Advertiser Disclosure

Reviews

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

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Year Established1999
Total Assets$0.8B
LEARN MORE on Northpointe Bank’s secure website
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

2.05%

Savings

Northpointe Bank Ultimate Savings

1.35%

CD Rates

Northpointe Bank 12 - 17 Month CD

1.75%

CD Rates

Northpointe Bank 36 - 47 Month CD

2.55%

CD Rates

Northpointe Bank 60+ Month CD

All rates are current as of May 15, 2018.

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

2.05% 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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

magnifying glass

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

magnifying glass

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

1.35% APY

17 Month CD Special

1.75% APY

18-23 Months

1.60% APY

24-29 Months

1.65% APY

30-35 Months

1.65% APY

36-47 Months

1.75% APY

37 Month CD Special

2.25% 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.

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

magnifying glass

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

magnifying glass

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

1.35% APY

17 Month CD Special

1.75% APY

18-23 Months

1.60% APY

24-29 Months

1.65% APY

30-35 Months

1.65% APY

36-47 Months

1.75% APY

37 Month CD Special

2.25% 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

magnifying glass

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

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 card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

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

TAGS:

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

LightStream Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

LightStream
APR

3.09%
To
14.24%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 144

months

Fees

No origination fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on LightStream’s secure website

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

LightStream personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: LightStream loan terms range from 24 to 144 months.
  • APR Range: The APR for this loan is 3.09% to 14.24% APR. The lowest interest rates include a 0.50% rate discount for using autopay.
  • Loan amounts: You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000.
  • Time to Funding: You can get funding the same business day you apply if you’re approved by 2:30 p.m. EST. Otherwise, you have to schedule funding of your loan within 30 days of getting an approval.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Applying for a LightStream loan will trigger a hard inquiry. LightStream pulls your Experian and Equifax credit reports. LightStream does not offer soft pull pre-approvals.
  • Origination fee: None.
  • Prepayment fee: None.
  • Late payment fee:None.
  • Other fees: None.

LightStream has no fees across the board and offers highly competitive interest rates. These two variables add up to a very affordable loan, if you can qualify. According to LightStream, you can borrow money for “practically anything.” Here are some examples of things you can finance with a LightStream loan:

  • Adoption
  • Auto
  • Debt consolidation
  • Dental work
  • Home improvements
  • IVF/Fertility treatments
  • K-12 education
  • Medical bills
  • Recreation
    • Boats
    • RVs
    • Timeshares
  • Tiny homes
  • Weddings

The list of ways you can use a LightStream loan is exhaustive. However, there are a few instances where you can’t use a LightStream loan. You can’t use one to finance a post-secondary education or commercial vehicle. LightStream does not offer financing to businesses either. You can only apply for a loan as an individual.

‘The Rate Beat’ program

Here’s more incentive to shop around and compare rates: LightStream will beat competitor rates by 0.10% APR. You must show proof that you’ve been approved by a lender for a lower rate and meet other eligibility criteria before LightStream will beat the competitor rate.
Here are the terms and conditions for the Rate Beat program:

  • The lower interest rate you find with another lender can’t be because of an employee discount or other special that’s not available to all customers.
  • The lower rate can’t be through any rate-subsidized programs.
  • The lower rate you get from a competitor lender must be for a loan that has the same amount, loan term, and loan purpose.
  • You must show proof that another lender is willing to give you a lower rate by 2 p.m. EST on the business day before your loan is funded.

Consider shopping for other loans before seeing what LightStream has to offer you so you can take advantage of the Rate Beat program. This way you can have documentation proving you got a lower rate elsewhere ready and waiting to show LightStream.

‘Loan Experience Guarantee’

The next benefit that LightStream has is the Loan Experience Guarantee. If you’re not satisfied with the loan process, LightStream will give you $100 for completing a satisfaction survey within 30 days of receiving your loan.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: LightStream seeks candidates with “good credit.”
  • Minimum credit history: LightStream looks for borrowers who have several years of credit history, a mix of accounts, stable income, few (if any) delinquencies, and a proven ability to save money.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Varies

LightStream is clear about offering loans to borrowers with good credit, although a specific credit score minimum isn’t listed. What constitutes good or excellent credit is subjective. However, a credit score of 700 or above is generally considered good. A 750 or above is generally considered excellent.
Despite not offering a minimum credit score or maximum debt-to-income ratio, LightStream does outline some key characteristics of borrowers that tend to qualify for a Lightstream loan.

  • Borrowers have many years of credit history (excellent borrowers tend to have five years or more of credit history)
  • Borrowers have a credit history with many different accounts such as credit cards, installment loans, and mortgages
  • Borrowers show evidence of being able to save through liquid assets, retirement savings, etc.
  • Borrowers have few late payments (excellent borrowers tend to have credit with no deliquences at all)

Applying for a personal loan from LightStream

The LightStream application process is straightforward. You apply online which requires a hard pull. There is no pre-approval with a soft pull available. LightStream first asks for the purpose of your loan, how much you want to borrow and which loan term length you need. The next step is to tell LightStream your personal information.

