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PNC Personal Loan Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Updated November 08, 2017
With about 2,800 branches in 19 states and the District of Columbia, PNCis the fifth largest bank in the United States. It’s primarily located in the eastern half of the US, with most of its branches and its headquarters being in the northeast.

If you’re looking for a personal loan from a trustworthy, familiar source, PNC might be your answer. It offers an unsecured personal loan on par with most lenders, as well as a secured loan that allows up to $100,000 to be borrowed.

Most traditional banks haven’t been able to compete with online-only lenders in the personal loan space, so let’s see how PNC compares.

Personal Loan Details

PNC has three personal loan options – secured and unsecured installment loans, and a line of credit. For the purpose of this review, we’ll be focusing on the installment loans.

Most online lenders only offer unsecured loans. In case you’re not sure of the difference:

  • Secured loans require an agreement to let your creditor use your assets as collateral in the event you default on your loan. This protects the creditor as it can sell your assets and recoup the cost of the loan.
  • Unsecured loans are the exact opposite – there’s no collateral involved. There’s less risk for the borrower and more for the creditor.

While secured loans seem to take the creditor’s side, the bonus is they often have more favorable terms because creditors are taking on less risk. You may have access to better interest rates or more money.

A simple example of a secured loan is a mortgage loan. Your home (property) is used as collateral. If you don’t pay your mortgage, your mortgage lender can seize the property and sell it.

Now that you know what it means to have a secured or unsecured loan, we’ll take a look at the differences between the details.

PNC’s unsecured personal loan allows you to borrow between $1,000 and $25,000 on a variety of terms: 6 months, and 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-year options are available.

PNC’s secured loan allows you to borrow much more – between $2,000 and $100,000. The collateral required for this loan is non-real estate (a vehicle, for example).

Both the unsecured and secured loans have fixed interest rates.

Unfortunately, you can’t check APRs or sample payments for secured loans online, and when we called, we were told they vary based on your credit. They were unable to give any APR range.

The APR for unsecured loans varies by the loan amount:

  • For a $5,000 loan, the APR ranges from 9.49% – 21.99%
  • For a $10,000 loan, the APR ranges from 6.74% – 19.24%
  • For a $15,000 loan and up, the APR ranges from 5.99% – 18.49%

A payment example: if you borrow $20,000 on a 5-year term with an APR of 7.74%, your monthly payment will be $403.04.

The Pros and Cons

Applying for a personal loan with a bank is typically a bit more time consuming than applying with an online-only lender. This is because banks are thorough with the documentation they request.

However, PNC states the application should take no longer than 15 minutes online.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking at the secured loan option, you can’t apply online. You can only apply by phone, or in person at a branch. You can apply online with the unsecured loan option.

PNC’s APRs are also quite high, especially for the loan amounts. Many online-only lenders are offering better rates starting in the 5% range.

An additional negative might be that PNC only offers fixed rates. While variable rates aren’t stable, they’re usually lower than fixed rates. If you’ll have the ability to pay the loan off soon after it’s disbursed, having the lower variable rate can be beneficial.

If you fall on hard times, there’s a possibility that PNC will allow you to defer your payments, but this is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

PNC urges borrowers to contact the bank at the first sign of trouble – before their payment is due.

Application Process and Documents Needed to Apply

If you’re applying for an unsecured loan, you can easily apply online and be done within 15 minutes. PNC recommends having the following information ready:

  • Your photo ID
  • Annual income, plus any other sources of income you have
  • Employer information (if you’ve been working there for less than 2 years, have your previous employer information as well)
  • Address/proof of residence (if you’ve been living there for less than 2 years, have your previous address ready)
  • If you’re applying with a co-applicant, you’ll need the same information for them
  • If you’re applying for a personal loan to consolidate debt, you’ll need account statements as PNC needs to know your account number, monthly payment, and outstanding balance

PNC’s application is straightforward, and it also has a checklist available for you on the application in case you need to reference it.

PNC will use a hard credit inquiry when applying for a loan with them.

Who Qualifies for a Personal Loan With PNC?

To have the best chances of being approved for a loan with PNC, you need very good and established credit, along with a reasonable debt-to-income ratio. Your loan terms greatly depend on these two factors. Being a customer with PNC doesn’t increase your chances of getting approved.

Just a note – if you choose the secured loan and want to use your vehicle as collateral, it must be less than 8 years old and have less than 80,000 miles on it.

Who Benefits the Most from a Personal Loan With PNC?

Borrowers looking for a larger loan amount would benefit from the secured personal loan with PNC.

SoFi is the only other personal loan lender offering that much money, and while the loan is unsecured, it doesn’t have any physical locations. If you feel more secure applying in-person and receiving assistance from a trusted bank, you might prefer to go with PNC.

However, most borrowers will benefit from going elsewhere to get an unsecured personal loan.

The Fine Print

There is no prepayment penalty for either loan, so you can pay your loan in full at any time.

There’s no origination nor annual fee for the unsecured personal loan.

When called, a PNC representative wouldn’t disclose any other fees associated with the loan (late fees, returned payment fees, etc.).

Transparency

Since there is so little information on its website about the secured loan, it was important to find out as many details as we could from a call.

Unfortunately, the PNC representative that answered the call wasn’t very helpful. The most she could offer was that the loan rates and terms were dependent upon credit, and that the credit score and debt-to-income ratio of an applicant was extremely important.

When asked about late fees for the loan, she said “another department” handles that, and was unable to transfer the call to the appropriate personnel, as you need to have a loan with PNC before fees can be discussed.

This was rather disappointing. Most lenders are open to discussing these details with potential borrowers – fees can make a huge difference when considering loan options. To be one of the few lenders unwilling to discuss fees and rates beforehand kicks PNC’s transparency down a notch.

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Alternative Personal Loan Solutions

As mentioned, SoFi* is the closest competitor as it allows borrowers a maximum of $100,000 as well. The minimum you can borrow is $5,000. Most personal loan lenders have limits of around $25,000 – $35,000.

SoFi offers fixed rates and variable rates, while PNC only offers fixed rates for its installment loans. SoFi’s fixed APR ranges from 5.49% – 14.24%, and its variable APR ranges from 5.19% – 11.34%, if you’re enrolled in autopay (with a cap of 14.95%).

There are no fees associated with SoFi’s personal loan except for a late fee, which is 4% of the amount due or $5 – whichever is less.

You can borrow funds on 3, 5, or 7-year terms, and personal loans are available in 46 states, including the District of Columbia.

SoFi also offers unemployment protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you can apply for payment assistance.

SoFi uses a soft credit inquiry when you first apply to get your rates, which means your credit score won’t be affected. If you choose to move forward with the loan, a hard credit inquiry will be used.

SoFi

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If you’re looking for good alternatives to PNC’s unsecured loan, take a look at Earnest. You can borrow between $2,000 and $50,000 on a 1, 2, or 3-year term.

There are no hidden fees associated with Earnest’s personal loan, and it’s offered in 23 states plus the District of Columbia.

You’ll need a minimum credit score of 720 to be eligible for approval with Earnest, and a minimum of 700 to be approved with SoFi, but both lenders take other factors into account, unlike PNC. Your employment history, education, and salary matter as well.

*referral link

It Pays to Shop Around

While it would be convenient to have the first lender you apply with be the best solution, that’s not always the case, even with a trusted lender like PNC. Personal loans from bigger banks are falling by the wayside as online-lenders are offering much better rates and terms. Do yourself a favor and shop around to get the best rates, even if you have a prior relationship with the bigger names out there. If you shop around within a 30-day window, your credit won’t take a big hit.

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Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Best of, Life Events, Reviews

Wedding Loans: Find Better Options with Lower Rates

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Frugal Wedding

Updated November 03, 2017
Did you know that the average cost of a wedding in the United States is around $31,200? That’s the number uncovered in a 2014 survey conducted by The Knot, a top resource for wedding planning. A figure that doesn’t even include the honeymoon.

If you’re planning a wedding, you’re probably well aware that your big day isn’t likely to be cheap, especially if you have a guest list that exceeds 100.

So what can you do if you can’t afford your dream wedding and aren’t willing (or ready) to compromise on cost? You may have already come across wedding loans, but it’s important to know a few things before you sign for one.

This guide is intended to walk you through the pros and cons of a wedding loan, what to look out for with lenders, other methods you can use to affordably finance your wedding, and finally, what alternatives are available if you realize that a loan isn’t the right option for you.

Wedding Loans Are Personal Loans in Disguise

When searching Google for “wedding loans,” you’ll find plenty of lenders offering them. However, you should know that a wedding loan is really just a personal loan that anyone can get. They’re not specifically meant for weddings. In fact, if you fill out an application for a personal loan and have to choose the purpose of the loan, you’ll likely have a few options to choose from.

Lenders are aware that people are searching for “wedding loans” just like they’re searching for “home renovation loans” and “vacation loans.” They create these specific pages you find for those keywords (so they get more search engine traffic), when they actually offer more than just wedding loans.

What this means is that you should broaden your search to all personal loan lenders. You don’t have to specifically search for wedding loans as, in most cases, you can use a personal loan for a wedding (or anything, for that matter). The good news is that there are plenty of personal loan lenders out there for you to shop around with.

What to Watch Out For

As with any loan, you want to get the lowest APR possible. Unfortunately, because lenders have these “wedding loan” pages, you may not be aware that other types of loans are offered at a lower APR. If you find yourself on such a page, try going to the lender’s homepage to see how the rates compare.

promo-personalloan-halfFor example, upon searching “wedding loans,” Karrot’s wedding loan came up in the results. The landing page says it offers APRs as low as 8.99%, but if you visit the main page, you’ll see that personal loans are available with APRs starting at 6.44%. For the most part, the APR you’re eligible for won’t depend on the purpose of the loan; it will depend on your credit history. It’s worth digging deeper so you’re not caught paying more than you have to.

