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Personal Loans

Personal Loans in Portland, Oregon

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

Company
APR Range
Minimum Credit Requirement
Terms
Fees
 Advantis Credit Union

9.40% - 17.40%

No Minimum FICO Score

60

months

Origination fee

No fees

Apply Now Secured

on Advantis Credit Union’s secure website

Unitus Community Credit Union

7.99% - 16.99%

No Minimum FICO Score

60

months

Origination fee

No fees

Apply Now Secured

on Unitus Community Credit Union’s secure website

OnPoint Community Credit Union

10.00% - 16.00%

No Minimum FICO Score

60

months

Origination fee

No fees

Apply Now Secured

on OnPoint Community Credit Union’s secure website

Oregon Community Credit Union

9.75% - 24.49%

No Minimum FICO Score

60

months

Origination fee

No fees

Apply Now Secured

on Oregon Community Credit Union’s secure website

LendingTree

5.99% - 35.99%

Minimum 500 FICO

24 to 60

months

Origination fee

Varies

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on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.

Here’s a roundup of places where you can get personal loans in Portland, Ore.

Advantis Credit Union

The Advantis Credit Union offers an online application process and quick funding. You can use personal loans for many reasons: paying wedding expenses, paying medical bills, covering a tax bill and more. Loans have fixed interest rates and there are no origination, application, or annual fees. There’s also no prepayment penalty.

Advantis Credit Union is a not-for-profit that has served Portland since 1928. The credit union has more than 73,000 members. Membership is open to residents of Portland and several counties of central and western Oregon, plus people who live, work, worship, or attend school in the state of Washington.

Unitus Community Credit Union

Unitus Community Credit Union offers personal loans with fixed rates to borrowers. One perk of this credit union is that it clearly lays out what credit score you need to qualify for certain interest rates (although other conditions may apply). For example, a credit score of 740 or higher may get you a 7.99% APR interest rate, the very lowest available. Getting approved for a personal loan qualifies you for free FICO® score monitoring from Equifax; scores are updated monthly.

Unitus Community Credit Union has around 90,000 members. You can join the credit union if you live or work in certain Oregon counties or the state of Washington.

OnPoint Community Credit Union

OnPoint Community Credit Union lets you borrow up to $25,000. Interest rates are fixed and you can apply for the loan online. Onpoint has more than 345,000 members and has served its members for almost 90 years. Membership to OnPoint Community Credit Union is open to people who work or live in specific cities and counties within Oregon and Washington state.

Oregon Community Credit Union

The Oregon Community Credit Union offers a personal credit line of up to $50,000 to borrowers who qualify. There’s a key difference between a personal line of credit and a personal loan.

A personal line of credit gives you an amount you can use and pay back when you need it almost like a credit card. Each month you have a minimum payment that’s due. Alternately, a personal loan usually has a fixed interest rate for a fixed term and you make the same payment each month. This credit union does have an option where you can choose to make a portion of your credit line a fixed interest rate for a fixed term.

Membership to the Oregon Community Credit Union is open to residents of 28 counties in Oregon, state employees, employees or members of local retailer Bi-Mart, students or employees of the University of Oregon, and relatives of current members.

Comparing personal loans online

The personal loans in Portland, Ore., to make our list are ones to consider if you’re looking for a lender in the neighborhood — but you also have many more options than solely credit unions, banks, or finance companies in your surrounding area.

Borrowing money online may give you access to better interest rates and more flexible loan terms than you’ll find at a local loan company in Portland. You can check out some of the best personal loans available online here in our roundup.

Another thing to mention is that the Portland-based loans featured in this post are all from credit unions. These credit unions have membership requirements even if you’re applying online. With most online lenders, you won’t have to jump through the hoop of applying to become a member.

The online application process

Borrowing money from online lenders is usually simple and convenient. Many online lenders let you fill out a prequalification form to check interest rates with only a soft inquiry. You can head to this page to compare loan products directly on MagnifyMoney.

The stages of the online application are pretty standard across the board. You fill out a form with your personal information, choose between offers, and then you go through credit review. At this point, lenders may ask for verification documents, such as pay stubs or W-2s, to prove you have sufficient income. Once approved, funds will likely be deposited into a bank account of your choosing. Funding can happen within just a few business days or even sooner depending on the online lender you select.

If you’re worried about safety, online lenders usually have privacy policies you can dig through to see what actions they take to protect your personal information. You should also research any lender you do business with through third-party reviews and customer reviews to make sure they’re trustworthy.

Benefits of shopping online for a personal loan

Besides the perk of quick applications, online personal loans offer products for various credit profiles. Good to excellent credit will get you the best personal loans at the best price. Having less-than-stellar credit doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the action. Online is somewhere you may be able to get approved for a loan if you can’t find bad credit loans in Portland.

An easy way to compare personal loans online

LendingTree, which owns MagnifyMoney, is an online loan marketplace that helps consumers compare loan products. You complete one free application to get personalized offers from multiple lenders. There’s no credit check required to submit the form.

Get started shopping for your next loan with LendingTree here.

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

Taylor Gordon
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Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Strategies to Save

How Much it Costs to Have a Baby — And How to Start Saving

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

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The topic of money can cause stress when planning to start, or expand, a family. According to the most recent report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it’ll cost $233,610 to raise a child born in 2015. The big-ticket expenses detailed in the report are housing, food, child care and education, although this doesn’t include the cost of college.

But before you get sticker shock and decide not to have a family, read on. Early financial planning can help you manage the costs of raising a child. In this post, we’ll cover:

How much does it cost to have a baby?

How much does it all cost is the million-dollar question for expecting parents. The answer can vary due to your circumstances.

“Getting ready to have a baby has really taught me that anything and everything can happen,” said Stanton Burns, a CFP and owner of Oakview Wealth Solutions in St. Charles, Mo. Stanton is expecting his first child and said the biggest cost at the beginning is medical bills, especially if there are complications.

Young families who are experiencing other major life events such as getting married or buying a home can find medical bills particularly cumbersome.

“Nobody shared with me the cost of having a baby from pre-pregnancy to afterbirth. That was all very surprising to me for baby No. 1,” said Angela Furubotten-LaRosee, a CFP and founder of Avea Financial Planning. To avoid any surprises, Furubotten-LaRosee, based in Richland, Wash., recommends asking questions and staying informed throughout pregnancy and delivery.

Here’s a breakdown of common costs you should be aware of when having a baby. Insurance may help you cover some of these expenses.

The cost of childbirth

Before-birth costs: There are prenatal appointments, ultrasounds and other health-related expenditures for the mother and child that may come up as they’re needed. In vitro fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatments may be necessary as well. The average cost of IVF is $12,400 per cycle, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Beyond health care, there are items such as cribs, car seats and bottles you may need to buy.

Birthing costs: The cost of birthing a child may range from $2,000 to more than $20,000 depending on where you’re giving birth, the type of birth site (birthing center, hospital or somewhere else) and if there are complications during delivery. A 2015 study by the International Federation of Health Plans found the U.S. average for normal deliveries to be $10,808. Healthy pregnancies with normal deliveries generally cost the least amount of money. Cesarean sections with complications can cost more. Some of the cost may be covered by insurance.

Afterbirth costs: After the birth, follow-up appointments, immunizations, formula, diapers and child care costs are ones to factor into your budget. These costs will also vary depending on the health of the mother and baby.

The cost of adoption

Adoptions can cost relatively lower if you adopt from foster care. Expenses may be reimbursed through federal and state adoption assistance services in this scenario. If you opt for a private adoption agency, the cost could range from $20,000 to $45,000. This may include fees for counseling, child care during the transition, legal fees and other expenses for preparation and placement.

The cost of child care

Child care is an expense you should plan for very early, even before delivery, because of the logistics and costs. “Some places have a waiting list [of six months to a year], which is something you need to get ahead of if you plan to send your children to day care,” Burns said. According to the annual Care.com Cost of Care survey, “the average weekly cost for an infant child is $211 for a day care center, $195 for a family care center and $580 for a nanny.”

Start looking for options early to compare costs and secure your child a spot at a place you trust. To help with expenses, you may be able to claim the child and dependent care credit. The tax credit ranged from 20% to 35% of eligible care expenses. You may also be able to take advantage of a dependent care flexible savings account (DCFSA) option, which is an account with tax perks offered by some employers. A tax professional can help you devise a tax plan that’s most beneficial given your household size and income.

Understand how much your insurance will cover

The medical expenses listed above for you and the child may be offset by insurance depending on your health care plan. Reviewing your coverage should be at the top of your priority list.

Know the type of plan you have. Understand what’s covered (prenatal and postnatal) and know how your copays, deductibles and coinsurance work. Your provider may be able to give you a rough estimate of how much birth will cost given your health, delivery plan and medications.

Make appointments with the right doctors. Double-check that the providers you plan to use are covered by your insurance plan. Some plans only cover a specific group of doctors. Other plans allow you to see doctors out of network, but it costs you more.

Know how a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) impacts your wallet. High-deductible plans are ones that offer lower premiums. The trade-off is that you have to pay more before insurance kicks in. “If you end up racking up [medical] expenses, you may be paying a lot more out of pocket than you could have with a traditional plan that has a higher premium and lower deductible,” Burns said.

Burns recommends considering your insurance options before having a baby to see which type of plan will benefit you the most. Look at traditional plans to see if there are potential savings. If you have a HDHP, putting money away for medical bills is something you should also prioritize for out-of-pocket expenses. You can use a health savings account (HSA) to save for medical bills. We’ll talk about the HSA below.

What if you don’t have insurance? You may be able to qualify for health care through the marketplace at HealthCare.gov. Families who earn between 100% and 400% of the federal poverty level may qualify for subsidized costs. You can find out if you qualify here. Families who meet low-income limits may also be eligible for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Review your savings options

There are several accounts you can consider to save up for prenatal costs, delivery expenses and other baby needs as they grow. Some of these saving methods even have tax benefits.

Put away cash in an HSA if you have an HDHP. HSA accounts are only for high-deductible insurance plan holders. HSAs are triple tax-exempt, according to Burns. “You can put money into this account tax-free, it can grow tax-deferred and you can take money out of it without paying taxes either,” Burns said.

Your account must be used for qualifying medical related expenses such as prescriptions, medical care and dental care. You can carry over a balance in your HSA from year to year. Funds can be used for you, your spouse and dependents. The maximum you can deposit into an HSA for 2018 is $3,450 for individuals and $6,900 for families. Learn more about HSA accounts here.

