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Earning Interest, Reviews

Review: Smart Move Online Savings by Ridgewood Savings Bank

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Ridgewood Savings Bank is a physical bank that services the Bronx, Manhattan, Kings County (Brooklyn), Queens County, Nassau County, Staten Island, Suffolk County, and Westchester County. You must live or work in one of these communities to be eligible for Ridgewood Savings Bank products, including the Smart Move Online Savings.

The account offers 1.50% APY for balances $0.01 – $249,999.99, requires a $0.01 minimum deposit to open, no monthly fees with $100 monthly balance, and access to your money via phone, internet, or ATM.

How To Open An Account

Opening the Smart Move Online Savings account only take about 10 minutes. In order to be prepared, you will need:

  • Valid Identification: Driver’s License, Passport, Military ID, or State ID
  • Social Security number
  • If no Social Security Number, must have proof of valid citizenship in the form of Resident Alien Status
  • External account information, if you wish to fund the account from an external account

Funding the Account

Deposits to the account can be made via mail, ATM, or by electronic transfer from an external account. There are no fees for deposits, no matter how you make them, and there are no limits to the number of deposits you can make per statement cycle.

The Fine Print

Interest on the Smart Move Online Savings Account is compounded daily and credited monthly on the last business day of the month. If the interest accrued at the end of the period is $25.00 or greater, you can request a check be mailed to you by submitting a mailed request at least 10 days before the end of the period.

The 1.50% APY is the current rate offer, but is subject to change at any time. Additionally, the 1.50% APY is only valid for balances up to 249,999.99. Balances of 250,000.00 or greater will be subject to the current Ridgewood Savings Bank Savings Account APY, which is 0.30%% at the time of writing.

Because of federal regulations regarding savings accounts, you are limited to 6 free withdrawals per statement cycle. Withdrawals or transfers beyond 6 are charged a $10 fee.

Ridgewood Savings Bank also charges a $2.00 monthly account maintenance fee on all of its savings accounts, including the Smart Move Online Savings, which is waived with a $100 minimum balance.

Finally, Ridgewood Bank charges a $30 fee for each withdrawal or transfer initiated against insufficient funds. This includes transfers made online, by phone, by ATM, or by wire transfer.

Pros

  • Competitive 1.50% APY
  • Can fund the account for free from an external account, mail, or wire transfer
  • No minimum deposit to open
  • No monthly fee with $100 balance
  • Interest compounded daily
  • Support by phone Monday – Friday: 7am to 7pm (ET), and Saturday: 9am to 3pm (ET)

Cons

  • $2.00 monthly account maintenance fee if balance is not $100 or greater
  • $10 fee for withdrawals or transfers over 6 per statement cycle
  • $30 insufficient funds fee
  • 1.50%% APY is valid on balances up to $249,999.99 and subject to change at any time
  • Balances of $250,000.00 and greater are subject to 0.30% APY
  • Interest is credited monthly, even though it is compounded daily

Who It’s Best For

Even though the Ridgewood Bank Smart Move Savings Account is online it’s similar to a credit union in that it only services a select area.

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Member FDIC

How It Stacks Up

Even though the interest rate on the Smart Move Online Savings is competitive at 1.50%, there are other online accounts that offer higher APYs and lower, less complicated fees.

You can find rates as high as 1.50% by visiting our best savings account page.

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.

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Auto Loan, Reviews

LightStream Auto Loan Review

LightStream Auto Loan Review
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 - $100,000 and rates as low as 3.49% up to 10.84%*. 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.

LightStream APRs include an AutoPay discount of 0.50%. If you choose not to enroll in AutoPay, your APR 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

  • Can borrow $5,000 - $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

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

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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 3.39% and terms of 36 to 84 months on new vehicles.  There is no origination fee, but it only offers loans of $4,000 - $40,000, with the option to get pre approval online before shopping.

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Jovia Financial Credit Union is another option for an auto loan with used auto loan rates starting at 2.89% and terms from 12 to 96 months on new vehicles and 84 months on used cars. Jovia Financial can loan up to $100,000 with no origination fee, but there is no option for pre approval.

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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.

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.

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Best of, Personal Loans

22 Options for a Home Improvement Loan

ChexSystems Big

Updated November 03, 2017

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.
APR

4.99%
To
16.79%*

with AutoPay

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

24 to 144*

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank.... Read More


*Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 4.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $299.66.

*referral link

  • Earnest: Earnest offers home improvement loans from $5,000 up to $75,000. It offers no origination fee and terms from 36 to 60 months. Earnest does a hard pull to determine your rate. The minimum credit score needed to apply is 680.

*referral link

  • SoFi*: Fixed rates for loans start at 5.99%. There is no origination fee and SoFi will finance $5,000 up to $100,000.
SoFi
APR

5.99%
To
18.64%*

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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


Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 18.64% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of March 27, 2020 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 creditworthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. 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.

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Other Options (in alphabetical order)

  • Avant*: Offers access to loans from $2,000 up to $35,000 which could be deposited as soon as the next business day. Rates vary from 9.95% to 35.99%. Not available in Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and Vermont. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
  • Best Egg: Rates range from 5.99% to 29.99% and it has an origination fee of 0.99% - 5.99%. It offers loans from $3,000 up to $35,000 for 36 or 60 months, and the minimum credit score need to apply is 640.
  • Discover: Discover offers home improvement loans with no origination fee. Its rates vary from 6.99% to 24.99% APR and it offers loans of up to $35,000 for 36 to 84 months. You could receive the funds in as little as 1 day, but you must have at least a 0 credit score to apply.
  • Freedomplus*: Freedomplus offers home improvement loans up to $40,000 with terms from 24 to 60 months. Its rates vary from 5.99% to 29.99% and there is an origination fee of 0.00% - 4.99%. In order to apply, your credit score must be 0 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% - 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 6.95% to 35.89%. LendingClub is an excellent option for those with lower credit scores, though their minimum credit requirements are not specified. It offers loans up to $40,000 but is not available in West Virginia or Iowa.
  • OneMain*: OneMain’s APRs range from 18.00% to 35.99% on loans of up to $20,000. You must have a credit score of at least 550 to apply for a OneMain home improvement loan.
  • Peerform: Peerform offers loans up to $25,000 for 36 or 60 months with rates from 5.99% to 29.99%. Its origination fee varies from 1.00% - 5.00%.
  • PenFed Credit Union: While there is no origination fee for a home improvement loan from PenFed Credit Union, you must be a member of the credit union to apply. The APR starts at 6.49%, and loans from $500 to $25,000 for 36 to 60 months.
  • Prosper: Prosper’s rates vary from 6.95% to 35.99% on loans of up to $40,000. The origination fee ranges from 2.41% - 5.00%.
  • Santander: Santander offers loans of up to $50,000 with rates ranging from 6.99% to 16.99% and terms from 24 to 60 months. There is no origination fee, but you must have a credit score of at least 0 to apply.
  • Upstart*: Upstart offers loans of up to $50,000 with rates of 6.53% to 35.99% for 36 & 60 months. The minimum credit score needed to apply is 620 and the origination fee varies from Up to 8.00% upfront.
  • USAA: Home improvement loans from USAA have no origination fee on loans of up to $50,000. It offers terms of from 12 to 84 months and rates are as low as 6.99%. 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.

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

Disclaimer: This article may contain links to LendingTree, which is the parent company of MagnifyMoney.

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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.