As you go through search results, you may also find that there are sites specifically for wedding loans that are a bit misleading. For example, MyWeddingLoans.com looks like a legitimate site, but when you click “apply,” it leads to LendingClub’s website.

The URL of the application also contains a “partner ID,” which means it’s an affiliate of LendingClub and receives a commission every time someone applies through that link. MyWeddingLoan discloses this in the fine print on its “Terms of Use” page. It’s important to know that MyWeddingLoans isn’t the actual lender or the company you’ll be dealing with if you obtain financing.

Other “wedding specific” lenders, such as Promise Financial, claim there are no hidden fees and prepayment penalties. While its fees aren’t necessarily “hidden,” there are fees to watch out for, such as an origination fee. You need to make sure you read the fine print for any loan you’re considering; otherwise it may cost you more.

[Four Times You Shouldn’t Use a Personal Loan]

What Will a Wedding Loan Cost You?

Do you think weddings are expensive? Then you should know how costly personal loans are. You’re going to pay interest on your loan, which means you’ll end up paying more than what you borrow. Let’s look at an example.

Say you want to finance $20,000 of your wedding as you’ve already saved $10,000. $20,000 on a 3-year term at a fixed APR of 7.246% results in a monthly payment of $619.79. You’ll pay a total of $22,312.44. If you choose a 4-year term at a fixed rate of 8.247%, your monthly payment will be $490.58, for a total amount of $23,547.84.

Both of these are actual examples, and in each case, you end up paying a few thousand dollars in interest. The APR you’re eligible for is largely based on your credit score. Having a higher credit score and a longer credit history will make lower APRs available to you.

If you’re absolutely set on borrowing money for your wedding, then it literally pays to increase your credit score prior to applying for a personal loan. Do yourself a favor and check your score using a free tool like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame, and download your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. Is your score below 700? Then have a look at 6 ways you can improve your credit score before you shop for a loan.

As you’ll see below, some lenders have APRs with a large range. To get on the lower end of that range, you should have a score close to 700. Having a score below 600 will put you on the high end of the range, which will make the loan less affordable.

Least Expensive Wedding Loan Options – Good Credit Required

These lenders are your best bet if you must take out a personal loan to afford your wedding. They have the lowest APRs, lowest fees, and the most flexibility. These are all online lenders for a reason – traditional banks tend to have pricier personal loans.

We recommend shopping around to all the lenders that make the most sense for your situation. Similar inquiries to your credit made within a 30-day period will only count as one inquiry, so your credit score won’t take too much of a hit.

SoFi: One of the leading online lenders in almost all categories, SoFi offers borrowers excellent terms. There’s no origination fee to worry about, and fixed APRs range from 5.49% to 14.24% if enrolled in autopay. Variable rates range from 5.19% – 11.34% with a cap of 14.95%. You can borrow a maximum of $100,000 (hopefully you don’t need that much for your wedding) on terms of up to 7 years. There’s no minimum credit score required, although your accounts should be in good standing.

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Earnest: Another good choice for personal loans, Earnest offers borrowers up to $50,000 on a 3-year term with no origination fee. You need a minimum credit score of 720 to be approved.

LightStream: You can borrow up to $100,000 on terms ranging from 2 to 7 years. APRs range from 5.99% to 15.69%, and there’s no origination fee. The minimum credit score needed to apply is 680. LightStream’s maximum APR is slightly higher than SoFi’s and Earnest’s, and it’s the only lender out of these choices that requires a hard credit pull.

Upstart: We recommend looking at SoFi and Earnest first, only because of the lack of an origination fee. However, if your credit isn’t the best, lenders such as Upstart can help. You can borrow up to $50,000 on a 3 or 5-year term with APRs ranging from 9.45% to 29.99%. Origination fees range from 3.655% to 8% depending on the terms of your loan, and a minimum credit score of 640 is required.

Prosper: This is a peer-to-peer marketplace where people can invest in your loan. As a result, requirements are a bit leaner, but you’ll pay for it with higher APRs and an origination fee. APRs range from 5.99% to 36.00%, origination fees range from 1% to 5%, and the maximum amount you can borrow is $35,000. You can borrow on 3 or 5-year terms, and need a minimum credit score of 640 to qualify.

LendingClub: Another great option is LendingClub, which has a minimum credit score requirement of 600. It works in much the same way as Prosper as it’s also a peer-to-peer marketplace lender. Again, you can borrow up to $40,000 for up to 5 years, and APRs range from 5.99% to 35.89%, with origination fees ranging from 1% to 6%. LendingClub is not available in Iowa or West Virginia.

Lending Club

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PenFed: Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers personal loans starting with a fixed interest rate of 9.99%APR for 36 months. You do need to be a member of the credit union, but anyone can become. You pay a one time dues to Voices for America’s Troops for $14 or National Military Family Association for $15 in order to become eligible for a PenFed membership.

As you can see, Upstart, Prosper, and LendingClub all have high APR caps. If your credit isn’t in the best shape, you’ll likely be approved for a rate on the higher end.

Also note that aside from LightStream and PenFed, all of these lenders allow you to apply for a pre-approval without a hard credit pull. That means you can see your potential terms before committing, and your credit score won’t be harmed in the process. Just remember that these rates and terms are estimated; those rates and terms may change after a hard credit pull.

[How to Create a Frugal Wedding]

Credit Card Options for Those With Good Credit

We wouldn’t normally recommend that you finance your wedding on a credit card, as purchase APRs are typically much higher than APRs on personal loans. However, if you have the means to pay off the debt quickly, then you might want to consider these 0% APR offers. This gives you a way to avoid paying interest on your debt for a short period of time.

Please keep in mind when using this method that you should be absolutely certain you could pay off the amount you finance within the 0% APR introductory period. If you don’t, you’ll be subject to very high interest rates after it expires, negating the entire point of this strategy.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to know how much you’re planning to finance beforehand. You can use that number to calculate how much you’ll have to pay per month to get your balance paid off. Make sure it’s realistic for your situation.

Citi Simplicity: This card has a 21-month 0% introductory APR. That means you have just shy of two years to pay off your balance before the regular purchase APR kicks in. The Citi Simplicity card also has no late fees, no annual fee, and no penalty APR if you’re late in making a payment. These benefits make it a great everyday use card after you’re done paying off your wedding charges.

Chase Slate®: With this card, you can save with no transfer fee and get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 60 days. This is one of our favorite balance transfer offers.

If you don’t qualify for any of these offers, you can try checking around local credit unions and community banks for low interest credit cards. Many of our top recommendations have APRs ranging from 6.25% to 9%. While these aren’t ideal, they may be more affordable than a personal loan, depending on your credit.

Because credit cards are revolving debt, if you go this route, do not be fooled into making just the minimum payments. Do your best to pay extra and get the balance paid off within 3 years or less.

We also want to mention the possibility of using a 0% APR balance transfer offer. This should only be considered if you have strong credit (otherwise you might not be approved for one). If you must charge wedding expenses to your card and can’t pay them off right away, or you plan on using your credit card to finance most of your wedding, then you can still avoid paying interest with this option.

[Find the Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Offers Here.]

Top Wedding Loans for Those With Bad / Poor Credit

There are a few solutions available for couples with bad or poor credit that don’t qualify for any of the above offers, but they come with a hefty price tag. We’re hesitant to recommend going this route in the first place, but if your wedding can’t wait and you don’t have time to improve your credit score, these options might be worth looking at.

Avant: With no prepayment fee and APRs ranging from 9.95% to 35.99%, Avant could be a good option. You could borrow $2,000 to $35,000 and need a credit score of 580 to apply. Through Avant, you could get your money as soon as the next business day. Loans through Avant are available in all states except Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and Vermont.

Avant

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OneMain Financial: This company is known for making loans to those with less than stellar credit, and its rates reflect that reality. You can only borrow a maximum of $10,000 on terms of 3 or 5 years. While there’s no origination fee, the APRs range from 17.59% to 35.99%, and you need a minimum credit score of 600 to apply.

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FreedomPlus: With APRs ranging from 4.99% to 29.99%, this loan is similar to Avant in that you’re probably looking at an APR closer to 29.90%. There’s also an origination fee ranging from 1.38% to 5% that you need to watch out for. You can borrow up to $35,000on a term of up to 5 years, and need a minimum score of 600 to qualify.

Note that with the exception of Avant, all of these lenders use a hard credit pull when you check your rate. (Avant does not use a hard pull to check your rate, but will complete a hard pull if you decide to take out the loan).

Consider Creative Alternatives to Borrowing

As you can tell, financing all or part of your wedding may cost a lot more than you anticipated. If it’s at all possible, we suggest using one of the alternatives below as opposed to going into debt for your big day.

While it’s undoubtedly a day you want to remember forever, starting out married life with a bunch of debt (especially if you already have consumer debt or student loans to deal with) doesn’t feel great. It also doesn’t bode well for your relationship, considering arguments about money are a top reason for divorce.

Instead of taking chances with debt and your sanity, try these alternatives instead.

Hold off on the wedding: According to another survey conducted by The Knot in 2014, the average length of an engagement is 14 months. That’s not a long time to save up $10,000, let alone $30,000 (the estimated average cost of a wedding). That would take a monthly savings of $714 and $2,142 respectively. Instead of rushing to the altar, try lengthening your engagement to lessen the financial burden. Giving yourself more time to save is a wise idea; what’s the rush?

