Sezzle review: Buy-now, pay-later app for online shopping

Man sitting at his desk, reading a Sezzle review on his laptop and looking thoughtfulImage: Man sitting at his desk, reading a Sezzle review on his laptop and looking thoughtful

In a Nutshell

Sezzle offers interest-free buy-now, pay-later financing for purchases with thousands of online retailers. If you want to spread out costs and can afford to make payments over time, Sezzle may be a good option. But fees kick in if a payment fails or you reschedule a payment more than once.
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Pros Cons
No interest on purchases Fees for failed or rescheduled payments
No hard credit check Lower limits for first-time shoppers
Simple, transparent payment plan Must contact merchant for refunds

What you need to know about a Sezzle loan

Sezzle is a buy-now, pay-later financing option for online purchases. When you have a Sezzle account and shop online at a participating merchant, you’ll have the option to choose a Sezzle loan as your payment method. You can shop through Sezzle’s app or website, or through the merchant’s online storefront.

With a mission to “empower the next generation,” the company says most of its customers are Generation Z and Millennials. Sezzle offers interest-free loans with the ability to opt in to a credit-building feature. The company operates in the U.S. and Canada.

Here are some other features to consider before you take out a Sezzle loan.

Interest-free loans

Sezzle offers buy-now, pay-later interest-free loans. If you can’t afford to pay full price upfront, the alternative payment platform offers a four-installment payment plan, payable over six weeks. The first installment is a down payment that’s usually 25% of your order total.

Sezzle does allow you to use a credit card to make payments. So keep in mind that even if you make your interest-free Sezzle payments on time, if you don’t pay off your credit card balance in full, you could still face interest charges on your purchases.

Apply without affecting your credit

Sezzle allows you to apply for a loan with a soft credit check that doesn’t hurt your credit scores, and the app offers instant approval — but you may not qualify for every purchase. Your eligibility depends on your Sezzle history, past orders and more.

If you’d like Sezzle to report your payment history to the credit bureaus, you may join Sezzle Up to opt into reporting. Developing a history of on-time payments could help you build a strong credit profile.

Possible fees for failed and rescheduled payments

If your payment fails, Sezzle allows you 48 hours to correct it. If you miss the deadline, the company charges $10. Sezzle allows you to reschedule one repayment for free. After that, you’ll have to pay $5 each additional time you have to reschedule that payment.

Smaller limits for new customers

You may have a smaller limit — typically $50 to $200 — for your first purchase. Sezzle may increase your limit over time as you build a history of on-time payments for smaller orders.

Tricky refund and dispute process

Unfortunately, you’ll have to contact the merchant directly for any canceled orders, returns or exchanges. If you don’t receive an order, you can log into your account and click “Get Help” to email Sezzle’s team. If you encounter a situation that Sezzle considers a disputable issue, you can ask it to open a dispute with the merchant.  You should get a response within three business days advising you of next steps.

But Sezzle’s website doesn’t promise it’ll help, and it isn’t clear about what Sezzle will do for you if it opens a dispute on your behalf.

A closer look at a Sezzle personal loan

Here are some more things to know about Sezzle loans before you apply.

  • Available for 24,000+ online merchants — You can use Sezzle for online purchases at thousands of stores, such as K9 Ballistics, Melt Cosmetics and Dude Perfect.
  • Restrictions after failed payments — After a failed payment, Sezzle restricts you from placing any new orders.
  • Limited customer service — Sezzle suggests contacting support with complaints via an email form. If you prefer phone calls, it’s worth noting that it’s not easy to get a live person on the line. You can find the customer service phone number on the Sezzle Legal Definitions page.

Who is a Sezzle loan good for?

Sezzle may be a good option for smaller online purchases if you can afford a 25% down payment and can pay off the balance within six weeks as scheduled. You won’t pay interest and can avoid fees with three on-time payments, which could be cheaper than the average rate you’d pay if you use a credit card.

But if you can’t pay off your balance within six weeks, or use a credit card to pay off your Sezzle balance, you may want to explore options with a longer payoff timeline, like a 0% APR credit card offer.

Sezzle may also be a good choice if you want to finance a purchase without a hard credit check. And you can join Sezzle Up if you’re working on your credit scores and want to have your activity reported to the credit bureaus. But if you don’t want to link your bank account and provide your Social Security number, you can’t use Sezzle Up.

How to apply with Sezzle

If you’re at least 18 years old, have a U.S. or Canadian mobile number that can receive texts, and a working email address, you may be eligible for Sezzle financing. You’ll also need an active bank account, debit card or credit card.

You can start using Sezzle by signing up for an online account. The company asks for your first name, last name, mobile number, email address, date of birth and a PIN. You’ll also have to agree to Sezzle’s user agreement and allow the company to conduct a soft inquiry on your credit.

After receiving security codes to confirm your phone number and providing your billing address, your profile will be active. To start shopping, you’ll need to verify your Sezzle account via email. You can complete the purchase process through 24,000 stores and choose Sezzle for payment at checkout. If you want to pay off your Sezzle app purchase sooner, there isn’t a prepayment penalty and you won’t pay a fee to move a payment date earlier.

You can see and increase your credit limit by joining Sezzle Up, which reports your payment history to the credit bureaus. To join Sezzle Up, you’ll need to link a bank account, pay off one order on time and provide your Social Security number.

You can use the Sezzle app to manage your account. The app features allow you to browse online stores, review orders, reschedule payments, change payment methods and receive payment notifications.

Not sure if Sezzle is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you’re not sure about Sezzle, here are a couple of alternatives to consider.

  • Affirm: Affirm may be a good pick if you need a loan with up to 12 months to pay off your retail purchase.
  • Afterpay: If you want the flexibility to shop in person, Afterpay could be a convenient choice.

About the author: Kate Dore is a Nashville-based personal finance writer and Candidate for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER<s… Read more.