The average credit card interest rate is a ridiculous 16.27%.
This means that if you buy something worth $1,000, you’ll pay $1,162.7 after 12 months. No wonder 80% of Americans are drowning in debt.
This is where buy now, pay later (BNPL) apps like Zilch come to the rescue.
Zilch lets you borrow up to thousands of dollars interest-free.
In this Zilch review, I’ll talk about my experiences with this buy now, pay later app while showing you how to use it responsibly. So if you want to save money on interest, I’ve got you covered.
What Is Zilch?
Zilch is a buy now, pay later app based in the UK. It just started operating in the US in May of 2022.
Zilch allows you to split a product’s total cost into four separate payments. Think of it as a modern, digital layaway program.
This is handy for emergencies because you can spend money before it lands in your account. The best part is that Zilch charges zero interest or fees, so you won’t pay more than you borrowed.
But what’s the catch? Well, if you’re using Zilch responsibility, there’s no catch.
Zilch doesn’t make money off you as a consumer; it earns money from retailers. Online stores will pay Zilch as it makes your total look smaller, encouraging you to buy more.
That’s why I recommend Zilch for large, one-time purchases like furniture and household appliances. Avoid using Zilch regularly since it’ll take money off your account every second week from the day of purchase, which can quickly get overwhelming.
How Does Zilch Rewards Work?
Unlike other buy now pay later apps that offer no benefits, Zilch has a generous rewards program. Zilch gives you 2% cash back in Zilch Rewards when you pay for purchases in one full payment.
It’s like free money. You can use Zilch’s BNPL feature, or you can choose to “pay it all now” and receive 2% back, up to $1,000 in rewards.
100 Zilch Rewards is equal to $1, which you can use on future purchases. You can redeem your rewards easily by sliding the Rewards toggle at checkout and clicking on “Enable Card.”
Keep in mind that Zilch doesn’t allow you to return products bought with Zilch Rewards. So I suggest spending your rewards wisely.
How To Use Zilch
Have you been eyeing a new gaming setup? Or maybe you just moved and want to buy a bigger table for your new dining room. Don’t stress! Zilch has you covered.
Here’s my five-step guide on how to use Zilch responsibly:
- Sign up for a free account
- Get approved
- Search for the store you want to shop at
- Buy your favorite products and choose what you pay
- Pay your installments every second week
Step 1: Sign Up For A Free Account
To get started, head to Zilch and sign up for a free account by entering your personal information like:
- Full name
- Contact details
- Bank account information (for autopay)
- Postal address (This address doesn’t have to match your debit card or proof of address)
- Government-issued ID photo
- Proof of address
Similar to personal loans, you may also have to verify your identity.
After you’ve entered these details, Zilch will conduct a soft credit check. Don’t worry if you have bad credit, as soft checks don’t show up on your credit report.
Zilch also looks at your monthly income and expenses to determine how much your available spend amount should be. Based on how responsibly you use Zilch, their system will automatically increase or decrease your available credit.
Step 2: Get Approved
For anyone with a low credit score, you’ll be glad to know that Zilch currently doesn’t require a minimum credit score. This is because Zilch only conducts a soft credit check to determine your spending limit.
However, Zilch recently partnered with Experian, so this process may change in the future.
When you receive an email or text message approving your application, I suggest downloading the Zilch mobile app on the Google Play Store, App Store, or Zilch website.
This app allows you to budget, keep track of your purchases, set weekly limits, and browse countless stores under one digital roof. You won’t have to search for or bounce between different retailers.
Also, once approved, Zilch gives you a virtual card with a card number, expiration date, and CVC number. This acts like a regular credit card.
This is an awesome feature because it allows users to shop at stores that aren’t on the Zilch app or website. You can use your virtual credit card anywhere Mastercard is accepted.
Step 3: Search For The Store You Want To Shop At
Zilch allows you to shop at any online store that accepts Mastercard. Some well-known retailers include:
- Best Buy
Many platforms will work in a specific niche, for example, fashion or furniture. But with Zilch, it doesn’t matter if you’re shopping for a tech gadget or a new pair of shoes; Zilch has you covered.
However, you can’t use Zilch for money transfers, money remittances, or electronic wallet transfers. For those situations, consider getting a personal loan, as you can spend that money with few restrictions.