“Crowdfund” your honeymoon: We don’t literally mean asking strangers on the internet to fund your honeymoon, but you could ask your family and friends to “crowdfund” your honeymoon by using sites like Honeyfund. It’s a honeymoon registry that allows you to ask for cash from your wedding guests in a classier way, and hopefully, they feel more comfortable giving it. Remember, that $31,000 figure didn’t take the honeymoon into account. Now isn’t the time to go further into debt for your dream vacation.

Side hustle for extra money: If you’re really hurting for money, you need to find a way to earn more of it. Side hustling can be a great option if you have marketable skills that are in demand, especially online. These extra jobs should also be flexible – what’s better than working from home? You can also try picking up extra shifts at your job, working overtime, or getting a part-time job temporarily to cover costs. This doesn’t have to be forever; you just need enough stashed away in your wedding savings fund to cover your needs.

Reevaluate your wedding budget: Speaking of needs, are you going over your original wedding budget? Something might have to give. It’s time to take another look at it. For example, maybe you need to narrow your guest list down. Perhaps you need to reconsider your dream venue if it’s costing you an arm and a leg. Can you have DIY decorations and invitations? Postage often costs couples much more than they thought; classy invitations from Paperless Post can help offset that cost. The Knot has a list of common wedding expenses and what percentage of your budget can be expected to go toward each here if you need a comparison.

Know how to deal with deposits: Many items, such as the venue, food, and photography, will require a deposit. That means you don’t need to pay an overwhelming amount in one lump sum, but it does mean that you need to come up with something to reserve these things. If you have anything saved for your wedding, you should earmark it for deposits first to ensure you can pay the upfront cost.

You can pay for deposits with cash or check, but some advice says to pay via credit card to cover you in case something happens. As most deposits are non-refundable, if you’re unhappy with the services provided, or if services aren’t provided, you can contact your credit card company and dispute the charge as long as you do so within 60 days of the event. Some vendors and merchants might do wrong by you, and miscommunication can occur. Using your credit card gives you a better chance of recovering your money.

Of course, you should only charge expenses that you have the cash to cover. Putting your wedding expenses on a credit card and then not paying it off in full can be extremely expensive – the average credit card APR is 15%!

Remember to keep in mind that the deposit is only one portion of what you have to pay. You’ll need to come up with the rest of the funds prior to your wedding. Do your best to save up before then. If it helps, create a separate “wedding expenses” savings account so you won’t be tempted to raid it for another reason.

[How to Effectively Combine Income and Debts After Marriage]

Be Realistic and Create a Plan

You now have all the information you need to create a plan to fund your wedding. You might find that it’s not as easy as you thought it would be, but don’t let that dampen your spirits. If your wedding means that much to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Whether you take on side jobs to earn more, slash everyday expenses (such as cutting cable and brown-bagging lunch), or work toward improving your credit score, you can make room in your regular budget for your wedding.

Just stay realistic on costs and include your future spouse in all discussions pertaining to your finances. Now is the time to work as a team, not to surprise each other by going into debt to afford certain aspects of your wedding. Talk it through –your future spouse may have a great idea on how to lessen the financial burden of your wedding

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Pay Down My Debt, Personal Loans

No Credit, or Poor Credit? Here Are Your Loan Options

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Mixed Race Young Female Agonizing Over Financial Calculations in Her Kitchen.

Updated November 03, 2017
Don’t have a credit history established, or have a low credit score? It can be challenging to find lenders that will approve you if you have a thin credit file or poor credit, but it’s not impossible.

You still have options when it comes to personal loans, and these options come from reputable lenders.

What’s even better is that these lenders will only conduct a soft credit inquiry when you apply to find out what rates they can offer you. This means your credit score won’t be negatively affected, so you don’t have to worry about damaging it further.

In this article we’ll review how to find reputable lenders, why you should stay away from two popular options people turn to when they’re in a poor credit situation: payday and title loans. And what you can do to increase your credit score.

Check for approval without a credit hit

It’s worth noting low scores aren’t always indicative of how responsible you are with credit. A low score, or thin file, could just be a result of a short credit history. If you have a clean history (no late payments, low credit utilization, etc.), you’ll have an easier time obtaining a loan over someone who has had delinquencies on their record, but might have a higher score.

If you have bad (or no) credit, you should apply to as many lenders as possible that use a soft pull to ensure you don’t hurt your credit score. We recommend starting with LendingTree, where you can use one short application form to get rates from multiple lenders at one.

LendingTree: Dozens of lenders partner with Lending Tree – and many of them may approve people with poor or no credit. You can fill out a simple form and compare multiple offers in minutes. We highly recommend starting your shopping experience here first to have a good chance of getting a loan. (Note: MagnifyMoney is owned by LendingTree)

LEARN MORE

Here are 5 personal loan lenders for people who have less than ideal credit (meaning under 700) that will let you check your rate without impacting your credit score:

OppLoans: If you have no or bad credit, OppLoans is an online lender that could help. If your credit score is below 630 (or if you have no credit score at all), OppLoans will work with you. You can check to see if you are approved without impacting your score. And – unlike payday lenders – OppLoans offers much more affordable borrowing options. They also have great reviews – with a customer service rating of 4.9/5 stars.

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LendingClub: People with credit scores below 600 can get approved. You can borrow $1,000 – $40,000 and get the money deposited into your account within a few days. Fixed APRs range from 5.99%-35.89% on terms up to 5 years. LendingClub has an origination fee of 1%-6% on its loans. LendingClub is not available in Iowa or West Virginia.

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Upstart: Borrow between $3,000 and $50,000 for up to 5 years with APRs ranging from around 9.45% to 29.99%. While the minimum credit score needed to qualify is 640 (Upstart will also consider applicants who don’t have a score), you must have a clean credit history. You could also be eligible for next day funding.

Avant: You could borrow anywhere from $2,000 to $35,000 through Avant, and you could receive your funds as soon as the next business day. APRs range from 9.95% – 35.99%. Although the minimum credit score varies, you have a much better chance if your score is above 580. Avant is available in all states except Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and Vermont.

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Prosper: Another peer-to-peer marketplace lender, Prosper’s loans are similar to LendingClub’s. You can borrow $2,000 to $40,000 with APRs ranging from 5.99%-36.00% on 3 and 5 year terms. There’s an origination fee of 1%-5%, and its minimum credit score is 640.

There are several other personal loan lenders that will do a soft credit check. You can find them on our personal loan table here. While many of these lenders have minimum credit score requirements, you’ll find they take other factors into account aside from your FICO score.

Additionally, since these lenders only do a soft credit pull, you’re free to shop around for the best rates without fear of damaging your credit score.

Why You need to Stay Away from Payday Loans and Title Loans

Not eligible for personal loans? Don’t turn to payday loans or title loans.

If you’re not familiar with either, you might be wondering what’s so bad about them. After all, they seem convenient – most offer “fast cash,” and if you live in a populated area, you’ll probably find a payday loan or title loan shop nearby.

However, both require you to give something in exchange for funds, and neither require any sort of stringent approval process to ensure borrowers can afford the loans.

Payday Loans

Payday loan companies require you to write a check for the amount you wish to borrow, plus a set fee. The lender holds onto the check until the loan becomes due (typically on the borrower’s next payday, hence the name), and gives the borrower the money they need in the meantime.

The problem? If you can’t pay when the loan balance becomes due, you can choose to extend the term of the loan. When you do, you get hit with more fees. The APR on payday loans is extremely high, so you’ll pay more each time you extend your loan term.

Payday loans are on the smaller side – anywhere from $100 to $1,000. According to PayDayLoanInfo.org, the average term is two weeks, with 400%+ APRs. When you factor in fees, the APR can go up to 780%.

[Stuck in a Payday Loan Trap? Here are the ways out.]

Title Loans

Title loans require you to give your car’s title to the title loan company in exchange for an amount equal to the appraised value of your car. You usually have to own your car outright to be eligible for a title loan, and the term is around 30 days.

Like payday loans, if you can’t pay on time, you may choose to roll the loan over to the next month, incurring more fees. If you can’t pay back the loan at all, you run the risk of the lender repossessing your car.

As you can tell, both of these options are bad ideas if you want to stay clear of getting into a horrible debt cycle. These loans are purposely too expensive for borrowers to afford. If people are looking for quick cash because they don’t have any, it stands to reason they’ll be in the same situation a week or two from the time they borrow.

Non-Profit Credit Counseling to Rebuild Credit Score

You want to make every effort to improve your credit score, even after you’re approved for a loan, because having a good credit score will benefit you in other areas of life. For that reason, you might want to consider teaming up with a non-profit credit counseling service.

These companies can provide you with personalized advice on your specific situation so you can work on rebuilding your credit score. They can also work with your creditors and negotiate on your behalf to possibly lower interest rates or get better terms on your existing debt.

It can be tricky to find a reputable credit counseling agency – even with a non-profit organization. If you’re interested in a credit counseling service, USA.gov lists a few considerations and questions you should ask before committing. You want to make sure the credit counseling agency is actually going to help you get your credit and financial situation under control.

Alternative to Ways to Build Your Credit Score

If you don’t qualify for a personal loan, and don’t want to turn to payday or title loans, there are a few steps you can take to increase your credit score. This post has 6 tips to help get you started. These methods won’t boost your score immediately, but over time, you’ll see an improvement.

