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Personal Loans

MoneyLion 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.

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APR

5.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 or 18

months

Origination Fee

None

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MoneyLion personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 12 or 18 months
  • APR Range: From 5.99% APR
  • Loan amounts: $500 to $5,000
  • Time for Funding: Up to one business day.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: MoneyLion Plus and BetterCash loans do a soft pull to check rates and a hard pull to complete the application. The MoneyLion Plus does a soft pull for the membership application and no additional inquiry for the loan.
  • Origination fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: Not specified

MoneyLion product details

Personal loans are just one aspect of MoneyLion. Collectively, MoneyLion is a personal finance platform with several products, many of which are free after you sign up for an account.

MoneyLion has two types of membership:

MoneyLion Core

MoneyLion Core is the platform’s free membership plan. It features:

  • Free credit monitoring. MoneyLion partners with TransUnion to offer free credit monitoring. Credit monitoring for users comes with a credit score simulator and scores updated each month.
  • Financial tracking for users. With this feature, you can view your assets and debts all in one platform. Users can connect bank accounts, investment accounts and credit card accounts to the financial tracking dashboard to review their overall financial standing.
  • Free checking account and debit access. With this membership, you’ll have access to 55,000 fee-free ATMs. There’s also a rewards program that gives points for using different MoneyLion features. These points can be redeemed for restaurant and retail gift cards. You can also receive points for taking out a MoneyLion Plus loan, enrolling in credit monitoring, making on-time loan payments and more.
  • Free fraud protection for credit cards.

Again, each of the benefits above are free, but there’s an additional paid product called MoneyLion Plus that comes with a few extra perks, namely access to personal loans.

MoneyLion Plus

The MoneyLion Plus membership costs $19.99 per month.
MoneyLion Plus includes all of the features in MoneyLion Core, as well as:

  • Loans of $500 at 5.99% APR, even if you have fair credit
  • Other bonus cashback rewards, including 12% on everyday purchases at certain merchants.
  • $10 cashback just for signing up for the membership account, plus $1 per day just for logging into the app.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Varies
  • Minimum credit history: Less-than-stellar credit is acceptable for the BetterCash loan. Fair credit or better is required for the MoneyLion Plus loan product.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Varies

There are two loan products to review here with slightly different terms and eligibility requirements. The payment schedule for MoneyLion Plus loans match your employer paycheck. If you get paid bi-weekly, your loan payment will also be bi-weekly. For each loan, you have to sign up to become a user of MoneyLion first.

  • BetterCash: Those with less-than-stellar credit may borrow between $500 and $5,000. The BetterCash loan is for unexpected small expenses that pop up and need a quick payment. To be blunt, this product is comparable to a payday loan. Payday loans are meant to keep you afloat from one paycheck to another. Be careful with this type of loan — it can turn into a debt trap because you’re constantly relying on debt to put out financial fires.
  • MoneyLion Plus: As we mentioned above, you may borrow $500 for 5.99% APR, but it’s only available if you sign up for the $19.99 per month MoneyLion Plus account.

Think twice about signing up for the MoneyLion Plus account for the sole purpose of getting access to these $500 emergency loans. It may not be constructive to pay around $20 per month just for access to these loans. That $19.99 would probably serve you better deposited into a dedicated savings account you use for emergencies.

Eligibility requirements

MoneyLion Plus is available in every state except: Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada and Vermont.

BetterCash loans are available in every state except: Colorado, New York, Vermont, Connecticut and New Jersey.

You also need to meet these conditions:

  • Be of legal age in your state
  • Pass an identity check
  • Have verifiable income and employment
  • Provide a valid checking account with at least 45 days of history
  • Have income direct deposited into the checking account

Applying for a personal loan from MoneyLion

Here’s how to apply for a MoneyLion loan product:

Join MoneyLion. You have to sign up for MoneyLion at no initial charge if you’re not already a member to apply for a loan. Returning members can go into the MoneyLion dashboard and click “new loan.”

Complete the application. You can complete the application online. You will need a Social Security number, email address, home address, phone number, date of birth, and a checking account that’s been open for at least 45 days.

Loan decision. The decision on whether or not to fund your loan can happen within 24 hours. More information may be requested from underwriting before you’re approved.

Funding. If approved, funding can happen within one business day. The money is deposited directly into your bank account.

