DJI Affirm Financing: is it a good idea to finance a DJI drone?

If you don’t have the money upfront to pay for your drone in full, DJI offers the option to finance your drone purchase. Rather than pay, say, $1,299 for the DJI FPV Combo in one go, you could pay about $120 per month over the course of 12 months thanks to a DJI Affirm Financing partnership. You’ll end up paying slightly more in total over the course of a year (that’s because you owe interest in return to the bank that gave you that $1,299 loan upfront). But, it can be helpful if you don’t want to part with a huge amount of money upfront.

So is the DJI Affirm Financing program one that you want to get involved with? Is it ever a good idea to finance a drone? How much extra does the DJI Affirm Financing cost? Here’s everything you need to know:

What is Affirm, and what is its relationship to DJI?

Affirm is a program that offers what are called point-of-sale loans for online and in-store purchases for a number of online retailers ranging from Walmart to Nordstrom to, yes, DJI. With a point-of-sale loan, you buy the product (in this case, a DJI drone) now, and pay for it in smaller monthly increments, ultimately paying it off in full months, or even a year from now. when you shop at select partners, including Walmart, Nordstrom, Nike, Best Buy and more. These loans allow customers to buy now and pay later.

Currently, Affirm is only available to DJI customers based in the U.S., and the payment option also excludes customers in West Virginia and Iowa.

How it works

Affirm is a direct partner with DJI, so when you purchase a drone from the DJI Online Store, you’ll have the option to pay either with a credit card, through PayPal, via bank transfer or to use Affirm Financing.

If you select Affirm Financing, you’ll be redirected to an Affirm page to apply for approval. The act of simply selecting Affirm as a financing option is not a guarantee of approval; after all, Affirm wants to do everything it can to all-but-guarantee that you’ll pay the money back in full by the end of the loan terms.

Thus, Affirm will run a “soft” credit check to verify you are who you say you are, as well as look at past payment history to help Affirm know if you’ll likely pay back their loan.

Keep in mind this is different than a “hard” inquiry (which Affirm does not use). Hard inquiries can effect your credit score, but since this is a soft inquiry, there is no effect on your credit score when you apply for an Affirm loan.

Though, you will have to give Affirm some personal details. On the first page you’re redirected to from the DJI website, you’ll have to input your phone number, which is necessary for you to receive a verification code.

From there, you’ll have to input your birthday and social security number, and you’ll likely also have to upload other information verifying you are who you say you are, such as photos of your driver’s license or passport.

With that personal information, Affirm is able to make an almost-instant decision on whether or not to approve you. Don’t worry if you don’t have extensive credit history. Affirm says it bases its loan decision not only on your credit score, but several other data points, too, such as income.

If approved, you’ll be able to select how long you want to finance your drone, typically from three-, six- and 12-month plans. From there, your first monthly payment will be due one month after your drone purchase is processed, and subsequent payments will be due every month. In some cases, you may also have to make a down payment, depending on the cost of the product and what you qualify for.

When paying back your monthly payments to Affirm, you can pay with PayPal or via credit card.

The $3,299 DJI Inspire 2 is one of the products available for financing via the DJI Online store through affirm, with payment plans starting as low as $299 per month for 12 months (so you’d owe $3,578.55 total).

How much does DJI Affirm financing cost?

When paying through Affirm, you’ll owe the monthly payments as well as interest (hey, Affirm needs something in return for fronting you money). Interest rates on Affirm loans range from 0% to 30%.

There are no additional fees with Affirm (some other, similar installment programs offer bizarre fees like processing fees, setup fees, late fees and even prepayment fees if you pay your drone off early). However, you will end up paying more overall than had you paid in full upfront, due to interest. Additionally, don’t pay late, even if there are no late fees. Affirm can report late payments to the credit bureau Experian, which could hurt your credit scores.

Here are some sample payments, showing how much you might expect to pay if you purchase a $1,299 DJI FPV Combo in full versus via Affirm (interest rates may vary by day and customer, and are subject to approval):

How many months you’ll need to pay off your drone:3612
If your APR is:0%15.31%15.29%
Size of monthly payment:$433/monthly$226.27 monthly$117.42 monthly
Total money paid after loan is paid off:$1,299$1,357.62$1,409.09
Total additional interest you’ll have paid (on top of the cost of the drone):$0$58.62$110.09

Is financing a drone through Affirm a good idea?

In general, no. In most cases, you should pay for tech products like DJI drones outright, but it’s not quite as black and white:

The case against Affirm

You’ll owe in total more money than had you just paid outright: In the sample 12-month financing option above, you’ll owe an additional $110.09 in interest on top of the price on your drone. Why unnecessarily part with $110 if you don’t need to? That’s your hard-earned money, so save it for yourself rather than give it to a company like Affirm.

If you stop using your drone, you don’t want to be still on the hook for paying for it: Let’s say you stop using your drone for any reason. Perhaps you’re on the 12-month plan, but 9 months in you upgrade to a better drone (and at the rapid clip that DJI develops new products, that’s entirely possible!). Maybe you just lost interest in the hobby and stop flying it., or perhaps your drone breaks and rather than fix it, you buy a new one.

Whatever your reason, it can be painful to be repaying something that you’ve stopped using. Save yourself the psychological damage.

You might not have the money now…and you might never have the money later: If you don’t have the money now, how can you know you’ll have it later? What if you lose your job and can’t afford to pay back a loan you committed to? Affirm likely won’t have sympathy.

The case for Affirm

That said, there are a few situations where taking advantage of the DJI Affirm Financing offer does make sense:

You need specific gear for your business, and you know you’ll recoup the costs later: Affirm can make sense, especially if you’re growing a drone business. Let’s say you’re an artistic videographer and a potential client likes your style, but you only have a Mavic Mini. They need at least 4K resolution, but the Mini tops out at 2.7K. They’ll hire you and pay you $1,000 total for the gig — $500 upfront and $500 after you deliver the work — but the 4K video is non-negotiable.

In that case, it might make sense to buy an $800 Mavic Air 2 as this gig will cover its cost. Plus, owning a better drone will likely lead to more paying gigs. You’ll ultimately pocket $1,000 (more than the cost of the drone) from this first gig, but in the interim using Affirm financing can help you afford it until payday.

You have the money in your bank account, but you’d rather sit on a cash cushion: Especially if you’re offered an interest rate on the lower-end (some interest rates are as low as 0%), it might make sense to take it so you can sit on a cash cushion. Most experts agree that you should always have an emergency fund of 3 to 6 months spending on hand, and if you’ve got one — great! But especially given the economic uncertainty that coronavirus had for small business owners, you might want an even deeper cushion. Being able to hang onto savings in case of emergency might be worth it, in some situations.

Our take on DJI Affirm Financing

There are a few situations where financing your DJI online store purchase through Affirm can make sense. In general, I don’t recommend buying something that you can’t afford to pay in full upfront (And trust me on this…I really wish I could tell you to buy every new drone because that would be awesome! But I just can’t.)

But if financing can lead to landing better gigs as a commercial drone pilot, or you’ve carefully calculated that sitting on a cash cushion is more valuable than what you’ll owe in interest, then it can make sense.

That said, even Affirm is not your only option for paying off your DJI drone over time. You might consider a personal loan. Or, you might be able to avoid paying interest completely by charging it to a 0% APR credit card. When you pay for your drone with card that has a 0% APR introductory offer on purchases, you won’t pay interest until the promotional period — typically 6-18 months — ends (and ideally you’ll have paid it off in full by then anyway).

Have you used Affirm to finance a DJI drone purchase (or any purchase, for that matter)? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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