The Federal Trade Commission also has 6 alternatives to payday loans on its website, which might apply to your situation. For example, if you’re a member of a credit union, you could inquire about a loan through them as you have an established relationship already.

Also, if you haven’t started budgeting and tracking your spending, you should – doing so can help you spot problem areas with your money.

Read the Fine Print and Shop Around

Regardless of which loan you decide to apply for, always consider the cost. You want to make sure you’re getting the best possible terms, which means getting the lowest APR offered. Typically, cash advances and credit cards are going to have higher APRs than personal loans but lower than payday lenders.

Remember to always read the fine print. Loans of any type have plenty of fees associated with them that you should avoid. Shop around for the best deals and work on improving your credit score so better options become available to you.

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Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Top 6 Personal Loans for Handling Medical Debt

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Personal Loans for Handling Medical Debt

Updated November 03, 2017
With medical debt plaguing 26% of adults, it’s no wonder people are looking for an easier way to pay it back. According to a study by The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, this problem isn’t exclusive to the uninsured, either. Those who have health insurance are struggling to afford crippling bills as well.

While there isn’t always an “easy” or quick solution, refinancing your medical debt with a personal loan that has lower interest rates and more favorable terms may help. However, before you consider refinancing, you should exhaust your options with your hospital first.

If you’re looking for help with affording medical debt, we’re covering how you can try to lower the amount of medical debt you owe, and which personal loan lenders are the best for refinancing medical debt.

Negotiating Medical Debt With a Hospital

Are you struggling to pay back any medical debt you owe? Your first stop should be the hospital at which you received treatment. You may be able to negotiate with the billing department or settle on a lower amount owed. The worst thing you can do is ignore your medical bills only to have them sent to collections. You want to do everything in your power to avoid that.

Plus, some hospitals, particularly non-profits, offer something called charity care for low-income families or those who are uninsured. You never know what financial aid programs your hospital has unless you ask.

Have you tried negotiating with the hospital to no avail? Then you might want to consider trying a professional service, such as copatient.com. Besides negotiating your medical bills on your behalf, Copatient also reviews your bills for any errors.

Hospitals aren’t exempt from making billing errors, and it’s important to ensure you’re on the hook for the correct services received, especially if you have insurance coverage. In fact, on its website, Copatient states that 80% of the billing statements it reviews contain errors. Unfortunately, medical bills can be hard to understand, which is why having a second pair of trained eyes to review it may help.

As Copatient doesn’t require you to pay for its services unless it’s successful at negotiating your bill, it could be worth a try. It charges you 35% of what it saves you, so if you were able to save $8,000, the fee would be $2,800.

Maybe you’ve tried negotiating your medical debt and either weren’t successful, or still can’t afford to pay. In that case, refinancing your medical debt is a solution you should look into, especially if your interest rates are high. Here are our top six choices for personal loan lenders for those with excellent and good credit.

1. SoFi

We recommend refinancing with SoFi for a variety of reasons, and medical debt is no exception. While it doesn’t have a specific program for medical debt, most personal loan lenders will allow you to use a personal loan for just about anything, medical expenses typically included.

SoFi has some of the lowest APRs of any lender, with fixed rates ranging from 5.49% to 14.24%, and variable rates ranging from 5.19% to 11.34%. You can refinance $5,000 up to $100,000 on 3, 5, or 7 year terms as well.

There’s no minimum FICO score you need to qualify, though higher is better, as is not having any negative marks. Having a stable employment and education history will help you qualify for a better rate, too. You must be employed to be approved for a loan, and SoFi’s personal loan isn’t available to residents of Mississippi or Nevada.

SoFi uses a soft credit pull to provide you with estimated rates, and if you want to move forward with the loan, then it will use a hard credit pull. That means you can see if the loan is workable for you before committing and before having the inquiry impact your credit.

There are also no hidden fees with SoFi, so what you see is what you get in terms of the loan amount as there is no origination fee and no pre-payment penalty.

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2. Earnest

Earnest is similar to SoFi in terms of its low APRs. Fixed APRs range from 5.25% to 12.99%, but terms are 1, 2, and 3 years. This makes Earnest a good option for those with less debt, though you can refinance $2,000 up to $50,000.

The only downside to Earnest is that it isn’t available in many states. You must be a resident of the following states to be approved: AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, KS, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, Washington DC, WI, WV, and WY.

If you don’t reside in a state on this list, check back often as Earnest has been adding several states to its roster over the last year.

You should have a minimum credit score of 720 to be approved for a loan with Earnest, though it also takes into account your savings, employment history, education history, and income. You can apply for a loan using your LinkedIn account (which pre-fills some fields for you), but it isn’t necessary.

Earnest doesn’t have origination fees or pre-payment penalty fees, though it does use a hard credit inquiry when you complete the application. According to its FAQ, it is working on building a tool that will give you preliminary rates and terms on a personal loan without a hard pull.

3. LightStream

LightStream is an online division of SunTrust and offers great deals on personal loans. You can refinance $5,000 up to $100,000 on terms ranging from 2 to 7 years. Fixed APRs range from 5.99% to 16.19%, and there are no origination fees. Rates do vary based on the term you select, so be sure to look at all your options here.

LightStream has one of the faster application processes – if you get all the necessary documents in by 2:30pm ET, you may be eligible for same-day funding. Additionally, if you’re unhappy with the services provided by LightStream, its customer service is backed by a $100 guarantee.

LightStream requires a hard credit inquiry, which makes it a slightly less attractive option. You might want to check with the personal loan lenders that use a soft credit pull first.

4. Upstart

Upstart and the following two lenders are better options for those with less-than-ideal credit, or those that haven’t been getting approvals elsewhere.

You can refinance $1,000 up to $50,000 with Upstart (be aware it says $35,000 on its FAQ page and $50,000 when you check your estimated rates). Fixed APRs range from 9.45% to 29.99% on its 3 and 5 year terms.

You need a minimum FICO score of 640 to qualify for a loan with Upstart, but that’s just one part of the equation. You should still have a clean credit report – no delinquencies, no collections, less than six inquiries on your credit report within the last six months, and you’ll also be required to verify your income.

Upstart has origination fees ranging from 3.655% to 8% of the loan amount, so take this into consideration when applying.

The good news is that Upstart uses a soft credit pull to give you estimated rates. A hard credit inquiry will happen should you choose to move forward with the loan.

5. Prosper

Prosper, like LendingClub below, is a peer-to-peer marketplace. That means investors (individual and corporate) can fund your loan request, giving you a slightly better chance of approval.

You can refinance between $2,000 and $35,000 on terms of 3 and 5 years, and fixed APRs range from 5.99% to 36%. That’s a high cap, and as with any loan, you should run the numbers to make sure consolidating your medical debt this way will save you money.

Prosper isn’t available to residents of Maine, North Dakota, or Iowa. You need a minimum FICO score of 640 to qualify, and Experian is used to run credit. A soft pull is used at first, and a hard pull will not be used unless your loan gets funded.

There are no fees at all to post a listing to the marketplace, but if you want to fund your loan through Prosper, you will face “closing fees” ranging from 0.50% to 4.95%, depending on the “Prosper Rating” your loan is given. This rating is Prosper’s proprietary grading system, mostly for the benefit of investors, so they can evaluate how risky your loan is.

6. LendingClub

LendingClub is another peer-to-peer marketplace and its loan offerings are similar to those of Prosper. You can refinance $1,000 up to $40,000 on terms of up to 5 years. Fixed APRs range from 5.99% to 35.89%, and there are origination fees ranging from 1% to 6% of the loan amount.

LendingClub will loan to those with lower credit scores – as low as 600 – depending on the situation. You should still have a good track record with limited missed payments in the mast. LendingClub does not make loans in Iowa or West Virginia.

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Shop Around for the Best Rates and Negotiate

If you’re one of the many people in the United States struggling to afford medical bills, then start working on a solution to overcome it. Try negotiating with your hospital’s billing department, review your statements for any errors, call your insurance company to see if anything can be done, and check to see if a personal loan will make things easier on you.

Depending on the interest rate your medical debt is at, a personal loan may or may not be the right fit for you. It’s important to get all the details so you can run the numbers to see if you’ll come out ahead with savings. That’s why it’s a good idea to shop different lenders, especially with the ones that don’t use a hard credit inquiry right off the bat. This allows you to get a preview of the types of rates and terms that are available to you.

Whichever route you decide to take, make sure you stay on top of your financial obligations. Don’t ruin your credit and your financial situation because you can’t afford to pay; this will only make things harder for you in the future. Take all the actions listed here instead of ignoring your bills, and you’ll come out ahead.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Personal Loans, Reviews

CircleBack Lending Review: Borrowing Option for Good to Excellent Credit Scores

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

CircleBack Lending Review

Updated November 03, 2017
UPDATE: CircleBack lending is no longer accepting new loan applications. If you would like to shop for a personal loan, consider these two options:

  • LendingClub: Its APR ranges from 5.99% – 35.89%. Its origination fee is 1% – 6%. You can borrow up to $40,000. LendingClub is not available in Iowa or West Virginia.Upstart*: Its APR range starts off at 9.45% APR and goes up to 29.99%. The origination fee varies from 3.655% to 8%. You can borrow from $1,000 up to $50,000.

Otherwise, you can read about the best personal loans here.

Below we keep the original text of our review:

CircleBack Lending is an Internet-based consumer-lending platform for both borrowers and investors. Its goal is to provide consumers with good to excellent credit with a quick way to borrow money.

Circleback personal loan The entire process of applying for a personal loan with CircleBack Lending* is done online. It aims to have a fast application and approval process, and next day funding is available when you submit all required documents by 10AM ET.

