Auto Loan, Reviews

LightStream Auto Loan Review

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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.

LightStream Auto Loan Review

Updated January 25, 2016

Automobile shopping can be stressful. Besides trying to find just the right car for you or your family, there is the additional stress of finding the right price, the right financing, as well as factoring a monthly payment into your budget.

But with more online-only banks offering auto loans at extremely competitive interest rates, the auto loan game is changing. Today, your best bet is to obtain financing before setting foot in a dealership so you have a budget to stick to and you know exactly what your monthly payment will be.

The Offer

LightStream offers both secured and unsecured auto loans from $5,000 to $100,000 and rates as low as 2.19%. LightStream can get money in your account in as little as one day in some cases, and always with no fees whatsoever.

How To Apply

You can complete your LightStream auto loan application online, but you must 1) acknowledge receipt of LightStream’s Statement on the Use of Electronic Records, 2) agree to receive electronic records, and 3) agree to use electronic signature to sign your loan documents.

In order to apply, you will need:

  • The purpose, term and amount of desired loan
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Employment information
  • Annual income
  • Total amount of assets and equity in your home

During business hours, LightStream will email you regarding your application. If you are approved, you will be able to then go online, electronically sign your loan agreement, provide any additional information, as well as choose your funding and due dates. The funds will be transferred to your bank account on the funding date that you chose, on the same day in some cases.

To qualify, you must have either excellent or good credit. LightStream lists the following as criteria for excellent credit:

  • Five or more years of significant credit history.
  • A credit history with a variety of account types such as major credit cards (for example, Visa, MasterCard, Amex), installment debt (vehicle loans) and mortgage debt if applicable.
  • An excellent payment history with no delinquencies or other problems repaying debt obligations.
  • A proven ability to save evidenced by some or all of the following; liquid assets (stocks, bonds, bank deposits, etc.), cash down payments on real estate, retirement savings, and little, if any, revolving credit card debt.
  • Stable and sufficient income and assets to easily repay current debt obligations and any new loan with LightStream.

Good credit is essentially the same criteria as excellent credit, as seen above, but with fewer than 5 years of credit history.

Satisfaction Guarantee

LightStream does not provide any phone customer support for loans. Instead, it offers email support in an effort to keep costs low. Because the lack of phone support is unorthodox, it offers a $100 guarantee within 30 days if you aren’t satisfied with your loan experience. If you are not satisfied and wish to claim the $100 guarantee, you must contact customer service within 30 days of your loan and fill out a questionnaire.

The Fine Print

Your APR will be based on creditworthiness, loan amount, and loan term, as seen in the chart below for an auto-loan on a new car:

The Fine Print

Rates in the chart above are shown inclusive of a 0.50% AutoPay Discount. If you choose not to enroll in AutoPay, your rate will reflect a 0.50% increase. AutoPay payments will come directly out of your bank account. Otherwise, you can choose to pay by invoice, which must be returned by mail. You cannot make payments at a SunTrust Bank branch.

LightStream does not charge any closing or disbursement fees. It also does not charge fees for prepayment. You can prepay principal on your loan by logging into your online account.

Pros

  • Rates as low as 2.19%
  • Can borrow as little as $5,000 or as much as $100,000
  • You can borrow for a new or used car
  • Terms from 24 to 84 months
  • No prepayment penalties
  • No closing or disbursement fees
  • Secured and unsecured loans

Cons

  • APRs as high as 6.29%
  • APR will increase 0.50% if you don’t enroll in AutoPay
  • Excellent or good credit required for financing

Lightstream3

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How It Stacks Up

If a low APR is your priority, consider looking into an auto loan from Capital One. It offers APRs from 1.99% to 2.49% and terms of 36 to 72 months on new vehicles.  There is no origination fee, but it only offers loans up to $40,000, with the option to get pre approval online before shopping.

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New England Federal Credit Union is another option for an auto loan with rates from 1.45% to 13.99% and terms from 12 to 96 months on new vehicles and 84 months on used cars. NEFCU can loan up to $70,000 with no origination fee, but there is no option for pre approval.

New England Federal Credit Union

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LightStream offers a fairly straightforward auto loan experience whether you’re buying a new or used auto with low rates, long terms, and no fees for closing, disbursement, or prepayment. As with any loan, make sure that you are getting the lowest rate possible, as even one percentage lower can save you thousands of dollars in interest.

Finally, make sure that you can afford the monthly payment. Auto loan terms are getting longer, and you do not want to have an auto loan payment that is more than you can afford for 6+ years.

Find other auto loan options here.

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6 Personal Loans for 600 to 700 Credit Scores

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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.

7 Personal Loans for 600 to 700 Credit Scores

If you have a less-than-perfect credit and want to pay off credit card debt, fund home improvement projects, or pay for unexpected expenses, then finding a lender that will consider your credit might seem like an uphill battle.

Refinancing high-interest debt with a personal loan can quickly cut down the amount of interest you’re paying, which effectively allows you to pay if off in less time. You particularly want to avoid payday and title loan lenders at all costs.

Many personal loan companies approve people with scores as low as 600. The best way to shop for the best deal is to use the MagnifyMoney Personal Loan Shopping Tool. With this tool, you can get prequalified for personal loans without hurting your credit score. With just one application (which takes less than five minutes), multiple providers will compete for your business and offer you real rates. You can start shopping here.

If you don’t want to use the tool, you can go to each personal loan company individually. Here are 7 personal loans for people with credit scores of 600 to 700. Read below to see if one is right for you!

1. LendingClub

LendingClub offers loans of up to $40,000, for individuals with a minimum credit score of 600. Its APR ranges from 5.99% to 35.89%. LendingClub also uses a soft credit pull to determine your rate, which will not affect your credit.

