Affirm Survey Reveals that Money is at the Center of the Best and Worst Surprises

March 29, 2021

Respondents agree that randomly finding money is the best surprise while getting a higher bill than anticipated is the worst

SAN FRANCISCO – March 29, 2021 – Americans agree that the best surprise in life is randomly finding money in your pocket or on the street closely followed by getting a tax refund, no matter the amount. These findings are according to new research from Affirm, a more flexible and transparent alternative to credit cards. The company polled 2,000 Americans ahead of tax season, finding that the best and worst surprises they’ve received are all money related. 

Not all surprises are good ones, and after a tumultuous 2020, some Americans want to avoid them altogether – over half (54%) think April Fools’ Day should be cancelled this year. Respondents agree the worst surprises in life are all related to finances: getting a bill that's higher than anticipated tops the list, followed by owing money for taxes and getting hit with a late fee on a credit card.

As we look ahead to the new tax deadline, seven in 10 of those surveyed are hoping for a decent tax refund this year. The most popular ways consumers plan to use their tax refund is to put it into savings, invest it, make a credit card payment or donate to charity. 

With people feeling optimistic about the future and looking forward to stepping out of their home, people are planning to spend some or all of their tax refund - 52% will shop for new clothes, shoes and accessories, and about half (46%) will use at least some of their refund to book travel.  

“It is no surprise that tax season brings both great excitement as well as confusion and uncertainty. But whether you plan to spend your tax return this year, or save it, Affirm is here to help. If you're looking to save, our high-yield savings account requires no minimum deposit and never charges fees. If, on the other hand, you want to treat yourself, Affirm will allow you to pay over time, whether it's for the perfect new outfit or your next vacation," said Silvija Martincevic, Chief Commercial Officer at Affirm. "Affirm helps you to do all of these things while sticking to your budget. When you use Affirm, you know that you are getting a fully transparent product and that you will never be charged more than what you’ve agreed to.”

Additional key findings include

  • 43% of respondents plan to put their tax refund directly into savings with the top reasons being for emergencies (74%), life moments like weddings or having a baby (46%), college (44%), travel (45%) and home upgrades (39%).

  • The most popular categories consumers will spend their tax refunds on are electronics (55%), clothing, shoes or accessories (52%), car repairs (48%), home decor (49%) and travel (46%). 

  • Nearly 6 in 10 are interested in using a pay over time solution like Affirm in 2021, and half (49%) say paying over time helps them better budget. 

Approved consumers can split the cost of purchases and pay over time, with budget-friendly terms that allow them to pay monthly or every other week. Shoppers can explore over 7,900 Affirm merchants for:  

  • Apparel & Accessories: Universal Standard, Bonobos, Kendra Scott, Poshmark

  • Electronics & Tech: Dyson, GoPro, Molekule, Nest

  • Home: UrbanStems, Article, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma

  • Major Retailers: Target, Walmart, Nordstrom

  • Travel: Delta Vacations, Expedia, Priceline, Vacasa

  • Fitness: Peloton, Tonal, MIRROR

About the Survey

The online survey was conducted by OnePoll for Affirm in March 2021 with a sample of 2,000 Americans. 

About Affirm 

Affirm’s mission is to deliver honest financial products that improve lives. With that in mind, we are building the next generation platform for digital and mobile-first commerce, making it easier for consumers to spend responsibly and with confidence, easier for merchants to convert sales and grow, and easier for commerce to thrive. Payment options through Affirm are provided by these lending partners: Affirm savings accounts are held with Cross River Bank, Member FDIC.

Press Contact

Brittany Jackson

(650) 398-2715