Pros and cons of a MoneyLion Plus personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Quick loans. MoneyLion can get you approved for a loan within 24 hours and can fund your loan within 24 hours of the approval. The $500 Plus loan also comes with a “Turbo” feature that can get you access to your funds within 30 minutes.
  • Products for both good and bad credit. You can qualify for the MoneyLion Plus loan with fair or good credit, and qualify for the BetterCash loan with less-than-perfect credit.
  • Soft pulls. You can prequalify for a loan with just a soft inquiry that won’t affect your credit score.
  • Free credit scores. Of all the MoneyLion perks, the free credit score monitoring may be the best feature. It’s free and you get monthly updates. Having this tool can help you build credit and prevent fraud.
  • Free ATM access. If you open a checking account with MoneyLion, you’ll have access to 55,000 no-fee ATMs.
  • Expensive loans. APRs may be astronomical. You could find yourself in a never-ending cycle of debt if you use this loan to pay bills. The MoneyLion Plus product with a 5.99% APR is touted as the affordable loan. But to get access to this loan, you’ll need to pay $19.99 monthly for a MoneyLion Plus membership.
  • Limited availability. MoneyLion products aren’t available in all states. Refer to the list of states above before applying.
  • Membership fee. Only consider the MoneyLion Plus product if you’ll be accessing the $500 loans often. Otherwise, $19.99 per month is a fairly high price to pay for membership access to a $500 installment loan and investment product.

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

Cost is the biggest disadvantage of this loan. The interest rate range can be potentially high depending on the product (unless you invest in MoneyLion Plus). Sure, you can qualify for a BetterCash loan with less-than-perfect credit, but you could be paying on it for quite some time if you get a three-digit interest rate.

The MoneyLion products may be ones to consider when you’ve exhausted all other options. The best way to use a MoneyLion loan is to borrow fast when you need a quick buck and make early payments to pay it off; there are no prepayment fees. Repaying your loan quickly before the entire term can help you avoid paying a mountain of interest.

High-interest loans like this can lead to a debt cycle where you borrow money, another emergency comes along, and you struggle to keep up. Building up an emergency fund can help you avoid having to fall back on this type of last-minute debt vehicle.

Having bad credit doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to obscenely high-interest rates. Check out our list of personal loans for various credit profiles.

MoneyLion consumer reviews

Unfortunately, MoneyLion’s reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are less than stellar. The company is not accredited with the BBB, and it has an “F” rating for its customer reviews. It’s had 200 complaints in the past 12 months, as of June 2019.

On LendingTree (which is our parent company), there are 15 reviews for MoneyLion. Most of these reviews are positive — 14 out of 15, in fact. Most reviews tout excellent customer service, a simple and streamlined app, and good interest rates.

One reviewer, Kyle, from Prescott Valley, Ariz., says his experience was positive for multiple reasons: “It’s been a pleasant and easy experience so far. They offer great perks for signing up with them and as you continue to be a customer. Definitely would recommend them to anyone in any credit situation. I personally don’t have the best credit and was being denied left and right, but MoneyLion accepted me and gave me a shot and some stress relief at the same time!”

An anonymous reviewer, however, wasn’t as pleased with its customer service: “They have yet to cancel my husband’s account after repeated attempts to cancel,” she wrote. “This month and last month. They are taking $72 out our joint account every month.”

MoneyLion FAQ

MoneyLion offers two different types of loans: BetterCash Loans and MoneyLion Plus loans. MoneyLion Plus loans are loans that can be accessed quickly, and they’re available for $500 at an APR of 5.99%. BetterCash loans are short, pay-day-style loans that are intended to help people get by in a pinch. BetterCash loans are available with APRs starting at 5.99% and terms of 12 or 18 months, depending on your credit.

If you have a Plus membership, you can expect to get access to loan funds within 24 hours. An additional paid feature, called Turbo, can get you access to your funds in under 30 minutes.

There are no stipulations for how you can spend your personal loan funds with MoneyLion.

With a BetterCash loan, the maximum amount you can borrow is $5,000, though this threshold could be lower depending on your credit score. MoneyLion Plus loans are available for $500.

If you’re just checking out loan terms, your credit will not be affected. If you actually apply for a loan, however, your credit will likely will be affected because MoneyLion will do a hard credit inquiry.

No. Although a good credit score could be beneficial if you opt for a BetterCash loan, a good credit score is not a requirement to become a MoneyLion Plus member.

In order to become a MoneyLion Plus member, you must be able to verify your identity, prove you have a consistent source of income, have a positive balance in your bank account, and have a bank account that has been open for more than 45 days.

The MoneyLion Plus membership fee is $19.99 per month, plus any outstanding loan payments you have. If you cannot make your monthly payments, you will not be able to take out a new loan, withdraw money from your investment account, or earn cash back points or rewards.

Alternative personal loan options

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

4.73%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.50% - 6.00%

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

Upgrade lets you borrow between $1,000 to $50,000. You can check rates with a soft inquiry. After you’re approved for a loan, you can get access to funding within a day. There are no prepayment penalty fees, but there is an origination fee to consider. This loan is another one for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit that may be more affordable than MoneyLion.