The Fine Print

In order to qualify for a LendingClub personal loan you must:

  • Not have more than 5 hard credit inquiries in the last 5 months
  • Have at least two active credit accounts open
  • Have a credit history of at least 36 months
  • Debt-to-income ratio of less than 40%
  • Be able to verify employment and income

Once you have met the minimum criteria, LendingClub uses its own scoring system to determine what amount you can borrow as well as your rate.

You can borrow money for up to 60 months, but it does charge up-front (origination) fees depending on credit worthiness, which come out of the loan amount.

Pros

  • Can see your rate with a soft credit pull
  • Will consider applicants with credit scores as low as 600
  • Offers very competitive interest rates for people with scores below 700
  • The application process only take a few minutes

Cons

  • Missed payments or items in collections will result in your application being rejected
  • Loan processing could take a week or more
  • APR can be as high as 35.89%
  • It does charge origination fees
  • Is not available in Iowa or West Virginia

LendingClub will approve people with credit scores as low as 600. If approved, the interest rates offered can be very competitive and the online application process is easy. This is good first stop for anyone with a score of 600 or higher to find the best deal.

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2. BestEgg

BestEgg offers personal loans up to $35,000 for people with credit scores as low as 640. APRs range from 5.99% to 29.99%. You can check your rate without hurting your credit score, and BestEgg has an excellent application process (that can result in funding your loan very quickly).

The Fine Print

BestEgg does charge an origination fee, which can be between 0.99% and 5.99%. However, there is no prepayment penalty, and you can pay off your loan early without penalty.

 

Pros

  • Can see your rate with a soft credit pull
  • Will consider applicants with credit scores as low as 660
  • Offers very competitive interest rates
  • Fast application process and fast funding

Cons

  • APR can be as high as 29.99%
  • It does charge origination fees

BestEgg offers competitive rates and a quick online process to get your loan. It is an excellent option for people with less than perfect scores.

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3. Avant

Avant offers access to loans from $1,000 to $35,000. There is no prepayment penalty. It is possible to get your loan as soon as the next business day. Although every case is unique, we have seen Avant accept people with credit scores as low as 580 be approved.

The Fine Print

Interest rates range from 9.95% to 36.00%. Avant does charge an up-front origination fee that ranges from 0.95% – 3.75%, which is lower than most of the competition.

Checking your rates through Avant only requires a soft pull to see your rate, which does not affect your credit score, and there are no prepayment penalties.

A personal loan through Avant received an “A” from MagnifyMoney’s Transparency Score.

Pros

  • Approved people with lower credit scores
  • “A” Transparency Score
  • Can see your rate with a soft credit pull
  • Fixed terms, fixed interest rate, no prepayment penalties

Cons

  • Interest rates as high as 36%
  • Avant charges an origination fee
  • Not available in Colorado, Iowa and West Virginia

Avant is a good option for people with less than perfect credit. You can check your rate without hurting your score and it has an “A” transparency score.

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4. OneMain

OneMain offers loans up to $25,000 for individuals with credit scores starting at 600. It offers terms of up to 60 months and APR ranges from 25.10% to 36.00%.

The Fine Print

In order to be accepted for a OneMain Loan, you must live near a OneMain branch, as a face-to-face meeting is required to finalize the loan. OneMain personal loans are not available in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Washington D.C.

In order to qualify you must have:

  • Verifiable, steady income
  • No bankruptcy filings, ever
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have at least some established credit history
  • Credit score of at least 600

If, at any time during the application process, OneMain becomes aware that you intend to use the personal loan for gambling, your loan application will be cancelled. OneMain personal loans cannot be used for business expenses or tuition.

You cannot see your OneMain rate until it performs a hard credit pull, which does affect your credit, and the OneMain personal loan earns a “B” Transparency score.

Pros

  • Credit score as low as 600
  • Fixed Rates
  • No Prepayment penalty
  • Fixed terms
  • Convenient location, at OneMain branches

Cons

  • APR ranges from 25.10% – 35.99%
  • Loans cannot be used for business expenses or tuition
  • Cannot see rate without a hard credit pull
  • Personal loans only available up to $10,000
  • Loans not available in Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nevada, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Washington D.C.
  • You must visit a OneMain branch to complete the loan.

The OneMain personal loan caters to people with low credit scores, or who would prefer to complete the personal loan application process at a branch, rather than online.

OneMain

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5. Freedomplus

Freedomplus offers loans ranging from $5,000 to $35,000 that can be used for everything from debt consolidation, to unexpected expenses. APR ranges from 8.47% to 29.99%.

Its biggest selling point is the same-day approval and availability of funds within 48 hours, a lifesaver in some circumstances.

The Fine Print

In order to qualify for a Freedomplus loan, you must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be a legal US resident
  • Have a valid ID
  • Minimum credit score of 700
  • At least $25,000 in verifiable income
  • No bankruptcies in the last two years

Freedomplus charges origination fees ranging from 1.00% to 5.00%, which is deducted from the loan amount before you receive the funds. There are no prepayment penalties.

The Freedomplus personal loan scores a “B” Transparency score because its fee structure and much of the fine print is unclear or not covered by the final contract.

You can prequalify with a soft credit pull, which does not affect your credit score. However, Freedomplus requires a phone screening with each applicant before the loan is approved.

Pros

  • Will approve credit scores as low as 700
  • The phone screening may improve your chances of being approved for the loan
  • Same-day approval and funds within 48 hours
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Can prequalify with a soft credit pull

Cons

  • APR ranges from 8.47% to 29.99%
  • The fee structure is not readily available for review
  • Origination fee of 1.00% to 5.00% applies

The Freedomplus personal loan is a good option for you if you have less than perfect credit, and need access to funds quickly, without visiting a physical branch.

