Zebit Review: Buy Now and Pay Later
In the world of alternative financing, hidden fees are common. Zebit stands out by charging no hidden fees at all.
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When you’re experiencing financial or credit struggles, it feels like a vicious cycle that’s very difficult to get out of. Missing payments or making late payments will lead to extra fees and penalties, as well as a reduction in your credit score. Those fees will only add to your debt, and with damaged credit, you’ll wind up paying a higher interest rate for any additional money that you borrow.
PSST! If you’re already struggling with debt or damaged credit, you can check out your credit repair options here.
Unfortunately, the people who need a break are often unable to get one. Pulling yourself out of this situation can take a lot of time and effort. It may feel like businesses and lenders are kicking you when you’re down or taking advantage of you because you have very few options.
If you’re in this type of situation, one option you can consider is Zebit. In this Zebit review, we’ll cover all the details to help you decide if it might be right for you. Read on to find out if this buy-now-pay-later approach is legit or if there’s a catch that makes it too good to be true.
What is Zebit?
Zebit is a ecommerce retailer with the mission of helping credit-challenged consumers finance purchases. Instead of charging high interest rates to people with damaged credit, Zebit aims to do the exact opposite. Through Zebit, you can purchase a wide range of products and pay for those products over a period of time with no hidden fees.
Customers can purchase products in a variety of categories like:
- Home & decor
- Kitchen & dining
- Kids & baby
- Sports & recreation
- Health & fitness
They have hundreds of name brands including Apple, Samsung, Xbox, Pandora, Gucci, Fitbit, LG, Whirlpool and more.
How Does Zebit Make Money?
When you read about a company that offers customers the ability to pay over time, the first question that comes to mind is “how are they making money?” After all, Zebit is a business, so they have to make money somehow.
Zebit purchases products at wholesale prices and resells them at retail price, so they are making a profit on each product sold. This is essentially the same thing that other retailers do, except instead of charging for the entire purchase upfront, Zebit allows you to pay it over time.
The price of a product for sale at Zebit is the total price you’ll pay for the item, even if you pay for it in installments.
Consumers are able to get the items they need on terms that work for them. Instead of paying upfront with a credit card and accruing interest charges for six months, Zebit allows customers to pay for things over time without any additional cost.
However, because Zebit has to make money on the markup of each product, they don’t have the same ability that other retailers have in terms of offering sale prices and discounts. The prices you pay at Zebit may be higher than the prices charged by other retailers.
How Does Zebit Work?
Zebit offers consumers up to $2,500 in credit that can be used to purchase products from the Zebit Market (more on the Zebit Market in just a minute).
In order to get access to this credit, you’ll need to create a free Zebit account, which involves filling out a short application. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, and Zebit may verify your identity and your employment or income.
Although Zebit obtains information from specialty reporting agencies, one of the nice features is that your FICO score will not be affected in the application process.
Through the application process, Zebit will determine how much credit you’re eligible to receive. If you miss a payment, you won’t be able to make additional purchases. Unpaid balances may also be turned over to a collections agency.
The Zebit Market is where you’ll be able to purchase products with the credit provided by Zebit. It’s essentially an e-commerce website that has a membership component (without membership fees). Anyone can browse a small selection of the Zebit Market and see what products are available, but you won’t be able to see prices or make a purchase unless you’re logged in to a Zebit account.
You can purchase products from popular brands through Zebit, just like the products you would purchase at other retailers or e-commerce sites. You’re not limited to no-name brands. Additionally, all products are new and not refurbished, unless specifically noted and listed as refurbished.
When you make a purchase from the Zebit Market, you’ll have a few options. You can make a downpayment at the time of the purchase (using a debit or credit card) and then pay the remainder in installments over six months. As a representative example, your financing terms for a $1,000 item would be the following: Make a 25% down payment of $250.00. Then the remaining $750.00 is financed at 0% APR for 6 months, with 12 semi-monthly payments of $62.50 each.
If you don’t have the money for the down payment, it can be split into three weekly installments ($83.33 per week for 3 weeks in the example above), but the product won’t be shipped until the down payment is paid in full.
