MoneyLion® is an app-based, comprehensive way to manage your money. It does this by offering several financial products, such as a MoneyLion checking account, an automated investing account and — what we’ll review here — credit builder loans through its MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus loan program.
These loans might be a good option for you if you’re looking to build credit, though they work differently than traditional loans. We’ll help you understand how in this MoneyLion loan review.
|MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus loan terms|
|What it is||An installment loan intended to help you build credit. Depending on your credit, the loan may be secured or unsecured. In the case of a secured loan, when you are approved for funds, a portion of your loan will be disbursed to you and the remainder will be held in a Credit Reserve Account to be used as collateral. Once you pay off your loan, the account and its funds are released to you.|
|APR range||5.99% - 29.99%|
|Loan amounts||Up to $1,000|
|Loan length||12 months|
|Credit check required?||No, but a soft pull when you apply for the required membership|
|Time to funding||Up to 48 hours|
What is MoneyLion?
MoneyLion is a fintech company that was launched in 2013. It’s not technically a bank, although it does partner with one, MetaBank, to offer the same types of financial services you’d expect from a bank.
MoneyLion offers optional financial services, including:
- Financial Heartbeat®: This “financial fitness tracker” shows you your cash flow, spending and more to give you more insights into your finances.
- MoneyLion Instacash: Interest-free cash advance loans of up to $250.
- RoarMoney: A cash management account that functions in the same way as a checking account.
- Cashback debit card: The MoneyLion Debit Mastercard® pairs with the MoneyLion app to gamify your spending. After you make a purchase of $10 or more, you can shake your phone for a chance to earn up to 100% of your purchase back. Be careful you’re not tempted to spend more with this feature, though.
- Automated Investing: Choose from five core portfolios to invest in with automatic payments, for no monthly fee.
It also offers secured installment loans through its MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus loan program, which we’ll go through next.
MoneyLion loan reviews
MoneyLion reviews from other borrowers give the company a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars from 17 reviews on LendingTree. Although many people are happy with the service, the most frequent complaints are that it’s difficult to get ahold of customer service.
How does MoneyLion work?
In order to fill out a MoneyLion loan application, you’ll first need to become a Credit Builder Plus member, which comes with a monthly $19.99 fee.
Aside from being able to apply for a credit builder loan, there are a few smaller benefits with membership: You’ll get access to credit-monitoring tools and regular credit score updates, though you can get those for free elsewhere. For example, LendingTree offers a free credit-monitoring service that also helps you shop loans.
Your Credit Builder Plus membership also grants access to a loyalty program that allows you to earn up to the cost of your membership ($19.99*) in cash back each month via the MoneyLion app and RoarMoney mobile banking.
How does MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Plus Loan work?
Loans like MoneyLion’s Credit Builder loan work differently from your traditional personal loan. Aside from the required monthly membership to even be eligible to apply, you’ll also only be eligible for a 12 month loan of up to $1,000. The repayment term is short and limited, while the loan amount is incredibly small.
MoneyLion also doesn’t give you the full amount of the loan upon approval; disbursement is split up into two parts. One is paid to you directly, and depending on your financial history, the other is held in a Cash Reserve Account that you get after you pay the loan off. MoneyLion uses this account as a form of collateral. If you default on the loan, they will keep this money.
It’s unclear how much money you will get upfront if approved for a loan. That means this loan won’t be ideal if you need quick access to the full amount or majority amount you’re applying for.
|* Credit Builder Plus is not available in Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada or Vermont|
Basic member requirements:
- Be at least 18
- Have a Social Security number
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Have a valid checking account
You’ll need to submit to a soft credit check, which won’t affect your credit. You don’t need good credit (or a credit history at all) to pass this requirement. Afterward, you’ll connect the app to your bank account.
MoneyLion will use it to make a decision on whether you qualify for membership by looking at your financial transaction history. In particular, MoneyLion is looking to make sure that your account:
- Has been open for at least 60 days
- Is in good standing
- Has an “acceptable balance and active transaction history”
- Shows that you have a regular source of income
MoneyLion should let you know of its decision “almost instantly.” If you’re approved for a Credit Builder Plus membership and sign up for one, you’ll be able to apply for a MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus loan.
Applying for a credit builder loan from MoneyLion
If you’ve been approved for Credit Builder Plus membership, you can apply for a Credit Builder loan through the MoneyLion app. Unfortunately, MoneyLion doesn’t offer a lot of details on the application process for its loan. However, it does specify that you will be rejected for a loan if your personal information doesn’t match public records, and you may be asked to provide supporting documentation like a bill or bank statement to verify your identity.
Loan disbursement is fast, however. You can receive your money instantly or within 48 hours depending on how you receive funds.
Who is MoneyLion’s loan good for?
If you’re having a hard time getting approved for credit elsewhere this might be a good option to help you start building credit. While the company does a soft credit pull, there’s no hard credit check and no specific credit needed to get a loan — even people just getting started with zero credit can apply.
However, it can be a pricey loan option. You’ll need to pay a $19.99* monthly membership fee to even be eligible to apply for a loan. So while the rates appear low on the starting end (5.99% APR), they don’t take this extra fee into account that really bumps up the cost. MoneyLion also gives you relatively small loans ($1,000 or less) and you may not get access to the full amount because it might hold a portion in a Cash Reserve account in case you default.
For these reasons, MoneyLion isn’t the best choice if you’re more focused on borrowing a specific amount of money for an emergency need, like a car repair. But if you’re looking to build credit, and borrowing a small amount of cash is only a secondary goal, it could be a good solution for you.
Yes, MoneyLion is a legitimate company.
MoneyLion only offers one loan: a credit builder loan. It has a 12-month term and $1,000 borrowing limit, although a portion of it will be held back depending on your financial situation so you may not actually be able to use the full amount.
Depending on how you choose to receive your money, you’ll either get it instantly or within 48 hours.
MoneyLion does a soft credit pull, which doesn’t impact your credit score. Unlike most lenders, MoneyLion won’t do a hard credit pull, even when you apply for a Credit Builder loan.
Yes, MoneyLion reports your payments to each of the three major credit bureaus.
No. In fact, you don’t need any credit at all to qualify.
Your membership will end. If you’re a member of the Lion’s Share loyalty program, you won’t earn any rewards. Keep in mind that you’ll still need to pay your loan, however — if you don’t, MoneyLion might take the Cash Reserve portion of your account to pay off the loan.
*Accurate as of January 13, 2021