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6. Prosper

The Prosper personal loan process is a little different than a traditional lender. It is not a bank, but rather a peer-to-peer lender. Once you have applied, and checked loan terms and rates, you create a loan “listing” that then appears on in the Prosper marketplace.

From these listings, peers (investors) choose which loans they would like to finance. When your loan listing is financed, the money is transferred to your bank account.

Prosper offers loans from $2,000 to $35,000, and APR ranges from 5.99% to 36.00%. It offers loans terms of either 36 or 60 months. Your APR is determined during the application process, and is based on a credit rating score created by Prosper. Your score is then shown with your loan listing to give potential lenders an idea of your creditworthiness.

The Fine Print

Your loan listing will remain active for 14 days. After 14 days, your loan must be at least 70% funded to receive the funds. If you are not 70% funded within 14 days, you must reapply to have your loan re-listed.

Origination fees range from 1% to 5% and are based on your Prosper score. In order to qualify, you must:

  • Have a bank account
  • Have a social security number
  • No more than 7 inquiries on your credit in the last six months
  • A verifiable, steady income
  • A credit-to-debt ratio of less than 50%
  • At least three open accounts, such as checking, savings, and credit card.
  • No bankruptcies in the last year

A returned payment may result in a $15 fee, and late payments past 15 days are charged a 5% fee, with a minimum of $15.

Prosper’s overall fine print is very clear is its fees are quite minimal, so it scores it an “A” Transparency Score. Also, you can check your Prosper rate with a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score.

Pros

  • Minimum credit score of 640
  • Can see your rate with a soft pull
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Paying off a Prosper loan can reduce your APR on future Prosper loans

Cons

  • Only 14 days to secure financing from peer lenders
  • Origination fee of 1% to 5% applies
  • APR varies from 5.99% – 36.00%

Prosper is a flexible alternative with a low-end APR that beats a credit card.

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Shop Around to Find the Best Deal

If you have made past credit mistakes, or have very little credit, there are personal loans out there for you. Many of these lenders offer rates much lower than what you would be paying on a credit card, shaving month and hundred or thousands of dollars off of your debt.

Don’t give up on a personal loan just because of your credit – there are options out there for you. It never hurts to shop around and look for the best rates available, especially if the lender does a soft credit pull to show you your options.

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Auto Loan, Reviews

Review: Chase Auto Loan for New and Used Cars

Advertiser Disclosure

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.

Car_lg

Online auto loans are quickly becoming the most stress-free and uncomplicated way to finance a new car or refinance a loan you already have. With streamlined approaches to loan approval and the ability to walk into a dealership knowing your exact budget and interest rate with loan preapproval, car shopping is becoming easier on your wallet and your time.

The Offer

The information related to Chase Auto Loans has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank.

Auto loans from Chase range from 48 to 72 months and interest rates can vary by state, but APRs can be as low as 2.59% (checked July 1, 2016 – your rate may vary).

New car: 2.59% (2.09% with Chase customer rate discount)
Used Car: 2.89% (2.39% with Chase customer rate discount)
Refinance: 2.69% (2.19% with Chase customer rate discount)

Chase can loan up to $100,000 and provides APR discounts up to 0.50% for Chase checking account customers.

How To Apply

An application for a Chase auto loan can be made online or at a local branch, even if you don’t know which vehicle you want to purchase yet. If you don’t know what car you want to purchase, fill out what information you can. Chase will collect vehicle information later.

In order to apply you will need to provide your:

  • Name
  • Social Security Number
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • Phone Number
  • Email Address
  • Employment & Income information
  • Loan Amount and Term
  • Vehicle information (make, model, year, current mileage, VIN)

The Fine Print

At the time of this article, APRs are as low as 2.59% and are based upon creditworthiness.

Chase offers APR discounts up to 0.50% for being a Chase customer and enrolling in automatic payments. If you have a personal Chase checking account your APR will be discounted 0.25%. You will receive an additional 0.25% APR reduction if you enroll in automatic payments and continue to have your monthly auto loan payments automatically deducted from your Chase checking account.

Chase also requires the following Loan-to-Value ratios with an excellent credit history.

  • 80% for new vehicles
  • 95% for used vehicles

Chase offers loans for new and used autos, but with a few restrictions. Used cars cannot be more than 5 years older than the current model year and have no more than 75,000 miles. The vehicle cannot have been sold for scrap or declared a total loss. Vehicle cannot be used for commercial purposes, such as a limousine or taxicab.

Pros

  • Loans from $7,500 to $100,000
  • Finances new and used autos
  • APRs as low as 2.59% (before Chase customer rate discount)
  • Terms from 48 to 72 months
  • APR discounts up to 0.50%

Cons

  • Lowest term is 48 months
  • Rates vary by zip code
  • No online pre approval

How It Stacks Up

LightStream, a division of SunTrust Bank, provides a competitive option with APRs starting at 1.99%, terms ranging from 24 to 84 months, and financing available up to $100,000, LightStream is a flexible option that offers online preapproval. You can also use it to buy a used car from a private party – no dealer required.

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If you’re a member of the military, or have a family member who is, consider Navy Federal Credit Union for shorter terms and lower APRs. Its APRs start at 1.49%, and terms can be as short as 12 months or as long as 96 months. Navy Federal Credit Union can finance up to $500,000.

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Shop Around First

Online auto loans are becoming increasingly competitive, which is good for you, the consumer. The best way to ensure you get the best rate for your next auto purchase is to shop around for your best rate in the 30 days prior to car shopping. Don’t worry about your credit score as you shop around, because all inquiries within a 30-day period count as one.

Then when you get to the dealership, negotiate the price of your car before letting the dealership know that you have already been approved for financing. Then, once a price agreement has been reached, show the dealership your financing and ask them to beat it.

