Advertiser Disclosure

Eliminating Fees

What You Need to Know About Wire Transfers

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

wire transfers
iStock

Need to send money quickly? Or maybe someone wants to send money to you fast. If so, a wire transfer might be the solution.

In some cases, like closing on a new home, it might even be a requirement. But the term wire transfer is often confused with other types of electronic transfers including services from places like Western Union, ACH transfers and peer-to-peer payment apps such as Venmo or Square Cash. We’ll explain the differences and how to complete a wire transfer safely.

What is a wire transfer?

Speed is what sets a wire transfer apart from the other services we mentioned earlier. With a wire transfer, you can send money electronically from your bank account to another person’s or company’s bank account instantly. And if you are owed money, a company or individual can send money to you with the same speed.

If you are sending a wire transfer domestically — to another individual or company in the United States — the funds you are sending should be available during the same business day. If you are receiving funds from a company or individual based in the country, you should also receive those dollars in your account the same day.

Wire transfers happen quickly because they are electronic. When someone asks for a “bank wire,” a bank or credit union sends funds to an account holder at another bank or credit union through an electronic network. The most common of these networks are SWIFT, Fedwire or the Clearing House Interbank Payments System known as CHIPS.

There are two main types of wire transfers: domestic and international.

  • A domestic wire transfer occurs between individuals or companies in the same country. These transfers can happen quickly. To complete a domestic wire transfer, you’ll usually just need some basic information such as the recipient’s bank name and address, the bank’s routing code, also known as its ABA number and bank account number.
  • An international wire transfer happens when a person or company sends money to an individual or company in a different country. For an international wire transfer, you might need to provide additional information. For instance, Bank of America says that you’ll need to state the purpose of the wire transfer, the currency that the recipient of your transfer is using and the recipient’s SWIFT code or International Bank Account Number, better known as an IBAN.

How to complete a wire transfer

Fortunately, wiring funds is an easy process. The fastest way usually involves signing up for online banking at your local bank and then initiating a transfer from your financial institution’s online banking portal.

Wells Fargo, for instance, recommends that its customers sign up for its online banking and then visit the “Transfer & Pay” section to enroll in its wire transfer service.

You then simply choose the recipient of your funds and the account from which you want to send your money. You might have to provide additional information if you are sending funds to a different country.

There might be a limit on how much money you can send through a wire transfer. For instance, if you a completing a wire transfer from Chase online, you can only transfer a maximum of $100,000 a day if you have a personal account at the bank. You can transfer up to your available bank account balance if you send a wire transfer through the phone or by visiting a branch in person.

Make sure, though, that you have enough funds to cover your wire transfer. Your bank won’t complete your transfer if you don’t have enough money in your account to cover the amount you want to send.

How long does a wire transfer take?

Speed is the biggest advantage of sending a wire transfer. It’s no surprise, then, that wire transfers can take as few as one business day to clear.

Gurnee, Ill.-based Consumers Credit Union says on its website that it usually takes half a business day for the funds from a domestic wire transfer to arrive in an account. If you send a transfer to a U.S. account in the morning, the funds will usually be available that afternoon.

Wiring money to international destinations takes longer, usually from three to five business days. TD Bank, for instance, says on its website that international wire transfers usually take three to five business days to close.

How much does it cost to send a wire transfer?

Most banks and credit unions will charge a fee to send a wire transfer. These fees vary according to the bank or credit union you are using.

Ally Bank, for instance, charges a $20 fee every time you wire money to another financial institution in the U.S.

Citibank, though, charges a range of fees depending on the type of account you have with the institution. Citi’s fees for domestic wire transfers range from $17.50 to $25. It charges more for international wire transfers, $20-$35. Citi does waive both its domestic and international wire transfer fees for customers with higher-level accounts.

Bank of America charges a $30 fee for outbound domestic wire transfers, $35 for international transfers sent in foreign currency and $45 for international wire transfers sent in U.S. dollars.

You might also have to pay to receive wired funds. Wells Fargo, for instance, charges $15 for its clients to receive a wire transfer.

Are wire transfers safe?

Wire transfers are generally safe, if you are wiring money to someone you know or to a company for a service provided. Even then, it’s recommended that you call to confirm wiring instructions rather than rely on emailed instructions — read more about phishing scams targeting homebuyers below.

