long as you're making your payments on time, this shouldn't be anything to worry about.
As an example, if you bought a $50 pair of sneakers of Fingerhut, you would be paying them off at $3.58 a month, but if you bought a $100 camera, you'd be paying $12.53 a month.
At those prices, anyone can shop at Fingerhut!
A Fingerhut Advantage account is a revolving credit line with more privileges. When you make your first purchase, it's possible a down payment will also be necessary, but as your history with Fingerhut grows, eventually down payments will no longer be required.
Beyond that, the Advantage account comes with a higher credit limit that will also grow over time.
Fingerhut's credit line can also be used at other select partners, such as Teleflora, making it more versatile than other online retailers that offer buy now pay later options.
It's worth knowing, however, that the account comes with a variable APR of 26.15%, with a due date of at least 24 days after the close of each billing cycle.
And unlike the FreshStart account, the Advantage credit line has a late fee of $38, so there is more responsibility upon graduating.
But even still, the flexibility and versatility make an Advantage account well worth it.
You can apply for a Fingerhut account directly on their website. When you go to create an account, it will ask for personal information like your social security number, name, and address—just like applying for a credit card, so make sure you have that info handy.
They offer monthly payment plans and a way to build credit
There's a lot more to Fingerhut than meets the eye. Opening an account can come with serious benefits, but there are some risks that accompany it as well.
Reports to the three major credit bureaus. That means you should think of your credit with Fingerhut the same way you would your own credit card. But that isn't bad news!
If you're looking for a way to build credit, Fingerhut's low payment plans might offer you a perfect chance to start doing so.
People that are looking to build credit are often the ones without it, and those without credit tend to have a hard time getting approved for any card.
Since Fingerhut will even extend credit to those with low scores, it's a great option for those looking to not let bad credit keep them from shopping, but responsible enough to want to start building good credit too!
It doesn't hurt to combine it with other credit building and monitoring strategies as well!
Overall prices aren't very low since the focus is on low monthly payments. It's worth mentioning that prices for items on Fingerhut isn't going to beat the ones you'll find on Amazon or Walmart.
Sometimes items will be $10, even $20 more expensive, because the focus is on lower monthly payments rather than overall price.
Unless you have enough cash to purchase what you want in one go, the difference might not even be noticeable in the long run.
Don't forget to use coupons with Fingerhut. Like any major retailer, Fingerhut will offer coupons and deals from time to time, so keep an eye out for those as well.
FlexShopper is a site similar to Fingerhut in that it helps you get the things you're looking for, even if you can't afford them right away.
Instead of offering a line of credit, it provides a "rent-to-own" service that acts the same as buy now, pay later.
The only difference here is that automatic payments are taken directly from your bank account, like the difference between credit and debit.
With an account you can lease a product for a year—and then you own it!
To make a purchase from FlexShopper, all you have to do is go to their website and choose the item you want to buy.
From there, you'll make weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly payments for a year, and if everything is paid in full and on time, it's yours to keep for good.
You can lease the things you want for a year. When you create an account online, you sign up for a spending limit that allows you to purchase goods from FlexShopper's site.
From there, you'll browse their 50,000 different items and select one you want, sign a simple electronic lease agreement, and you're good to go!
The goods can then be paid for in weekly installments for 52 weeks, starting on the first Friday from your purchase.
You are free to use what you bought however you'd like, and at the end of 52 weeks, assuming all payments are met, you now own what you bought.
Essentially, you're renting it so you can own it.
And because you don't need good credit to apply for an account, it offers everyone a chance to shop for bigger ticket items online!
You can create an account directly on their website. Because the purchase is being leased to you for weekly payments, the sign-up is going to be a little different than applying to a card or applying for a loan with bad credit, so the information required might be different as well.
While all the information you'd expect is required, including your name, contact info, and address, you'll also need some banking and income information.
Banking info is needed to link accounts, while things like paystubs show that you're not only good for the money later on, but how often FlexShopper will expect you to pay it back.
The eligibility requirement is a 90-day-old account and $1,000 a month income. When you make a purchase through FlexShopper, the money is deducted through direct deposits, so the important thing here is that you have a verified bank account to link to your FlexShopper account.
Since the money is then taken from your account weekly, it's important that FlexShopper knows you make at least $1,000 a month, especially given their high spending limits, otherwise it takes on unnecessary risks.
This way, it knows you can pay what you'll owe monthly.
Your credit score isn't pulled, but it can be affected. FlexShopper uses services like FactorTrust Inc. and Clarity Services Inc. to obtain credit reports, but not the Big 3 credit bureaus.
Not making payments on time or failing to honor the terms of the lease may cause a drop in your credit score, however.
So, make sure you take your lease as seriously as you would a line of credit—FlexShopper does report back to those bureaus when something's gone wrong with your scheduled payments.
They offer flexibility in their payment plans
Accounts have spending limits that are up to $2,500. Even if you have bad credit, FlexShopper will still offer a high spending limit to customers.
And because it isn't offering a line of credit itself, the spending limit tends to be higher to begin with.