Save in a medical flexible spending account (FSA). FSAs are accounts typically established by your employer to help pay for medical costs. Money contributed to the account by you or your employer is not taxed. Money from the account is meant to reimburse you for eligible medical expenses. The 2018 contribution limit for the FSA is $2,650 per year. Unlike the HSA, there’s a use-it-or-lose-it policy for the year unless your plan has a grace period or carryover provision. Learn more about the medical FSA here.

Use a DCFSA. The DCFSA is another account offered by some employers where you can put in pretax dollars to cover eligible child care expenses for children younger than 13. Eligible expenses may include before- and after-school care, baby-sitting and nanny expenses, day care and summer camp. If you are married and filing a separate return, you may be able to contribute up to $2,500 per year in this account. The contribution limit is $5,000 per household.

Open up a high-yield savings account. For other savings, a simple high-yield savings account could be the right place to put money away. A regular high-yield savings account doesn’t have the same tax perks, but you can get a higher return on your cash.

“The interest rates of most brick-and-mortar banks that you’ll have in your town aren’t that great. [An interest rate of] less than half a percent is what I’ve seen, but there are some online savings account options that offer higher,” Burns said.

You can check out some of the best online savings accounts here. Account APYs on some of the highest yield savings accounts range from 1.80% to 5.12%.

Make a family leave plan with your employer

Coming up with a family leave plan is another factor to consider when weighing your financial options. You need to know how long your job will allow you to be on leave and how much you’ll get paid.

“[Some employers] say they’ll give you family leave of, let’s say, three months, but they’re only going to pay you for the first three weeks,” Burns said. Having a spouse go unpaid after having a baby can cause financial strain. Adjust your budget beforehand and bump up your savings to make up for any loss in income you may experience.

Save for education costs

Education costs may not be at the top of your mind when you’re waiting for the water to break, but the earlier you plan, the less financial burden you’ll encounter when it’s time for your children to go off to school. “Every dollar saved is one less dollar borrowed,” Furubotten-LaRosee said.

Savings may not cover the entire cost of tuition or college, but at least it’s something. “You could save in a traditional brokerage account. Because it’s long term, you have 18 years to invest in some blend of stocks and bonds that you’re comfortable with,” Furubotten-LaRosee said.

Here are a few accounts to consider:

Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) and Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA)  accounts: The UGMA and UTMA are both custodial accounts you can use to invest money for your child. Accounts may be made up of mutual funds, stocks and bonds. UTMA accounts can also be used for real estate. You can generally contribute up to $15,000 per year per child without worrying about the gift tax. Couples can contribute up to $30,000 per year per child. The child typically gets access to the funds when they’re between 18 and 21, depending on the state where the account is opened. The money doesn’t have to be used just for school.

529 plan: A 529 plan lets you prepay tuition or set up an investment account with tax benefits for education expenses. Depending on your state, the contributions you make into the savings account may be tax deductible. The withdrawals may also be tax-free as long as the money is used for eligible education expenses. Eligible education expenses include tuition, computers and equipment, room and board, and fees. Up to $10,000 per year from a 529 plan may also be used to pay for tuition at a public, private or religious elementary or secondary school.

Each state has different programs, so you should educate yourself on the type of program offered and its tax perks, Furubotten-LaRosee said. Unlike the UGMA and UTMA account, there are penalties if your child doesn’t use the money for school. The child may pay state and federal taxes on the money, plus a tax penalty of 10%.

There’s a lot to think about financially when having a baby. Adding another person to the family is a lifestyle change. Take a look at your spending and budgeting habits to make room for upcoming expenses for the child, and review the options above to make a smooth transition.

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.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Reviews

Northpointe Bank Reviews: Savings, Checking, CD, Money Market and IRA Accounts

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

Year Established1999
Total Assets$1.0B
LEARN MORE on Northpointe Bank’s secure websiteMember FDIC
Northpointe Bank is a financial institution that got its start 19 years ago. The bank has several physical locations, but still serves customers from anywhere in the U.S. thanks to online banking. At first glance, Northpointe Bank no doubt shines where fees are concerned. There are fee-free checking, savings, money market and IRA savings accounts.The news isn’t as favorable when we looked at the annual yield on those accounts, which puts Northpointe at the middle of the pack when it comes to fee-free, high-interest bank accounts. Banks like Ally Bank, Bank of Internet USA and Synchrony Bank offer higher interest rates on checking and savings accounts with no fees. We’ll get into more detail on where the interest is lacking when we do an evaluation of each product.
Northpointe Bank’s Most Popular Accounts

APY

Account Type

Account Name

Compare Rates from Similar Accounts

1.95%

Savings

Northpointe Bank Ultimate Savings

2.15%

CIT Bank Savings Builder

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2.00%

CD Rates

Northpointe Bank 12 - 17 Month CD

2.55%

Goldman Sachs Bank USA High-yield 12 Month CD

on Goldman Sachs Bank USA’s secure website

Member FDIC

1.75%

CD Rates

Northpointe Bank 36 - 47 Month CD

2.85%

Synchrony Bank 36 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

2.55%

CD Rates

Northpointe Bank 60+ Month CD

3.10%

Barclays 60 Month Online CD

on Barclays’s secure website

Member FDIC


Northpointe Bank savings account options

Ultimate Savings

The Ultimate Savings account has no monthly service fee or minimum deposit requirement.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.12% APY

$0.01-$2,499.99

1.95% APY

$2,500-$99,999.99

1.12% APY

$100,000-$999,999,999

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $29

The Ultimate Savings account comes with online banking capabilities and offers a decent amount of interest on your savings. One thing the Ultimate Savings account does not come with is an ATM card. Northpointe Bank can give you a free ATM card if you ask for it, but you won’t get a fee reimbursement on the account if you get charged ATM fees from other banks. A lack of ATM refund fees isn’t such a deal breaker in this case. The savings account is intended for saving and not regular transactions. You should be depositing more money than you’re withdrawing at an ATM anyway.

Any transaction you make per month past six may incur a fee, which is standard for this type of account. Under Regulation D, the Federal Reserve sets guidelines for how many transactions financial institutions are allowed to offer you on accounts designated for saving.

Banks may dissuade you from making more than the allotted six transactions by charging a fee or downgrading your account from savings to checking. Be mindful of your transactions throughout the month so you can batch withdrawals and avoid the excessive transaction fee. They’ll charge $15 for excessive transactions.

Taking into consideration the transaction limit, you’ll benefit the most from the Northpointe Bank Ultimate Savings account if you plan to put away cash you won’t be moving often. For example, rainy-day savings that you rarely dip into can find a nice home in the Ultimate Savings account. On the other hand, a checking account is likely a better option if you need to transfer money in and out frequently.

You can complete the entire application for the Ultimate Savings account online. You’ll need to have basic information like your name, address and identifying documents, such as your driver’s license to move forward.

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Kid’s Savings

The Kid’s Savings account boasts a high interest rate, but can’t be opened online. Plan to call customer service or visit a physical location to open an account for your minor.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.50% APY

Up to $1,000

1.11% APY

$1,000+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: No card
  • ATM fee refunds: No card
  • Overdraft fees: $29

The Northpointe Bank Kid’s Savings account has a two-tier interest rate offer. This account for kids actually has the highest interest rate of their basic savings accounts. It does not come with an ATM card.

The same Federal Reserve Regulation D transaction rule applies here as with other savings accounts. Your child’s account will be charged a fee if you do over six outgoing transactions in a month.

Northpointe Bank Kid’s Savings accounts are for minors up to 18 years old.

The Kid’s Savings account is one of the accounts that you can’t set up online with Northpointe Bank. You must call to complete the application or visit a local branch.

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Health Savings Account (HSA)

A Health Savings Account is a savings account with tax benefits that people with a high-deductible health plan can use to stash away cash for health expenses.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.50% APY

$0

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: None
  • Overdraft fees: $29

The benefit of opening an HSA for medical expenses is that contributions reduce your taxable income.

Tax benefits are a clear pro for this account. The Northpointe Bank Health Savings Account is interest-bearing as well — and free. An HSA debit card will be given to you, which makes it convenient to pay medical expenses whenever necessary.

There are some guidelines for this and any other HSA account. You can only sign up for the HSA if you have a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). According to the IRS, 2018 HDHP accounts are generally those that have a deductible of at least $1,350 for individuals and $2,700 for a family.

You can contribute up to $3,450 into an HSA for yourself and $6,850 for a family. Thankfully, this isn’t a use-it or lose-it situation. You can roll over your HSA money into another year. Be aware that they charge a steep $50 fee to transfer your HSA funds to an account with a different bank.

Anyone who qualifies for an HSA account should at least review what it has to offer. Making contributions now can come in handy when you hit retirement. You can use money contributed to the HSA account on qualified medical costs including premiums, medical services, equipment, transportation and long-term care.

Review IRS guidelines carefully before withdrawing cash from the HSA account. You can encounter tax penalties if you don’t use the account properly.

The Northpointe Bank Health Savings Account is one you can apply for online. You select the option to open an account at the top of the page. There’s a choice to select the Health Savings Account further into the application.

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How Northpointe Bank’s saving accounts compare

First in this review we took a look at all three of the Northpointe Bank savings accounts. The question now is, how do they stack up against the competition overall? The Kid’s Savings account is leading the pack with the highest interest rate.

The Ultimate Savings account for adults isn’t quite as “ultimate” as it could be. The bottom line is, you can get better rates on savings accounts elsewhere. There’s stiff competition when it comes to online-only savings accounts.

Northpointe Bank checking account options

Interest Checking

The Interest Checking account requires a pretty high balance to earn a so-so interest rate.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.00% APY

Up to $2,499.99

0.15% APY

$2,500 - $24,999.99

0.25% APY

$25,000 - $99,999.99

0.30% APY

$100,000+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $2,500
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: Up to $15
  • Overdraft fees: $29

Northpointe Bank Interest Checking comes with online and mobile banking capabilities. The account also has a wide interest rate spread depending on your balance. You can look forward to getting reimbursed up to the monthly limit if you use ATMs from other financial institutions.

For other fees, the Interest Checking account has an overdraft fee ($29), which isn’t unusual for a checking account. Keep tabs on your balance, and you won’t run into much trouble here. One thing to remember for this and any other checking account is that financial institutions are prohibited from overdrafting your account unless they get your consent. They can get your consent by explaining the terms in the disclosure documents.