Often, the manufacturer offers 0% financing, which you may be eligible for. If that is the case, you just negotiated a great deal on a new car and saved hundreds or thousands in interest.

Compare Your Auto Loan Options Here

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22 Options for a Home Improvement Loan

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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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Are you ready to make some improvements to your home? Are you looking for financing options that offer more flexibility and better rates than you would get putting home improvements on a credit card?

Below, you will find an extensive list of lenders willing to finance home improvements. If you are interested in comparing terms for more loan providers all in one place, check out our comparison tool.

Besides more competitive interest rates, longer terms and higher loan amounts, financing home improvements with an installment loan gives you more flexibility. Most contractors will not accept credit cards, and being able to write a check for a contractor’s bill gives you a larger pool of contractors to choose from. It also provides an opportunity to get financing if you have not yet built enough equity in your home to qualify for a home equity line of credit. A home improvement installment loan is also an unsecured loan and your home will not be used as collateral as it would in a home equity loan or home equity line of credit.

Are You Ready To Apply?

Before you start comparing loans, it is wise to make sure that you are prepared for the loan application process, that your debt-to-income ratio is in good shape, and that you have the proper documentation prepared.

While lending requirements vary by bank, most will require the following things:

  • Proof of Income: Lenders want to know that you income is enough to not only meet your current obligation, but to potentially meet the obligation of a new loan as well.
  • Low Debt-to-Income ratio: Lenders typically want you to have less than 40% DTI.
  • A Decent Credit Score: credit score requirements vary by lender, as you will see below, but excellent or good credit scores will be eligible for the best rates and the offers with no origination fees. It is wise to have a good idea of your credit score before you start applying and comparing offers.

Why A Home Improvement Loan?

Interest Rates: Financing home improvements through a loan rather than a credit card gives you access to interest rates that are often much lower than credit cards. The list below will show that if you have excellent credit, you could see home improvement loan rates as low as 4% with no origination fee.

Easy Application: Online lenders have the easiest loan applications around. The initial application will only do a “soft pull” on your credit, which will not affect your credit score, and will allow you to see your rate.

Shorter Terms: Credit cards, because of their high interest rates and the ability to pay on them for 10 years or more, leave you in debt longer. By choosing a home improvement loan with a term of 36 to 60 months, you not only lower the interest you are paying, you will have the loan paid off in a shorter amount of time, which of course saves you money.

The Ability to Shop Around: Some lenders do a soft pull, which does not affect your credit score. This gives you the confidence to shop around without harming your score. If you’re interested in providers that do a hard pull, be sure to do all your shopping in a 30-day window in order to minimize the impact on your credit score.

Where to Get Your Home Improvement Loan

If you have excellent credit, it is worth applying for the best offers in home improvement loans. Better rates and terms will save you money in the long run.

Here are the top three offers:

  • Lightstream*: A great online option for those with excellent credit. It can finance $5,000 to $100,000.Your rate will depend upon the term and the amount of the loan, and is 0.50% higher if you do not enroll in autopay. To qualify, you’ll need good credit, as well as enough income to meet your current obligations and the loan.

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*referral link

  • Earnest*: Earnest offers home improvement loans of up to $50,000. It offers no origination fee and terms of up to 36 months. Earnest does a soft pull to determine your rate. The minimum credit score needed to apply is 720.

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*referral link

  • SoFi*: Fixed rates for loans start at 5.95% and variable rates start at 4.83%. There is no origination fee and SoFi will finance $5,000 to $100,000.

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*referral link

Other Options (in alphabetical order)

  • Avant*: Offers access to loans from $1,000 to $35,000 as soon as the next business day. Rates vary from 9.95% to 36.00% and loans are available for up to 60 months. Not available in Colorado, Iowa and West Virginia.
  • Basix: Home improvement loans from Basix have no origination fee and can be up to $5,000 for 36 months. Its rates range from 25.99% to 35.99%, and you need a credit score of at least 600 to apply.
  • Best Egg: Rates range from 5.99% to 29.99% and it has an origination fee of 1.00% to 5.00%. It offers loans up to $35,000 for up to 60 months, and the minimum credit score need to apply is 640.
  • Circle Back Lending*: You can get funds in as little as 1 day with Circle Back Lending. Its rates range from 6.43% to 34.93% with terms up to 60 months. The origination fee varies from 0.99% to 4.99% and you must have a credit score of 660 to apply.
  • Discover: Discover offers home improvement loans with no origination fee. Its rates vary from 6.99% to 24.99% and it offers loans of up to $35,000 for up to 84 months. You could receive the funds in as little as 1 day, but you must have at least a 660 credit score to apply.
  • Freedomplus*: Freedomplus offers home improvement loans up to $35,000 with terms up to 60 months. Its rates vary from 8.45% to 29.90% and there is an origination fee of 1.38% to 5.00%. In order to apply, your credit score must be 600 or greater.
  • Karrot: Karrot offers loans to applicants with a minimum credit score of 660. Loan APRs range from 6.44% to 29.27% and origination fees vary from 1.05% to 4.75%. It offers terms up to 60 months and you must have a credit score of at least 660 to apply.
  • LendingClub*: With rates ranging from 5.99% to 35.89%and a minimum credit score needed of 600, LendingClub is an excellent option for those with lower credit scores. It offers loans up to $40,000 but is not available in West Virginia or Iowa.
  • Loan Depot: Loan Depot offers loans of up to $35,000 with rates ranging from 6.17% to 29.99% and origination fees of 1.00% to 5.00%. It offers 3-year terms and you must have a credit score of at least 640 to apply.
  • OneMain*: OneMain charges no origination fee. Its APRs range from 17.99% to 35.00% on loans of up to $10,000 for up to 60 months. You must have a credit score of at least 550 to apply for a OneMain home improvement loan.
  • Pave: Pave offers terms of up to 36 months and rates ranging from 6.00% to 16.00%. The maximum loan amount it offers is $25,000, the origination fee varies from 1.00% to 2.00%, and the minimum credit score needed is 660. Pave loans are currently only available in New York State.
  • Peerform: Peerform offers loans up to $25,000 for up to 3 years with rates from 7.12% to 28.09%. Its origination fee varies from 1.00% to 5.00%.
  • PenFed Credit Union: While there is no origination fee for a home improvement loan from PenFed Credit Union, you must have a credit score of at least 700 to apply and be a member of the credit union. It offers a 9.99% APR, and loans of up to $25,000 for 60 months.
  • Prosper: Prosper’s rates vary from 5.99% to 36.00% on loans of up to $35,000.The origination fee ranges from 1.00% to 5.00% and you need a credit score of at least 640 to apply.
  • Santander: Santander offers loans of up to $25,000 with rates ranging from 6.99% to 14.99% and terms up to 60 months. There is no origination fee, but you must have a credit score of at least 680 to apply.
  • Springleaf*: Springleaf offers loans of up to $25,000, terms up to 60 months and rates of 15.99% to 39.99%. Its maximum loan amount is $25,000, and there is no origination fee. Also, your credit can be as low as 550 to apply for a Springleaf home improvement loan.
  • Upstart*: Upstart offers loans of up to $50,000 with rates of 4.93% to 29.99% for up to 5 years. The minimum credit score needed to apply is 640 and the origination fee varies from 1.00% to 6.00% upfront.
  • USAA: Home improvement loans from USAA have no origination fee on loans of up to $20,000. It offers terms of up to 72 months and rates range from 8.99% to 10.99%. You must have a credit score of at least 700 to qualify for a loan from USAA and be eligible through a military affiliation.