You should receive a response quickly if you apply during business hours. After an approval, you can e-sign your loan documents. LightStream will request credit card information to verify your identity and then you’ll receive your funds. You can get money as soon as the same day if your application is approved and all required steps are completed before 2:30 p.m. EST on a business day.

Pros and cons of a LightStream personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Low rates. LightStream has highly competitive rates to offer borrowers who qualify.
  • ‘Rate Beat’ and other guarantees. LightStream will beat other rates if you can prove that another lender will give you a more affordable loan. LightStream also takes pride in the ease of the application process. If you have complaints about it, you can reach out to LightStream and they’ll give you a $100 bonus for your trouble. Terms apply.
  • Large and small loans. You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000.
  • Long loan terms. Loan terms are available all the way up to 144 months (12 years).
  • Credit requirements. You’re out of the running for this affordable loan if your credit isn’t at least in the high 600’s.
  • There’s a hard pull. There’s no pre-approval process to check rates with a soft pull, so you won’t be able to see if your credit is strong enough to qualify without taking the hard hit. Check out our personal loan comparison tool, which includes loans that don’t require a hard pull.

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

The most competitive interest rates are given to people with good credit for a reason. Lenders are willing to offer loans with the lowest interest rates to borrowers who are less likely to default on a loan.

In this case, LightStream is clear that they focus on rewarding prime borrowers with loans that have no fees and low interest rates because they’ve shown demonstrated ability to manage debt responsibly. The LightStream loan is one that you should consider putting at the top of your shopping list if you have good credit or better because of the price and perks.

Besides the cost,LightStream lets you borrow high amounts of cash for almost any reason as long as it’s not for a student loan or commercial vehicle. The benefit of a long loan term is the possibility that you can stretch out your payments. But keep in mind, the very lowest interest rates are available for unsecured loans of $10,000 to $24,999 with loan terms of 24 to 36 months. You can borrow a high amount for a longer period, but it may cost you more money.

What stands out as a potential downside of this loan is that a hard pull is necessary to check rates. However, don’t be so afraid of hard inquiries that you don’t shop around for the very best deals with this lender, or any other one, that doesn’t offer pre-approvals with a soft pull. Ultimately, consenting to a hard inquiry and temporarily losing about 5 points to check rates may be worth the savings you could gain from qualifying with a low-cost lender likeLightStream. We have discussed the impact of credit inquiries in this post — the effect on your credit may be minimal considering the potential benefit.

If you meet the conditions of what’s considered good or excellent credit, this is one of the best personal loans that you can find online. Check out other top personal loan options here to compare products. This roundup includes many loans that allow you to check rates with a soft pull.

Alternative personal loan options

Here are some loan alternatives:

SoFi

SoFi
APR

5.95%
To
14.74%

Credit Req.

No Minimum FICO Score

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 84

months

Fees

No origination fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Fixed rates from 5.950% APR to 14.740% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.825% APR to 14.365% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of May 18, 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 5.825% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.90% plus 4.175% 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.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Maximum interest rate on loans for residents of IL is 8.99% APR, for residents of AK, OK, and WY is 9.99% APR, for residents of TX is 9.99% APR on terms greater than 5 years, for residents of CO, CT, HI, KS, 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, IL, OK, TX, VA, WY.

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

SoFi is another lender that offers no-fee personal loans with competitive interest rates that you can use for a variety of reasons. You can borrow large amounts with SoFi — $5,000 to $100,000.SoFi doesn’t have a rate match program like LightStream, but there are some other perks, like access to financial advisors and unemployment protection for borrowers.. You can check rates with a soft pull.

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

Fees

No origination fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on Marcus By Goldman Sachs®’s secure website

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information.... Read More

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is another personal loan that has absolutely no fees. You can borrow up to $40,000, and get approval within five minutes and funding within five days. Checking loan options doesn’t require a hard inquiry. Interest rates are typically higher for the longer term loans, and borrowers with excellent credit will get the lowest rates.

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

5.96%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on Upgrade’s secure website

Loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 5.96%-35.97%. All loans have a 1% to 6% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay. For example, a $10,000 loan with a 36 month term and a 17.97% APR (which includes a 5% origination fee) has a required monthly payment of $343.28. Upgrade is available in all states except: Connecticut, Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Vermont, West Virginia.