SoFi

SoFi
APR

5.99%
To
17.67%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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Advertiser Disclosure

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


Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 17.67% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.60% APR to 14.700% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 7, 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 5.60% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.27% plus 3.08% 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 has loans from $5,000 to $100,000 — if you need to borrow a large sum, this is one of the lenders that offers the most money, and there are also long loan terms that give you a decent amount of time to repay debt.

With SoFi, there are no fees and competitive interest rates (especially when using autopay), which is a sign that the loan is geared toward people with decent credit.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

5.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 5.99% to 24.99% APR.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is a personal loan that also has no origination fees, and does not require a hard inquiry to check rates. You can borrow up to $40,000 with longer loan terms than what MoneyLion has available. This is another loan that doesn’t specify a minimum credit score requirement, but would likely be best for borrowers with good credit or better because of the favorable terms. With that said, this is probably going to be a much more affordable option than MoneyLion. If your credit is in the high 600s or better, consider this loan. More than 80% of borrowers last year had a credit score of at least 660, according to Goldman Sachs’ most recent annual report.

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.

Jamie Friedlander
Jamie Friedlander |

Jamie Friedlander is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jamie here

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31 Financial Role Models to Honor This Women’s History Month

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.

iStock
From the first female millionaire to the only female Nobel Prize winner in economics, this Women’s History Month we’re honoring 31 women who have shaped today’s business world. Read on to learn about building your net worth, thriving in your career and carving your own financial path from the brightest, boldest and most innovative women who have influenced finance, economics and policy.

1. Henrietta “Hetty” Green

1834-1916

Born in 1834, Henrietta “Hetty” Green was one of the nation’s first value investors. Though Green came from a wealthy family that made most of its money in the whaling industry, her financial savvy turned her into an investing powerhouse. Case in point: When her father gave her beautiful dresses to attract a rich suiter, she instead sold the clothing and used the proceeds to invest in government bonds.

When Green died in 1916, she had amassed a fortune of more than $2 billion in today’s dollars and was considered the wealthiest woman in America. Known for her miserly ways and the black mourning clothes she adopted after the death of her husband, Green was commonly referred to as the “Witch of Wall Street.”

2. Janet Yellen

1946-

Janet Yellen was the first woman to be chair of the Board of Governors for the U.S. Federal Reserve, a position she held from 2014 to 2018. By and large, Yellen has been lauded for her performance as the fed chair, overseeing the economy during a period of low unemployment, record stock prices and low inflation. When she left office, 60% of economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal gave her an “A” rating, while 30% gave her a “B.”

Yellen received her bachelor’s degree in economics from Brown University before going on to receive a Ph.D in economics from Yale University. She is a professor emeritus at the University of California at Berkeley.

3. Millicent Garrett Fawcett

1847-1929

A major player in the women’s suffrage movement in the 1800s, Millicent Garrett Fawcett was well-known for her political activism, dedication to promoting women’s rights and keen understanding of economics.

Born in 1847, Fawcett penned many books, including “Political Economy for Beginners,” a short book published in 1870 that broke down economics so it was easy to understand. Numerous iterations of the book were published over the course of 41 years. Academics believe Fawcett’s contribution to today’s understanding of economics has been largely overlooked.

4. Abigail Adams

1744-1818

Although Abigail Adams was primarily known as the wife of founding father John Adams, she was noteworthy in her own right for fighting for financial independence during a time when doing so was largely unheard of for married women.

Not only did Adams manage the family’s household finances, but she also traded bonds and proved to have a sharp acumen for investing. Letters to her husband showed she also spoke out about laws that prohibited women’s rights, including the fact that married women couldn’t own property. Over the course of her life, Adams prudently invested her own “pocket” money and accrued quite the fortune, which she left primarily to women in her will.

5. Harriet Martineau

1802-1876

Often referred to as the first female sociologist, Harriet Martineau wrote many books, including “Illustrations of Political Economy.” This book explored political economic theories (such as labor strikes and overpopulation) through easy-to-digest illustrations that made the concepts accessible to the layperson.

Born in 1802, Martineau was known for her sharp intellect when it came to politics and economics. She wrote extensively over the course of her 74-year life, with 50 books and countless articles and essays to her name.

6. Elinor Ostrom

1933-2012

Elinor Ostrom is well-known for being the only woman to ever receive a Nobel Prize in economics. A political economist, Ostrom received a Ph.D in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles before becoming faculty at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind.