When you attempt to make a transaction that will overdraft your account, some banks will cover the balance and charge a fee. The overdraft is essentially a courtesy — the institution is covering the transaction for you because you didn’t have the cash. Northpointe mentions in their disclosure agreement that they may honor withdrawal requests at their discretion that will put you into overdraft and a fee can be assessed.

The alternative is that some banks will just decline the transaction resulting in no fee. Of course, the no-fee course of action is ideal. Northpointe also has an option where you can connect your checking to savings to avoid overdraft fees.

You must be able to maintain the daily balance necessary to earn interest from the Interest Checking account. You won’t earn interest otherwise, and your money should always be working for you when it’s sitting in an account.

You can apply online for this account right from their website. You’ll need to provide identifying documents, such as your government-issued ID.

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Free Checking

No fees or minimum balance required; no interest earned either.
  • Minimum opening deposit: $100
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fees: None
  • ATM fee refunds: Up to $15
  • Overdraft fees: $29

The Northpointe Bank Free Checking account is an all around free account. You even get ATM reimbursement up to a limit when you get charged from other banks.The lack of fees is great news. The lack of interest is where the news isn’t so great. There are just too many other online bank accounts at this point that offer you no fees with interest for you to go with this option.

The Free Checking account is also one of the many accounts that you can sign up for online through their website.

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How Northpointe Bank’s checking accounts compare

Northpointe Bank’s checking accounts overall leave much to be desired in interest. Competitors offer higher rates and require a lower minimum daily balances on checking accounts. The Interest Checking account which does offer interest makes you maintain a pretty high average daily balance to get any reward for being an account holder.

Northpointe Bank CD rates

Fixed Rate CDs

Northpointe Bank has fixed-rate, fixed-term CDs with decent interest rates, although not the highest around. The CD requires a high balance to earn APY, watch out for this piece of fine print.

Term

APY

7-91 Days

0.30% APY

92-182 Days

0.90% APY

6-11 Months

1.00% APY

12-17 Months

2.00% APY

18-23 Months

2.05% APY

19 Month CD Special

2.30% APY

24-29 Months

2.10% APY

30-35 Months

1.65% APY

35 Month CD Special

2.50% APY

36-47 Months

1.75% APY

48-59 Months

2.25% APY

60+ Months

2.55% APY

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $1,000
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • CD term 7 to 179 days — 30 days’ interest penalty
    • CD term 180 to 364 days — 60 days’ interest penalty
    • CD term 1 to 3 years — 90 days’ interest penalty
    • CD term 3 to 5 years — 180 days’ interest penalty
    • CD term 5 years or more — 365 days’ interest penalty

A CD or certificate of a deposit is a place to park your money for a set period where it earns fixed interest. After it matures, you have a certain amount of time to withdraw that money before the account renews. Pay close attention to the minimum balance to earn APY here; a much higher balance is required to earn APY than is necessary to simply open the account.

Always remember that a CD account is a place to put money that you don’t regularly need because the cost of early withdrawal can be pricey. There are pros and cons to locking into a fixed rate. You’re in the clear if rates should decrease. Your money will continue to earn the interest rate you signed up for initially. On the other hand, you’re stuck with your CD rate until the end of the term if APY increases.

You’ll get the most from their CD account the longer you keep it in. The short-term CD rates are nothing to write home about, and are probably not worth the hassle of opening. Take a closer look and you’ll see that currently, a regular Northpointe Bank Ultimate Savings account beats the Northpointe Bank CD rate until the 12-month mark.

There’s a link to apply for CDs online but the option may not be available when you’re asked to choose the type of account you want to open. In this case, you can just call them to open the account.

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How Northpointe Bank’s CD rates compare

The interest rates at Northpointe Bank being less than stellar is a common piece of feedback so far in this review. The CD rates are no different. Their rates are lower than the CD rates you can get from other financial institutions. Other accounts let you deposit a lower balance while still earning interest as well.

Northpointe Bank Money Market rates

Liquid Money Market account

The Liquid Money Market account doesn’t come with an ATM card, but you can purchase checks.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.20% APY

Up to $2,499.99

0.25% APY

$2,500 - $24,999.99

0.40% APY

$25,000 - $99,999.99

0.50% APY

$100,000+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $1,000
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: No Card
  • ATM fee refund: No Card
  • Overdraft fee: $29

If you’re looking for a money market account with an ATM card, this isn’t going to be your first choice. The account has no monthly maintenance fee though, which is a plus.

Keep in mind, there’s a limit to how many transactions you can make with this account as well. The limit is six transactions due to government regulations. Surpass six transactions and you’ll be charged a $15 fee per item. Take care to avoid this and you can enjoy this account with no fees.

The Liquid Money Market account may be a good place to put savings that you need to have easily accessible because you can use checks. Be mindful of the starting minimum balance required.

The Liquid Money Market account is another one offered by this bank that you can open online. You need to have the minimum deposit ready to get started.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Northpointe Bank’s Money Market account compares

Northpointe Bank’s Liquid Money Market account has an interest rate spread that’s not in line with competitors — it’s lower. Other money market accounts available also let you deposit less cash initially. If having an ATM card is important to you, then there are better options for you.

Northpointe Bank IRA accounts

IRA CD Rates

The IRA CD is a secure investment option to stash some retirement cash.

Term

APY

7-91 Days

0.30% APY

92-182 Days

0.90% APY

6-11 Months

1.00% APY

12-17 Months

2.00% APY

18-23 Months

2.05% APY

19 Month CD Special

2.30% APY

24-29 Months

2.10% APY

30-35 Months

1.65% APY

35 Month CD Special

2.50% APY

36-47 Months

1.75% APY

48-59 Months

2.25% APY

60+ Months

2.55% APY

  • Minimum opening deposit: $500 for fixed IRA CDs and $1,000 for IRA special CDs
  • Minimum balance to earn APY: $500 for fixed IRA CDs and $1,000 for IRA special CDs
  • Early withdrawal penalty:
    • CD term 7 to 179 days — 30 days’ interest penalty
    • CD term 180 to 364 days — 60 days’ interest penalty
    • CD term 1 to 3 years — 90 days’ interest penalty
    • CD term 3 to 5 years — 180 days’ interest penalty
    • CD term 5 years or more — 365 days’ interest penalty

Northpointe Bank’s IRA CDs offer a wide spread of interest rates that get higher the longer you keep money in the account. The minimum balance listed above to open the account is less than the balance required to earn APY. Be sure to put at minimum the balance necessary to earn APY. Withdrawing money from an IRA before you reach the age of 59 ½ can cost you a pretty penny in income tax and other penalties.

You must keep your money in the IRA CD account for the entire term to avoid a penalty from Northpointe Bank and the IRS. There is one exception for IRA early withdrawal penalties: You may catch a break if you have to withdraw money for hardship or medical expenses. Even with the possible loopholes for IRS related penalties, people who will benefit from the IRA CD the most are those who will leave the money in for the entire period. Keep in mind, the maximum you can deposit into an IRA for 2018 is $5,500 (or $6,500 if you’re 50 or older).

The IRA CD is a savings vehicle for retirement that earns a set amount of interest for an assigned period. An IRA CD may be the right addition to your retirement plan if you’re looking for a safe and predictable place to put your savings.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

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How Northpointe Bank’s IRA CD rates compares

Most of Northpointe Bank’s products have lower interest rates than competitors. Again, the IRA CD account is no exception. Competitors offer comparably higher fixed interest rates for the shorter term IRA CDs. You can also find IRA CDs that let you earn better rates with a lower balance.

Liquid IRA Savings

A place with potential tax benefits to put your retirement savings. IRS penalties can apply if you withdraw early.

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.20%

Up to $2,499.99

0.25%

$2,500 - $24,999.99

0.40%

$25,000 - $99,999.99

0.50%

$100,000+

  • Minimum opening deposit: $0
  • Monthly account maintenance fee: $0
  • ATM fee: No Card
  • ATM fee refund: No Card
  • Overdraft fee: $29

The IRA Liquid Savings account is another place to put cash for retirement that comes with potential tax benefits.

The IRA CD we discussed above has fixed interest for a fixed term. The Liquid IRA Savings account does not have a fixed interest rate or term. The rate can change at any time. The Regulation D six transactions per month limit applies here as well. Go over six transactions per month and you’ll encounter a $15 fee per item.

Ultimately, money you contribute to an IRA is money you don’t plan to touch until retirement age to avoid penalties. Retirement could be years or even decades away for you. The interest rate on this account is pretty low if your money is going to be baking for quite a while. An IRA CD would probably be a better option to consider if you prefer to put some of your nest egg in a place that’s low risk.

The Liquid IRA Savings account is one that you can’t apply for online. You can call the bank to set up this account instead.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

Member FDIC

Our overall review of Northpointe Bank

Northpointe Bank gets high marks with its lack of fees, the variety of account offerings and user experience. The lack of fees on most accounts is a highlight for a bank that happens to have several physical locations across the country. And if you’re not located near a branch, you can apply for many of the accounts online from your own home.The accounts that can’t be applied for online can be done over the phone. Someone who wants to be loyal to one bank will likely benefit the most from doing business with Northpointe since there are so many account types available. You can fulfill all of your banking needs in one place.

The interest rates are where Northpointe Bank doesn’t quite stack up against the competition. The highest rate for a basic savings account is offered to kids. There’s nothing remarkable about the adult account rates that should sway you to bank here instead of other online banks that also have no fees and top-notch online services.

Thanks to online banking, there are too many options for you to settle on just any old account.

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

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Best of, Reviews

10 Best NO ANNUAL FEE Rewards Credit Cards of October 2018

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

There are an abundance of no fee rewards credit cards available, so how do you best determine which one to keep in your wallet? Most earn a measly 1% on your spending, while others have no rewards at all. To help, we’ve dug deep into our database of thousands of rewards cards to find the very best no annual fee rewards credit cards of 2018 for each category.

While you might find rewards credit cards with an annual fee can give you the best rewards, we’re sticking to no fee cards that are available even if you don’t have truly excellent credit (good credit should be fine for most of these).

The first cards we list here offer unlimited double rewards on everything you purchase, while the remaining offer 3% or better rewards on spending in popular categories so you can mix and match to maximize your rewards, or they offer the chance for better earning if you use your rewards for travel.