Another option is to pay for products using a typical debit or credit card. While this is an option, it probably doesn’t make the most sense for the typical consumer. With Zebit there’s no financial penalty for spreading the payments out over a period of time, which means there is no financial incentive to pay it all upfront.
In addition to the product categories that have already been mentioned, you can also purchase electronic gift cards for various websites and retailers. However, these gift cards come with an 18% handling fee, which wipes out any cost-saving benefits.
The credit extended to consumers by Zebit is referred to as the ZebitLine. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important to understand that this credit can only be used to purchase products directly from Zebit. It’s not a line of credit that can be used in whatever way you want.
Zebit re-evaluates your payment history from your previous Zebit purchases and your ZebitLine may be adjusted accordingly. That means that your ZebitLine could be increased if you continue to make payments on time.
You’ll have the option to set up automatic payments, which can be really helpful to ensure that you don’t miss any due dates.
Zebit charges no fees on purchases. The price you see listed is the price you’ll pay. When you’re logged in and looking at a product in the ZebitMarket, you’ll be able to see the price if you pay for it today (using a debit or credit card), as well as the installments if you pay for it over six months.
Will Zebit Impact My FICO Score?
Applying for Zebit will not impact your FICO score. Zebit does not pull your FICO score in the application process, and Zebit also does not report your payment history to credit bureaus. This is one of the major differences between Zebit and some of the other alternatives that you may consider.
Rather than checking your FICO score, Zebit verifies your income and identity in the application process, but not all customers will be approved for credit.
If you take out a personal loan or a traditional line of credit, your payment history on that debt will be reported to credit bureaus. In fact, some personal loans are set up specifically for the purpose of building credit. If you have damaged credit or very limited credit history, establishing some solid payment history can go a long way toward improving your credit score and helping you to qualify for other types of loans.
Since Zebit does not report payment history to credit bureaus, you cannot use it for credit-building purposes. If your priority is to improve your credit score, you’ll want to consider other alternatives.
Is It Safe?
During the application process, you’ll need to provide Zebit with personal information like the last 4 digits of your social security number. Zebit uses the same level of encryption that is used by banks and other financial institutions, so they take the necessary measures to protect you and your data. However, anytime you enter your personal information online there is some level of risk involved. In general, if you feel safe using online banking or other online financial accounts, you can feel confident that Zebit provides the same level of security.
Another aspect of safety or security is the trustworthiness of the company. Zebit is rated 4.7 out of 5 by TrustPilot, based on more than 3,500 reviews. This excellent rating reflects well on the company and is likely to provide you with more confidence.
Zebit has an A+ rating with The Better Business Bureau. If you’re not familiar with the way BBB ratings work, that A+ rating doesn’t mean that there have been no complaints about the company. BBB has a rating system of A+ to F. The grades represent BBB's degree of confidence that the business is operating in a trustworthy manner and will make a good faith effort to resolve any customer concerns filed with the BBB.
At the time this article is being written, the BBB is reporting 128 complaints against Zebit in the past 3 years. You can read the details of those complaints and Zebit’s responses at the BBB website.
Pros and Cons of Zebit
Now that we’ve covered the basics of Zebit and how it works, let’s look at the specific pros and cons that you should evaluate if you’re considering applying with Zebit.
1. Pay for Purchase Over Six Months
By far, the most significant benefit of using zebit is having the ability to take up to six months to pay for a purchase, instead of paying 100% upfront or putting it on a credit card. When money is tight and you need to make a purchase, being able to spread out the payment can make a huge difference.
2. No Hidden Fees
There are some other options available when you’re in a tight spot, but most of them will involve significant fees and/or interest. While there is a time and a place when personal loans make sense, they can also do a lot of damage if they’re not handled properly. Zebit offers an alternative where you only pay the checkout price and never a penny more, even when you pay over time.
3. The Application Won’t Impact Your Credit Score
Applying for credit or a loan may hurt your credit score. Zebit does not check your FICO score, so your FICO score is not impacted. If you have damaged credit or you don’t want to risk taking a hit to your credit score, this shouldn’t be a factor in your decision regarding Zebit.
4. Wide Selection of Products
Zebit offers products in a wide variety of categories, similar to major e-commerce giants like Amazon or Walmart.