Ostrom received a Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences in 2009 for debunking the long-held idea that natural resources, when used collectively, would be destroyed over time due to the self-interest of each individual. Through research, Ostrom proved that when communities shared natural resources, they often developed rules for caring for these resources, which in turn promoted economic sustainability.

7. Madam C. J. Walker

1867-1919

Madam C. J. Walker — born as Sarah Breedlove — is one of the first self-made African-American female millionaires in the U.S. An entrepreneur, activist and philanthropist, Walker created her own hair care product line in 1904 for black women called Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower. Walker’s business exploded, and at the time of her death in 1919, her net worth was over $1 million.

Over the course of her career, Walker regularly advocated for black women by running sales training programs designed to help them achieve financial independence.

8. Carla Harris

1962-

Carla Harris is the vice chairman of global wealth management and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley. In 2013, former president Barack Obama appointed Harris to chair the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC). Harris has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University, as well as an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

In addition, Harris penned two business books, “Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace” and, “Strategize to Win: The New Way to Start Out, Step Up, or Start Over in Your Career.”

9. Abigail Johnson

1961-

With a net worth of over $16 billion, Abigail Johnson is one of the richest women in the U.S. Johnson is the president and CEO of Fidelity Investments (a company her grandfather founded). She became CEO and president of the company in 2014, and was later named chairwoman in 2016.

Since taking the helm of Fidelity, Johnson has publicly stated that one of her primary goals is to hire more women.

10. Ho Ching

1953-

Regularly included on lists of the most powerful women in the world, Ho Ching is the CEO of Temasek Holdings, an investment company in Singapore. During her 16-year reign there, she has given the company a global reach by shifting its focus beyond Singapore, growing the company’s portfolio to more than $235 billion.

Ching is also active in public service and philanthropy. She was the chairman of the Singapore Institute of Standards & Industrial Research, the deputy chairman of the Productivity Standards Board and the deputy chairman of the Economic Development Board. She is also the founding Chairman of Trailblazer Foundation Limited, a charity dedicated to education, sports, health and community welfare. Her husband is Lee Hsien Loong, the prime minister of Singapore.

11. Stacey Cunningham

Stacey Cunningham is the first female president of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). She rose in the ranks to her current position, beginning as an intern at the NYSE in 1994 and later going on to be a clerk on the trading floor. At this time, she was one of only around 30 women at the NYSE, and was regularly referred to as “the girl” by her mostly male colleagues.

In 2015, Cunningham became the NYSE’s chief operating officer and in 2018, she became the exchange’s 67th president.

12. Adena Friedman

1969-

Adena Friedman is the president and CEO of the Nasdaq, a position she has held since 2017. This position makes her the first woman to ever lead a global exchange company.

Friedman has a long history with the Nasdaq, having been with the company on and off since 1993. Prior to serving as the president and CEO, she served as the president and COO from 2014 to 2016. Friedman also had a stint as the managing director and CFO of The Carlyle Group, a private equity company, and she is credited with helping the company go public.

13. Anne Finucane

1953-

Anne Finucane is the vice chairman at Bank of America and chairman of the board for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Europe. As part of her responsibilities, she oversees £30 billion in assets. Finucane established the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell University, which offers free courses for female entrepreneurs taught by Cornell faculty.

14. Christina Romer

1958-

The former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA), Christina Romer worked closely with former president Barack Obama from 2009 to 2010 to help guide the administration in the wake of the Great Recession. She is the second woman in history to hold this role.

Romer is currently a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition, she is the former vice president of the American Economic Association (AEA).

15. Rania Nashar

Rania Nashar is the CEO of Samba Financial Group, the third largest bank in Saudi Arabia. Not only has she been the CEO since 2017, her role also made her the first woman to hold the position at a listed bank in the country. Prior to this position, Nashar had an extensive history at the company and was a board member for Samba Financial Group’s global markets subsidiary.

16. Helena Morrissey

1966-

Helena Morrissey is the head of personal investing for Legal & General Investment Management, an investment management firm in England. Prior to that, she served as the chief executive of Newton Investment Management.

Morrissey is well-regarded for creating the 30% Club a campaign that advocates for more gender balance on company boards and in senior management. She is also the author of, “A Good Time to Be a Girl: Don’t Lean In, Change the System.”

17. Thasunda Brown Duckett

Thasunda Brown Duckett is the CEO of consumer banking at JPMorgan Chase. She is the first African-American to hold this position. Duckett helms the bank’s consumer banking division, which includes wealth management. She oversees 47,000 employees across 5,300 branches. Prior to her current position, Duckett served as the CEO of Chase Auto Finance.

Duckett founded a charity, the Otis & Rosie Brown Foundation, which is named after her parents. The charity recognizes unsung heroes who are making a difference in their communities.

