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Pay Down My Debt

Help, I’m Drowning in Debt! What Can I Do?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

When debts start piling up and income runs short each month, it can feel like you’re suffocating under the weight of financial responsibility. But you have options to make it through the financial squeeze. Below are tips and strategies you can use to take on overwhelming debt.

1. Take stock of your debts

To start, list all your debts, including their current balances, minimum payments and interest rates, on a single piece of paper or spreadsheet. Additional details, such as whether the debt is unsecured or secured and its remaining repayment term, can also be useful as you begin your research.

2. Prioritize your debts

When you’re struggling to keep your head above water, it’s important to make a detailed plan for how you’ll use your money. That includes prioritizing expenses and debt payments so you can minimize the likelihood of default.

Consider prioritizing your expenses in this order:

  1. Basic living expenses: Before making payments on debt, use your income to cover basic expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, transit to work, and medical costs.
  2. Car and home loans: Most car loans (including vehicle title loans) are secured by your car, which means you could lose your car if you don’t pay your loan — and you’ll probably need your car to get to work to earn an income. Likewise, your mortgage is secured by your house; if you stop paying your mortgage, you could lose your house. Paying these loans should take priority over other forms of debt.
  3. High interest debt: Credit cards and other forms of high-interest lines of credit make it difficult to get out of debt. But these kinds of debt are commonly unsecured, meaning that if you fall into default, you won’t lose your home or other property; the lender would have to go through a collections agency or the courts to collect.
  4. Federal student loans: Federal student loans can rarely be discharged through the bankruptcy process, so you’ll have to pay these at some point. But you may decide to deprioritize paying off your federal student loans until you can take care of more expensive forms of debt. You may also qualify to cut your payment and work toward loan forgiveness by enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan. Payments can be as low as $0 per month, since they are based on your income.
  5. Debt in collections: If you’ve already defaulted on some debts, it may be best to wait on repaying them until you get a handle on your current or delinquent accounts. That’s because with defaulted debt the damage has already been done.

No matter what, you want to avoid defaulting on debt, no matter the type. Loan delinquency and default can massively hurt your credit score and make it difficult for you to pursue some of the debt repayment strategies below, as well as access other forms of credit.

If you’re unable to make the minimum payments on each of your debts, it’s time to call up your creditors.

3. Call your creditors and ask these 7 questions

Once you have a clear understanding of the debts you owe, there are steps you can take to cut your monthly payment and stay current on your bills. These are a few questions that can help you find ways to cut your bills with creditors or get help when you’re drowning in debt:

The U.S. Department of Education allows borrowers to go on income-driven repayment plans where monthly payments are as low as $0 per month depending on your income. Mortgage lenders may also have some room to help you cut your monthly payment. Cell phone companies, utility providers, and other companies may have lower cost plans available, as well.

Call your utility and phone providers to ask if you qualify for discounts for low and moderate income earners. Some companies can connect you to local governments that help low income people pay for basic utilities. Internet or phone providers offer discounts to low income people. If you don’t qualify for low-income programs, you may be able to lower your bill by asking for new customer rates.

If you have medical bills in collections, your provider may be willing to lower your bill. You can negotiate the bill or ask about charity care. When speaking with your provider’s billing department, be frank about your financial situation so they have a good understanding of your struggles.

Some credit card companies will be willing to cut your interest rate if you show financial need. Lower interest rates can help you gain traction on paying off debt.

Lenders may be willing to extend your repayment term, which means you’ll have a longer amount of time to pay off the same amount of debt. You’ll pay more in interest over the long-haul, but the immediate monthly payment will be more manageable.

If your debt load puts your home in jeopardy, you may qualify for a mortgage modification program. Mortgage modification programs are designed to cut your loan payment and bring you current on your loan. Call your lender to ask about your options.

Mortgage, student loan or credit card lenders may offer to pause loan payments through forbearance. Loan forbearance, or hardship forbearance, happens when a bank reduces or stops your payments for a limited period of time. During forbearance, interest continues to accrue on your loan. You will have to repay the missed payments and the added interest later on; however, despite the added costs, this option can make a lot of sense if you think your income situation will improve soon.