Personal Shopping Assistants will help you make purchases from other sites. FlexShopper's site includes a ton of well-recognized name brands, but there's always the possibility you're looking for something it doesn't quite have.
This is why it has Personal Shopping Assistants.
You're able to contact Personal Shopping Assistants online and tell them what it is you're looking for.
They'll then find that item elsewhere, help you purchase it through FlexShopper, and all at no extra fee!
That makes FlexShopper's item selection much larger than what its website's product list may initially suggest.
Tailor your payment plans for your income. Not everyone feels comfortable with making weekly payments, especially if you're getting paid bi-weekly or once-a-month.
So long as you provide proof in the form of paystubs, FlexShopper will allow customers to make payments that match how often they're paid!
On the other hand, if you're ready to complete your payments early, every lease includes an Early Payment option that allows you to pay the full price and officially own it before the 52-week period is up.
The Better Business Bureau rated it highly with an A. This is pretty significant, considering the fact that the world of financing and money-lending is full of devious loan sharks and predatory lending schemes.
The Better Business Bureau stands by FlexShopper, so you can be sure it's worth taking a good look—even for the most cautious of customers!
Home Shopping Network
A third option worth considering is the Home Shopping Network's FlexPay, which allows you to make smaller payments on items over the course of two or more months.
Home Shopping Network (HSN) is a household name with more than 30 years of history since its beginning as the first televised shopping channel.
Now it offers its catalog online as well, allowing you to shop right from your computer or phone!
For me, there is yet again another personal connection: While my wife was working on her undergrad degree, she worked at the corporate buying offices for HSN.
Some of her stories of quality testing and the buying process are fascinating, but for me, the best stories revolve around the sports icons she saw around the studios.
FlexPay allows you to make purchases first, and pay them off over the next few months
After signing up for an account at HSN's website, you can find various items that give you the option to make payments through FlexPay, allowing you to buy now and pay later.
FlexPay options vary item to item. If an item allows you to buy now and pay later (i.e. finance it), it will say so in the item's description, next to the "add to cart" button.
That's very convenient because there's no credit check involved!
You can have zero credit history and still take advantage of HSN's FlexPay option whenever you check out to pay.
The one downside to this is that not every item will allow you to use FlexPay to make payments.
Still, HSN's catalog is so big that it's always worth checking, especially since there are so many products that can be purchased with FlexPay!
Your card or PayPal account is billed the first payment upon purchase. Afterward, you will be billed every 30 days from that first payment until the item is completely paid for.
In addition to the initial payment, you will also pay shipping and tax upon buying the product, making this somewhat of a buy now, pay a little now, pay the rest later—but it is still a very viable and effective option even for those with absolutely no credit and very little cash.
Then, depending on the cost of the item and its payment plan, you can stretch your payment schedule up to five monthly installments, after which the thing you bought is completely paid for!
There's no interest or fees on purchases. Since HSN isn't extending a line of credit like our other options, you don't have to worry about paying more than the initial cost over time.
Still, be wary if you use a credit card to make that purchase because any interest from your card will still add up if payments aren't met on time.
HSN also offers the HSN card. The HSN card is a credit card that offers special privileges to HSN customers, such as VIP financing and additional payment time on all jewelry, fashion, and beauty products.
Unfortunately, no minimum credit score is specified, and so it's not a card specifically targeting those with low credit, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth considering if you think FlexPay might be the option for you.
While the options above are some of the most well-known and popular, there are a lot of other options out there that are worth considering if you are looking to buy now and pay later.
QVC offers an easy pay option for those with a credit card or QCard. While you'll need to either apply for a card or already have one, this option breaks up payments into monthly installments at no extra fee.
Gettington offers a line of credit extended by WebBank, similar to Fingerhut. In fact, those that like shopping at Fingerhut should consider checking out Gettington as well!
Companies like Samsung offer interest-free payment plans. That is, if you hit a certain amount of expenditure.For Samsung specifically, after you spend $250, you have the option to set up a monthly payment plan.
PayPal offers a credit line that allows you to shop anywhere that accepts PayPal. Since most online shopping in American and Europe takes PayPal, establishing a credit line through it can be a very flexible and effective option for those currently without cards.
There are lots of other ways to improve credit. While these options are great for those with bad credit now, you should also consider trying to improve your credit history.
There are lots of options and information available, so don't stop your search here!
You don't need great credit to buy awesome stuff, there are lots of alternative options
"Buy now, pay later" can be a great alternative for those who don't have great credit or a high credit limit on their card.
Sites like Fingerhut, FlexShopper, and the Home Shopping Network will allow customers with "Fair" to "Poor" credit make purchases that they pay back later in monthly installments.
That can help put a new mattress on your bed or maybe some decent presents under the tree towards the end of the year.
Not everyone has the cash or credit they need to get what they want, but luckily sites like these will help you do just that, so go check them out and see which one is right for you!
Have you tried buy now, pay later options before?
Know of some good sites we didn't include, or some tips or tricks we ought to know?
Tell us in the comments below!