18. Mary Paley Marshall

1850-1944

Economist Mary Paley Marshall was the first female economics lecturer at the University of Cambridge, a role she was given in 1875 at just 25 years old. In addition, she was one of the first women ever admitted to attend college at the University of Cambridge.

Marshall co-authored “The Economics of Industry” in 1879, a text that is widely considered one of the most influential in economics. Marshall spent the last two decades of her life helping create the Marshall Library of Economics in Cambridge.

19. Francine Blau

1946-

Francine Blau is an economist and professor at Cornell University whose formative research on gender wage gaps in the U.S. has informed our country for decades. Blau has published over 100 articles, chapters and conference proceedings, as well as 10 books, including, “The Economics of Men, Women, and Work,” a seminal work that explores gender issues in today’s labor market.

In 2010, Blau was awarded the prestigious IZA Prize for her contributions to the field of labor economics.

20. Edith Abbott

1876-1957

Although primarily known for her pivotal role in establishing the field of social work, Edith Abbott also garnered recognition for her work in economics. In 1905, she received a Ph.D in economics from the University of Chicago and shortly thereafter, she completed a fellowship at the London School of Economics. In 1907, Abbott became a professor of economics at Wellesley College.

In 1935, Abbott helped draft the U.S. Social Security Act with Frances Perkins, the U.S. Secretary of Labor at the time.

21. Anna Schwartz

1915-2012

An American economist, Anna Schwartz was best known for her work co-authoring the 1963 book, “A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960” with Milton Friedman. This influential text on economics dissected the cause of the Great Depression, attributing it to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policies.

In 1981, Schwartz became executive director for the U.S. Gold Commission. In 1993, the American Economic Association (AEA) named her a distinguished fellow.

22. Deirdre McCloskey

1942-

Deirdre McCloskey is regarded by many as one of today’s most influential economic minds. A distinguished professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, McCloskey has written more than 15 books and over 300 articles on economic theory and economic history, among other topics. Some of her most notable books include, “The Rhetoric of Economics” and “The Secret Sins of Economics.”

McCloskey holds both undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics from Harvard University.

23. Dambisa Moyo

1969-

Originally from Zambia, Dambisa Moyo is a macroeconomist and author who previously worked as a banker at World Bank and Goldman Sachs. She has authored four New York Times best-selling books, including “Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth — And How to Fix It,” which came out last year.

Moyo originally studied chemistry as an undergraduate student at American University before going on to receive an MPA from Harvard University and a Ph.D in economics from Oxford University.

24. Joan Robinson

1903-1983

Joan Robinson was a British economist recognized for her important contributions to economic theory, in particular Keynesian economic theory. She came up with the theory of monopsony, which describes a market with only one buyer and many sellers, in her 1933 book, “The Economics of Imperfect Competition.”

Robinson earned her degree in economics from the University of Cambridge, where she went on to work as a professor. She was the first female honorary fellow at King’s College in Cambridge.

25. Janice Bryant Howroyd

1952-

Janice Bryant Howroyd is the founder and CEO of ActOne Group employment agency, one of the largest minority- and woman-owned business enterprises (MWBE) in the country. Howroyd is known for being the first black woman to run a business valued close to $1 billion. The staffing agency has over 17,000 clients in 19 countries.

Howroyd started her business in 1978 in a small office in Beverly Hills, Calif. In 2018, she was listed as one of the wealthiest self-made women in the U.S. by Forbes, with a family net worth of over $350 million.

26. Angela Merkel

1954-

Angela Merkel is a powerhouse in the financial world, and no list of women who impacted finance would be complete without her. Merkel is often referred to as the “de facto leader of Europe.”

The first woman to become chancellor of Germany, Merkel is No. 1 on the Forbes 2018 list of “Most Powerful Women in the World.” She is regarded as the primary force that got Germany through a major financial crisis and back on its feet.

In the fall of 2018, Merkel announced that she would be stepping down as the chancellor of Germany in 2021.

27. Marianne Lake

1969-

Marianne Lake is the CFO of JPMorgan Chase, a position she has held since 2012. As CFO of the largest bank in the country, she oversees over $2.5 trillion in assets. Lake is well-known for improving automation technology at the bank. There has been significant speculation that Lake could one day replace Jamie Dimon as the bank’s chairman and CEO.

Lake has shown a commitment to empowering women in finance through her role as a co-founder of the Women on the Move initiative, which aims to help women advance in their careers.

28. Mary L. Schapiro

1955-

Mary L. Schapiro is the first woman to be permanent chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Schapiro served as a financial services regulator for four U.S. presidents: Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

Schapiro also served as the chairman and CEO of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) from 2006 to 2009, as well as the chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Schapiro is the only person to have been chair of both the SEC and the CFTC. Currently, Schapiro is the vice chair for public policy and special advisor to the founder and chairman at Bloomberg LP.