If you’re returning to school or entering active duty military service, your federal student loans may also be eligible for deferment. Deferment allows you to pause loan payments during specific times. If you have a subsidized student loan, interest won’t accrue during deferment.

4. Consider ignoring debt in collections for now

Creditors may be hounding you about debts in default, but those debts may need to wait. When you initially defaulted on the loan, the default damaged your credit score. Recovering from a defaulted loan takes time, but repaying the loan won’t help you build credit. These tips can help you if you have debts in collections. Plan to deal with defaulted debts when you’ve dealt with higher priority debts.

Above all, know that you have rights when it comes to dealing with debt collectors. For example, collectors can only call between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., and you can request that they not contact you at work. If you want collectors to stop contacting you, send a letter via certified mail that explains you don’t want to be contacted. Once the collections agent receives it, they can only contact you to let you know they have seen the letter, or if they intend to sue you.

5. Explore your debt relief options

While there are many ways to handle overwhelming debt, these are some of the most popular options. Consider all your options before committing to one.

4 ways to handle bills when you’re drowning in debt

What it is

Pros

Cons

Make monthly payments to a credit counseling agency that will negotiate interest rates, fees and repayment schedules with creditors and make payments on your behalf.

  • Single payment each month
  • May lower fees and interest rates
  • May pay a monthly maintenance fee
  • Debt load doesn’t shrink

Combine several debts with a new loan. Many people consolidate using a debt consolidation loan.

  • Only one payment per month
  • May lower your interest rate
  • Can extend your repayment term to lower your monthly dues

  • Total balance of debt remains the same
  • Best for borrowers with strong credit
  • A longer term means higher overall interest charges

Negotiate a lump sum payment for less than the amount you owe. In exchange for taking the lump sum, the creditor resolves your debt.

  • May pay less than you owe
  • May help you avoid bankruptcy

  • Can severely damage your credit score
  • Lenders have no obligation to negotiate with you

Work with the courts to help you dispose of debt to create a viable repayment plan for your debts.

  • With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, 99% of filers have debts wiped out
  • Allows you to deal with most debts through a single process

  • Bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years
  • Average bankruptcy cases cost $1,000 or more (depending on complexity)

Debt management plans

A debt management plan is a debt repayment option where borrowers work with a credit counseling agency to repay debt. On the plan, the borrower pays the agency, and the agency repays creditors on an agreed upon schedule. The agency will negotiate with your creditors to lower interest rates, waive late fees, and arrange a repayment schedule that works for you.

In general, you’ll need to make monthly payments for 48 months or longer to pay off all the debt on the debt management plan. To make your success more likely, the credit counseling agency will ask you not to open any new credit cards while you’re on the plan. You’ll also have to close the credit cards that are on the plan.

Debt management fees vary by agency, your state and the amount of debt. One agency, GreenPath Financial Wellness, charges a $0 to $50 setup fee. On top of that, you’ll pay $0 to $75 monthly fee for the company to manage your debt payments. To find a reputable nonprofit counseling agency, use the National Foundation for Credit Counseling’s member database.

Debt consolidation

When you consolidate debt, you refinance all your debts into a single new loan, to be paid once a month. To keep interest costs low, some borrowers choose to consolidate debt with a home equity line of credit (HELOC), a credit card with an introductory 0% APR or a debt consolidation loan.

When you consolidate your debt, you may lower your monthly payments by extending the term of your loan (for example from five years to 10 years) and/or by finding a lower interest rate. If you choose a longer repayment term, you will generally pay more interest over the life of the loan. However, if you’re struggling with monthly dues, you may be comfortable with this tradeoff.

To qualify for the best refinancing options, you’ll generally need a strong credit score.

Debt settlement

Settling your debt means you resolve debts by paying your creditors an agreed-upon lump sum. The settlement amount is usually less than the full amount you owe. Debt settlement sounds great, but it can be risky and expensive, especially if you work with a debt settlement company.

If you work with a debt settlement company, the company will generally charge you around 20% of the original value of the debt you owed — that means when the company settles $40,000 of debt, you should expect to pay $8,000 for the service. According to the Federal Trade Commission, it is illegal for a debt settlement company to charge its fee before you pay your creditor, so this fee will be paid after your debt is paid.