When shopping around for a home improvement loan, make sure that you not only compare the APR you have been offered, but the origination fee as well. Additionally, be sure the compare all of the factors at the same term. As with any loan, regardless of the bank’s determination of your eligibility, make sure that the loan works with your budget and comfort level.

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

Review: Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus World MasterCard

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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.

Review: Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus

The Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus World MasterCard offers 1.5% cash back on everyday purchases plus the chance to earn up to 1.8% total cash back with its Purchase and Relationship Bonuses. The card places no limits on the amount of cash back you can earn, no rotating categories to keep track of or activate, and no annual fee.

How To Apply

You can apply for the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus World MasterCard either online or by calling customer service at 1-800-684-2222 Monday through Friday from 7 am to 1 am EST, or Saturday and Sunday from 7 am to midnight EST.

Be prepared with the following information:

  • Personal: You name, address, phone number, Social Security number, and birth date
  • Employment: Place of employment and length of employment
  • Income: Current income, plus any mortgage payments

The application should take about 10 minutes to complete. After your application is submitted, a confirmation page will appear on your screen. Once you application has been processed, Citizens Bank will contact you will approval or denial.

Perks

The Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus World MasterCard boasts a simple cash back rate, but in reality, it’s not quite that simple.

The good news is that you will never earn less than 1.5% cash back on everyday purchases – it’s the opportunities to earn more than 1.5% back that get complicated.

You will receive a 10% Purchase Bonus on your earned cash back rewards when you make at least one purchase every month for 6 consecutive months or more. Your first Purchase Bonus will be credited on the seventh month, assuming you meet the criteria. As long as you continue to make one purchase each consecutive month, you can continue to receive the bonus, which will be credited monthly on the previous month’s cash back rewards.

This card also offers a 10% Relationship Bonus on your earned cash back rewards and Purchase Bonus when you choose to have them deposited directly into your Citizens Bank personal checking, savings, or money market account.

Taking advantage of both of these bonuses on top of the existing 1.5% cash back would net you 1.8% in cash back rewards.

For the first 12 months after opening the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus World MasterCard, you will receive 0% APR on balance transfers.

There are no foreign transaction fees, no penalty APRs for late payments, and Zero Liability Protection against unauthorized purchases. This card also offers Extended Warranty Protection, which doubles the manufacturer’s original warranty up to 2 years, and 120 day of price protection.

The Fine Print

Cash back rewards or bonuses, such as the Purchase Bonus and Relationship Bonus can only be redeemed in increments of $25. They can only be direct deposited into a Citizens Bank personal checking, savings, or money market account or given as a Credit Card Statement Credit. You cannot deposit the rewards to an account outside of Citizens Bank or receive your rewards by mail.

The 0% balance transfer APR is only valid for the first 12 months after the account is opened. After that, the APR jumps to 14.99%, 17.99%, or 20.99%, based on your creditworthiness. You will not know your non-balance transfer APR until you apply.

If you choose to complete a balance transfer with this card, you will be charged either a fee of either $10 or 3%, whichever is greater.

There is no introductory period for purchases with the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus World MasterCard. The APR for purchases will be 14.99%, 17.99%, or 20.99% based on creditworthiness, and starting as soon as the account is opened. You will not know your APR until you apply.

The APR for cash advances is 22.24%. A Cash advance will also be charged the greater of a $10 fee or 3% of the transaction.

If you make your payment late, you could be charged a fee of up to $38, but there are no fees for returned payments or going over your credit limit. This card also does not charge a penalty APR for late payments.