1. Double Rewards on Everything, NO FEE – Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

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Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Regular Purchase APR
15.49% - 25.49%* (Variable)
Annual fee
$0*
Rewards Rate
Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Citi offers you rewards twice. First, you Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay. All with a $0* annual fee and no spending cap. This lets you earn rewards twice as good as standard reward cards. Read our review for more details on the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer.

If you like to maximize things and want to earn more rewards in special spending categories, consider pairing this with one of the no fee cards we list below.

2. Honorable Mention: Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card, $0 ANNUAL FEE

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

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on Fidelity’s secure website

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases.

The Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card provides a $0 annual fee and unlimited 2% cash back on everyday purchases. Only if you deposit the cash you earn into a Fidelity account. But you don’t need to have any stocks or investments to have an account. Fidelity has no fee cash accounts where you can deposit your rewards, then withdrawal when you’re ready to spend. Be aware this card is designed for people with excellent credit, while the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer might be easier to get.

Both cards offer you the flexibility to earn double rewards on anything you purchase; so either one of these is a nice addition to a rewards strategy. The advantage of the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card over the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is that its foreign transaction fees are just 1% versus 3% for the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. But setting up the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card and rewards is more cumbersome than the dead simple Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. Read our review of the Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

If you want to earn more than 2% rewards here’s a rundown of the best no fee rewards credit cards that earn 3% or more in the most popular categories. You can click on each category for our take and details:

  • Rotating 5% categories: Chase Freedom®, Discover it® Cash Back, Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union
  • Restaurant spending: Uber Visa Card – 4%
  • Travel spending: AAA Member Rewards Visa® Card – 3%
  • Gas spending: Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card – 5%
  • Grocery shopping: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express – 3% (up to $6,000 of spend annually, then 1%), Golden 1 Credit Union Platinum Rewards – 3%

And if you’re interested in traveling, here are the best no fee rewards credit card deals:

If you like to dig, we also have a complete (and long) list of cards that earn more than 3% on purchases in many more special categories, including cards with an annual fee.

3. Restaurant Spending: Uber Visa Card – 4% Rewards, NO FEE

Uber Visa Card

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The information related to Uber Visa Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Uber Visa Card

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 25.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else.

If you frequently dine out, the Uber Visa Card offers a great 4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else. To learn more about the Uber Visa Card, check out our review.

4. Travel Spending: AAA Member Rewards Visa® Card – 3% Rewards, NO FEE

AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Card

The information related to AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

AAA Member Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.24%-25.24% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3 points for eligible travel & AAA purchases, 2 points on gas, grocery store, and drugstore purchases, and 1 point per $1 for all other purchases.

No need to be an AAA member to take advantage of this rewards card. You earn points when you shop at travel merchants including airlines, car rental agencies, hotels, cruise lines and travel agencies. You earn 3 points for eligible travel & AAA purchases, 2 points on gas, grocery store, and drugstore purchases, and 1 point per $1 for all other purchases. Learn about the AAA Member Rewards Visa® Card here.

5. Gas Spending: Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card – 5% Rewards

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

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on Fort Knox Federal’s secure website

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Regular Purchase APR
11.25% - 18.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn an unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Spend a lot of cash at the pump? The Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card lets you Earn an unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all other purchases. Anyone can join the Fort Knox Credit Union by becoming a member of the American Consumer Council for $5.

6. Supermarket Shopping: Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express – 3% Rewards

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express offers 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. Read our review of the card for more detail.

7. Honorable Mention: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card – 5% at Whole Foods Market

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

The information related to Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 23.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

If you frequently buy groceries at Whole Foods Market, the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card earns a great rate on your purchases there. You Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. This cash back program is very competitive and earns loyal Amazon and Whole Foods Market shoppers great rewards. Keep in mind that while there is no annual fee, this card requires a Prime membership — annual plans cost $99 or $49 for students.

5% Cash Rewards in Rotating Categories: NO FEE

Cards with a rotating reward program can give you 5% cash rewards with no annual fee, but you’re limited to spending in special categories each quarter and there’s a cap on how much spending earns the 5%. You also have to opt into the 5% cash back rewards program each quarter.

8. Chase Freedom® – 5% in rotating categories, $0 ANNUAL FEE

Chase Freedom®

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Check out our review for more benefits of the Chase Freedom®.

9. Discover it® Cash Back – 5% in rotating categories, $0 ANNUAL FEE

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.

With the Discover it® Cash Back, earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases. You can redeem your cash back for any amount at any time. And your cash back never expires. Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched. – only for new cardmembers. Our review explains the other features of this card.

10. Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union – 5% in rotating categories, NO FEE

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

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on Nusenda ’s secure website

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Regular Purchase APR
10.75% - 14.75% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter).

Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter). This quarter, cardholders will earn cash back on restaurants, hotels and airfare purchases. There’s a cash back cap of $1,500 per quarter. Anyone can join the Nusenda Credit Union by donating $10 to the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance; contact a customer representative for details. The advantage of this card is that its categories tend to be more broad, and not store-specific like those on the Chase Freedom® and Discover it® Cash Back, so it’s a great way to get you closer to 5% rewards on everything you spend.

If you’re going to go through the effort of enrolling in a rewards program, consider all three cards to see which categories will benefit you the most. But, if you’re looking for freedom to spend without restrictions, sticking with the Citi® Double Cash Card may be your best simple bet.

Honorable mentions for travelers

No foreign transaction fees with plain cash back: Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months – 1.5% Rewards

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months

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on Capital One’s secure website

Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months

Regular Purchase APR
14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Card - 0% Intro APR for 15 Months gives you 1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day. And like all Capital One credit cards, there are no foreign transaction fees. Even though you earn less rewards than the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer or Fidelity American Express, this card is a better option for your international spending, since you avoid fees of 1 to 3%. To learn more, read our review.

Real airline miles: The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express is a $0 annual fee rewards credit card that earns Amex Membership Rewards® points, which you can turn into real airline miles with several airlines, including Delta SkyMiles®, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club, JetBlue True Blue, and Virgin America Elevate. It’s the only no annual fee card you can apply for online that can net you real Delta SkyMiles®. When you want to convert points to Delta miles, just go to the Amex site, and transfer your points to Delta or the other participating airline programs any time. Read our review for more information.

Beyond the rewards program, The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has the longest 0% intro period for purchases of any no-fee travel card on this list at intro 0% for 15 Months (after, 14.74%-25.74% Variable APR). This gives you the opportunity to not only pay for new purchases over the course of many months without accruing interest, but also earn rewards on those purchases that can be redeemed in a wide variety of ways, like the real airline miles mentioned earlier.

The information related to The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Points for travel on any airline: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

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on Bank Of America’s secure website

Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer

Regular Purchase APR
16.99% - 24.99% Variable APR
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card - 25,000 Bonus Points Offer allows you to Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases, and you can use the points to erase travel purchases from your statement. Every 10,000 points is worth $100 when you use them for travel, so each point is worth one cent. Where the card gets interesting is if you’re a Bank of America customer with a checking, savings, or IRA account. If you are, you’ll get a 10% bonus on what you earn each year, so the card effectively earns you 1.65x points per dollar. Even better, if you’re a Platinum level member of Bank of America® Preferred Rewards (which you get by keeping a lot of your money with them), you can earn up to 2.625x points per dollar, which is an incredible deal. There are also no foreign transaction fees to worry about.

How can you get the most value from a rewards credit card?

In order to best benefit from no annual fee rewards credit cards, follow these tips:

  • Narrow your focus: Before choosing a no annual fee rewards credit card (or cards), take a look at your budget and several months’ worth of bank statements. Then, pick cards that’ll offer you the most cash back for things you already buy. You shouldn’t change your spending habits to match a rewards program.
  • Give your rewards cards a job: Don’t spread out your spending onto too many cards without a purpose or you risk making less cash back overall. Choose a few cards and assign them a job so you know what purchases to make on each one to maximize your cash back.
  • Don’t get overzealous: Rewards shouldn’t justify overspending, especially if you’re struggling with debt. It’s a reward for making legitimate purchases. After all, you won’t make enough back to put a big dent in your monthly statement. For instance, $2,500 spent on the Fidelity American Express card equals a $50 deposit. It’s a great perk, but it shouldn’t be your sole reason for buying something.
  • Read the fine print: Understand the implications of each rewards program. For the rotating category cards, you get a huge amount of cash back, but you’ll have to strategize your spending each quarter to earn it. And you have to enroll into the program by the deadline to qualify. Set a reminder on your smartphone or calendar if necessary. You don’t want to miss out on a cash back category for an entire quarter.

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.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Best of, Earning Cashback

10 Best 5% Cash Back Credit Cards for October 2018

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

Cash Back Credit Cards for 2017
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Credit card reward programs come in so many varieties that it can be difficult find the best cards for your spending habits. A basic, flat-rate card that earns you a certain percentage cash back on all purchases is probably the simplest bet out there. Typically, rates range from 1-2%. Not shabby, especially if you use that card exclusively. But it’s not exactly something to call home about either.

There are even better cash back rewards offerings out there, some as high as 5%. But with these high rewards cards, there’s almost always a catch. Most of the cards don’t offer 5% cash back across the board. Every few months, they pick a few select shopping categories that can earn 5% cash back. Once those few months are up, the categories change. For example, a card could offer 5% cash back on groceries, gas and airfare from January to March, then switch those categories to whole sale stores, restaurants and gyms from April to June.

Additionally, there are sometimes caps on how much of your spending can qualify for the 5% reward. So if the cap is $1,500, for example, everything past that amount won’t qualify.

The key to maximizing these great cash back card offers is to find the cards that offer cash back in categories you use the most. We can help there.

We dug around and found 10 cards that offer at least 5% cash back in some of the most common spending categories including: gas, groceries and entertainment.

Access to Bonus 5% Categories: Chase Freedom®

Chase Freedom®

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on Chase Bank’s secure website

Chase Freedom®

Regular Purchase APR
16.74% - 25.49% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

How it works: The Chase Freedom® card lets you Earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined purchases in bonus categories each quarter you activate. Enjoy new 5% categories every 3 months. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. This translates to a maximum return of $75 per quarter on the 5% bonus category. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases outside of the bonus categories. You can also Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

The 5% categories change every quarter.

Another area where the Chase Freedom® shines is in how it allows customers to redeem their rewards. The cash you’ve earned converts into Chase Ultimate Rewards® points. Every $1 equals 100 points. You can easily use the cash and apply it to your monthly statement. Or you can convert them into points and use them on travel, gift cards, merchandise, and other services through the Chase Freedom® rewards dashboard.