CircleBack Lending is positioned to be a better alternative for consumers with high interest credit card debt, but your debt doesn’t have to be linked to credit cards in order to receive a loan. It offers fixed rates as opposed to variable rates, so you don’t need to worry about the interest on your loan becoming unbearable.

Let’s take a look at what CircleBack Lending has to offer, and how it compares against other peer-to-peer lenders.

Personal Loan Details

CircleBack Lending offers consumers loans ranging from $3,001 – $35,000 and you can borrow for up to 60 months.

The APR ranges from 6.43% – 34.93%.

When you apply for a loan with CircleBack Lending, you receive a credit grade after its loan analysts have gone through your profile. This is so investors know the level of risk associated with your loan. Your APR will vary depending on this credit grade.

CircleBack Lending received an “A” transparency score from MagnifyMoney for allowing potential borrowers to see rates with a soft pull and disclosing fees.

CircleBack Rates

Pros to Borrowing from CircleBack Lending

If you have high interest credit card debt with a variable interest rate, CircleBack Lending may provide a better solution. You can apply to consolidate or refinance your existing debt, and you can often do so at a lower rate than you had before.

CircleBack Lending also claims it has a quick application and funding process, so if you need the funds within a week, you’ll be covered.

Cons to Borrowing from CircleBack Lending

The most obvious con is the APR cap. 36% is extremely high when compared to other peer-to-peer lenders. The starting APR of 12.88% for a 60 month loan is also very high – and that’s the APR for borrowers who receive the best credit grade.

Credit card debt often starts with a 15 percent APR and 12.88% isn’t too far off, and even though it’s a fixed rate, you might be able to get better rates from other lenders.

Qualifications for a Loan

CircleBack Lending requires that applicants be 18 years or older, and loans are only available to those in the following states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, or Virginia.

Additionally, since CircleBack Lending aims to provide loans to those with better credit scores, you should have, at minimum, a 660 FICO score. Research indicates CircleBack Lending has a rigorous underwriting process, so the better your credit report looks, the better your chances will be when it comes to getting approved.

Who Can Benefit the Most from a CircleBack Lending Loan?

If your interest rate on debt is much higher than 12.88%, and you have excellent credit, you stand to benefit the most from a personal loan with CircleBack Lending. Its interest rates are unfortunately not very competitive, so you need to make sure you’ll be able to get a low enough APR to make applying worthwhile.

Fees and Gotchas

CircleBack Lending’s fees are standard when compared with other peer-to-peer lenders.

Depending on the credit grade you’re given, your loan origination fee will be anywhere from 0.99% to 4.99%.

If your payment is rejected or fails for any reason, you’ll be charged a $15 fee. CircleBack Lending specifies this fee will be incurred each time a payment fails (other lenders limit this to once per billing cycle).

If you’re late making a payment, on the 16th late date, you’ll be charged $15 or 5.00% of your monthly payment amount – whichever is greater.

Paying by check? CircleBack Lending will charge you a $15 check processing fee.

Transparency Notes

CircleBack Lending has a minimalist website, especially compared to other personal loan providers. There isn’t much information on it at all. The company “About” page isn’t very helpful, there’s not much information on how the loan application works, and there’s little to nothing provided for investors interested in investing in its consumer loans. Its “Help” section is “coming soon,” and upon calling, no one was available to answer.

Shop Around for the Best Rates

With that said, it’s worth it to you as the borrower to shop around for the best rates. Applying with CircleBack Lending will not affect your credit – it’s a soft pull – so feel free to check other personal loan options including non-peer-to-peer lenders like SoFi*. See who can offer you the best rates. You shouldn’t feel obligated to take the first offer.

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Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Personal Loans

Upstart Loan Review: Low Rates for Recent College Grads

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Upstart_lg

Updated November 03, 2017

Upstart is an online lender offering unsecured, fixed-rate personal loans. Although it started as a lender targeting recent graduates, it has become a lender that offers loans to a wide range of credit profiles.

The founders of Upstart wanted to provide young adults that might not have a lengthy credit history with a way to lessen their debt burdens. To do this, it came up with an algorithm to determine creditworthiness based on education, career, job history, and standardized test scores. But Upstart is not only targeting young people with a limited credit history. If you have an excellent traditional (e.g. FICO) score, you should be able to find a good deal at Upstart as well.

Upstart is one of the few lenders who don’t focus entirely on your FICO score, which means its slightly more lenient when it comes to qualifying.

How Do Upstart’s Rates Match Up?

The APR range is 9.45% – 29.99% (the origination fee of 3.655% – 8% is included in the APR). Upstart is competitive with LendingClub*, (5.99% to 35.89% APR). However, if you have excellent credit, you should consider SoFi instead (read our full SoFi review here). SoFi has very low rates and charges no origination fee.

While the range is large, if you have a decent credit score, you should be able to obtain a loan with an APR less than what you’d normally get with a bank or credit card.

You can see our round-up of the best personal loans here.

Personal Loan Details

Upstart’s minimum loan amount is $1,000, and its maximum loan amount is $50,000.

A 3-year and 5-year term is available.

If you took out a $10,000 loan, and were able to obtain a fairly good interest rate (say, 7.55%), you would end up paying $311.29 monthly.

What Requirements Do You Need?

While Upstart prides itself on taking education, area of study, and job history into consideration, they still require a minimum FICO score of 640. They also look at your debt-to-income ratio, and you need to be in good standing on all of your accounts to qualify. You can’t have any accounts in delinquency or collections.

If you have insufficient credit history, Upstart will take your application into consideration.

There is no minimum income required to qualify, but you do need to have a debt-to-income ratio of less than 50%.

You also need to have a degree from an accredited institution or be graduating within the next 6 months. Otherwise, you must be accepted to a supported bootcamp starting within 3 weeks from when you apply for the loan, and be actively seeking employment upon graduation from the bootcamp.

Having a full time job (or a full time job offer starting in six months), or another source of regular income is recommended.

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The Fine Print: Fees

There are fees associated with Upstart. First, there is a loan origination fee, ranging anywhere from 3.655%-8%, depending on the grade of your loan. This fee is rolled into the APR.

Next, if you fail to make a payment within 10 days of your due date, you can be charged a late fee, which is the greater of 5% of the past due amount or $15. If you don’t make any payments within 30 days of the due date, Upstart will report your loan as delinquent to the credit bureaus.

If you prefer to pay by check, you will incur a $15 check processing fee.

If your check bounces, or you have insufficient funds in your bank account, you’ll incur a $15 fee.

There is no prepayment penalty.

What Documents Are Needed to Apply?

You’ll need the standard color photo ID, proof of employment, and proof of income. If you have regular sources of income from full time or part time jobs, you can upload your most recent paystubs.

If you earn any bonuses or commission, you need an offer letter that lists target bonuses or a commission structure that lists target commission levels.

If you have rental income, you’ll need your lease, which should show your full name, monthly amount, and lease term.

If you have side gigs (such as income from being an Uber or Lyft driver), you’ll need to have earned a consistent income for six months before Upstart can take it into consideration. If you meet that requirement, you just need to upload the proof of six months of consistent income.

If you’re self-employed and a sole proprietorship, you’ll need a copy of last year’s tax return and this year’s invoices. They’ll look at Line 31 of your Schedule C.

If you’re involved in a partnership or LLC, you’ll need last year’s personal tax returns that show your portion of income and this year’s invoices.

You might need to provide bank statements or proof of home ownership (if you own a home), but this will vary on an individual basis. Once you complete the application, Upstart will notify you of what you need.

Additionally, if you graduated within 4 years of your application date, you’ll also need your standardized test scores, which you can take a photo of, or take a screenshot of online, and a copy of your transcript.

Who Benefits the Most from Upstart?

Upstart is a great solution to those in their twenties who are finding it difficult to obtain a reasonable personal loan elsewhere. Their interest rates are competitive with the other peer-to-peer lending companies, plus they’re willing to lend to those who have thin credit histories, whereas many companies are not.

If you’re a young adult who doesn’t have a lengthy credit history, but has a decent credit score, and are looking to pay off debt (credit card, medical, auto, or student loans), or finance a larger purchase (such as a wedding or travel), then Upstart’s personal loan is a good fit.

Lastly, if you fit this profile and need a loan quickly, accepting your loan before 5pm ET means you’ll have the funds in your account the next business day (unless you’re paying off private student loans). The entire process is efficient and done completely online.

Remember: if you don’t accept the loan, you won’t receive a hard inquiry on your credit report, only a soft one. In any case, borrowers typically have a 45-day window to shop around for personal loans. Credit bureaus recognize that you’re attempting to get the best rate possible, and will count all inquiries during this time as one inquiry.

If Upstart doesn’t sound like the right fit for you, then explore other personal loan offers with our customizable table.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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7 Low Interest Rate Credit Cards – November 2017

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Credit cards are notoriously known for having extremely high interest rates. In fact, the average interest rate for credit cards is 15% – that’s much higher than the interest rates you can get on a personal loan.

Unfortunately, these high interest rates can pack a big punch when it comes to paying back your consumer debt. If you only pay the minimum amount you owe, you’re paying a lot more toward interest and not making much progress toward your principle balance. Having a lower interest rate can help you pay off your debt quicker, especially if you tend to keep a balance on your card each month.

Luckily, not all credit cards have insane interest rates. There are quite a few out there in the 6% range.

If you’re unable to pay your entire credit card balance off in full each month, these low interest rate credit cards are a good alternative for you. However, many of these cards are offered by credit unions with strict memberships policies, so you may not be eligible.