Pros

  • Up to 1.8% cash back
  • 5% cash back on everyday purchases
  • Additional 0.03% cash back bonuses can be earned
  • No limit to the amount of cash back you can earn
  • No annual fee
  • No penalty APR for late payments
  • 0% APR for 12 months on balance transfers
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Zero liability protection against unauthorized purchases
  • 120 day price protection
  • Extended Warranty protection, Trip Cancellation Insurance, and Trip Interruption Insurance

Cons

  • 99%, 17.99%, or 20.99% APR for everyday purchases based on creditworthiness
  • Will not know your rate until you apply
  • Purchase and Relationship Bonuses can be complicated to earn
  • Only two ways to receive your cash back rewards: direct deposit into a qualifying Citizens Bank account, or as a Credit Card Statement Credit
  • Up to $38 late payment fee
  • $10 or 3% fee for balance transfers, whichever is greater
  • APR after 0% balance transfer period is 14.99%, 17.99%, or 20.99%, based on creditworthiness
  • 24% APR for cash advances, plus a $10 or 3% fee, whichever is greater

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How It Stacks Up

The Citi Double Cash card offers 2.00% cash back with no annual fee and no rotating categories. When you make a purchase with this card, you receive 1% cash back. Then, when you make your payment on time, you will receive an additional 1% cash back, for a total of 2.00%. The APR can range from 13.49% to 23.49%, but as long as you can make your payments on time you can earn more cash back than with the Citizens Bank Cash Back Plus.

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The PNC CashBuilder offers 1.75% cash back and charges no annual fee. However, the terms of this card can be quite complicated. If you do not have a qualifying PNC Checking account, then you have to spend $4,000 or more per month to receive 1.75% cash back, but if you do have a qualifying PNC Checking account, then you only have to spend $2,000 or more to earn 1.75% cash back. Even though the terms are complicated, if you are a current PNC customer and spend $2,000 or more on a credit card each month, the cash back could be worth it.

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The Citizen Bank Cash Back Plus World MasterCard offers a decent 1.5% cash back rate with very few complications. With a little effort and planning, you could earn up to 1.8% cash back, which is decent. If you have good credit, then you should explore higher earning cards first, but regardless, this card offers a good cash back rate and simple terms.

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Earning Cashback, Reviews

Review: The Upromise MasterCard by Sallie Mae

Advertiser Disclosure

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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The Upromise MasterCard by Sallie Mae gives you a creative way to earn cash back for college with every purchase. With this card you earn 5% back on eligible online purchases – including travel – when you shop through Upromise.com, and on eligible Upromise restaurants. The card will also earn 2% cash back on eligible in-store department store purchases, movie theaters, and 1% back on all other purchases.

Shop through Upromise.com with this card and you could earn 10% in cash back rewards: 5% for shopping through Upromise and up to 5% for using the Upromise MasterCard. It has no annual fee, offers the ability to earn a $50 cash back bonus, and places no limits on the amount of cash back you can earn.

How To Apply

You can apply for the Upromise card online. You should be prepared with the following information:

  • Personal Information: Name, address, phone number, email address, birth date, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name
  • Employment & Finances: Occupation and income

The application will only take a few minutes, and depending on your credit, you could receive instant approval. If you don’t receive instant approval, you will be contact in a few days with your approval decision.

How The Upromise Card Can Help You Save For College

This card offers a creative way to save for college, whether you currently are in college, paying off student loans, or saving for your children’s college. The earnings can be used to pay down eligible student loans, pay for college courses, or help friends and family save for their college education.

When you join Upromise.com, you open a Upromise account and your cash back earnings will be automatically deposited into your this account. Your Upromise.com account will not earn interest, but you can transfer your earnings to an interest-bearing savings account or an existing student loan to help meet your goals. You can also request periodic checks to invest the earnings on your own.

While Upromise was created to help parents, grandparents, and even current students save for college and pay down student loans, you don’t have to use your earned cash back for college. It is your money, and you can request a check to use your earnings however you would like.

Opening the Upromise MasterCard and using it in conjunction with your Upromise.com account boosts your cash back rewards.

Perks

When you open the Upromise MasterCard, you will have the ability to earn a $50 bonus as long as you use your card to make one purchase within the first 90 days of account opening.

You’ll have $0 fraud liability on unauthorized purchases, your complimentary FICO score, no rotating reward categories, and no annual fee.

Determining the exact percentage of cash back rewards you’ll earn when using this card can be a little tricky, but the ability to earn up to 10% back towards college makes it worthwhile.

10% – When you shop through Upromise.com and use the Upromise MasterCard to shop online (including travel) you will earn 5% back for shopping through Upromise, and 5% back for using your Upromise MasterCard, for a total of 10%

2% – Eligible in-store department store purchase and eligible movie theater purchase using your Upromise MasterCard

1% – All other purchases

The Fine Print

Besides the rewards being complicated to understand, there are few other fees and gotchas you should know about.

In order to earn the $50 cash back bonus, you have to use the card to make a purchase or complete cash advance or a balance transfer within 90 days of account opening. We don’t advise using a cash advance as a means to earn $50, because the interest on a cash advance is 25.49% at time of writing. You will also be charged a fee of $10 or 5% (whichever is greater) for a cash advance. Just make a purchase and pay it off on time so you won’t be charged interest.

There is no 0% APR introductory period on purchases. Your APR will be 14.24%, 20.24%, or 23.24% based on creditworthiness.

There is a 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first 15 billing cycles after account opening. After that, and for balance transfers that do not post within 45 days of account opening, the APR will be 14.24%, 20.24%, or 23.24% based on creditworthiness. If you choose to complete a balance transfer you will be charged a fee of $5 or 3%, whichever is greater.

The card charges a foreign transaction fee of 3%, a late payment fee of up to $37, and a returned payment fee of up to $37.