Scams can happen when people wire money to strangers, both in the U.S. and in other countries.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation says that criminals like wire transfers because the money in these transactions arrives in bank accounts so quickly. Because of this, criminals can get their money before their victims discover they’ve been scammed.

Why would anyone wire money to a stranger? The FDIC says that scammers might convince victims to wire them funds to claim their winnings from a lottery that doesn’t exist. Others might offer victims a profitable work-from-home opportunity, but require a wire transfer of funds to get this opportunity started.

The FDIC recommends that you always ignore requests from strangers asking you to wire them money. As the agency says, this is usually the sign of a scam. Anytime someone pressures you to wire money quickly, you have probably been targeted by a scammer.

A common scam? The FDIC says that a criminal might call you, saying that one of your loved ones is stranded in a foreign country and needs you to wire cash so this relative can get home.

The best way to avoid scams is to only send money to people you know and companies that have performed a service for you or from which you have ordered a product. Never wire money to a stranger, no matter how convincing a story that stranger may be telling.

Mortgage closing scams. Fraudsters take advantage of the flurry of emails common at the end of a homebuying process as the closing date approaches. A common phishing email might falsely claim that wiring instructions have changed, instructing the homebuyer to send closing funds to an account that scammers control. Even if you don’t receive any suspicious emails, it’s good to call your real estate agent or settlement agent to confirm instructions and that funds have “cleared.”

Wire transfer vs. ACH payment

Wire transfers and ACH payments are similar. Both are ways to send money from one account to another without the use of physical checks.

But an ACH payment — a payment made with the help of an automated clearing house — differs from a wire transfer because it relies on what is known as a batch process. ACH payments typically power the transactions you make when you use online banking to pay bills.

Your bank will receive ACH transactions in a batch, which are then processed by the Automated Clearing House. Then, these transactions are dispersed to the proper bank accounts.

Because of this extra step, it takes longer for the money from an ACH transaction to show up in your account. The money could appear in your account the next business day, though this can vary depending on your bank.

Alternatives to wire transfers

You could always choose a personal check or cashier’s check, but if you want to send money to another source electronically, you do have some other options. However, if you’re looking to skirt your bank’s wire transfer fees, several of these have fees of their own.

Apps: You can use financial apps such as PayPal, Square Cash and Venmo to send money to service providers and individuals. Beware, though, that “instant” transfers usually carry a fee — Venmo, for example, charges $0.25 for a transfer to an eligible Mastercard or Visa debit card.

Be careful with these, though. As with wire transfers, you might fall prey to a scammer. Never send money to a stranger. And if someone you don’t know requests money from you through an app such as PayPal or Venmo, don’t send anything unless you can verify that the request is legitimate.

ACH transfers: As mentioned above, Automated Clearing House transfers — better known as ACH transfers — can help you move money from your bank account to the account of another. The money, though, often won’t show up for several business days.

Most banks don’t charge ACH fees, but Bank of America is an exception, charging $3 for its customers to send an ACH transfer to another bank account.

Money transfer services: Western Union or MoneyGram transfers are sometimes called “wires” and although you could walk into a Western Union store today, send money (for a fee) to your sister in Dubuque, Iowa, that she pockets a few minutes later, it would take longer to show up in her bank account.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Dan Rafter
Dan Rafter |

Dan Rafter is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Dan here

TAGS:

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

LoanMart Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

Van Nuys, Calif.-based LoanMart has originated car title loans since 2002. But if you want a loan without using your car as collateral, the company also offers unsecured personal loans.

Few consumers, though, will be able to qualify for a personal loan from LoanMart: The company only provides personal loans to residents of the state of California. Live elsewhere? If you want to take out a loan from this company, you’ll have to turn to a car title loan.

APR

60.00%
To
165.00%

Credit Req.

No minimum credit score

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

18 to 30

months

Origination Fee

$75

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LoanMart personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 18 to 30 months
  • APR range: 60%-165%
  • Loan limits: $1,500 to $3,100
  • Time to funding: LoanMart says it can provide funds as quickly as 24 hours after approving a borrower's application.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Going through prequalification doesn't impact consumers' credit scores. Going a step further and completing a full application, however, will. LoanMart will check your credit, resulting in a hard inquiry.