Step 4: Buy Your Favorite Products And Choose What You Pay
Let’s say you’re buying a new pair of Nike sneakers. Click on a shoe that stands out to you and follow the normal checkout process. But when it’s time to enter your credit card information, type in your Zilch virtual card details. You’ll pay 25% now; then, the rest is split up over the next six weeks.
This will automatically link to your Zilch app, and you can monitor your budget and spending habits from here.
You can also choose to pay for purchases in full, which gives you 2% back in Zilch Rewards. Feel free to use this extra cash to spoil yourself with a gift or save it for a rainy day. This cashback doesn’t expire, so you won’t have to spend it immediately.
Step 5: Pay Your Installments Every Second Week
The last step is paying your 25% installment every second week. This comes out to four payments over the span of six weeks. If you pay for purchases in full, then you can skip this step.
Pro tip: I’d suggest signing up for autopay because it settles your Zilch payments instead of you having to deposit money manually.
But you don’t have to wait for this date to make payments. If you have extra cash, use the Zilch mobile app to settle your debt early. Zilch doesn’t have early payment penalties.
If you’re unable to make your payments, don’t panic! Zilch employs an understanding customer support team that’ll develop a new payment plan for you without any late fees. Communicate your financial difficulties and let the team know when you’re able to pay.
During this time, Zilch will simply put your account on hold, and you can’t buy anything new. Once you’ve made your 25% payment, Zilch reactivates your account, and everything goes back to normal.
Is Zilch Legit?
With 4.6 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, Zilch is a legit company with an “Excellent” rating.
This means that Zilch is safe, and most customers that use the service return because they were satisfied with their experience.
Zilch is also regulated by agencies like the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority), so you won’t have to worry about dishonest business practices.
I noticed that the majority of online reviews were positive, with most negative reviews coming from customers that found the sign-up process tedious.
Luckily, Zilch recently started focusing on streamlining the sign-up process. I was able to apply for an account in under 15 minutes!
Is Zilch Safe?
Since Zilch is regulated by the FCA and is heavily reviewed on TrustPilot, it’s safe. They have over 36,000 happy customers and a support team that is quick to help out.
But here is a word of caution about buy now, pay later apps. If you’re using them irresponsibly to buy things you don’t need, it’s an easy way to land in mountains of debt.
Don’t just take my word for it. Here are Zilch reviews from customers who borrowed money to pay for emergencies. Check out what these users on Reddit and Trustpilot had to say:
Five-star Zilch user review originally posted on Trustpilot.com
Also, Zilch’s support team has a 98% reply rate to negative Zilch reviews, so you know they’ll be quick to respond to any problems you might have.
Commonly Asked Questions About Zilch
What Is Zilch BNPL?
Zilch BNPL (Buy Now, Pay Later) is an app that allows you to buy products now and pay them off in four payments over six weeks, interest-free. Let’s say you bought something for $100. You’ll pay $25 during checkout and $25 every two weeks until your $100 is paid off.
Does Zilch Affect Your Credit?
Currently, if you miss payments, Zilch won’t report your account to a credit bureau. But this goes both ways. If you’re consistently making timely payments, Zilch won’t help you qualify for bigger loans at lower rates either.
Is Zilch Same As Klarna?
Zilch and Klarna are both buy now, pay later apps that offer zero interest rates and fees. But there are a few differences. For instance, Klarna provides traditional personal loan financing for up to 36 months, whereas Zilch only does six-week loans. Zilch also has a generous rewards program.
How Does Zilch Work?
Zilch is a virtual Mastercard that allows you to spend money and pay it back within six weeks. Sign up by entering your debit or credit card information and verifying your identity. When Zilch approves your account, you can shop at hundreds of online stores without worrying about interest.
Where Can You Shop With Zilch?
You can shop with Zilch at major stores like Amazon, Apple, Adidas, Best Buy, Nike, Target, or anywhere Mastercard credit cards are accepted! To learn about all the stores you can visit, go to Zilch or download the Zilch mobile app.
Is Zilch Like A Credit Card?
Zilch is like a virtual credit card that charges zero interest. If you can’t make your payments on time, Zilch won’t charge late fees. The only drawback is that you’re limited to stores that accept Mastercard.