29. Maggie Lena Walker

1864-1934

Maggie Lena Walker was the first woman in the U.S. to charter a bank. Walker founded St. Luke’s Penny Savings Bank, which later merged with two other banks in the U.S. to become The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company. (The Consolidated Bank and Trust Company was the oldest bank in the U.S. to have black-ownership status until it was acquired in 2005.)

Walker founded the bank in 1903 and served as the bank’s president until her death. Throughout her life, she was well-regarded as an outspoken advocate for both women and members of the black community.

30. Muriel Siebert

1928-2013

In 1967, Muriel Siebert became the first woman to have a seat on the NYSE. She was the only woman among 1,365 men. Often referred to as “The First Woman of Finance,” Siebert founded and served as the president of Siebert Financial Corp., which made her the first woman to run one of the NYSE’s firms. Siebert was also the first woman to hold the role of superintendent of banks for New York state, a position she held for five years.

Siebert was known for helping other women have a place on Wall Street. In fact, she donated millions of dollars to help other women start their own businesses.

31. Claudia Goldin

1946-

In 1990, Claudia Goldin became the first woman to receive tenure at the Department of Economics at Harvard University. Goldin served as the director of development for the American Economy Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) from 1989 to 2017. Her economic research spans many topics, including the female labor force, income inequality and the gender gap.

Goldin has written many books, including, “Understanding the Gender Gap: An Economic History of American Women” and, “Women Working Longer: Increased Employment at Older Ages,” which was published in 2018.

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.

Jamie Friedlander
Jamie Friedlander |

Jamie Friedlander is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jamie here

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Pay Down My Debt

Debt Management vs. Debt Settlement: Which Is Best for You?

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.

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In 2018, the average American held $38,000 in debt (excluding mortgages). The sobering truth is that some of these people will never get out of debt — in fact, 13% of respondents in the study said they believe they will be in debt for the rest of their lives. Perhaps you’re in significant debt that’s been mounting for years and you’ve decided it’s finally time to tackle it. You’ve heard about both debt management and debt settlement, but don’t really know what either entails.

Below, we’ve broken down the difference between debt settlement and debt management so you can decide which method is right for you.

Debt management vs. debt settlement

 Debt managementDebt settlement
What is it?A nonprofit credit counseling agency communicates with your creditors and helps you come up with a debt repayment plan.A for-profit company attempts to lower your total debt by negotiating your debts with your creditors on your behalf.
How much does it cost?On average, between $25-$50 per month. (There could be a small enrollment fee, but this should be less than $75.)18% to 25% of the total enrolled debt, plus potential other enrollment and account maintenance fees.
When is it useful?
  • If you want to learn about healthy money habits while repaying your debt.

  • If you want to maintain or potentially improve your credit score while paying off your debt.

  • If you find the simplicity of one monthly payment appealing.

  • If you have significant debt, which likely means $7,500 or more.

  • If you feel you’ve reached the point of no return, but don’t qualify for bankruptcy or don’t want to pursue bankruptcy.

  • If you want to get out of debt as quickly as possible and aren’t deterred by the negative impact this process can have on your credit.

Are there credit requirements?No.No.
How long does it take?It varies, but typically between 3 to 5 years.It varies, but typically between 3+ years.
Are there tax implications?No.Yes. You might have to pay taxes on your forgiven debt.
Will it affect your credit?It could. Enrolling in a program itself does not affect your credit. But if you close credit cards as part of the plan, that could affect your credit. However, consistently making monthly payments will likely improve your credit score.Yes. If you enroll in a debt settlement program, your credit score will likely take a major, lasting hit.
Is it guaranteed to work?If you stay on track with your monthly payments, it will work.No. There is no guarantee that a debt settlement company will be able to negotiate your debts.

What is debt management?

Debt management involves working with a nonprofit credit counseling agency to pay off your debt over the course of a specific time frame — typically three to five years. The process is fairly simple: Once you enroll in a program, you make one monthly payment to your agency, which then gets distributed to your various creditors.

Below, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about debt management so you can decide if it’s the right option for you.

How does it work?

A debt management program helps a consumer manage his or her unsecured debt. You simply make one monthly payment to the agency, and they disperse that payment to your various creditors, according to Katie Ross, Education, Development & Housing Manager at American Consumer Credit Counseling. Typically, credit counseling agencies can negotiate to get lower interest rates on one’s debts.

“The benefit of being in a debt management plan is that agencies like ours help people get back on financial track,” said Ross. “We can help them better their credit card debt by working with their creditors to reduce their interest rate and their payoff time.”