  • Origination fee: $75
  • Prepayment penalty: None
  • Late payment fee: $10, but you can avoid it by signing up for automatic payments. If you’re paying using this method, your APR may be reduced.
  • Other fees: None

LoanMart doesn’t disclose much information about its fees on its site. The company says it will disclose all fees clearly when presenting a loan offer to borrowers. Be sure to study your loan paperwork closely to make sure that you aren’t surprised by any fees.

You can change your mind — if you act fast: You’ve signed the paperwork to take out a personal loan from LoanMart. You’ve received your money, too. But the interest rate attached to your loan doesn’t look so good anymore. Fortunately, you can cancel your loan at no charge. You will have to submit a cancellation request within five days of getting your loan and return any funding you did receive.

Eligibility requirements

Minimum credit score: LoanMart does not list any minimum credit scores or debt-to-income ratios on its site. It does say that it will pull the credit of applicants and that approval is subject to the company’s credit standards. The loans, however, are designed for people with less than perfect credit.
Minimum credit history: Bankruptcies will be viewed negatively, as will a history of late payments.
Maximum debt-to-income ratio: LoanMart does not list a minimum DTI ratio, but it does exclude student loans and medical debt from its calculations.

LoanMart personal loans are only available to residents of California and you must have a bank account to receive funds from LoanMart.

Applying for a LoanMart personal loan

The easiest way to apply for a LoanMart personal loan is online or by speaking with a representative at 1-888-393-5924. By clicking on the “Get Prequalified” button, you’ll bring up a link to a brief application form. The form asks for basic information such as your name, address, cell phone and email. The form also asks how long you’ve lived at your address, your gross monthly income, years you’ve worked at your job and your requested loan amount. You’ll have to provide your birth date and Social Security number, too.

LoanMart will then do what is known as a “soft pull” on your credit. This will not hurt your credit score. But if you do prequalify for a personal loan and you decide to proceed, LoanMart will then run a hard pull of your credit. This could bring your credit score down slightly.

Prequalifying for a LoanMart loan doesn’t mean that you’ve officially qualified for a final loan. LoanMart can still reject your application even if it tentatively prequalified you for a loan. It all depends on what the company finds when it checks your credit and verifies your income.

If LoanMart gives you a final approval, it will deposit your money into your bank account through an ACH transfer. You could see your funds as soon as 24 hours after LoanMart approves your loan.

Pros and cons of a LoanMart personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Unsecured: Because you do not put up any collateral for this loan, you won’t lose your house or car should you fall behind on your monthly payments. If you do choose to take out an auto title loan with LoanMart — which is available to residents outside the state of California — be aware that if you do fall behind on payments, you could lose your vehicle.
  • Fast payments: Once your loan is approved, your funds will be deposited into your bank account quickly.
  • No prepayment penalty: The earlier you pay off your loan, the less interest you’ll pay on it.
  • High interest rates: If you don’t pay your loan off early and instead carry it to full term, you could pay an exorbitant amount in interest.
  • Limited availability: LoanMart only offers personal loans to borrowers living in California. You can apply for a title loan from LoanMart but remember, you’ll be putting your car up as collateral. LoanMart could take your vehicle if you can’t make your monthly payments.
  • Not the best reputation: LoanMart has experienced legal problems in the past. In 2013, Wheels Financial LLC — which does business as LoanMart — settled a case with the California Department of Business Oversight in which the company was accused of violating the state laws governing finance lenders. The department said that Wheels Financial filed a false report, compensated unlicensed employees for soliciting or accepting loan applications from borrowers, performed unlicensed brokering in Illinois and failed to properly maintain its books.

Who’s the best fit for a LoanMart personal loan?

If you live in California and you need quick cash but don’t want to risk losing your car or home, you might consider an unsecured personal loan from LoanMart. Just be careful: If you can’t pay off the money you borrow early, you will pay a lot in interest.

A better choice might be to shop around with other online or brick-and-mortar lenders. Even if you don’t have a strong credit score, you might be able to find a lender that is willing to loan you money at a lower interest rate.

Alternatives to a LoanMart personal loan

Prosper

APR

6.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

2.41% - 5.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending platform that offers a quick and convenient way to get personal loans with fixed and low interest rates. ... Read More


For example, a three-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of AA would have an interest rate of 5.31% and a 2.41% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 6.95% APR. You would receive $9,759 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $301.10. A five-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of A would have an interest rate of 8.39% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 10.59% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $204.64. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. APRs through Prosper range from 6.95% (AA) to 35.99% (HR) for first-time borrowers, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC.