They make it super simple to redeem points on the go through the Chase Freedom® Mobile app. While you’re shopping, you can pick the merchant from the list on of eligible merchants on your app (popular ones include Nike, Regal Cinemas, Lowe’s, Starbucks and Best Buy). Then tell the app how much cash you want to use. You’ll get a custom e-gift card that you can present at checkout to pay for your purchases.

chasefreedommobileapp

Plus, you can stack the points earned on your Chase Freedom® card with your points on other Chase rewards cards, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card. That just increases the spending power of your points.

The Fine Print: You can’t beat 5% cash back for your spending, especially with no annual fee. The downside is you have to remember to activate the category each quarter by subscribing to the program. But, if you set a reminder to do so, you can earn money without too much effort.

The Original 5% Cash Back Card: Discover it® Cash Back

Discover it® Cash Back

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on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

Discover it® Cash Back

Regular APR
13.99% - 24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.

How it works: With the Discover it® Cash Back you earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. ($1,500 of spend). You need to activate every quarter to get the 5% cash back rate. All other purchases get 1% cash back.

Earn 5% cash back in these categories through the end of 2018:

  • January to March: Gas stations and wholesale clubs
  • April to June: Grocery Stores
  • July to September: Restaurants.
  • October to December: Amazon.com and Wholesale Clubs

Using your rewards: Cash back from the Discover it® Cash Back is tracked in dollars and cents. You can immediately apply your cash back earnings to your bank account or as a statement credit toward your bill (note: your minimum payment will still be due).There’s also no minimum rewards value if you want to redeem them for charitable donations.

The fine print: You can only earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 of spend each quarter you activate. Once you’ve hit that cap, you’ll earn 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases.. This adds up to a $75 maximum return on your rotating bonus categories. There is no annual fee.

Extra perks: As an Intro Offer, Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.

Best for Gas and Restaurants in 2018: Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

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on Nusenda ’s secure website

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Regular Purchase APR
10.75% - 14.75% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter).

How it works: The Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union lets you Earn 3 bonus points, or 5% cash back, respectively, for every dollar they spend on purchases for movies, restaurants, and home improvements (up to $1,500 per quarter). Notably, it offers both gas and restaurants in two quarters. As a bonus New card holders earn 10,000 bonus points for $500 in purchases during first 90 days.

Earn 5% cash back in these categories through the end of 2018:

  • January to March: Groceries and gas expenses.
  • April to June: Movies, restaurants and home improvement.
  • July to September: Gas and education expenses.
  • October to December: Restaurants, hotels, and airfares.

Using your rewards: This offer stands out as a decent companion card for maximizing cash back. When coupled with the Chase Freedom® or Discover it® Cash Back, you can maximize cash back in different areas during one quarter.

For an example, you can turn to the Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union for 5% on gas and school expenses in Q3. Then pull out the Discover it® Cash Back for dining out for another 5% the same quarter.

The Fine Print: Once again, you’ll need to monitor your spending habits to get the most cash back from a revolving category card. If you choose to use this card along with another one, a good practice would be labeling the cards in your wallet to ensure you use the right one for the right purchases in a given quarter.

One final caveat: While there is no annual fee, Nusenda is a credit union, so you will have to go through the process of applying for membership.

Pick Your Own Cash Back Categories: U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

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on US Bank’s secure website

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.99%-24.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% cash back on your first $2,000 in combined eligible net purchases each quarter on two categories you choose, 2% cash back on one everyday category, like gas or groceries and 1% cash back on all other net purchases.

How it works: The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card has a revolving cash back program that’s unique in comparison to the others above because you get options.

Earning cash back: You can earn 5% cash back in two categories of your choosing each quarter limited to the first $2,000 of spend. Then you can choose another category with no cap to earn 2% cash back. On all other purchases, you earn 1% cash back.

The categories for an unlimited 2% cash back (choose one each quarter) are:

  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores

The categories for 5% cash back up to $2,000 (choose two each quarter) are:

  • Select clothing stores
  • Cell phones
  • Electronic stores
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Bookstores
  • Fast food restaurants
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Department stores
  • Furniture stores
  • Movie theaters

Using your rewards: You can redeem cash back for gift cards, statement credit or a deposit into a U.S. Bank Savings, Checking or Money Market account. The first time you redeem $100 in cash back in a single transaction, you get a $25 Cash+ Bonus.

The Fine Print: Same opt-in revolving category spiel applies here except you must also remember to choose your categories. There is no annual fee. The U.S. Bank Cash+ is another good example of a card you may want to couple with another that gives you higher cash back for necessities i.e. groceries. But, for diverse spenders who can benefit from the 5% category options, the U.S. Bank Cash+ is worth considering.

Ideal for Typical Business Expenses: SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express

How it works: The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express* gives 5% cash back on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and U.S. office supply stores, 3% cash back on the category of your choice from a list of eight, 1% cash back on other purchases. 5% and 3% apply to the first $50,000 in purchases per calendar year, then 1% applies thereafter. The eight categories are**:

  • Airfare purchased directly from airlines
  • Hotel rooms purchased directly from hotels
  • Car rentals purchased from select car rental companies
  • U.S. gas stations
  • U.S. restaurants
  • U.S. purchases for advertising in select media
  • U.S. purchases for shipping
  • U.S. computer hardware, software, and cloud computing purchases made directly from select providers

**Terms and Conditions Apply.

Earning cash back: You have to choose your 3% category within two months of signing. If you don’t choose one, the default is gas stations. The combined annual maximum for the 5% and 3% categories is $50,000. On all other purchases, you get 1% cash back.

Using your rewards: Cash back will appear as a credit automatically on your statement. The SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express card has No annual fee, so you’ll earn cash back with a generous annual maximum of $50,000 (see Rates & Fees).

The Fine Print: You must remember to choose your 3% cash back category every year. If you select one this year and forget to do so next year, you’ll be locked into the same 3% category for another 12 months until you make a switch. There is no annual fee.

*The information related to the SimplyCash® Plus Business Credit Card from American Express has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

5% Cash Back for the Amazon Prime Enthusiast: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

The information related to Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Regular Purchase APR
15.99% - 23.99% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

How it works: The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card is open to Amazon Prime Members, so it’s somewhat exclusive. Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. Buying items on other merchant websites that have the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card payment option enabled will not earn you 5% cash back.

Using your rewards: The cash back you rack up will apply as a credit to your statement.

Do the math: If you’re not already an Amazon Prime Member, it’s probably not worth signing up to become one just for the card unless you intend to spend big bucks on the site or at Whole Foods Market. You need to spend $1,980 per year at Amazon.com for the 5% cash back to cover the $99 annual membership fee.

The Fine Print: The fine print of what you can and can’t buy to earn 5% is the only gotcha here. But, if you shop at Whole Foods Market or on Amazon.com often and stick to the rules, you’ll see a nice return from this card. There’s no annual fee for the card, but you must be an Amazon Prime member, which costs $99 a year ($49 for students).

Good Fit for the Regular Target Shopper: Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

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on Target’s secure website

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Regular Purchase APR
24.65% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
5% at Target & Target.com

How it works: For Target shoppers, there’s the Target REDcard™ Credit Card. It gives you a discount of 5% at Target & Target.com (minus any other discounts or promotions). Purchases that won’t earn 5% cash back include:

  • Target eye exams
  • Target gift cards and prepaid cards
  • Previous purchases
  • Target credit account payments, Target Debit Card cash back and cash advances on the Target MasterCard
  • Gift wrap and shipping and handling on Target.com purchases
  • Wireless protection program purchases and deposits required by mobile carrier

Earning and using rewards: The program is pretty simple as far as how Target gives you money back. Your 5% will apply to eligible purchases in your shopping cart at checkout. In addition to 5% cash back, this program includes free shipping from Target.com and 30 extra days for returns.

The Fine Print: No red flags with the REDcard other than watching out for the purchases excluded from cash back listed above. For faithful Target shoppers, this no annual fee card with the 5% discount may be a no brainer.

Most Straightforward 5% Rewards Card Just for Gas: Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

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on Fort Knox Federal’s secure website

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

Regular Purchase APR
11.25% - 18.00% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn an unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

How it works: The Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card makes our list with the most straightforward, no cap rewards program. You can Earn an unlimited 5% cash back on gas and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Using your rewards: Cash back will appear on your statement as a credit.

The Fine Print: This rewards program is offered by a credit union in Kentucky. You’ll have to take a few extra steps to qualify for membership. If you don’t live in Kentucky or have family in Kentucky, membership is open to anyone that joins the American Consumer Council. There is no annual fee for the card, but you will need to become a member of the credit union.

6% Cash Back for the Heavy Grocery Shopper: Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

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on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.99%-25.99% Variable
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

How it works: The Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express is our top pick for cardholders that want to maximize cash back on groceries. With this card, you get 6% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 3% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.

Welcome offer: $200 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Using cash back: Cash back builds as Rewards Dollars you can redeem for statement credit in increments of $25.

The Fine Print: There is an annual fee of $95 per year.

Only Advantageous for Military Service Members Living On-Base: USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

USAA®Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

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on USAA Bank’s secure website

USAA®Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Regular Purchase APR
13.65% - 27.65% Variable
Annual fee
$0
Rewards Rate
Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

How it works: The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card lets you Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Earning cash back: You Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. You can redeem cash back in increments of $1 through the USAA Rewards Service Center online or over the phone.

The Fine Print: The USAA® Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card is light on the fine print. Just remember, the 5% category yearly maximum is $3,000 for combined gas and military base purchases per year and not per quarter. There is no annual fee.

The Key to Earning from Any Cash Back Card

In closing, regardless of which cash back card you choose, be sure to pay off your bill in full each month. That’s one underlying trap of any card rewards program. If you carry a balance over time, adding interest into the equation means you may end up paying the credit card company more than what you’re making in cash back.

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.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Personal Loans

What Is a Personal Line of Credit?

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

what is a personal line of credit

When you need to borrow money, you may think to borrow a personal loan or get a credit card or home equity line of credit (HELOC). But there’s a lesser-known financing option you may not want to overlook: a personal line of credit.

Don’t confuse a personal line of credit with a credit card. It isn’t a piece of plastic you can whip out and swipe at the grocery store. Instead, it’s a line of credit from which you can draw cash that’s often offered by banks and credit unions to existing customers who meet certain requirements. Here’s what you need to know about this financial product.