Pros

  • Up to 10% cash back for college
  • Earn a $50 cash back bonus
  • No annual fee
  • No limit to the rewards you can earn
  • Free FICO score
  • $0 fraud liability for unauthorized purchases
  • No rotating rewards categories
  • 0% APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles

Cons

  • Rewards are complicated to earn
  • Purchase APR is high: 14.24%, 20.24%, or 23.24% based on creditworthiness
  • 25.49% APR for cash advances
  • 3% balance transfer fee
  • 5% foreign transaction fee
  • $37 late payment and returned payment fee

Upromise

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How It Stacks Up

No other cards come close to 10% in cash back rewards, but there are others that have simpler terms.

Citi Double Cash

One of those cards is the Citi Double Cash Card. With no annual fee and 2% cash back (1% when you make a purchase and then 1% when you pay your bill), the Citi Double Cash Card is an easy to use cash back rewards card. There are no rotating categories, but the APR is high, so make sure you can pay your bill on time.

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Fidelity Investment Rewards by American Express

The Fidelity Investment Rewards American Express also offers 2% cash back, no annual fee, and a $50 bonus when you spend $500 in the first 60 days. In order to open this card, you have to have a Fidelity account and a credit score of at least 700, but if you meet those criteria this card offers a great cash back rate without all of the strings.

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Not Simple, But Offers Good Rewards

The Upromise MasterCard by Sallie Mae is not a simple card to understand. But where the terms are complicated, the card makes up for it with the ability to earn up to 10% cash back on online purchases when you shop through Upromise.com.

If you don’t shop online a whole lot, you would be better off choosing a simpler, 2% cash back card. But if you do a lot of online shopping, then the 10% in rewards makes the Upromise MasterCard worth looking into.

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Auto Loan, Reviews

Review: Wells Fargo Auto Loan

Advertiser Disclosure

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.

Wells Fargo Auto Loan

Updated November 16, 2015

Shopping for a new (or new to you) car can be an all-consuming process. Between reviewing your budget and determining what payment you can afford, obtaining financing at the absolute best rate, and then actually shopping for the car your family needs, you can be looking at a stressful process.

Online banks and credit unions are quickly becoming the most competitive when it comes to auto financing, but big banks like Wells Fargo is still looking for your business.

The Offer

Wells Fargo auto loan provides flexible financing for new and used vehicles, as well as lease buyouts. Its rates range from 3.12% to 10.51%, and it loans up to $100,000. Auto loan terms with Wells Fargo start at 12 months and top out at 72 months, but it does not allow online approval.

How To Apply

In order to apply for a Wells Fargo auto loan, you should be prepared with the following information:

  • Personal Information: Your Social Security number, address, any previous addresses, mortgage amount and information or rent payments.
  • Income Information: Your gross income, current and previous employment history, employment status.
  • Current Vehicle Information: The VIN, year, make, model, and mileage of the car.

To make sure you have all of the necessary information, use Wells Fargo’s Loan Application Checklist

The actual online application is fairly simple, and you will receive an answer as well as your rate in 5 to 10 minutes. If you do not wish to complete your application online, you can visit a Wells Fargo branch and discuss your application there with an Auto Finance Specialist.

If you are approved for the loan, you will receive your funds within a few days.

The Fine Print

Auto loan rates with Wells Fargo depend on creditworthiness, type of purchase (new or used), term, and the amount financed. The following are the starting APRs for different types of purchase:

  • Refinance: 4.08%
  • New Purchase From Dealer: 3.12%
  • Used Purchase From Dealer: 3.63%
  • Used Purchase From a Private Party: 6.49%
  • Lease Buyout: 3.63%

The starting APRs listed above assume a loan amount greater than $22,000 and that is less than 85% of the car’s value. This means that if you have the credit history to qualify for the starting rates, you may have to have a down payment.

You can choose to finance 100% of the vehicle, and not need to provide a down payment, but your rate will be higher.

The starting APRs also include a 0.25% relationship discount. To qualify for the relationship discount, you must maintain a qualifying Wells Fargo consumer checking account and make automatic payments from a Wells Fargo deposit account. You can only receive one relationship discount per loan, and auto loans where the dealer is the lender to not qualify. If you choose to cancel automatic payments or your qualifying checking account, your relationship discount will be cancelled.

Auto loans from Wells Fargo come with a $99 origination fee, which is financed with the loan and reflected in the APR. There is no need to pay this fee out of pocket.

The minimum loan amount Wells Fargo will finance is $5,000. Wells Fargo has the ability to finance up to $100,000 for an auto loan, but the maximum amount you are approved for will be determined when you apply. Terms for new vehicles are as long as 72 months, but for vehicles 7 years or older, the maximum term is 48 months.

Wells Fargo finances most vehicles with the exception of commercial vehicles, salvage vehicles, or conversion vans. Titles cannot be registered to a business.

Also worth noting is that Wells Fargo does not finance auto loans in Louisiana.

Pros

  • Rates From 3.12%
  • Terms of 12 to 72 months
  • Loans from $5,000 to $100,000
  • 25% Relationship Discount
  • Online application approval or denial in 5 to 10 minutes

Cons

  • Rates max out at 10.51%
  • $99 Origination Fee
  • No online pre-approval
  • Not available in Louisiana
  • No commercial or salvage vehicles
  • No conversion vans
  • 48 months maximum term for vehicles 7 years and older
  • Rate is unknown until you apply

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Other Auto Loan Options

Wells Fargo’s rates are easily beat by many other auto loan lenders, regardless of whether you’re buying new, used, or refinancing.

LightStream

LightStream offers similar loan terms, 24 to 84 months, and will finance up to $100,000 with rates starting at 1.74%. Unlike Wells Fargo, LightStream charges no origination fee and does allow you to obtain online pre-approval before setting foot in a dealership.

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PenFed

For a less complicated loan experience with lower rates and fewer fees, you could also consider PenFed Credit Union. You have to become a member, but anyone can gain membership in PenFed Credit Union with a one-time donation to a PenFed selected charity. It offers rates from 1.49% to 2.99%, terms from 12 to 84 months, and will loan up to $100,000. It charges no origination fee, but does not provide the option for online pre-approval.