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lender, meaning loans are funded through individual investors. You may still be eligible for a loan through Prosper even if you have a debt-to-income ratio of up to 50%, which is higher than many other lenders. Your interest rate and origination fee will vary depending on the strength of your credit. Like LoanMart, Prosper also doesn’t charge prepayment penalties, so you can pay off your loan early without facing any additional charges.

LendingClub

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores as low as 600.... Read More

LendingClub is another online lender, one that offers personal loans up to $40,000. Your APR will vary depending on your credit rating, how big of a loan you want and how much money you already owe to other creditors. It also does not charge prepayment penalties.

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

6.99%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upgrade is an online lender that offers fairly priced personal loans for a term of either 36 or 60 months.... Read More .

Online lender Upgrade provides personal loans of up $50,000 and also charges no prepayment penalties. You can pay back your loan in 36 or 60 months. If you want to qualify for the lowest APR, you will have to sign up for autopay, which means Upgrade will automatically withdraw your monthly payment from your bank account. If you are approved for a loan, Upgrade will send funds to your bank account through ACH deposit within one business day.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Dan Rafter
Dan Rafter |

Dan Rafter is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Dan here

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

LoanMe Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

APR

16.88%
To
35.16%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

180

months

Origination Fee

$500

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LoanMe personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 180 months for prime loans and 84 months for non-prime borrowers
  • APR Range: 16.88% to 35.16% for prime loans and 97.32% to 184.36% for non-prime
  • Loan amounts: $2,600 to $100,000
  • Time to funding: Three to four hours after approval
  • Soft-pull/hard-pull: If you pre-qualify it will not affect your credit score. Once you are pre-qualified, LoanMe will check your credit, which means you’ll have an inquiry on your credit reports.
  • Origination fee: Loan fees vary by credit score and state, typically ranging from 17% to 33%. In some states, LoanMe charges flat fees of up to $500.
  • Prepayment fee: LoanMe does not charge fees for paying off your loan early.
  • Late payment fee: $15 if you pay 15 days or more after your due date.

Taking out a loan with LoanMe is far from inexpensive. That’s because the company charges such high interest rates and origination fees.

For example, say you live in California and you have a FICO score of 720 or higher and you own a home. Your fee will be 17% of your loan amount and your maximum APR will be 13.33% for a loan term of 180 months. If you live in California, your FICO score is 645 to 719 and you are not a homeowner, your fee will be 33% of your loan and your interest rate will be 22.9% — for a maximum APR of 35.16% for a loan with a 180-month term.

Loans get especially expensive if your credit score is under 645. LoanMe says that if you live in California and you borrow $10,600, your loan fee will be 33%, your interest rate will be 74% and your maximum APR will be 97.86% for a loan with an 84-month term.

Fortunately, LoanMe doesn’t charge prepayment penalties. If you take out a loan with the company, it makes financial sense to pay it off as quickly as you can to save on interest.

Applying for a personal loan from LoanMe

Applying for a personal loan from LoanMe is a simple process. You can call a customer service representative at 844-956-2663 or you can apply directly online by clicking the “Get Pre-Qualified” button on the home page.

If you apply online, LoanMe will request your name, address, phone number, email address and monthly income. The form will also ask if you are a homeowner and if you are currently or ever have been enrolled in a credit counseling or a debt-settlement program.

With this basic information, LoanMe will pre-qualify you for a loan. If you agree to move forward, the company will pull your credit and verify your income to see if you can afford the monthly payments.

To qualify for a loan, you’ll need to submit a bank statement and proof of income. You must also be at least 18 with a valid form of identification. Once you are approved, LoanMe can fund you in three to four hours by making direct deposit in your checking account.

Pros and cons of a LoanMe personal loan

Every financial product comes with pros and cons. Review and consider those associated with a LoanMe product:

Pros:

Cons:

  • Quick funding. If you’re approved, you can expect the money to be in your bank account in as few as three to four hours.
  • Lower credit scores. Even if your credit score is low, you can qualify for a LoanMe personal loan. The company does loan money to borrowers with credit scores under 645.
  • Fixed payments. Because LoanMe offers personal loans with fixed interest rates, you know exactly what you must pay each month.
  • HIgh interest rates. Borrowing money here isn’t cheap. LoanMe charges interest rates as high as 184.36% for sub-prime borrowers with lower credit scores.
  • High origination fees. LoanMe charges origination fees that can be as high as 33% of your loan amount.
  • Applying can hurt your credit score. After you pre-qualify for a loan, LoanMe will check your credit. That will result in an inquiry on your credit reports, which could lower your credit score. This inquiry will remain on your credit report even if LoanMe ultimately rejects your application.