Credit counseling agencies typically offer financial education with their programs, which can help consumers avoid getting into debt again. “You’re getting ongoing counseling and you’re getting financial education to learn how to manage your money and stay on track,” Ross added.

Who is it useful for?

Debt management is typically a good decision for consumers who are ready to tackle their debt but don’t want to take on something as serious as debt settlement or bankruptcy.

Those who meet the following criteria might benefit from debt management:

  • People who don’t want their credit score to suffer. If you have a decent credit score and you’d like to maintain it, you might want to consider debt management instead of debt settlement. Although closing credit cards as part of the program could impact your credit score, enrolling in a program itself has no impact, Ross said. Plus, maintaining your monthly payments will likely increase your score. In addition, many credit counseling agencies have agreements with credit card issuers that if a consumer is enrolled in a debt management program and sticks to it, they will not report negative information to the credit bureaus.
  • People who won’t need any additional credit during this time. If you’re enrolled in a debt management program, you will likely not be able to open any new lines of credit. Ross adds that when someone enrolls in a debt management program, most creditors will typically put a notification that says “CC” on the consumer’s credit card. This tells any lender who might be looking to extend that person credit that they’re working with a credit counseling agency.
  • People who want to learn about sustainable money habits. Debt management is particularly useful for people who want to learn about how they can improve their financial habits and avoid getting into debt again. Most programs come with financial education that can help you stay on track. “For most non-profit credit counseling agencies … a big part of the mission is to educate,” Ross noted. “So we provide lots of different resources — budgeting guides, spending plan information, ongoing phone support and counseling.”

How much does it cost?

The monthly fees associated with a debt management program are typically low. Ross said monthly fees are driven by state regulations (some have licensing requirements and some don’t) and therefore they vary.

Regardless of the state you live in, the fees should be minimal. “Make sure that the fees are reasonable and they’re not exorbitant, and there’s no hidden fees anywhere,” Ross said.

In addition, Ross said many credit counseling agencies will be willing to work with consumers who cannot afford enrollment fees. “If there’s a financial hardship, the agency needs to be willing to waive the fee or reduce a fee,” she said.

ServiceCost
EnrollmentThis fee should not be more than $75.
Monthly maintenanceThis fee is typically between $25 and $50 per month, and should not exceed $50.

How long does it last?

Typically, a debt management program lasts from three to five years, according to Ross.

When should you use it?

There are a handful of scenarios in which pursuing a debt management program makes sense. If the following statements apply to you, you might want to consider it.

  • You’re ready for change. If you’re ready to finally improve your financial habits, debt management could be for you. The educational resources provided can help you make meaningful changes to help you avoid getting into debt again.
  • You’re looking to pay off debt without damaging your credit. Things like bankruptcy and debt settlement will damage your credit for years. But with debt management, you have the chance to maintain or even improve your credit score while repaying your debt.
  • You want a streamlined strategy for paying off your debt. Debt management involves just one monthly payment, making the process simple and straightforward.

What to watch out for

If you’re interested in enrolling in a debt management program, Ross advises checking for the following things when looking for a credit counseling agency to work with:

  • Nonprofit status. Make sure the organization you’re working with is a nonprofit.
  • Time in business. Check to make sure the company has been in business for at least seven to 10 years.
  • Membership status. Ross advises checking to see if the agency is part of a credit counseling association, such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) or the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCCA).
  • Third-party accreditation. Make sure the agency is accredited by a third party.
  • Complaints. Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to make sure there are no complaints against the business.
  • Other requirements. Ross said you should also check to make sure the agency is licensed or bonded where they need to be.
  • Fees. As noted above, debt management plan fees should be reasonable and shouldn’t exceed $75 for enrollment and $50 per month.

What is debt settlement?

Debt settlement involves working with a for-profit company to have your debts negotiated. The idea is that by working with a debt settlement company, your debts will be negotiated to a lower amount and you’ll have less to pay.

Unfortunately, the debt settlement industry is rife with scams, and there’s no guarantee any of your debts will be settled. If you pursue this route, it’s imperative to do your due diligence. Read on for everything you need to know about debt settlement.

How does it work?

Consumers partner with a debt settlement company — sometimes referred to as a debt relief firm — who will attempt to negotiate the consumer’s unsecured debts to a lower amount. Each month, the consumer puts money in an account that is designed to pay off this negotiated amount once it is reached.

There is no guarantee that your debts will be negotiated, but if they are, it could be by as much as 50%.

You will likely need a minimum amount of debt to enroll in a debt settlement program. It depends on the firm, but minimum requirements are typically between $7,500 and $10,000.

Who is it useful for?