What is a personal line of credit?

A personal line of credit is a loan you can use and pay back as needed. The terms of the product can vary from one lender to another.

Interest rates: In most cases, personal lines of credit come with variable interest rates. But they can come with a fixed interest rate. You can find rates starting at around 8%, but they may be as high as 20% or more.

Costs: Aside from the interest rate, personal lines of credit may have other costs. Take care to read through the fine print of the terms for these potential fees:

  • Application fees: This is the cost to apply for the account. Many financial institutions don’t charge for applications, but it’s a good idea to double-check.
  • Annual fees: This is a fee charged each year you have the account. For example, Wells Fargo and TD Bank charge $25 annually for personal lines of credit. Some banks will waive fees as long as you have an open bank account. Check the terms for details.
  • Cash advance fees: This fee may be charged each time you withdraw money from your credit line. Many financial institutions don’t charge this fee.

Credit limits: Credit limits for personal lines of credit can vary. Credit limits can be a few thousand dollars to well over $1 million.

Unsecured vs. secured personal lines of credit: What’s the difference?

As you research personal lines of credit, you’ll find that they can come secured or unsecured. An unsecured personal line of credit doesn’t require collateral. A secured personal line of credit, on the other hand, requires collateral and may be backed by the balance in a savings account, certificate of deposit or investment account.

Collateral reduces the risk for the financial institution lending you money. As a result, secured personal lines of credit generally have lower interest rates.

But a secured line of credit comes with a higher risk to you. If you fail to repay your debt, you could lose your collateral. And you may not have access to the collateral you use to secure the credit line until the debt is repaid.

Where you can find a personal line of credit

Personal lines of credit are marketed less widely than other products, but there are several available from small and large banks and credit unions. The first place to shop for a personal line of credit is the financial institution you use for banking.

Some banks, such as Citibank, only take applications from existing customers. Others, such as Santander Bank and TD Bank, will waive fees for their customers.

The requirements to qualify for a personal line of credit vary from one lender to the next. For a Citibank personal line of credit, you need to have a deposit account with a balance over $500 and a, Citibank mortgage or Citi credit card that’s at least 3 months old.

Some financial institutions may not require you to have a checking account to qualify for a personal line of the credit. Be sure to comparison shop to find a personal line of credit that makes sense for you.

How a personal line of credit works

Obtaining a personal line of credit starts with the application.

The creditor may check your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, credit score and credit history. You may have to turn in pay stubs, W-2s, tax documents and other supporting information for the application. If you already have accounts with the financial institution, it may also dig into the history to see if you have any overdrafts or other signs of misuse that could impact their decision.

Once approved, you get the terms of the agreement to sign at a local branch or online. You will likely get access to the funds within a few days.

To use the credit line, you may be able to:

  • Transfer cash from the credit line into a bank account
  • Get an advance from a physical bank location
  • Write a credit check to yourself or someone else

Some personal lines of credit give you a draw period that lasts a couple of years. During this draw period, you can draw up to the credit limit. After the draw period, the repayment term begins, and you need to pay the money back.

A monthly minimum payment is typically required. Wells Fargo’s minimum payment for an unsecured personal credit line is 1%. The Wells Fargo CD or savings secured personal line of credit has a minimum payment that’s 1/120th of your principal balance. Additional fees may apply.

Some personal lines of credit offer an interest-only payment option. With this repayment option, you’re only required to pay the interest incurred on your credit balance for a certain period. Be careful about getting into the low-cost, interest-only payment trap. Making interest-only payments can lead to much larger payments down the line when you need to start repaying principal and interest.

What can a personal line of credit be used for?

You have the freedom to choose how you use a personal line of credit. You could pay for home repairs, education expenses, unexpected bills or debt consolidation.
The benefit of a personal line of credit is that it can cover unpredictable costs. In comparison, a personal loan gives you a set amount of money with a set repayment period.

Who is a personal line of credit best for?

Personal lines of credit are generally for borrowers who have at least decent credit with some savings socked away.

A solid credit history and savings could qualify you for the best rates and avoid the need for you to put up collateral. But even if you’re opting for an unsecured credit line, a bank may ask to see additional verifiable assets.

Citibank extends its lowest interest rates to elite Citigold and Citi Priority customers or regular account holders with balances of over $200,000. To be a Citigold customer, you must maintain a balance of over $200,000 in eligible accounts. Citi Priority customers must maintain a balance of over $50,000 in checking, retirement and investment accounts at Citibank.

The products above are tailored to high-net-worth clients. Borrowers without six figures in the bank may still be able to qualify for a personal line of credit, but the rate and terms may be less competitive. Compare financial institutions to find which one benefits you the most.

Alternatives to a personal line of credit

Not sure if a personal line of credit is right for you? Consider these alternatives:

Personal loan

A personal loan is an installment loan. You can use the funds from a personal loan for a variety of reasons, from car repairs to medical procedures to weddings. Consolidating debt is a popular reason for taking out a personal loan.

These loans can offer a low fixed interest rate on a fixed term. If you’ve had trouble managing credit lines before, a personal loan gives you a set payment to keep up with until the debt is paid off.

Personal loan amounts can range from about $1,000 to $100,000.

How it works

You can apply for personal loans online through banks, credit unions and online lenders. Each will consider your credit, income and other variables to determine your eligibility for a loan. After you’ve been approved for a loan, the funds will be deposited into your bank account.

Who personal loans are best for

Personal loans are a product for almost anyone. There are personal loans available for people with stellar credit, as well as those who have less-than-perfect credit.

The best interest rates are usually given to borrowers with good to excellent credit scores — generally 640 and above. The good news is you can shop for personal loans to check rates without a hard inquiry for most lenders.

HELOC

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is secured by your home. HELOCs usually have a variable interest rate that can start out fairly low if there’s an introductory period. Be sure to ask about introductory rate expirations and rate caps to get a clear picture of costs.

How it works

HELOCs are offered through banks, credit unions and other lenders. You may be able to borrow up to 80 percent to 90 percent of your home equity value.

When you apply for a HELOC, your credit score, DTI ratio and the amount of equity you have in your home will be considered.

Some HELOC products allow for interest-only payments. That could be a perk if you need to settle other obligations. But it does come with the risk that you could be stuck in debt longer than you’d like.

Often, HELOCs have a draw period where you’re able to use the line of credit as needed. You may be able to renew the credit line after the draw period ends. If you don’t renew it, you’ll no longer be able to draw money and the repayment period will begin.

HELOCs may have closing costs, annual fees and prepayment penalties. Take care to read the interest rate and fee terms to avoid any surprises.

Who it’s best for

A HELOC is going to be best for borrowers who have sufficient equity in their home and decent credit. You may need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify. A score of 680 or above could make it easier to get approved.

Like a personal line of credit, a HELOC is a product for borrowers who have a history managing available credit responsibly. But a HELOC is secured by your home. If you fail to repay your debt, you could lose your house.

If you’re interested in shopping for a HELOC, you can compare products at the LendingTree marketplace. (Note: MagnifyMoney is owned by LendingTree.)

Credit card

A credit card is a form of credit with which you’re probably pretty familiar. A credit card is a line of credit you can use on the fly. Some credit cards also offer rewards for transactions. You could, for instance, get cash back or earn miles toward free flights with a credit card.

Credit cards are offered by banks, credit unions and other financial institutions.

How it works

You can apply for credit cards online within a few minutes. Your financial information will be taken into account, including your credit history. If approved, the credit card issuer will provide you with a variable interest rate, spending limit, and any other fees associated with the card offer.

A minimum payment is due each month on your account. Over time, your rate can rise or fall. Depending on the card for which you apply, you may be responsible for paying an annual fee. Expect to pay fees for late payments and cash advances as well.

Who it’s best for

You can find credit cards for bad credit, but the best rewards programs and rates are reserved for those with excellent scores.

One major advantage to credit cards is sign-up promotions. Some cards offer a cash reward or bonus miles for signing up. You could even score an introductory 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers for periods of 15 to 20 months. Pay off your balance within that promotional period, and you essentially had a no-interest loan.

Credit cards are best for borrowers who are committed to using plastic and paying it off each month. That’s how you avoid interest charges. If you’ve had a problem with credit cards before, adding a new card to the mix may not be the best idea.

Making the right move for your finances

A personal line of credit has its merits. But you should weigh your options carefully. You may find a personal loan, HELOC or credit card is a better fit.

Ultimately, the right product for you will depend on your goals and financial situation. The best way to find the most competitive product for your needs is by shopping around and considering which products and features matter most to you.

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.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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Won’t impact your credit score

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Personal Loans

MoneyLion Personal Loan Review

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

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

MoneyLion
APR

5.99%
To
99.00%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

6 to 36

months

Origination Fee

None

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MoneyLion personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 6 to 36 months
  • APR Range: 5.99% - 99.00% APR
  • Loan amounts: $300 to $35,000
  • Time for Funding: Up to one business day
  • Hard pull/soft pull: MoneyLion 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: $25 to $37.50

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 partners with TransUnion for free credit monitoring. Credit monitoring for users comes with a credit score simulator and scores updated each month.

MoneyLion also offers financial tracking for users where 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.

There’s a rewards program that gives points for using different MoneyLion features, and these points can be redeemed for restaurant and retail gift cards. Downloading the app and signing up for an account gets you 100 rewards points right off the bat. You can also receive points for taking out a MoneyLion loan, enrolling in credit monitoring, making on-time loan payments, and more.

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.

MoneyLion Plus

The MoneyLion Plus membership costs $79 per month, made up of two payments.

One payment of $29 is the membership fee. The remaining $50 is a payment that goes into an investment account for you managed by MoneyLion.

Here are the features you get with MoneyLion Plus:

  • MoneyLion invests your $50 into an investment fund.
  • Loans of $500 at 5.99% APR, even if you have fair credit
  • $1 cashback into your investment account whenever you log into MoneyLion; log into your account daily each month and you could earn enough to cover the $29 monthly fee
  • Other bonus cashback rewards

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 loan product.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Varies

There are a few loan products to review here with slightly different terms and eligibility requirements. The payment schedule for MoneyLion 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.

  • MoneyLion: Allows people with fair to good credit to borrow $1,000 to $35,000. The MoneyLion loan is marketed as an installment loan solution for planned purchases or major emergencies.
  • BetterCash: Those with less-than-stellar credit may borrow between $300 and $10,000 for 6 to 24 months. 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 $79 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 $79 per month, even if $50 is going into an investment account. That $79 would probably serve you better deposited into a liquid emergency fund savings account you can use when emergencies arise. It can take up to seven business days to withdraw cash from the investment account when you need it.