Who is the best fit for a LoanMe personal loan?

Because of high interest rates and fees business owners should use loans from this company as a last resort. If you take out a personal loan with LoanMe and carry it to full term, you will end up paying far too much in interest.

LoanMe gives this example: Say you live in California and your FICO score is 560. If you were approved a loan for $10,600, you’d get an interest rate of 74% and an origination fee of $2,500 for an APR of 97.32%. You’d receive $8,100 into your bank account — your original loan amount minus the $2,500 origination fee — and be required to make 84 monthly payments of $657.98 each. This means that if you take the full 84 months to pay back the loan, it would cost you more than $55,270 in total.

Clearly, the best fit for a LoanMe personal loan is a business that needs a quick infusion of emergency cash but that will be able to pay back the loan as quickly as possible to avoid interest charges. If you can’t pay back what you borrowed quickly you’re probably better off searching for an alternative.

Alternative personal loan options

Upgrade

Online lender Upgrade offers personal loans for up to $50,000 with a far lower APR range of 6.99% to 35.97%. The lender does not charge prepayment penalties. If you want the lowest APR, you will have to sign up for autopay. If you do, Upgrade will automatically withdraw your monthly payment from your bank account. Upgrade can send funds to your bank account via an ACH deposit within one business day.

You can repay your Upgrade personal loan in terms that range from 36 or 60months. The loans do come with an origination fee of 1.00% - 6.00% of the loan amount and you’ll pay a late fee of up to $10 if you fail to make your full payment within 15 calendar days of your due date.

Upgrade
APR

6.99%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upgrade is an online lender that offers fairly priced personal loans for a term of either 36 or 60 months.... Read More .

Avant

Avant offers personal loans from $2,000 to $35,000. You can apply online and sign your contract online, too. If you are approved, Avant can deposit your funds into your bank account on the next business day. Avant APRs range from 9.95% to 35.99% and loan terms range from 24 to 60 months. Avant does charge an administrative fee, which ranges up to 4.75%.

APR

9.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Avant is an online lender that offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. ... Read More

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is a good alternative if you need a personal loan because the company does not charge fees for its personal loans. Its APRs are reasonable, too, ranging from 6.99% to 24.99%. The fine print, however, it spells out that only the most creditworthy borrowers qualify for the lowest rates — and that rates will usually be higher with longer-term loans. Loan terms range from 36 to 72 months and you can borrow up to $40,000.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

6.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® offers personal loans for up to $40,000 for debt consolidation and credit consolidation. ... Read More

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Dan Rafter
Dan Rafter |

Dan Rafter is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Dan here

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

Align Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

Want a personal loan, but you’re worried about the high-interest rates you might face? There is an alternative: You can enter into an income-share agreement.

Chicago-based Align personal loan Income Share Funding is one source of this type of loan. The company has been providing income-share agreements since its founding in 2011.

These loans are unusual because they don’t come with a set interest rate. Instead, you pay a percentage of your yearly income every year for a set number of years, paying back what you originally borrowed plus more.

In this review, we’ll explain how Align works and whether it might be a good fit for you.

APR

10.00%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

2 to 84

months

Origination Fee

None

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Align personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: Align states that its income-share agreements run from 2 to 84 months; however, that may depend on your location. In some locations it states that terms can run from two to five years.
  • APR range: Align doesn’t charge traditional interest rates on its loans. Instead, it charges a percentage of your income, no more than 10.00%. Say you make $40,000 a year. You might agree to spend 3 percent of your income each year to repay your loan, or $1,200. If you borrow $4,000 and you sign an agreement to pay back your loan over four years, you’d pay end up paying a total of $4,800, or $800 more than what you initially borrowed.
  • Loan amounts: Align will loan you a maximum of $12,500.
  • Time to funding: Align says that you once you sign your contract, it can deposit funds in your bank account in one to three business days.
  • Hard pull or soft pull? Soft Pull. You can get a quote for an income-share agreement on Align’s website and it will not impact your credit score.
  • Origination fee: Align does not charge origination fees.
  • Prepayment fee: Align also charges no prepayment fees.