Debt settlement could be right for you if you have significant debt and you don’t anticipate being able to pay this debt off within a few years. It should be thought of as a last resort.

Those who meet any of the following criteria could consider debt settlement:

  • People whose debt is too significant for debt management. Typically speaking, debt management is a much better method for paying off debt. But if your debt is too significant for debt management and bankruptcy isn’t an option, you could consider debt settlement.
  • People whose primary concern isn’t their credit score. Debt settlement will have a major impact on your credit score, because you stop making your minimum monthly payments as part of the program. If your credit score is already poor and you think the benefit of getting out of debt outweighs the potential damage to your credit score, you could consider settlement.

How much does it cost?

Upfront costs vary with debt settlement. Some firms have no upfront costs at all. The primary form of payment is in program participation fees, as the firm will take a percentage of the total debt you’ve enrolled in the program.

ServiceCost
Program participation fees18% to 25% of total enrolled debt.
Miscellaneous feesFirms could charge additional maintenance and setup fees.

How long does it last?

It varies, but typically debt settlement lasts for three years or longer. It depends on the total amount of debt enrolled in the program and how long the negotiation process takes. Some programs will advertise that it could take as little as six months, though this is not typically the case.

When should you use it?

Considering debt settlement? If any of the following statements applies to you, it could be worth considering.

  • You have significant debt and not enough funds to pay it off. If you hold substantial debt (meaning upwards of $7,500) and don’t have the means to pay that debt off in a few years, debt settlement could be for you.
  • Bankruptcy isn’t an option. If you don’t qualify for bankruptcy or don’t want to pursue bankruptcy yet you hold substantial debt, settlement could be worth considering.
  • You want to get out of debt as quickly as possible even if it means your credit score will take a hit. Debt settlement will have a lasting negative impact on your credit score. If your desire to pay off your debt outweighs the potential ramifications to your credit score, then it might be an option worth considering.

What to watch out for

If you decide debt settlement is the right path for you, there are a handful of things you should be aware of:

  • Collection agency calls could intensify. Most debt settlement companies ask participants to stop making their minimum monthly payments as part of the debt settlement process. This means you could be hit with even more collection calls and letters.
  • Your credit score will suffer. If you do a debt settlement, your credit score will take a major hit. “As soon as you stop making your payments to your creditors, it’s going to get reported as a late payment,” Ross said. “Once you default altogether, your credit score is going to tank.”
  • There’s no guarantee your debts will be settled. No debt settlement firm can promise that your debt will be negotiated.
  • There are tax implications. If you enroll in a debt settlement program, you might still have to pay taxes on the full amount of debt before negotiation. Ross said laws vary on this from state to state.
  • You can’t be forced to pay fees on debts that aren’t settled. Be aware that debt settlement companies cannot charge you fees for debt entered into the program that wasn’t settled.

The debt settlement industry is not regulated and therefore it is rife with scams. If you’re interested in partnering with a debt settlement company, it’s important to do your research and vet the company. Check with the BBB to make sure the company has no complaints filed against them. You can also check to see if complaints have been filed with the state’s attorney general’s office.

Should you use debt management or debt settlement?

It depends on your personal situation. If the debt you hold can be paid back in a reasonable time frame, you want to take a safe path, and you’re interested in learning about how to build healthy financial habits, debt management is likely the right decision for you.

However, if you hold an immense amount of debt, but bankruptcy is not in the cards, debt settlement could be worth considering.

Regardless of the path you choose, here are some steps to help get you started:

Next steps: Pursuing debt management

  1. Find a nonprofit credit counseling agency to work with. You can consult the NFFC’s online database to find one in your area.
  2. Vet the agency appropriately. Check how long they’ve been in business, whether they have any complaints filed against them and whether they have nonprofit status. If necessary, consult a handful of agencies to find the right one.
  3. Get organized. Before you have a free consultation with the agency, get your finances in order so you know exactly how much debt you have.

Next steps: Pursuing debt settlement

  1. Shop around. It’s wise to consult multiple debt settlement companies before getting started. Compare things like monthly fees and enrollment requirements.
  2. Vet the company you select carefully. Check with the BBB to see if any complaints have been filed against the company you’re considering partnering with. You should also check to see how long they’ve been in business.
  3. Get everything in writing. If you decide to move forward with a debt settlement company, make sure you have the details of your agreement in writing.

Conclusion

You’ve taken the first step toward becoming debt-free, which is deciding you’re ready to buckle down and get started. From there, the most important thing is to do ample research and figure out which debt repayment strategy is best for you. Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming debt-free once and for all.

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.

Jamie Friedlander
Jamie Friedlander |

Jamie Friedlander is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jamie here

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