Aside from the high costs, working with a debt settlement company poses these other risks:

  • Debt settlement companies may ask you to stop paying debts, which erodes your credit score.
  • Some debt settlement companies are scams and fail to deliver on their promises.
  • Debt settlement can take three years or more, so many people drop out of the program before their debts are resolved.
  • There’s no guarantee creditors will work with you, which means you may spend time and money for nothing.

If debt settlement still seems like your best option, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that you should consider working with creditors on your own. Call your lender’s customer service department, and work on negotiating a settlement. Be sure to get any changes to the payment in writing.

Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a process where an individual or a married couple has their debts discharged or modified through the courts. To start the bankruptcy, you’ll usually file Chapter 7 (liquidation) or Chapter 13 (payment plan) bankruptcy.

With Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most of your loans will be discharged once the process is complete. However, you may have to sell certain assets (including a home or a car in some cases) to pay off existing debts.

With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll go on a payment plan that lasts three to five years. At the end of the payment plan, most debts are discharged, and you’ll still own all your assets.

However, bankruptcy stays on your credit report for as many as 10 years, and makes it very hard to get new credit to buy a home or car, so you should only pursue bankruptcy as a last resort.

Bottom line

Whether you’re facing bills in collections, struggling to make minimum payments, or overwhelmed by the amount you owe, you have options. Take stock of your choices, so you can move towards financial health.

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.

Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

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Life Events, Pay Down My Debt

9 Ways to Get an Engagement Ring Without Going Into Debt

A marriage proposal can lead to much happiness, but it also can mean having to purchase an expensive engagement ring and, subsequently, getting into debt. If the diamond industry has anything to say about your engagement ring purchase, you’ll spend anywhere from one to three months’ salary on a diamond engagement ring. On average, couples spend a whopping $5,900 on engagement rings, according to a 2019 report by The Knot.

However, a little forethought and some creativity can lead to significant savings and even a debt-free engagement ring. Think of it this way: It can be far more romantic to propose with a paid-for ring than to drag the equivalent of a car payment into your marriage. Here’s how you can purchase that ring without breaking your bank.

iStock

#1 Set a budget

The first step you should take in the ring-buying process is setting a realistic budget for yourself. Don’t just go shopping with no maximum price in mind, as that may lead to you making a purchase you can’t really afford. If you know what you want to spend beforehand, and make sure you stick to that, you are already showing the kind of discipline that can help you avoid serious debt.

#2 Heirlooms are a wallet’s best friend

Jewelry passed from generation to generation denotes sentimentality and fiscal prudence. Ask your family, or your future spouse’s family, if they have any heirlooms they would like to pass on. Keep in mind: Heirloom jewelry will be free, but the service and upgrades can run from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. If you do obtain an heirloom ring, consider these three options.

2. Leave the ring intact (except for resizing and repair).

3. Create a new setting for an heirloom diamond.

4. Incorporate a new band into the old ring design.

#3 Buy your diamond on the cheap-ish

Real diamonds are never truly inexpensive, but knowing what and when to buy can save you a bundle.

Shop in the summertime. Because winter proposals are very popular (think Valentine’s Day), it can make a lot more financial sense to buy your diamond in the off-season. The summer months can offer stable pricing at a discount.

Buy diamonds shy of critical weights. If you want a full-carat diamond, look for something around .9 carats instead. You’ll get close to the same look at a nice discount.

Look before you buy. Compare diamonds at various areas of the color and clarity spectrum. If you can’t tell the difference in the diamond’s appearance, choose the less-expensive option. Also, be sure to comparison shop at different retailers; don’t just go with the first ring you love, as you may find something very similar, for less, at another shop.

#4 Replace the diamond, save the difference

Thanks to the diamond industry’s multi-decade, multi-billion dollar advertising campaign, diamonds remain the most popular stone in engagement rings, but forgoing the traditional gem can save you thousands. Consider these emerging trends.

Choose synthetic diamonds. Diamonds created in labs share the same properties as mined diamonds, but they cost up to 75% less than traditional diamonds, and they are a great choice for those seeking to avoid conflict diamonds.