There are no limits on how you can use your funds from an Align income-share agreement. You can use the dollars for everything from consolidating high-interest-rate credit card debt to paying for home repairs or a dream vacation.

Align is flexible, too, when it comes to determining your income. As the company’s Web site says, anything listed in box 1 of your annual W2 form can be considered income.

Eligibility requirements

Align doesn’t say much about the minimum credit scores or debt-to-income ratio you will need to qualify for an one of their income-share contracts. Their site, though, does say that Align looks at your income, creditworthiness, job and location when determining whether to approve your request for funds.

How Align’s income-share agreement works

This yearly percentage is broken up into monthly payments. Say you borrow $8,000 from Align and you earn $30,000 a year. If you agree to pay back your loan at 10 percent of your yearly salary for three years, you’d pay Align $3,000 a year, at $250 a month. After the three-year repayment period has ended, you’d end up paying a total of $9,000, or $1,000 more than you borrowed.

When you set up your contract, you pick a date on which you want to pay each month. Align then automatically deducts that amount from your checking account.

What’s interesting about this is that as your income changes, so can your monthly payment. If your income goes up, the percentage you contribute will remain the same. But because your income is increasing, the overall amount you pay will jump, too.

It works the other way, too. Align says that if your income falls, you will pay less. If you become unemployed and you have no income, your monthly payment could potentially fall to zero. If you become unemployed, you will have to submit proof that you are not working, such a notice from your former employer or documents showing you are receiving unemployment benefits.

Applying for an income-share contract from Align

Applying for a loan from Align is a simple process. Just click on the “Apply Now” button on the company’s home page. Once you do, you’ll be asked to provide your name, date of birth, Social Security number, email address, physical address and phone number.

Align will also ask for your gross yearly income, your income source and the industry in which you work. You’ll also need to provide your education level, your estimated credit score, the amount you’d like to borrow and what you want the money for.

After filling in this information, you then submit your application for an online quote. If you are interested, you can contact Align to speak with a representative who will verify your income, job status and credit. Once this is done, Align will make you an official offer stating how much it is willing to lend you at what percentage of your yearly income. Align will also state how many years you will make payments, and how much you will pay each month and each year to pay off the money it loans you.

If you like the offer, you sign your contract. Align will then deposit your funds into your bank account in one to three business days.

Pros and cons of a Align personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • No interest rates: Align doesn’t charge interest rates for its loans. However, you will have to pay a percentage of your annual income for a set number of years to pay back your loan.
  • No origination fees: Applying for a loan at Align is free. The company also doesn’t charge you for the work involved in originating your loan.
  • Protection if you lose your job: How much you pay is based on how much you earn, so you won’t have to make any payments if you lose your job and your income.
  • Applying is fast: You won’t have to meet in person with a lender to get your money. You can start the process online. You will have to speak with a representative to verify your financial information.
  • You might pay significantly more than you borrowed: Because of the payment structure with Align’s loans, if your income rises, you will pay more each month. If your income rises significantly, you could end up paying much more than what you initially borrowed. However, Align does require that you contact the company when your income rises. The company will request your W-2 forms at the end of each year to review your income and to make sure that you are paying the correct amount.
  • Uncertainty: Your monthly payment can vary because Align charges you a percentage of your gross income to lend you money. If your income fluctuates, your monthly payment will, too. This can be challenging when you are making a household budget.
  • Not everyone is guaranteed acceptance: Align does look at your credit score, income and employment status when determining who qualifies for dollars. There is no guarantee, then, that Align will loan you any money.
  • You can break your contract, but it will cost you: You can break your contract with Align before your term ends. This will cost you, though. Align lists in your contract the amount of money you’d have to pay to buy the company out throughout the life of your loan.

Who’s the best fit for an Align loan?

An Align loan can work for people who aren’t afraid of a little uncertainty and are worried about high interest rates. Because Align charges a percentage of your income, your monthly payments can increase or decrease. If you don’t mind this uncertainty, an Align income-share agreement might be a good choice.

This loan type might work, too, if you have a relatively low income. But if your income is high, or if you expect it to rise in the near future, this loan type might not be a good fit — your monthly payment could jump too high.