One thing to note: all of these credit cards offer variable rates, which means your rate is subject to change. Many of these cards have a cap of 18% APR so your rate won’t go higher than that, but it’s something to check. Most cards also offer rates that vary based on the prime rate. The prime rate is the lowest interest rate at which banks are willing to lend money (currently, 3.25%).

Apple Federal Credit Union Educator Credit Card

This credit card has an introductory rate of 3.99% APR for the first 12 months for qualifying members. Be aware this rate increases to between 5.74% and 18.00% APR after the promotional period expires. The rate you receive is determined by your creditworthiness, and the APR varies with the prime rate.

The maximum credit line is $35,000, and you have the option to skip a payment during July, August, and September if you meet the eligibility requirements. If you skip a payment, interest still accrues, so only skip if you can’t come up with your minimum payment.

There are no miscellaneous fees charged for regular use of this card – no annual fee, account set-up fee, cash advance fee, or foreign transaction fee.

You have a grace period of 25 days on purchases made, but if you’re late 15 days late (or more) making a payment, you’ll have to pay $25 or the minimum amount owed, whichever is less. There’s also a returned payment fee of $25 if your payment doesn’t go through.

Other fees to watch out for include a statement copy fee of $5 (you’ll receive e-statements for free), a $5 card replacement fee, and a $20 stop payment fee.

Because this is a credit card from a credit union, you must be eligible to become a member to apply for the card. According to the disclosure agreement, “Applicants must be currently employed by an Apple Federal Credit Union Select Employee Group School System: Clarke County, Fairfax, Falls Church, Frederick County, Loudoun County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Prince William and Stafford AND have a minimum $1,000 Direct Deposit.” Apple Credit Union is based in Virginia.

Kitsap Credit Union Gold Card

This credit card has a 6.15% variable rate APR, which is adjusted quarterly based on the current prime rate plus a margin of 2.9%. The maximum interest rate this card can have is 18%, and there’s no annual fee.

This card comes with a 25 day grace period on purchases, no fees for cash advances, travel accident insurance up to $400,000, and no balance transfer fees.

In order to qualify for the Gold Card (it offers Classic, Standard, and Platinum choices as well), you must have an annual income of $30,000.

To become a member of Kitsap Credit Union, you must live, work, worship, or attend school in Washington State. If someone you’re related to resides there, or has membership, you can also apply.

Abri Credit Union Visa Platinum Credit Card

Abri’s Visa Platinum Credit Card also offers a 6.15% – 14.15% variable rate APR. These rates are subject to change monthly with the prime rate + 2.90%. Your rate is based on your credit score.

Abri also offers a balance transfer promotion: 1.99% APR for 6 months, after which time you’ll receive the normal variable rates.

The credit line ranges from $500 to $25,000, there are no balance transfer fees, there’s a 25 day grace period on purchases made, and there’s no annual fee.

There is a cash advance fee of 1.5% of the amount requested – this fee maxes out at $50. There’s also a foreign transaction fee of 1% of the amount of the transaction in U.S. dollars.

Late fees and returned payment fees are both $25, while a card replacement fee is $5.

To join Abri Credit Union, one of the largest Credit Unions in Illinois, you must live or work in DuPage, Will, Grundy, or Kendall Counties. Parts of Kane and Cook Counties are eligible as well. You can also become a member if a relative has membership.

Visa Gold Card by Educators Credit Union

Educators Credit Union offers a Visa Gold Card at a variable rate of 3% + the current prime rate (3.25%). The current variable rate is 6.25% APR. It also doesn’t come with an annual fee.

Those with well-established credit can qualify for the Visa Gold Card.

The normal credit limit of this card ranges from $2,000 to $5,000 and over, and there’s a 25 day grace period.

If you’re late on a payment by 10 days or more, you’ll have to pay a fee of $10. If your payment is unsuccessful, you’ll have to pay a fee of $30.

There are no fees on cash advances or balance transfers, and there are no foreign transaction fees. There’s a rewards component to this card, and you earn one point for each $1 purchase.

Additionally, you’re eligible for $500,000 worth of travel accident insurance, rental car collision coverage, and extended warranties.

To become a member of Educators Credit Union, you must live and work in Southeastern Wisconsin. Special preference is given to those in education, healthcare, and government fields.

Preferred VISA Platinum Credit Card by Whitney Bank

The Preferred Visa Platinum Credit Card from Whitney Bank also has a 6.25% variable APR (based on the prime rate + 3%). There’s an introductory offer of 0.00% APR for 7 months, after which your rate will be the 6.25% variable APR.

There’s also an introductory APR of 1.90% for 12 months for balance transfers.

If you’re late on making a payment after 10 days, a late fee of $15 will be incurred. If your payment gets returned, you’ll be subject to a $25 fee. Balance transfer fees are equal to 3% of the amount you’re transferring, up to a maximum of $50 for each transfer. Cash advance fees are equal to 3% of the amount requested.

Benefits of this card include $500,000 travel accident, auto rental, and baggage delay insurance. Additionally, new cardholders are automatically enrolled in the Whitney Points Plus program, so you’re eligible to earn rewards.

Note that Whitney Bank offers a Platinum Card along with the Preferred Card. The regular Platinum card has variable APRs of 12.99% – 17.99%, so make sure you apply for the correct card.

You must already have an account with Whitney Bank to apply for this credit card online. Otherwise, you can visit a branch to apply (it serves the Gulf South area). If you do have an account with them, you’ll be able to fill out the online application.

Lake Michigan Credit Union Prime Platinum Card

Lake Michigan’s Prime Platinum Card is like the Whitney Bank Preferred Visa Platinum Card – it’s based on the prime rate + 3%, which means it’s currently 6.25% (with a maximum of 14.25% APR).

There’s no annual fee with this card, the maximum credit line is $25,000, and you’re eligible for free car rental insurance, 24 hour member service, a 25 day grace period, and emergency card replacement.

There are no balance transfer fees, although there’s a cash advance fee of 3% of the amount requested. There’s also a 1% foreign transaction fee.

If you’re late on a payment, you’ll incur a fee of up to $15 on balances less than $1,000, and up to $25 for balances of $1,000 or more. If your payment is returned, you’ll have to pay a fee of up to $25.

Anyone can become a member of the Lake Michigan Credit Union by donating at least $5 to in the West Michigan Chapter of the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Association. You are also eligible if you work, reside, attend school, or worship within any county in the State of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Finally, you can join if an immediate family member is a member.

VISA Platinum Credit Card by Fort Community

This credit card has the highest interest rate at 7.15% APR (it’s based on the prime rate + 3.90% APR), but it’s still less than half the average interest rate of most credit cards.

There’s no annual fee, no balance transfer fee, and no transaction fee for purchases.

The late payment fee is up to $10 if you’re late on your payment by 10 days or more, and the returned payment fee is up to $12. There’s also a cash advance fee of 3% of the amount requested, and a 1% foreign transaction fee.

To be eligible for membership to the Fort Community Credit Union, you must live or work in Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, Rock, Walworth, or Waukesha County in Wisconsin.

Always Get the Best Rates

Anytime you’re looking to borrow money, you should be making sure you’re getting the best rates possible. Otherwise, borrowing becomes a lot more expensive than it needs to be.

If you’re not eligible to apply for any of these cards, try checking your own local credit union to see what rates they offer. Aim to have an interest rate of less than 7% on your credit cards, but also make it a goal to pay off your balance in full every month to avoid every paying interest.

Find other options on our low interest rate credit cards comparison table here.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Best of, Earning Cashback

Best Cash Back Sign-On Bonus Credit Cards of November 2017

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Do you normally use your credit card for making every day purchases? Can you manage your money responsibly and pay off your balance in full every month? If so, you should be using a rewards credit card to take advantage of the free cash back and bonuses that are offered.

Many credit card companies are offering cash back rewards and sign-up bonuses these days. You can earn an equivalent of $400 or more just keeping to your regular spending. It’s essentially free money, as long as you use your credit card correctly.

Let’s take a look at how you can be a responsible consumer first, and then we’ll review the credit cards with the best cash back sign-on bonuses.

How to Be Responsible With Your Credit Card

Before we recommend credit cards with the best sign-on bonus, we want to make sure you understand exactly how rewards credit cards should and shouldn’t be used.

You shouldn’t try and take advantage of a rewards credit card by charging anything and everything to it. Yes, you acquire cash back or points based on your purchases, but you’re also acquiring debt if you charge more than you can afford.

You should use a rewards credit card exactly as you would use any other credit card (or your debit card). Only swipe for what you can afford to pay at the end of your billing cycle.

While many of these cards have 0% introductory APRs, after the introductory period is over, you’ll have high APRs (in the 14% – 24% range). If you carry a balance, any cash back you receive will be negated by the interest you’ll have to pay.

Only charge your necessary expenditures and stick to your budget. Don’t look for extra opportunities to pay more just for the sake of getting points.

You want to take advantage of credit card companies – not have it the other way around.

Best Cash Back Sign-On Bonuses

Now that you know how to use rewards cards, let’s review the best options out there.

Uber Visa Card

  • You have to spend $500 on purchases in the first 90 days to receive the $100 bonus.
  • There is no annual fee.
  • Earn 4% back on restaurants, takeout and bars, including UberEATS; 3% back on hotel and airfare, including vacation home rentals; 2% back for online purchases including Uber, online shopping, video and streaming music services; and 1% back for everything else.
  • Earn up to a $50 credit for online subscription services after you spend $5,000 or more on your card per year.
  • The variable APR is 15.99%, 21.74% or 24.74%.
  • There is no foreign transaction fee.