Replace a diamond with moissanite. A gemologist will never tell you this, but moissanite (a synthetic material) is the hardest gemstone used in jewelry next to diamonds, and it ranks high on clarity and color scales, too. It’s not a valuable gem, but it is beautiful and easily could pass for the real thing. (Pro tip: Ask your future spouse before you go this route. Many people do prefer authenticity.)

Pick an alternative gemstone. Pearls or jade are popular choices outside of the United States, and garnet and topaz are gaining popularity stateside. If you want something out of the ordinary, consider alternative gemstones, but be aware that some gemstones are actually even more expensive than diamonds.

Skip gemstones altogether. Ornamental rings (especially knots) are popular choices for those who want to skip traditional gemstones. Handcrafted gold rings can be purchased for as little as $200 on Etsy.

#5 Forgo tradition

Some of the best ways to save money on engagement rings involve breaking tradition, and some couples are more open to an alternative ring style than others. These are a few ring choices that definitely buck tradition.

Wooden rings: Wooden engagement rings occupy a large niche in the market, and can be a cost-effective alternative to precious metals. Wooden rings run anywhere from $50 for simple bands to several thousand dollars for rings that include ornate details and gemstones.

Tattooed rings: Some couples chose to get tattoos instead of rings, citing that nothing says forever quite like a tattoo. Keep in mind that this may be a dangerous option, as you will have a much harder time removing a tattoo than a ring if your relationship ends (either before or after the marriage).

Leather rings: Leather rings can include braiding, engraving and colored beads, among other stylings, and will certainly save you a bundle compared to a diamond. If you don’t want to go with real leather, faux leather can work as well.

Go dutch. If the ring in question is outside of your price range, consider asking your sweetheart to split the cost with you. As you’ll be combining finances after you’re married, this may actually lead to some great money-focused conversations.

#6 Save money now, upgrade later

If your partner has a big diamond taste, but you’ve got a small budget, then consider upgrading later on. Here’s how.

Propose with costume jewelry. If you think you can save up for the real ring by the time of your wedding, an inexpensive piece of costume jewelry may be just right for the proposal.

Build as you go. Start with a simple band and stone, and add more or bigger gems for anniversary milestones, or upgrade when you can afford it.

#7 Buy used

Consider buying a ring that already has a history. You can have the ring professionally cleaned to give it new beauty and make it “yours.”

Visit pawn shops. You may be buying the ring of a recent divorcee, but the savings can be irresistible.

Search estate sales. If you regularly shop estate sales, you might uncover a vintage ring at a spectacular price. Rings that aren’t presented with a certificate of authenticity will give you room to negotiate on price, but you may accidentally buy overpriced junk. This technique is best for people with an eye for authenticity.

Shop on eBay. Pre-owned rings from eBay can represent about a 30% discount over identical new rings, and many owners provide certificates of authenticity.

#8 Creative ways to get cash

Whether you’ll spend a few hundred dollars or thousands, an engagement ring doesn’t have to mean big debt. Consider a few creative ways to save the cash you need to pay for a ring in full.

Sell your memorabilia. Your partner may not be too enthusiastic about your KISS memorabilia, or your 27 signed hockey jerseys. Selling these to help pay for an engagement ring will be a double sign of your love.

Save up, way in advance. If you’re not currently in a serious relationship, but you think you’re the marrying kind, consider setting aside some cash for a future ring purchase. While some people may find this a strange thing to do, there is no harm in being over-prepared. If you don’t end up using the money to buy a ring, it will be on-hand for other potential purchases (think a wonderful vacation, or a luxury item you really want).

Get a side hustle. People are increasingly taking on side hustles to earn extra cash, even if they have full-time jobs. This can include selling your artistic creations on Etsy, becoming an Uber or Lyft driver or writing freelance articles. Then you can put all the extra money you earn into an account for a ring.

#9 Consider a personal loan

It is definitely ideal to be able to purchase an engagement ring without going into debt at all. However, if you simply have to finance at least part of the ring’s purchase, you might consider a personal loan, as you may be able to get a better interest rate than with a credit card, depending on your own credit and where you are able to obtain your loan.