5. Name-Brand Products
You purchase the same products you would buy from some other retailer. You’re not forced to buy products from no-name brands that you don’t trust.
6. Payment Schedule
Zebit sets your payment schedule according to when you are paid. If you are paid weekly, monthly, bi-weekly, or semi-monthly, your purchase can be paid back on those dates to make managing your budget easy.
1. Overpriced Items
Possibly the most significant con that you need to be aware of is the fact that prices on Zebit can be higher than you could find elsewhere. While you might not be charged any fees, you may wind up overpaying for a product. Of course, the details will vary with each product, so be sure to do some research before making any significant purchases.
2. Income Requirements
In order to be approved for credit, you’ll need some form of income. If you don’t currently have income, you won’t be able to qualify for credit with Zebit.
3. Will Not Help You to Build Credit
Most personal loans and lines of credit give you the potential to help your credit score, assuming you make all of your payments on time. Since Zebit does not report your payment history to credit bureaus, it won’t impact your score. If you need to build credit, you’ll want to look for other options.
4. Credit Can Only Be Used at Zebit
Zebit allows you to make purchases on their site and pay over a period of six months. While this can be extremely helpful, it’s not like a traditional line of credit that allows you to use the money in any way you need.
5. Poor Return Policy
In general, Zebit does not offer refunds or returns. If an item arrives damaged or missing pieces, you’ll have 10 days to contact them for assistance. You won’t be able to return an item simply because you don’t like it or because you changed your mind. This compares very unfavorably to the return policies of most major retailers and e-commerce websites.
6. Non-Competitive Shipping Times and Prices
Most items purchased at Zebit will arrive in about 7-10 days and you’ll be charged for the shipping. While this is not really a bad policy, leading retailers have become so aggressive with shipping that most of us expect to have free two-day shipping. Zebit’s shipping policy isn’t terrible, but it can’t compare to the leading e-commerce retailers.
Should I Use Zebit?
After considering the pros and cons, you’ll need to decide if Zebit is right for you. Keep your own situation in mind and consider the other alternatives that are available to you.
Having the ability to pay for a purchase over time can be a gamechanger when money is tight. It means that you won’t rack up credit card debt with interest that mounts faster that you can pay it off.
However, you’ll also need to do some research and make sure that price you’re paying through Zebit is competitive and not significantly higher than you would pay somewhere else. It’s understandable that you might pay a little more for the privilege of paying it off slowly, but you don’t want to significantly overpay for a product.
Likewise, you need to be careful to only make purchases that you can truly afford. Don’t let installment prices convince you to buy something that you don’t need or can’t afford.
If the price of a product on Zebit is competitive and you need the ability to pay for it over a period of time, Zebit can be extremely useful.
If you need to make a purchase but can’t afford to pay for the entire amount today, you have a few options. Of course, Zebit is one of them, but you may also want to consider some of the other options to see which is best for you.
- Find alternative ways to make money. Although you won’t get money immediately, there are still some fast ways to boost your cash flow if you put the time in and get resourceful!
- Zero-Interest Credit Card Offers - If you can qualify, some credit cards offer introductory periods with 0% interest on purchases. This can be another way to buy now and pay over a period of time, although you need to be extremely careful that you don’t buy more than you’ll be able to pay off. The interest rate is likely to be very high once the introductory offer ends.
- Personal Loans - There are a lot of different types of personal loans out there. Read our reviews of SavvyLend, LendShot, and LendJet to learn about some of your options. While you’ll be charged interest, you won’t be limited to how you use the money and you may get access to more cash.
- Payment Advance Apps - There are a number of apps like Brigit and Earnin that essentially give you an advance on your paycheck. However, this is usually limited to smaller amounts (Brigit allows up to $250, for example).
How to Open a Zebit Account
If you’ve decided that Zebit is a good option for you, the next step is to open your free account. To do that, go to Zebit.com and click on the “register” button. During the application process, you’ll need to enter your personal information, including your source of income and the amount that you make. If Zebit approves you, they’ll provide you with a specific amount of credit, up to $2,500, that you can use for purchases through the ZebitMarket.