PC Financing: How to Fund Your Next Computer
Whether it’s for work or play, most of us have a PC. In fact, 74% of American adults own a desktop or laptop. But even a basic PC has an average sale price of over $600. If you need more robust features, such as for gaming, you can expect to pay between $700 and $1,000 or more.
Although cash is your best option for PC financing, if you have an immediate need for a new computer, you may have to lean on debt to afford the cost. Here’s what you should know.
Where to find PC financing
Several nationwide stores offer financing plans for purchases you make with them:
- Best Buy: Best Buy has branded credit cards through Citibank with deferred interest financing. For purchases of $479 or more, you can get 18 months to pay off your balance. (If you don’t repay the full balance, interest will be charged from the purchase date.)
- Apple: If you’re interested in buying a Mac, the Apple Store has an arrangement with Barclaycard Financing Visa. New cardholders can get deferred interest financing on Apple purchases made within the first 30 days of account opening. Customers get 12 months to repay their balance in full on purchases of $499-$998.99 and 18 months on purchases $999+.
Online store financing
Some online retailers specialize in customized computers and offer to finance purchases, either with direct programs or through third-party lenders. Consider the following examples:
- iBuyPower: iBuyPower PC is a gaming and high-performance PC retailer. This company offers financing through Affirm, a point-of-sale personal loan lender. You can purchase a PC system and select Affirm financing at checkout. The lender offers customers payment plans from 1 to 48 months. APRs range from 0.00% to 30.00% APR.
- Ironside: Custom gaming computer and PC seller Ironside works with the financing platform Bread to help customers afford their purchases. (Loans are made by Cross River Bank.) Monthly payment plans are available for terms of six, 12 or 24 monthly payments. APRs range from 0.00% to 29.99% APR.
- Maingear: Maingear offers its U.S. customers direct financing. Based on the customer’s credit history, the company may offer a fixed 14.99% APR or a variable percentage APR. Customers complete an online application for financing during checkout. Monthly payment plan terms are available up to 60 months.
Depending on your credit history, you may qualify for a personal loan that has a lower interest rate than other PC financing options. This type of loan is most often unsecured, meaning you don’t need collateral to qualify.
Your loan will come with a fixed monthly payment and fixed interest rate. With predictable monthly payments, you may find repayment easier than if you carried a balance on a credit card, which has a variable interest rate.
Although you may find personal loans for bad credit, they come with high interest rates. You may find in-store financing is cheaper and more accessible in this case.
Credit cards are the most popular form of financing, according to a LendingTree study on consumer debt. If you have an open card account, you can use it for short-term financing to buy a PC; if you pay off your balance before your initial due date, you’ll avoid interest charges.
If you have strong credit and need more time to repay your debt, you might seek out a credit card offering an introductory 0% APR. The introductory APR typically lasts for 12 to 18 months, buying you time to make purchases for your computer setup and to repay your balance. However, to maintain the 0% APR for the full period, you’ll need to make at least the minimum payment each month and on time.
One notable downside of this type of credit card offer is deferred interest. If you have an unpaid balance when the introductory period ends, you’ll be charged all of the interest the balance has accumulated up to that point.
PC financing with no credit check
If your credit history is bad or nonexistent, you may be considering a payday loan or bad credit personal loan. However, these are likely not your best option for financing. That’s because high fees (and possibly short repayment terms) can make your debt unaffordable, or at least especially expensive.
If your purchase absolutely cannot wait, consider these options:
- Get a loan from a friend or family member: Reach out to those close to you to see if they’ll pay for the purchase. Throw together a contract with a clear payment plan. Just make sure you’ll be able to afford the added monthly payment; you don’t want to sour your relationship over a computer.
- Pick up extra hours at work: Working a few extra hours each week can help you get nearer to buying your setup with cash.
- Find a side gig: Similarly, signing on for a side gig, such as a ride-share service like Uber or Lyft, can help you save up the funds you need for your PC.
- Sell your old equipment: Even if your old PC is broken, you may be able to get cash for it. This can help you fund your purchase.
If you choose to take out a high-interest loan, make sure you understand the lender’s fee structure. For example, you should repay your debt far ahead of schedule to minimize interest charges. But a prepayment penalty can make your loan more expensive if you’re charged one.
Whether it’s for work or pleasure, a PC can be a big-ticket purchase. Weigh all of your financing options so you ensure that you’re spending your money wisely and not overpaying. If you’re purchasing a PC for fun, think hard before you choose high-interest financing. It could add hundreds of dollars to the final purchase price depending on how long you’re in debt.