Alternative personal loan options

Lending Club

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores as low as 600.... Read More

LendingClub is an online lender providing personal loans up to $40,000. Unlike Align, LendingClub provides traditional loans with a fixed interest rate. This means that your payments remain the same every month, a benefit when you are making a household budget. LendingClub does not charge prepayment penalties, but it does have an origination fee between 1.00% - 6.00%. Anyone seeking more certainty with their loan payments should explore this option.

SoFi

SoFi
APR

6.99%
To
15.49%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More


Fixed rates from 6.99% APR to 15.49% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.26% APR to 13.99% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of October 26, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.26% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.22% plus 4.285% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of AK and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of IL with loans over $40,000 is 8.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, VA, SC is 11.99% APR, and for residents of ME is 12.24% APR. Personal loans not available to residents of MI who already have a student loan with SoFi. Personal Loans minimum loan amount is $5,000. Residents of AZ, MA, and NH have a minimum loan amount of $10,001. Residents of KY have a minimum loan amount of $15,001. Residents of PA have a minimum loan amount of $25,001. Variable rates not available to residents of AK, TX, VA, WY, or for residents of IL for loans greater than $40,000.

Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi's underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org)

SoFi is another popular source of personal loans. This online lender also provides traditional loans, with interest rates lower than many lenders because it primarily targets borrowers with good credit. SoFi charges no origination fee or prepayment fees and temporarily pauses your payments if you lose your job.

Payoff

APR

5.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 5.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Payoff is a financial services firm that offers personal loans mainly to help consolidate credit card debt.... Read More

Another online lender, Payoff lets you apply online for a personal loan. The company charges no application fees, and applying does not impact your credit score. You can choose a loan amount between $5,000 to $35,000 and terms from 24 to 60 months.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Dan Rafter
Dan Rafter |

Dan Rafter is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Dan here

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

Elastic Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Disclosure : By clicking “See Offers” you’ll be directed to our parent company, LendingTree. You may or may not be matched with the specific lender you clicked on, but up to five different lenders based on your creditworthiness.

Elastic, a flexible line of credit offered by Louisville, Ky.-based Republic Bank & Trust can help you cover unexpected expenses or consolidate debt.

With an Elastic loan, you can apply for a line of credit for $500 to $3,500. A line of credit is different than a traditional personal loan because you only have to pay back what you actually use. Say you need to spend $2,000 on a new furnace for your home. If you have an Elastic line of credit for $3,000, you can use $2,000 to pay for your new furnace, and you’ll have $1,000 left over that you have available to use for other expenses. It’s a bit like a home equity line of credit, though your credit limit isn’t tied to the amount of equity you’ve built in your home.

You only pay back what you’ve borrowed, after paying an initial cash-advance fee that is either 5%-10% of what you’ve borrowed, depending on how often you are paid, in either monthly or twice-monthly payments (semi-weekly, in which consumers are paid two times a month, or bi-weekly, in which they are paid every two weeks). Once you request funds from your line of credit, those dollars are deposited in your checking account so that you can spend them. Elastic lets you borrow as much as you need up to your credit limit in $20 increments.

The catch? Those cash-advance fees aren’t inexpensive. You’ll pay 5%-10% of the amount you borrow each time you request cash. And if you don’t pay off what you owe by the end of each billing cycle you’ll have to pay an additional fee, what Elastic refers to as a minimum charge.

APR

137.00%
To
150.00%

Credit Req.

560

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

10

months

Origination Fee

0.50% - 5.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Elastic personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: Because Elastic acts more like a traditional line of credit than a loan, it doesn’t come with traditional terms. Instead, you only pay back what you borrow. If you borrow $500 on an Elastic line of credit of $1,000, you only pay back the $500 you borrowed. You’ll make payments on that cash once or twice a month, depending on how you are paid.
  • Prepayment fee: Elastic does not charge a prepayment fee.
  • Other fees: Elastic charges a cash-advance fee of 5%-10% of the money you borrow, depending on how you are paid. If you are paid on a monthly basis, you make one payment a month on the money you borrow in the amount of 10% of what you have borrowed. If you are paid two times a month, you make two payments every month, each equal to 5% of what you borrowed.
  • Minimum charge: If you don’t pay off your balance in full every billing cycle — either once a month or twice a month depending on how you are paid — you will face a minimum charge on what you borrowed. This fee ranges from $0 to $135 for customers who pay more than once a month or $0 to $270 for those who pay once a month. For example, if you owe more than $1,000 up to $1,250 after your billing cycle, you’ll be charged a minimum charge of $45 if you pay twice a month or $90 if you pay monthly. If you owe more than $250 up to to $500 after your billing cycle, you’ll be charged a fee of $15 if you pay bi-weekly or $30 if you pay monthly.