This card is not only great for its sign-up bonus requiring a low spend, but also for the great 4-3-2-1 rewards program.

Read our full review here >

Uber Visa Card

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

  • You earn 3x points on travel (including gas), 2x points on dining out and entertainment, and 1x points on all other purchases
  • Points can be redeemed for cash in increments of $50 or $100
  • Points are worth 25% more when redeemed for airfare through the ThankYou®Travel Center
  • There’s an annual $95 fee, but it’s waived for the first year
  • The variable APR ranges from 15.49% – 24.49%
  • There’s no foreign transaction fee
  • A late payment or returned payment fee is up to $35

This card is great for those who love to travel – $625 in airfare will go a long way toward keeping vacation costs down.

Citi ThankYou® Premier Card

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on Citibank’s secure website

Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card

  • You have to spend $3,000 in the first 3 months to receive the 20,000 bonus points
  • There’s an annual $45 fee, which is waived for the first year
  • You earn 3x the points at U.S. gas stations, 2x the points at U.S. restaurants, and 1x the points on all other net purchases
  • You can redeem points for travel, merchandise, cash back, gift cards, and more
  • Points can be redeemed for cash by applying them to your qualifying Wells Fargo account or requesting a paper check. Cash redemption options are available by phone and online in increments of $25 only.
  • You can get an additional annual bonus of 10%, 25%, or 50% on non-bonus rewards points if you have a qualifying consumer Wells Fargo Checking or Savings Account
  • There’s an introductory APR of 0% for the first 12 months on balance transfers and purchases, and after that, the variable APR ranges from 14.99% – 22.99%
  • There are no foreign currency conversion fees
  • There’s a late and returned payment fee up to $37
  • Up to $100 off qualifying air + hotel packages at destinations worldwide

This card is a great option if you’re already a customer with Wells Fargo because of the relationship bonus offered.

Wells Fargo Propel 365 American Express® Card

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on Wells Fargo’s secure website

Visa® Signature Elite Card from NEFCU

  • You have to spend $2,000 in the first 3 months for 20,000 points
  • Those 20,000 points are redeemable for travel, merchandise, gift cards, and more. These points are not redeemable for a cash equivalent
  • You earn 1.25 points per $1 spent, which can be redeemed for travel, merchandise, gift cards and more
  • The points to cash option allows members to use points to make a NEFCU Visa Signaure Elite Credit Card payment or a cash deposit to their NEFCU accounts. There is a $25 minimum per conversion.
  • Rates range from 11.99% – 17.99% APR on the Visa® Signature Elite Card
  • No annual fee

This card requires a membership to NEFCU, a credit union located on Long Island, NY. If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in Nassau or Suffolk County, you’re eligible for membership. If a relative is already a member, he or she can sponsor you.

Visa Signature Elite Card from NEFCU

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on NEFCU’s secure website

Wells Fargo Rewards® Card

  • You have to spend $1,000 in the first 3 months to receive 20,000 bonus points (note this is an online only offer)
  • You can earn 5% cash back for every $1 you spend on groceries, gas, and drugstore net purchases for 6 months on up to $12,500 spent, plus 1% for every $1 spend on all other purchases
  • You can redeem points for travel, merchandise, cash back, gift cards, and more
  • Points can be redeemed for cash by applying them to your qualifying Wells Fargo account or requesting a paper check. Cash redemption options are available by phone and online in increments of $25 only.
  • There’s no annual fee
  • There’s a 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months on balance transfers and purchases. The variable APR then ranges from 18.15% – 26.99% based on your creditworthiness
  • There’s a late fee and returned check fee up to $37
  • The foreign exchange currency conversion fee is 3%

This is a good “every day” rewards card to carry with you. You’re automatically enrolled in the Wells Fargo Rewards Program when you get this card.

You need a Wells Fargo account to apply online, though you can also apply at a branch.

Wells Fargo Rewards Visa® card

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on Wells Fargo’s secure website

Use Cash Back Credit Cards With Caution

As you can see, some of these cards come with annual fees and introductory APRs that are great for the first year. However, some of the benefits might not be good enough to warrant keeping the card once that year is over.

Keep in mind that “credit card churning” – canceling your cards after the first year and applying for a new one – will have an effect on your credit score. It might not be huge, but it’s a good idea to avoid this practice if you’ll be making an important purchase in the near future (like buying a home).

Otherwise, take advantage of credit card companies and save money on travel, gift cards, and more. You should absolutely earn points on your regular purchases by spending with a rewards credit card.

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Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Personal Loans, Reviews

Springleaf Personal Loan Review

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

personal loan_lg

Updated October 26, 2017
OneMain Financial was recently acquired by Springleaf, and offers personal loans to borrowers via its branch network. (Note: Springleaf has changed its name to OneMain).

Springleaf has been in business for over 90 years and has lent over $10 billion in personal loans to more than 3.5 million people in that time. Its typically known for doing business with borrowers who have less than ideal credit, so if you’ve been turned away by other lenders, you may want to consider giving Springleaf a chance.

However, before taking a loan withSpringleaf, you should shop around. In particular, we recommend shopping for a loan with online lending platform Avant. You can check your rate without hurting your credit score, and you can get the funds as soon as the next business day. (More details are available later in the post).

Personal Loan Details

You can borrow $1,500 up to $25,000 with a personal loan from Springleaf. In a note at the bottom of its website, Springleaf says loans over $25,000 are possible, but only offered for highly qualified individuals. In addition, some states may have higher limits (for example, it can lend up to $25,000 in North Carolina).

Before we go on, we want to note there are barely any actual details of the loan on its website aside from the amounts it lends. When calling the loan office, the representative was unable to give a general range of terms and APRs because they vary from borrower to borrower as they depend on the loan amount and state you reside in. To get specific details, we suggest calling your local branch.

We’ve found APRs range from 25.10% to 36% with terms of up to 60 months. Generally, the rate adjusts around $5,000. For loans under $5,000, you could be looking at an APR of closer to 30%, whereas loans over $5,000 are closer to the mid-20% range. The APR largely depends on the size of the loan requested and your credit history.

Secured and unsecured loans are offered. After you submit your application, Springleaf will evaluate the one for which one you qualify. Secured loans (with collateral) have better rates because there’s less risk involved for Springleaf. Higher loan amounts are likely to be secured along with loans that are being used to buy an asset.

Springleaf is currently only available in 41 states. It doesn’t lend in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, or DC.

Application Process and Documents Needed

The application for a personal loan can be done online, over the phone, or at a branch location. The application is easy to fill out – you’ll be asked how much you’re requesting and what the purpose of the loan is.

Then you need to enter in personal information, such as your date of birth, current address, and contact information. You’ll also be required to fill in your employment status and financial information.

If you fill out the application over the phone or at a branch, it should only take about five minutes. A hard inquiry on your credit will be used when applying for the loan. You can also apply with a cosigner if needed.

Once your application is processed and approved, a representative from a branch will follow up with you. All communication will be with that loan officer.

In general, Springleaf recommends having the following things on hand when applying for a loan:

  • Driver’s license/Photo ID
  • Social Security Card (possibly)
  • Past pay stubs to verify income, or tax return if self-employed
  • Proof of residence (a driver’s license will work; if your address is different than what’s on your license, a utility bill can be provided)

Springleaf may also contact your HR department to check that you’re an active employee.

New customers will be required to go to a local branch office to sign for the paperwork.

Who Qualifies for a Personal Loan With Springleaf?

The representative we spoke with said Springleaf tends to focus more on credit history than credit score, but we’ve found you should have a minimum score of 550 for the best chances of approval.

Springleaf will also check your income and budget to make sure you can afford the additional monthly payment.

Who Benefits the Most From a Personal Loan With Springleaf?

Those with lower credit scores will benefit the most from a personal loan with Springleaf. Since new customers must go to a branch to sign for the paperwork, existing customers may have an easier time applying for a loan.

The loan can be used for a number of reasons, including consolidating debt, home improvement, major purchases (such as furniture or appliances), and emergencies.

The Fine Print

There is an origination fee associated with this loan, though the exact amount depends on the size of your loan. The range is around $25 to $40, with $40 being on loans around $4,000 – $5,000.

There’s no prepayment penalty associated with the loan.

A late fee of $15 will apply if you payment is more than 10 days past due. For loans over $15,000, the late fee will likely be higher.

Difficult to Get in Contact With

As we mentioned before, Springleaf’s website offers next to no information on its personal loan. All this information was obtained through speaking with a loan representative. It doesn’t have the terms it offers, APRs, or fees listed on the site.

There’s a “click to call” link on the application page, but that only tells you to fill in your phone number so a representative can get back to you about the question you have.

It does have a contact form you can fill out on the “contact us” page. We sent a message using the “Website Feedback” choice and a response was given within a few hours. Unfortunately, because our phone number is listed in a state it doesn’t service, help wasn’t offered. A phone number to call was given, but the number is typically used to apply for a loan, not to get more concrete details.

Most communication will go through your local branch office, as they can answer more specific questions. Unfortunately, upon trying to call a local branch several times, there was no answer. We tried another branch nearby and got through on the first call.

Pros and Cons of a Personal Loan With Springleaf

Con: The interest rates are obviously extremely high, but given that Springleaf is oriented toward lending to individuals with lower credit, it’s not surprising.

Pro: Springleaf focuses more on credit history than credit score, and seems to take other factors, like income and budget, into consideration.

