How to Buy a Computer with Bad Credit

In order to buy a computer with bed credit shoppers need to be aware of what their credit score is, how much money they have available and know exactly what the computer will need to be used for.

A new computer can be a large upfront purchase. Particularly powerful desktops built for video editing or heavy gaming can be thousands of dollars. Most computer sellers offer some kind of credit card with a generous grace period to help buyers finance new computers. But if a shopper has bad credit, they’ll have to consider a few options, which we share below.

Credit Cards

Most retailers offer a credit card with a long grace period to finance a computer. Apple, for example, offers the Barclaycard Visa. This Visa card offers up to 18 months of interest-free financing for a new computer, depending on how much is financed (anything over $999).

types of credit cards

Read: How to Afford Apple Computers with Apple Financing

Best Buy offers 12 months interest-free financing on their in-store credit card, or 5% back in rewards. Apple’s Barclaycard Visa also offers 3X points for any Apple Store purchases. Staples has a loyalty card that also offers 6, 12 and 18 months interest-free, depending on how large the initial purchase is.

shutterstock_217295584In order to finance a computer using store credit cards, one has to sign up for a credit card. That means a credit check will be run, albeit quickly. These aren’t credit cards or lines of credit given by these stores, even if they are branded by the stores. They’re third party credit cards one signs up for. In order to use them, the potential buyer has to know if they can even get credit approval. If a shopper has bad credit, it’ll make using the credit card option that much harder.

That means knowing the credit score. Once someone knows their credit score, they’ll have a good idea exactly what is going to happen when they try to apply for a credit card.

Read: How to Get a Free Credit Report

Anyone with less than 600 as their score is probably going to get denied for a credit card. Some people may think they have bad credit, but aren’t sure. They just know they’ve been denied. The first step to understanding finances is to find out exactly what the score is, because then they can work on fixing it:

Read: 7 Ideas to Boost a Credit Score Fast

For someone without a 600 score or higher, they’ll need to move on to thinking about other ways to finance their computer. They should also be focused on not adding to their credit card debt anyway. Read on for ideas about how to afford a good computer without using credit.

Read: 7 Things You Need to Know About Credit Cards

Use Layaway

walmart cheap healthy mealsWalmart, Sears and a few other department stores offer layaway plans. A layaway plan works by letting a customer put something aside in the store at the customer service counter and then make payments on it as they’re able until the item is paid off.

Some stores have fees for a layaway plan and most of them are limited to only the Christmas season. That gives the user three or four months to make payments. But a person making weekly payments on a computer to break up the cost would be worth it.

Get a Chromebook

The need to get an expensive, heavy-duty computer might not be necessary. While IMG_0553-600x354computers have gotten more and more complex, requiring more and more speed, many of the functions people use them for can be done by cloud software. Advanced databases, image editing, email, browsing, coding and even video editing can all be done online. That means powerful processors at a server farm somewhere do the heavy lifting. The Chromebook can just be the conduit you do the work on, but not the powerful machine doing the crunching.

Read: ChromeOS and Chrome Netbook Announced

Chromebooks range from $160 and on up. They come in a variety of screen sizes and form factors. They’re the perfect device for a consumer with bad credit.

Read: 5 Bestselling Chromebooks

Consider Used or Refurbished Computers

If all of the above fails or a Chromebook doesn’t give the tools needed, a used computer can sometimes shave enough off the cost to make a computer affordable. If a computer buyer knows exactly how much cash they can spend, they can just look for the best used computer they can find for that exact amount.

Used computers are available through a variety of online vendors, like TigerDirect, NewEgg, or even (look for used under the price of laptops for sale). Buyers who are willing to risk a little bit more can also find computers for sale on eBay or Craigslist.

Refurbished computers are an even better deal. Refurbished computers come from manufacturers like Apple with the same warranty as a new computer, but at 10-15% or even more off the cost of the computer. Apple sells refurbished computers direct from its website. Other manufacturers do so as well, or through third parties. Search for the needed computer and add the phrase ‘refurbished’ to see a selection.


Best Buy Credit Card and Financing – Best Buy

Apple Financing: Consumer Finance –

Apple Financing: Education Finance Plan –

What Stores Offer Layaway –

Special Financing with a Staples More Account – Staples