Eligibility requirements

MoneyLion and BetterCash loans are available in the following states: Alabama, California, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin. MoneyLion Plus is available in all states, except Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Vermont and Washington.

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 verifiable bank information to apply.

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 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.
  • Products for both good and bad credit. You can qualify for the MoneyLion 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 extra 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.
  • Expensive loans. An APR of 30% to 99.00% is astronomical, and MoneyLion products may even surpass this rate range into the triple digits. You could find yourself in a never-ending cycle of debt if you use this loan to pay bills. The MoneyLion Plus product with 5.99% APR is touted as the affordable loan. But to get access to this loan, you’ll need to pay $79 monthly for MoneyLion Plus membership — $29 for membership costs and $50 in required investment contributions. If you’re already strapped for cash, $79 monthly could be cumbersome. You can search for other affordable loan products in our roundup here that don’t require a membership.
  • Limited availability. MoneyLion products aren’t available in all states. Refer to the list of states above before applying.
  • Beware of MoneyLion Plus. Only consider the MoneyLion Plus product if you’ll be logging into the account daily, and if you won’t need the cash you’re investing for emergencies. You earn $1 in cashback to your investment account for each day you log in, so this could cancel out the $29 monthly fee. Otherwise, $29 per month ($348 annually) is an extremely high price to pay for membership access to a $500 installment loan and investment product. You can invest with other companies that could manage your account for cheaper. We have a list of robo-advisors in our roundup here.

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

Cost is the biggest disadvantage of this loan. The interest rate range can go from 30% to 99.00% APR or even higher 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 fast 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 other personal loans for various credit profiles.

Alternative personal loan options

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

6.99%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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


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

6.99%
To
14.99%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Fixed rates from 6.99% APR to 14.99% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.26% APR to 13.99% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of October 5, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.26% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.22% plus 4.285% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

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

See Consumer Licenses.

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

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


SoFi has loans from $5,000 to $50,000 — 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. SoFi doesn’t have a credit score minimum, but 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

6.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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


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. Marcus is another loan that doesn’t have 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 600’s 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.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

TAGS: , ,

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

First Midwest Bank Personal Loan Review

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

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

First Midwest Bank
APR

7.42%
To
12.44%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 to 60

months

Origination Fee

$100

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

With locations in Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana, First Midwest Bank is a great option for borrowers that are looking for personal loan and want the comfort of working with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank.... Read More

First Midwest Bank personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 12 to 60 months
  • APR Range: 7.42% to 12.44%
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $25,000
  • Time to funding: Decision can be made within 24 hours; funding can take three business days
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Hard Pull
  • Origination fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: 5% or $10, whichever is greater
  • Other fees: $100 documentation fee

First Midwest Bank is a brick-and-mortar institution that has a personal loan available online with competitive rates and limited fees. This is unique in the online lending space. Often, it’s the online-only lenders with no physical locations that have the best deals on rates and fees — they’re able to pass on the savings from not having the overhead of physical branches.

First Midwest Bank gives you the best of both worlds — affordable loan products and in-person banking support if that’s something you value.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: 680
  • Minimum credit history: Must have good credit to qualify with at least five years of history
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 43%

In order to qualify for a First Midwest Bank loan, you need to:

  • Be at least 18 years or older
  • Be able to provide a current ID
  • Be able to provide a tax identification number or a Social Security number
  • Provide proof of employment or income

The First Midwest Bank lending area includes Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

As mentioned above, First Midwest Bank isn’t in the business of lending money to the subprime market. You need to have good credit or better to qualify. You also need five years or more of credit history. Your credit history should have no bankruptcies, foreclosures, repossessions or other adverse history.

Applying for a personal loan from First Midwest Bank

The application process for First Midwest Bank can be done online or over the phone. Here’s how it works:

Go to the First Midwest Bank website. On the loan page it gives you the option to apply online or to call and speak with a loan specialist.

Provide your information. You’ll be asked identifying information about yourself like your name, age, address and Social Security number. You also need to tell the bank why you need the loan and how much you need.

Wait for a decision and get funding. The decision on your application may be made within 24 hours. The application process and funding of your loan may take three business days, depending on how long it takes you to submit supporting documents for the application.

Pros and cons of a First Midwest Bank personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Low rates. First Midwest Bank has a competitive interest rate range of 7.42% to 12.44% APR. Again, you need to have good credit to qualify — the lowest rates usually go to borrowers with the best credit.
  • Low fees. There’s the $100 documentation fee that you pay at application. Otherwise, there aren’t any fees to worry about here.
  • Manage your loan and bank accounts in one place. If you qualify for a loan, you can choose to handle your other banking needs all in one place because First Midwest Bank is a full-service financial institution. Checking and savings accounts are available through online banking.
  • Quick decisions and funding. A decision on your loan can be made in one day and funding can happen within three business days.
  • Hard Pull: There’s no soft pull prequalification available. You’ll have to go through with the full hard pull in order to apply for a loan.
  • Good credit required. First Midwest Bank is looking for borrowers with good credit of 680 or better. If your credit score is below this range, we have some alternatives that you may be eligible for in our roundup list. We also have some options to consider below.
  • Limited loan amounts. You can borrow between $5,000 to $25,000. If you need to borrow less than $5,000 or more than $25,000, this loan may not be the one for you.
  • Limited service area. You won’t be able to qualify for this loan if you don’t live in a state where First Midwest Bank currently offers service.

Who’s the best fit for a First Midwest Bank personal loan

The First Midwest Bank is going to be best for someone who lives in the bank’s service area and can meet credit history conditions. If you’re eligible, this is one of the most affordable loans around. There are no origination fees or prepayment penalty fees. Interest rates are competitive, and you can get a quick decision. With that said, borrowers who need a large sum of money ($25,000+) may find the loan amounts offered by First Midwest bank restricting.

Keep in mind, this loan does require a hard pull. You cannot get a rate quote from the bank without a hard inquiry. Still, it shouldn’t deter you entirely from the loan. An inquiry could dock your credit score a few points, but taking the temporary hit may be worthwhile if it’s to qualify for a low-cost personal loan. You can learn more about what credit inquiries do to your credit score here.

If your credit score or history doesn’t qualify you for this loan, there are other options to consider that accepts borrowers with credit scores in the low- to mid-600s. You can also review the best online personal loan options for people with different credit profiles here. This list also includes a few lenders that do let you prequalify for a loan with just a soft inquiry.

Alternative personal loan options

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

6.99%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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


Upgrade lets you borrow from $1,000 to $50,000. Unlike First Midwest Bank, there’s an origination fee. However, you can borrow with a lower credit score and there’s a soft pull prequalification process available. The low end of the Upgrade interest rate range is competitive, but the best rates are typically given to those with the best credit. It can take up to four business days to get funding.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

6.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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


Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is a no origination fee loan also with competitive interest rates available. There’s no set minimum credit score requirement, but more than 80% of borrowers last year had a credit score of at least 660, according to Goldman Sachs’ most recent annual report. You can borrow from $3,500 to $40,000. This is another product with a soft pull prequalification available. It can take one to four business days to get funding from this loan.

Avant

Avant
APR

9.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Up to 4.75%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

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


Avant has an interest rate range that starts slightly higher than the competitors on our list, but the qualifying credit score range welcomes those with less than stellar credit. Loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000. You can prequalify with a soft pull here as well. The Avant loan has an origination fee of up to 4.75% to consider when factoring in costs. You can get funding in as little as one business day.

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

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

loanDepot Personal Loan Review

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

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

loanDepot
APR

6.17%
To
29.00%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 5.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LoanDepot is a “nonbank” lender that is the second largest of its kind in the nation.... Read More

loanDepot personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 36 or 60 months
  • APR Range: 6.17% to 29.00%
  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $35,000
  • Time to Funding: Once approved it can take 2 to 3 business days to get money.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: A soft pull is required to do a preapproval.
  • Origination fee: There’s an origination fee of 1.00% - 5.00%, and it’s deducted from the loan funds before you get the money.
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: There’s a $15 fee for late or failed payments. However, loanDepot does give you a 15-day grace period. You get charged the late fee on the 16th day of your payment being late.

loanDepot benefits

loanDepot has a Knowledge Cafe with several educational articles and videos on loan products and personal finance topics to help consumers make informed financial decisions.

In addition to personal loans, loanDepot has such a large mortgage lending division that it’s worth quickly highlighting. loanDepot offers mortgages for new purchases, refinances and home equity loans. Loyal loanDepot mortgage customers also get a special perk called the Lifetime Guarantee. After financing a home with loanDepot, lender fees on subsequent mortgages are waived plus appraisal fees are reimbursed when you refinance.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: 640
  • Minimum credit history: loanDepot will accept borrowers with fair credit or better. The lowest interest rates are given to borrowers with the best credit. loanDepot will look at items including your credit reports, payment history, outstanding debt and scores to make a decision.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: TBD

You need to be at least 18 years old (or 19 years old in Alabama and Nebraska). Applicants need to be U.S. citizens or documented U.S. permanent residents. You must also have verifiable income, a verifiable bank account and a valid email address to apply.

Loan restrictions

There are some state-related restrictions. loanDepot loans are not currently available in West Virginia. All loans in Massachusetts have to be greater than $6,001, and loans in Ohio have to be greater than $5,001.

Here are a few APR restrictions:

  • Residents of Connecticut need to qualify for a rate of less than 12% APR to be considered
  • Residents of New Hampshire who need a loan less than $10,000 have to qualify for an APR of 10% or less to be considered
  • Residents of New York have to qualify for an APR of less than 16% to be considered
  • Residents of Vermont have to qualify for an APR of 12% or less to be considered

Applying for a personal loan from loanDepot

The application process for loanDepot happens in three stages:

Pre-qualify online. Go to the loanDepot website to start the pre-qualification process. This pre-qualification doesn’t affect your credit score. There’s also the option to call a consumer lending specialist to pre-qualify over the phone if you prefer.

Application verification. If you decide to accept a loan offer, you will need to provide more information like your Social Security number, employment information and bank account to go through the verification stage. Verification can take two to three days. This stage is to confirm the information you put in your application. Additional documents may be required like bank statements, W-2s and pay stubs.