Eligibility requirements

Not everyone will qualify for an Elastic loan. Republic Bank & Trust says that borrowers must have a regular source of income or benefits, be at least 18 and meet the bank’s credit underwriting standards, though it doesn’t list those standards on its site. Borrowers must also have a valid email address.

Applying for an Elastic loan

Applying for an Elastic loan is a simple process. You start by clicking the “Apply Now” button on the site’s homepage. This will bring up a screen that asks for such information as your name, state, email address and phone number.

As you move through the process, Elastic will check your credit to determine if you qualify for a line of credit and for how much.

If you are approved, the cash advances that you request are usually deposited in your bank account the following business day, if you elect the direct-deposit option.

Pros and cons of an Elastic personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Flexibility: You only have to pay back what you borrow. You might have an Elastic line of credit for $2,000, but if you only borrow $500 to cover an unexpected bill, you only have to pay back that amount.
  • If you don’t borrow anything, you won’t have to pay anything: Just because you have an Elastic line of credit, doesn’t mean that you’ll always face a monthly payment. If you haven’t borrowed anything, or if you’ve paid off what you’ve borrowed in full, you won’t have to make any payment until you borrow additional funds.
  • Good source for emergency expenses: Elastic will deposit the cash you need in your bank account the next business day after you request it. Because of this, it’s a good source of cash to cover unexpected emergencies.
  • It’s not cheap: You will have to pay 5%-10% of what you borrow in cash-advance fees, depending on the length of your billing cycles.
  • It’s really expensive if you don’t pay in full: If you don’t pay back all that you borrowed on every payment date, you will face an additional charge that ranges from $0 to $270, depending on your billing cycle.

Who is the best fit for an Elastic personal loan?

Many borrowers who want a flexible line of credit will typically apply for a home equity line of credit. But if you don’t own a home, or if you have little to no equity in your residence, then an Elastic line of credit could be a good fit.

You might also be a good fit if you haven’t managed to save enough money for an emergency fund. Financial pros recommend that everyone build an emergency fund with enough dollars to cover from six months’ to a year’s worth of daily living expenses. That way, you tap that fund to pay for unexpected emergencies, without having to resort to putting these expenses on your credit card. If you haven’t built such a fund yet, an Elastic loan could give you access to the cash you need to pay for emergencies without having to charge them.

Be careful, though: If you don’t pay off what you borrow in full at every billing cycle, you will face additional fees that could add up quickly. The best way to use an Elastic loan? Pay off all that you borrow when your next billing cycle hits.

Alternatives to an Elastic loan

Lending Club

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores as low as 600.... Read More

Online lender LendingClub offers a more traditional personal loan in which you receive your money in a single lump. You then pay back what you borrowed each month, with interest. LendingClub loans come with a fixed interest rate and don’t charge prepayment penalties. You can borrow up to $40,000 from LendingClub. Interest rates run from 6.95% – 35.89%.

OneMain Financial

APR

16.05%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

If you have a credit score below 600, OneMain Financial is one of the few lenders that you can use to get a personal loan.... Read More


Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our standard credit criteria (including credit history, income and debts) and the availability of collateral. Loan amounts subject to state specific minimum or maximum size restrictions. Collateral offered must meet our criteria. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered by the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral. CA minimum loan amount is $3,000. GA minimum loan amount is $1,500 for present customers and $3,100 for others.

OneMain Financial is another online lender, this one offering personal loans from $1,500 to $30,000. You can apply with OneMain Financial online. If you are approved for a loan, though, you will have to visit a branch to verify your identity, income, debts and employment. Interest rates range from 16.05%–35.99%, and loan terms range from 24 to 60 months.

Avant

APR

9.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

Avant is an online lender that offers personal loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000. ... Read More

Another online lender, Avant, offers personal loans from $2,000 to $35,000. You can apply online and sign your contract online, too. If you are approved, Avant can deposit your funds into your bank account on the next business day. The APR with Avant loans ranges from 9.95%–35.99%, and loan terms range from 24 to 60 months.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which MagnifyMoney receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). MagnifyMoney does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

Dan Rafter
Dan Rafter |

Dan Rafter is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Dan here

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score