Con: Springleaf’s transparency is incredibly low. You can typically find much more information about a loan on a lender’s website. We weren’t fans of spending 20+ minutes trying to contact someone from the company for details.

Con: New customers will be required to go to a branch location to finalize the loan paperwork. The process isn’t entirely online.

 

*Referral link

Alternative Personal Loan Solutions

Springleaf isn’t the only lender that can help borrowers with low credit.

Avant can help those with a minimum score of 580. The APR range is 9.95% to 35.99% through the Avant platform. The maximum amount it will loan is $35,000 and you may be able to get those funds as soon as the next business day. There is no prepayment fee. It is available in all states except Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and Vermont.

Avant

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on Avant’s secure website

*Referral link

Peerform offers personal loans to borrowers with a minimum credit score of 600. Peerform’s APR range is 5.99% to 29.99%, its maximum loan size is $25,000, it offers terms up to 3 years, and it has a 1% to 5% origination fee.

Peerform

Do yourself a favor and don’t be afraid to shop around with these lenders. You want to get the best rates and terms offered, and shopping around the only way to do that. All credit inquiries that occur within 30 days are counted as one single inquiry, so your credit won’t be penalized for it. Explore your options and don’t get discouraged if lenders don’t approve you. Try and work on improving your credit score as much as possible over the next few months so you can be eligible for better approvals, and be sure to stay away from payday loans.

*We receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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Consumer Watchdog, Pay Down My Debt, Personal Loans

Should You Avoid LendUp? A Review of Its Loans

The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

personal-loan_lg-e1469273811143

Updated October 25, 2017
Update: On Sept. 27, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered LendUP to pay more than $3.6 million in fines for allegedly misleading customers about its online lending service. Read the full CFPB order here

In a nutshell, the CFPB claims LendUP’s parent company, Flurish, Inc., misleadingly advertised its lowest-priced loans. LendUP advertised its loans as available nationwide, yet the most attractive loans were only available to customers in California, the agency says. 

The CFPB also claims  LendUP failed to accurately market the annual percentage rates offered with its loans and in some cases understated the true APR on its loans. 

What does the CFPB’s order mean for LendUP customers?

The CFPB has ordered the company to pay about $1.83 million in refunds to over 50,000 consumers. Consumers are not required to take any action. The company will contact consumers in the coming months about their refunds, the watchdog says.

In response to the CFPB’s claims posted on its website, LendUP says the transgressions date back to the company’s early days. “When we were a seed-stage startup with limited resources and as few as five employees. In those days we didn’t have a fully built out compliance department. We should have.”

Lendup LendUp is a company offering a better alternative to the typical shady payday loan. Its aim is to disrupt the payday loan system by providing consumers with more affordable loans, more education, and transparency.

This is quite a change from storefront payday lenders, who have confusing policies that often leave customers paying more huge amounts in interest.

LendUp wants to reform the payday loan industry by helping its customers get out of debt and build credit.

However, it could come at a hefty price for consumers. Payday loans are known for outrageous APRs, and while LendUp has more reasonable APRs than typical payday loan companies, it’s still something to be aware of.

Who Should Use LendUp?

Before we get into the details of the loans offered by LendUp, it’s important to address who should avoid its loans and who should consider them.

Payday loans are typically short-term loans to tide you over if you need money in between pay periods. The term can be one week, two weeks, or one month long. That’s a big difference from other personal loans that have terms of 1 to 5 years.

It comes down to your personal situation, and what you’re looking to use the money for.

If you have damaged credit or no credit at all, then payday loans might look like the only solution. LendUp can help you, but it’s important to consider the price.

If you’re simply looking to build credit, there are much better options out there. Taking a payday loan should be one of your last resorts. You can only start to build credit via LendUp when you reach Platinum or Prime status, which requires you to take on multiple loans.

Each time you borrow money from LendUp, you’ll be paying a significant amount in interest. For example, even if you only borrowed $100 for 31 days, you’d still pay $24.40 in interest (287.29% APR), according to their calculator.

For that reason, if you have poor or no credit, it’s better to look into opening a secured credit card, or trying to get approved for a store card. There’s no reason to pay $24 in interest if you don’t have to.

If you have severely damaged credit and are unable to get approved for any other solution, or you’re in dire need of cash to afford necessities like food, then you should consider LendUp over going to a regular payday loan store. LendUp is certainly the better option.

That said, if you’re looking for a long-term loan, or looking for more cash for a big purchase, then LendUp is not the right choice. You should check out the other personal loan lenders we’ve reviewed, such as SoFi*, Payoff*, and Upstart*.

How Does LendUp Work?

LendUp Ladder APRLendUp is a completely new solution to payday loans. It has what it calls the “LendUp ladder,” which is a point-based system. When you show that you’re a reliable customer and can make timely payments, you’re rewarded points, which enable you to climb up the LendUp ladder.

Update: In a consent order issued Sept. 27, 2016 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau claims LendUP misleadingly advertised its loans as available nationwide. However, the most attractive loans, which customers were told they could earn access to through LendUP’s “Ladder” rewards program, were only available to customers in California. 

You can also earn points by watching LendUp’s educational courses on credit and for taking loans with them.

Climbing up the ladder gives you different statuses. You start at Silver, and from there, you can advance to Gold, Platinum, or Prime status. Each status has better terms, and at Platinum and Prime status, you can report your payments to credit bureaus to build your credit.

LendUp also doesn’t allow rollovers. That means if you’re unable to pay back your loan on time, LendUp will not charge you a fee to extend it, as other payday lenders do.

Instead, it offers free 30-day extensions on loans, so if you’re unable to make a payment, all you have to do is log into your account, and choose the option to extend your loan. LendUp tries to work with its customers as much as possible to ensure they’re getting out of debt, not back into it.

According to its website, LendUp is also the “first and only licensed direct lender with a relationship to the major credit bureaus.” LendUp emphasizes that there’s no middleman involved when customers take a loan, which allows LendUp to maintain its transparency.

LendUp Loan Details

Terms vary based upon the status you have with LendUp and you can get a loan amount of $100 – $1,000 depending on your tier.

Silver starts you off with a minimum loan amount of $100 and a maximum of $250. The terms range from 7 to 31 days. The maximum loan amount offered is $1,000, accessible at Prime.

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 5.57.58 PMLendUp provides a helpful calculator on its front page that gives you an idea of what you can expect with different loan amounts and terms.

For example, if you want to borrow $250, the APR range is 209.75% (30 days) to 755.03% (7 days).

According to ResponsibleLending.org, the typical two week payday loan as an annual interest rate ranging from 391% to 521%. LendUp falls within that spectrum.

Unlike payday lenders, LendUp rewards customers for continuing to borrower. LendUp does offer rates as low as 29% to its Prime customers, which is great when comparing against other payday loans. However, we’d prefer you focus on building your credit score and look to establish a line of credit with a credit union or get a personal loan from lender with better terms.

LendUp payday loans are also currently offered in only the following states: Ohio, New Mexico, Washington, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Wyoming, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Oregon, Kansas, California, Missouri, Tennessee, and Minnesota.

LendUp is working on increasing its presence throughout the United States, but since its a direct lender, its has to comply with individual state laws and policies.

LendUp Application Process

The application process is fairly straightforward. LendUp says it should take 5 minutes or less to fill out the application and you’ll get an instant decision.

LendUp offers standard next day funding, instant funding, and same-day funding (Wells Fargo customers only). It warns that if you take instant or same-day funding, you’ll have to pay a fee to cover the cost.

LendUp offers a no credit check payday loan option. To qualify, you just need an active bank account and proof of income.

It assesses applicants on much more than just their FICO scores, which comes as no surprise. Throughout its site, LendUp makes it clear it wants to lend to those with bad or nonexistent credit. Like other personal loan lenders, LendUp uses its own algorithm consisting of different data points to determine whether or not to extend a loan to an applicant.

The Fine Print

LendUp states it doesn’t have any hidden fees, but as with any payday loan, you need to read the fine print.

First, fees and rates are dependent upon the state you live in, so make sure to review state specific information here.

The only fee that’s mentioned with a dollar value attached is a non-sufficient funds fee. LendUp automatically takes money out of your bank account, and if you don’t have enough money in there to cover it, you’ll get hit with this fee, which can be between $15 and $30.

Additionally, if you want to pay before your due date, you can pay with your debit card, but you’ll incur a fee to cover the cost of the transaction.

Opting to get your money instantly or same-day also comes with a fee.

What happens if you can’t afford to pay and you used your extension? This is a common concern among those already tight on money. On its site, LendUp says to contact them at the first sign of trouble. It’s willing to work with borrowers.

However, if you don’t pay, and you don’t contact LendUp, then there are consequences. LendUp can suspend your LendUp account, send your account to outside collection agencies, take legal action, and report your account delinquent to the credit bureaus.

Commendable, but Still a Payday Loan

LendUp’s mission is a commendable one – it wants to educate its customers and provide them with a better way to get back on their feet. LendUp is certainly an improvement over traditional payday lenders, but at the end of the day, it’s still a payday loan. When taking one, you need to consider the overall costs you might face.

Look into secured lines of credit or store credit cards – don’t look to take a payday loan first. Only take one if you desperately need the cash and you’re in a rough spot. Be aware of exactly what you’re getting yourself into, and make every effort to pay off your loan on time and improve your financial situation.

If you’re interested in looking into a loan with LendUp, use its site map to get specific information related to the state you live in, as loan terms vary depending on state.

*We receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.  

Erin Millard
Erin Millard |

Erin Millard is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Erin at erinm@magnifymoney.com

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