Loan funding. The loan will be deposited into your bank account once the application is approved. Loan funding can take two to three business days after verification.

Pros and cons of a loanDepot personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Interest rates are comparable to competitors. Interest rates from loanDepot (6.17% to 29.00% APR) are in line with interest rates from other online lenders. Typically, the very lowest starting rates available are around the 3% to 6% APR range.
  • Fair credit may be accepted. loanDepot does mention that the very best rates are for people with excellent credit. However, there is a chance you could qualify for a loan, albeit with a higher interest rate, if you have fair bordering on good credit.
  • Only a soft pull is required for a rate quote. Lenders who offer a soft pull for a rate check help you shop for the best loan without multiple hard inquiries. You can compare personal loans here; this list notes other lenders who also offer a soft pull.
  • The origination fee. Be mindful of the origination fee here. The 1.00% - 5.00% that loanDepot has is comparable to that of other lenders who charge a fee. With that said, it’s possible to qualify for a personal loan that doesn’t have an origination fee depending on your credit. We’ll cover a no-fee lender below for a comparison.
  • Some state restrictions. loanDepot has limitations for various states. Residents of West Virginia can’t apply for the loanDepot loan at all. Massachusetts and Ohio have limits on loan amounts, and Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York and Vermont have APR restrictions.
  • Limited loan amounts available. You can borrow between $5,000 and $35,000. This may not be the right loan if you need a smaller or larger amount.

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

A loanDepot personal loan is a decent option for those with fair credit or better who need to borrow between $5,000 and $35,000. loanDepot offers terms of 36 or 60 months, giving you a decent amount of time to repay your loan. Interest rates are low and fixed, making this loan one to put at the top of your loan shopping list.

The main drawback is the origination fee especially for people who have above average or excellent credit (740+). People in this range may be able to qualify for a loan that doesn’t have any origination fee at all. A no-fee loan could save you a nice chunk of money. For example, if you borrow $10,000 from loanDepot to consolidate debt, you’ll pay $100 to $500 in fees. Go with a no-fee lender instead and you keep that savings in your pocket.

Fees aside, the funding time for loanDepot could be a week or more. If you need money quickly, you need to turn in all supporting documents for your application promptly because your diligence could speed up the funding process.

Whenever you’re ready to borrow, shop around with multiple lenders. We share some of the top personal loans, including several that have no fees, in our personal loan roundup here.

Alternative personal loan options

LendingClub

LendingClub
APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lender that offers loans of LendingClub to $40,000. Peer-to-peer lending is when you borrow from investors instead of traditional funding sources. Despite the P2P lending aspect, there are many similarities between LendingClub and loanDepot. LendingClub, like loanDepot, is an option for borrowers who have less than perfect credit. You may even be able to qualify for a LendingClub loan with a lower credit score. LendingClub also has an origination fee, and funding can take as much as seven days.

SoFi

SoFi
APR

6.99%
To
14.99%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Fixed rates from 6.99% APR to 14.99% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.26% APR to 13.99% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of October 5, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.26% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.22% plus 4.285% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

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

See Consumer Licenses.

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

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

SoFi is one lender that has no origination fee. There’s no specified minimum credit score. However, SoFi generally lends to borrowers who have at least good credit. You can borrow large amounts from SoFi ($5,000 to $50,000). There are also multiple loan terms to choose from — 36 to 84 months. As an added benefit, SoFi offers loan perks like employment protection if you lose your job.

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

6.99%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

Upgrade is a lender that offers personal loans with a minimum credit score that’s also welcoming to people who have less than perfect credit. Interest rates are competitive like loanDepot. There’s also an origination fee that’s comparable to what loanDepot charges. You can borrow from $1,000 to $50,000 so this could be a better option if you need access to more money.

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.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

TAGS:

Get A Pre-Approved Personal Loan

$

Won’t impact your credit score

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

Upgrade Personal Loan Review

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

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

Upgrade
APR

6.99%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

Upgrade personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 36 or 60-month loan terms are available.
  • APR range: Upgrade offers interest rates from 6.99% to 35.97% APR.
  • Loan amounts: You can borrow from $1,000 to $50,000.
  • Time to funding: You can get funding within four business days after your loan is approved.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: The initial application to check rates only requires a Soft Pull which will not impact your credit. The full verification to approve you for the loan does require a hard pull.

Money from an Upgrade loan can be used to pay off credit card debt, consolidate debt and more.

Loans come with credit monitoring. However, the Upgrade Credit Health summary feature provides an overview of your TransUnion credit report but not a full report of all accounts. The VantageScore 3.0 offered with credit monitoring updates every seven days.

Accounts with Upgrade also have a credit score simulator tool along with weekly credit updates, trend charts and email alerts. Right now, credit monitoring is only open to borrowers. However, Upgrade does plan to eventually open up the credit monitoring product to everyone — borrower or not.

  • Origination fee: One drawback of the Upgrade loan is the origination fee — it can range from 1.00% - 6.00% of your loan amount. And because the fee is deducted from your loan before you receive the funds through a bank deposit, you’ll actually be getting less money than you ask for. Be sure to factor that in before you decide your loan amount.
  • Prepayment fee: Upgrade loans have no prepayment penalty. You can pay off your loan at any time without worrying about a fee.
  • Late payment fee: The late fee is up to $10 and charged if your payment isn’t received within 15 calendar days of your payment due date.
  • Other fees: Returned check payments or failed electronic deposits cost $10 on top of whatever your bank charges for the returned payment.

The big fee that you have to watch out for with Upgrade is the origination fee. The origination fee can take a sizeable chunk out of your loan before you even get any money. Take into consideration this fee when deciding how much money to borrow since it will decrease the amount of cash you’ll receive.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: 620
  • Minimum credit history: Not available
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not available

Upgrade doesn’t disclose all of the conditions used to qualify borrowers but they do list the minimum credit score accepted as 620. As far as residency and other requirements, you need to meet the following conditions:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (or a valid U.S. visa holder)
  • Be at least 18 years old or 19 in select states
  • Have a verifiable bank account and email address

Upgrade loans are exclusive to certain states. You can’t get an Upgrade loan if you live in Conn., Colo., Iowa, Mass., Md., Vt., or W.Va. Upgrade doesn’t specify that you work with a certain type of employer to qualify. You do need to input your salary during the application. Upgrade may request that you turn in supporting documents like your pay stubs to support the income you claim.

Self-employed workers can apply for Upgrade loans as well, but you may have to submit more paperwork to prove your income. You could be asked to provide two years of tax documents, bank statements and other tax-related forms.

Applying for a personal loan from Upgrade

To get started with Upgrade, you can check your rate online, which doesn’t require a hard pull on your credit. You enter in preliminary information about the loan you need.

The next part of the short initial application is you putting in your name, address and annual income. Upgrade will give you a few preapproved offers based on the information.

The loan offers you receive after giving this information will include a loan amount, interest rate and term. After choosing an offer, you’ll be asked for the bank account where you want to deposit the money if your application is approved. A hard credit pull will be performed to make a final decision.

You’ll get an email asking to upload supporting documents, such as your pay stubs or tax documents to be verified. You can get funding within four business days when all of your information clears. Sign up for autopay during the application process to get the very best rates available.

Pros and cons of an Upgrade personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Soft Pull. You can check rates without a hard pull. The hard pull only comes into play if you decide to go through the final approval process.
  • Free credit monitoring. You get a VantageScore 3.0 with your loan account and a credit report summary from TransUnion. It’s not a full credit report, but still a free resource that you can use to improve your score.
  • Competitive interest rates. The interest rate range at Upgrade is competitive. You can qualify for a loan with just a 620 or above. The lowest rates available are usually reserved for people with the very best credit scores so keep that in mind.
  • Quick funding. If approved for a loan, you can get access to money within four business days.
  • Origination fee. Upgrade has an origination fee and it’s the biggest con. There are a few online lenders that don’t charge an origination fee which can offer you some savings. We’ll cover a few below and you can shop for no-fee personal loans in our “best of” personal loan roundup here.
  • Limited availability. You won’t be able to obtain an Upgrade loan if you live in the states that Upgrade currently does not serve.
  • Relatively short loan terms. You can borrow a decent amount from Upgrade, but the loan term maximum is five years. The Upgrade loan may not be the right one for you if you need more time to repay the debt.

Who’s the best fit for an Upgrade personal loan?

Upgrade loans can be worthwhile for someone who needs money quickly because you can get cash within four business days. You can also benefit from this loan if your credit score is less than perfect since the credit score minimum is 620.

With that said, you still may want to work on your credit before applying for an Upgrade loan or any other loan. A higher credit score is going to help you get approved for the better interest rates. Plus, Upgrade looks beyond your credit to review your credit usage and history before approving you.

An Upgrade loan may suit your needs if you’re looking for a sizeable loan for a major purchase because you can borrow up to $50,000. That’s a decent amount of money to pay off high interest credit card debt, consolidate other debt, or even fund a business.

The biggest problem area for this loan is the origination fee since there are options without one. You should shop around for loans first that don’t have an origination fee before considering this loan.

Alternative personal loan options

SoFi

SoFi is an example of one lender that has No origination fee. SoFi also has longer loan term options than Upgrade. You can borrow up to $50,000. The interest rate range for SoFi is more competitive. Lenders with low interest rates generally serve borrowers with good to excellent credit. Qualifying for SoFi may be more of a challenge. Fortunately, SoFi will let you pre-qualify without a hard inquiry so you can check rates.

SoFi
APR

6.99%
To
14.99%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Fixed rates from 6.99% APR to 14.99% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.26% APR to 13.99% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of October 5, 2018 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.26% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.22% plus 4.285% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

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

See Consumer Licenses.

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

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

LendingClub

LendingClub has an APR range and loan terms that are pretty comparable to what Upgrade has to offer. The minimum credit score required and the origination fee are similar. You can borrow up to $40,000 on a fixed rate personal loan. Pre-qualifying for LendingClub won’t impact your credit. Consider shopping with this lender to see if you can get a better rate before settling with Upgrade.

LendingClub
APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

The Marcus personal loan by Goldman Sachs Bank USA is another no-fee personal loan. The available loan terms are slightly longer than Upgrade, which could help you stretch out the loan payment. The interest rates are also comparable to Upgrade, but the no-fee aspect gives it a leg up. Shopping for Marcus loan rates also won’t trigger a hard inquiry.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

6.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

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Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

Taylor Gordon is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Taylor here

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