Bottom line

Getting married can be an expensive undertaking, and you don’t want to put yourself in a difficult financial place just by purchasing the engagement ring. Keep in mind the alternatives to the traditional pricey diamond, and also remember that the love you share with your partner should be far more important than buying a ring with a sky-high price tag. Avoiding debt as much as you can also means you’ll be starting off your new marriage on a financially healthy note.

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.

Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

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Personal Loans

Rocket Loans Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

APR

7.16%
To
29.99%

Credit Req.

640

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Rocketloans is a digital finance business that is part of the Quicken Loans family. ... Read More

Rocket Loans personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 36 or 60 months
  • APR Range: 7.16% to 29.99%
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $45,000
  • Time to Funding: Same day funding for up to $25,000
  • Credit pull: Soft Pull to see offers. Hard credit pull once you submit an application.
  • Origination fee: 1.00% - 6.00%
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: $15 per occurrence
  • ACH return fee/returned check fee: $15 per occurrence

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: 640 (Using a FICO® 9 model).
  • Minimum credit history: Not specified.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified.
  • Minimum income: Not specified.

Rocket Loans does not lend in Iowa, Nevada, or West Virginia. You must be at least 18 years old to apply for the loan (or 19 in Alabama and Nebraska). Your credit score, existing debt load, or income may disqualify you from a loan from Rocket Loans. Your loan rates will be based off of your income, your credit history, your debt-to-income ratio, homeownership and the size of the loan.

You may be required to submit documents to verify the accuracy of your information (such as pay stubs or tax forms).

Applying for a personal loan from Rocket Loans

From start to finish, applying for a personal loan from Rocket Loans takes just a few minutes.

  1. Before you can see any offers, Rocket Loans requires you to enter your personal information, including your name, address, Social Security number, phone number, employment status, income and homeownership status. Rocket Loans uses this information to do a “Soft Pull,” which will allow it to analyze your credit history, debt-to-income ratio, and overall debt burden. The credit pull will not show up on your credit report.
  2. After a minute or two, Rocket Loans presents a list of personalized loan offers. The offers include the loan amount, monthly payment, length, interest rate (Autopay rate) and the APR (which includes the funding fee). As long as you’re able to provide income and address verification, Rocket Loans will underwrite the loan with the terms presented.
  3. After choosing a loan option, Rocket Loans will verify your identity and income information. It may request that you submit documents (pay stubs, driver’s license, tax returns etc.). Rocket Loans will also have you log into the bank account where you want to receive the funds. The company does this to make sure it sends funds to the right place.

During the verification process, Rocket Loans will do a hard credit inquiry. This hard credit pull could impact your credit score.

Once Rocket Loans verifies all of your information, you’ll be instructed to sign the loan documents online. Then, Rocket Loans will transfer the loan to your bank account via an electronic, automated clearing house transfer (ACH transfer). Funds up to $25,000 may be available the same business day, but funding could take up to three business days based on your bank’s rules.

Pros and cons of a Rocket Loans personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Fast application process. Rocket Loans has an easy online application that minimizes the need to find extra documentation. If you qualify, you could receive the funds the day you apply.
  • Available 24/7/365. Rocket Loans doesn’t take days or evenings off. Their loan offers are fully underwritten, so you can apply and be approved for a loan at your convenience. Loan funding only happens on business days.
  • Individualized offers. Rocket Loans only shows individualized offers. You don’t have to wonder what your interest rate will be — Rocket Loans will show multiple offers based on your ability to repay.
  • Originations fees. Personal loans from Rocket Loans carry a 1.00% - 6.00% origination fee. In contrast, many digital lenders have no origination fees.
  • Moderate-to-high interest rates. Borrowers with excellent credit can see rates as low as 7.16%, but other lenders offer better rates. Some borrowers can face interest rates as high as 29.99% APR.
  • Limited options for repayment terms. Borrowers can choose between 36 or 60 month terms. Other lenders offer more repayment options based on a borrower’s ability to repay.

Who’s the best fit for a Rocket Loans personal loan?

