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This is a comparison of the top 4 music stores that offer in house financing without a credit check. Each payment plan has been carefully evaluated with the goal of singling out the very best option for consumers. You may also want to check out my extensive list of musical instrument financing options including store credit, credit cards, payment plans, leasing, layaway, and more!

In review are Zzounds, American Music Supply, Sweetwater and Same Day Music.  Each of these companies offers a unique payment plan with different terms which are compared (below).

Max number of musical instrument payments available without a credit check

The 1st thing to look at is the number of payments available for financing music gear without a credit check.  Having more payments gives you additional time to pay off your music equipment and equates to easier, more manageable payment amounts.

Zzounds Pay as You Play plan offers the best payment option, in my opinion, because it stretches the order total over a very reasonable 4 months.  American Music Supply’s ‘EzPay’ ties for 2nd place with Sweetwater’s ‘3 Payment Plan.’  Both companies offer 3 payment musical instrument financing over 3 months.  Same Day Music came in last place, offering just 2 payments over a 60 day term.

What you have to spend to qualify: payment plans compared

Another thing to look at when financing musical instruments is the amount of money you need to spend on an order to qualify for payment options.

For this comparison, Sweetwater has a substantially lower up front costs to access financing.  In fact, they only require $45.00 in your cart for payment plan eligibility. Zzounds, American Music Supply, and Same Day Music all require a minimum $249.00 before you can access payment options.

Interest/Fee to order ratio on popular payment plan options

As much as being able to qualify for financing with just $45 in your cart may seem helpful, it’s good to remember that all 4 of these stores charge a $10 fee for providing payment options.  If you look at this in terms of interest, roughly 22% of a $45.00 order with Sweetwater is going towards that $10 fee.  So it actually makes sense to finance more rather than less if you want your money to go toward music gear instead of fees.  With Zzounds, this works out to be about 1% per each month of financing extended to you, with American Music Supply it’s about 1.33% per month and with Same Day Music, it’s about 2%.

Bizrate consumer rankings on popular musical instrument stores with payment plans

Last is customer satisfaction.  Sweetwater has a slight 0.4 point edge over Zzounds and American Musical at the moment. Same Day Music does not have any established history with Bizrate at present and the company has assigned them a score of zero.  It’s worth noting that Same Day Music customers could be absolutely thrilled with the company, but without an established Bizrate history, there’s no way to know.

My final verdict is Zzounds.  With the longest payment term, lowest maximum fee to order ratio, lowest fee to monthly payment ratio, and just a 0.4 difference in customer satisfaction, this company is the clear best choice for music fans.

You can click the big button below to visit the Zzounds website.

Update, 01/30/2017: zZounds has actually lowered their financing fee, added tiers, and made a six payment option available. They’ve also lowered the qualifying spend amount to just $59. This makes their payment plans more competitive than ever! I’m including a chart below with the updated fees for financing in each tier.

Simple, incredibly affordable up-front fees with payment plans

As you can see, zZounds has really upped their game with their new pay as you go pricing. Here’s the updated list of available payment options. Please note that only the 4 payment option on $59-$1000 is currently available without a credit check.

Current Payment Plans Credit Check?
4 Payments on most music gear between $59-$1000 No
6 Payments on select  music gear up to $3000 Yes/No (See Offer)
8 Payments on select  music gear up to $3000 Yes
12 Payments on select gear from $3000 to $4000 Yes
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