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A Good Option in Select Cases

Wells Fargo may be a good option for an auto loan if you prefer to buy used from a private party, need a lease buyout, or already have a relationship with the bank. However, in most cases you will be better off looking elsewhere. Between the high interest rates, complicated terms, fees that few other lenders charge, and no ability to get pre-approval online, an auto loan from Wells Fargo may be more trouble than it’s worth.

Find other auto loan options here.

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Auto Loan, Reviews

Review: Bank of America Auto Loan

Advertiser Disclosure

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.

Bank of America Auto Loan

Shopping for a new or used car has become a complicated experience. There are so many makes and models to choose from, so many dealers to purchase from, and a range of prices that makes it hard to see if whether or not you’re getting the best deal.

It can be overwhelming, to say the least.

That overwhelming feeling can lead so questionable financial decisions, such as spending more than you can afford, paying too much for the car you choose, and spending hundreds or thousands more in interest than necessary because you didn’t shop around for the best rate.

The Offer

A Bank of America auto loan will provide 12 to 60 months with APRs starting at 2.69%. There is no origination fee, but Bank of America does not provide online pre-approval for new or used auto loans. You can, however, be pre-approved for a new dealer purchase by applying at a Bank of America branch.

APR discounts

Bank of America provides several APR discounts to its existing customers as well as Preferred Rewards Customers.

Current Bank of America personal checking account holders receive a 0.15% APR discount on their auto loans or auto refinances.

Bank of America also offers an APR discount of 0.25% to 0.50% on auto loans when you enroll in Preferred Rewards at the time of application. There are no fees to participate in Preferred Rewards, but you must have a Bank of America personal checking account and a 3-month average combined balance of $20,000 in your Bank of America accounts and/or Merrill Lynch investment accounts.

Car Buying Basics

The first thing you should do when considering a new or used car purchase is to take hard look at your budget. Consider all of your current debt payments – these should not exceed 50% of your income. Factor in the payment for your new car, and make sure that it will not stretch your budget too thin.

Then, shop around online for your best rate on an auto loan during a 30-day period. Doing all of your rate shopping within 30 days will result in minimal impact because all inquiries within a 30-day period are treated as a single inquiry.

Once you have secured financing and determined the budget for your vehicle, use a site like TrueCar or Kelly Blue Book to help you determine the best price for the car you want to buy by comparing what other people actually paid for the same model.

How To Apply

In order to apply for an auto loan from Bank of America, you must be at least 18 years of age (19 in Alabama or Nebraska). You should also be prepared with the following:

  • Your address, phone number, email address, and Social Security number
  • Employment and income verification
  • Information on the vehicle you wish to purchase, such as the make, model, mileage, and the VIN

In most cases, you will receive approval or denial within 60 seconds of submitting your application with all of the required information online. However, some applicants will require a more detailed review. If you do not receive a decision within 60 seconds you will be contacted by email when the decision regarding your loan is ready.

In some cases, you could receive your funds in as little as 24 hours.

After you apply and are approved for the loan, you have 30 days from the date of the original loan request to use it without being required to re-apply.

The Fine Print

The 2.69% starting APR is only valid in certain states. Go here to check yours. The 2.69% APR assumes an excellent credit history and that you are purchasing a new vehicle from a dealership. Other types of purchases have the following minimum APRs:

  • Dealer Used: 2.89%
  • Private Party: 3.39%
  • Refinance: 3.29%
  • Lease Buyout: 2.74%

Your actual APR may be higher depending upon your creditworthiness, as well as the state in which you reside.

In order to finance a used vehicle through Bank of America, it must be not be older than 10 calendar years, have no more than 125,000 miles, and not be used for commercial purposes. It also cannot have a salvage title.

Bank of America does not finance auto purchases from independent dealers that carry several different brands of vehicles. The general exceptions to this rule are CarMax, Hertz Car Sales, Enterprise Car Sales and other found using this dealer locator tool.

In same cases, if the applicant is not deemed creditworthy enough, Bank of America will require a down payment or minimum loan to value ratio. These are determined on case-by-case basis and will not be known until you apply.

Pros

  • Rates starting at 2.69%
  • Terms of 12 to 60 months
  • 60 second online approval, in some cases
  • Funds in as little as 24 hours
  • Will finance private party sales and lease buyouts
  • No origination fee
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Up to 0.50% APR discount when you enroll in Preferred Rewards
  • 15% discount for having a Bank of America Checking account

Cons

  • Exact APR is not known until you apply
  • Down payment may be required for certain applicants
  • Will not finance purchases from independent dealers
  • Used cars must be less than 10 years old and have less than 125,000 miles
  • No online pre-approval

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How It Stacks Up

LightStream

LightStream can beat Bank of America’s starting APR and is far less complex. Its APRs start at 1.74%, it will finance vehicles up to $100,000, and it does allow you to receive pre-approval online before shopping. Its terms vary from 24 to 84 months, which allows for longer terms than Bank of America.

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PenFed

If you like great rates, but a more personalized experience than a big bank provides, then consider PenFed. PenFed is a credit union, but anyone can join with a one-time donation to an eligible charitable donation. It has APRs ranging from 1.49% to 2.99%, terms of 12 to 84 months, and will finance up to $100,000. It has no origination fee, but does not provide online pre approval.

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Shop Around First

When purchasing a new or used car, the two most important factors are making sure you don’t spend more on a vehicle than you can afford, and getting the best rate possible. Before setting foot on a dealership, shop around for your best auto loan rate so you can have one aspect of car shopping taken care of up front.

Compare Auto Loan Offers Here.

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