If you’ve shopped around and compared offers from several personal loan lenders, then you’re likely ready to make an educated decision about which lender is right for you. Rocket Loans makes it easy to shop because you can get individualized offers based on your personal information before you even have to apply.

In the end, Rocket Loans may not offer the best rates or terms, but it will give you a point of comparison. Plus, checking your rates on Rocket Loans won’t hurt your credit.
After you check your rate, you can compare Rocket Loans’ offers with rates from other lenders.

Since you know from our review that Rocket Loans carries a 1.00% - 6.00% origination fee, which is paid upfront, you should look for loans that not only offer a better rate, but also don’t carry an upfront fee. If you can’t find a better deal elsewhere, Rocket Loans may be the best option for you.

People who need their loan funded fast will find Rocket Loans most valuable. The application process takes just a few minutes, especially if you have pay stubs or tax documents handy. Once your loan is approved — which can happen almost immediately — Rocket Loans will send the funds to your bank. Depending on your bank’s rules, you can gain access to the funds the same day.

Rocket Loans consumer reviews

Rocket Loans has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Consumers reviews on LendingTree, our parent company, tend to paint Rocket Loans in a positive light when it comes to their customer service. They have 5 stars out of 5 in responsiveness and customer service. They’ve scored 4.5 out five when it comes to interest rates.

They do lag behind when it comes to fees and closing costs, earning just a 4.0 — this is likely because they have an origination fee while other online lenders do not.

Consumers have commented that you receive your funds quickly and the process is simple. “Bam, done!” said a review by Sara from Circle Pines, Minn. “Very fast and easy process!”

Rocket Loans FAQ

Rocket Loans offers mortgages, reverse mortgages, refinances, debt consolidation loans, home improvement loans, medical expense loans, auto loans, small business loans and other loans for personal use.

You can use your personal loan funds for any personal needs or pursuits outside of student loans and illegal activities.

You have the option of signing up for automatic monthly payments, which are deducted from your bank account each month. Alternatively, you can also mail in your payment by check.

A late fee is charged if a monthly payment is not made by 2 p.m. Eastern Standard Time within 10 calendar days of the due date.

If you think you might have trouble paying your bill, Rocket Loans encourages you to contact them by phone at 800-333-7625 so they can help you find a solution. If you do end up defaulting on your loan this will impact your credit in the future.

If you don’t qualify for a loan from Rocket Loans, you can work on strengthening your application by improving your credit score or debt-to-income ratio. You can reapply for a loan if your financial circumstances change.

In order to qualify for funding from Rocket Loans borrowers need to live in a state where the company does business. That means they can’t reside outside of the United States.

Alternative personal loan options

LightStream

APR

4.99%
To
16.79%*

with AutoPay

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

24 to 144*

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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.

LightStream is the online personal lending branch of SunTrust Bank. It sets itself apart by offering no-fee loans (including no late fees and No origination fee). Loans from Lightstream carry some of the best interest rates on the market, with rates ranging from 4.99%–16.79%. People with excellent credit can borrow $5,000–$100,000 from LightStream for 24 to 144 months.

SoFi

SoFi
APR

5.99%
To
20.01%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 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 5.99% APR to 20.01% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.49% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of November 15, 2019 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 6.49% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.81% plus 4.93% 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.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly. 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. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

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 online-only lender with decent interest rates (5.99%–20.01% for fixed-rate loans and No origination fee). Personal loans from SoFi have terms ranging from 24 to 84 months.

In addition to its favorable rates, terms and policy on fees, SoFi is also one of the only lenders that offers “unemployment protection” on all personal loans. Borrowers who lose a job will be allowed to temporarily stop payments for up to 12 months. SoFi also offers nontraditional perks to its members including free career coaching and networking events.

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 lending place that offers 36 or 60 months fixed-rate personal loans for $2,000–$40,000. Rates at Prosper range from 6.95%–35.99% APR which includes the cost of a closing fee (also known as an origination fee). People with good or excellent credit may find better rates from other lenders, but those with bad credit do have a chance to be approved for a loan at Prosper.

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.

Hannah Rounds
Hannah Rounds |

Hannah Rounds is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Hannah here

Jolene Latimer
Jolene Latimer |

Jolene Latimer is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jolene here

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