Upgrade is the only lender included in this review that charges an origination fee. This lender will also likely have a lower barrier to entry, as the credit score minimum is just 620. You can borrow up to $50,000 from Upgrade. You can also check your rate without a hard inquiry. Upgrade can send money to your bank account in as fast as one day after your personal information is verified.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers 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

Best of, Earning Cashback

10 Best 5% Cash Back Credit Cards for May 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not 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
iStock

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<sup>®</sup>

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories

Regular Purchase APR

16.49%-25.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase’s secure website

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® - Cashback Match™

Discover it<sup>®</sup> - Cashback Match<sup>TM</sup>

Annual fee

$0

Cashback 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.

Regular APR

13.49% - 24.49% Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

How it works: With the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ 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® - Cashback Match™ 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 earned at the end of your first year, automatically..

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

Visa<sup>®</sup> Platinum Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% cash back on purchases in quarterly rotating categories

Regular Purchase APR

10.25%-14.25%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Nusenda ’s secure website

How it works: The Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union gives 5% in revolving categories up to $1,500 and 1% on all other purchases. Notably, it offers both gas and restaurants in two quarters. As a bonus in the first 90 days, new cardholders will earn 2% instead of just 1% on purchases outside of the 5% category.

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® - Cashback Match™, you can maximize cash back in different areas during one quarter.

For an example, you can turn to the Visa® Platinum Cash Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union for 5% on gas and school expenses in Q3. Then pull out the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ 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 Cash+ Visa Signature

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

Up to 5% cash back on eligible purchases. Spending limits may apply.

Regular Purchase APR

15.49%-24.49%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on U.S. Bank’s secure website

How it works: The U.S Bank Cash+ 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.

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

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa<sup>®</sup> Signature Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market purchases, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, 1% back on other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

15.74%-23.74%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Amazon’s secure website

How it works: The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card is open to Amazon Prime Members, so it’s somewhat exclusive. The perks of this card are 5% cash back on eligible purchases made on Amazon.com and at Whole Foods Market. 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).

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

Good Fit for the Regular Target Shopper: Target REDcard

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% at Target & Target.com

Regular Purchase APR

24.15%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Target’s secure website

How it works: For Target shoppers, there’s the REDcard. It gives you a 5% discount on your purchases at Target (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<sup>®</sup> Platinum Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% back on all gas station spending, 1% on all other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

10.75%-18.00%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fort Knox Federal’s secure website

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

Annual fee

$95

Cashback 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.

Regular Purchase APR

14.49%-25.49% Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

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<sup>®</sup>Cashback Rewards Plus American Express<sup>®</sup> Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% cash back on gas and military base purchases on your first $3,000 in annual purchases in these purchase categories combined (After that, earn 1% for the remainder of the year), 2% on groceries on your first $3,000 in annual purchases in these purchase categories combined (After that, earn 1% for the remainder of the year), 1% on all other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

13.40%-27.40%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on USAA Bank’s secure website

How it works: The USAA Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card gives 5% cash back on gas and military base purchases including commissaries, exchanges, and shopettes. The cap for the 5% category is $3,000 per year.

Earning cash back: In addition to the 5% back on gas and military base purchases, you’ll also earn 2% cash back on groceries up to $3,000 annually. On everything else, there’s 1% cash back. 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 cap 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 card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

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

TAGS: ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Reviews

10 Best NO ANNUAL FEE Rewards Credit Cards of May 2018

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not 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<sup>®</sup> Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee

$0*

Cashback Rate

1% cash back when you buy and 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases

Regular Purchase APR

14.99% - 24.99%* (Variable)

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

Citi offers you rewards twice. First, you get 1% cash back when you buy and 1% cash back as you pay for those purchases. 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: 2% Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature, NO FEE

Fidelity<sup>®</sup> Rewards Visa Signature<sup>®</sup> Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

2% on all spend

Regular Purchase APR

15.49%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fidelity’s secure website

Fidelity provides no annual fee 2% cash rewards on purchases 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 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 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® - Cashback Match™, 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

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

4% back on dining, 3% back on hotel and airfare, 2% back for online purchases, and 1% on everything else

Regular Purchase APR

16.49%-25.24%

variable

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<sup>®</sup> Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Rewards

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

Regular Purchase APR

14.49%-24.49%

Variable

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<sup>®</sup> Platinum Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% back on all gas station spending, 1% on all other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

10.75%-18.00%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Fort Knox Federal’s secure website

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

Annual fee

$0

Cashback 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.

Regular Purchase APR

14.49%-25.49% Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

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<sup>®</sup> Signature Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% back on Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market purchases, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, 1% back on other purchases

Regular Purchase APR

15.74%-23.74%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Amazon’s secure website

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.

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

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<sup>®</sup>

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories

Regular Purchase APR

16.49%-25.24%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase’s secure website

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® - Cashback Match™ – 5% in rotating categories, $0 ANNUAL FEE

Discover it<sup>®</sup> - Cashback Match<sup>TM</sup>

Annual fee

$0

Cashback 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.

Regular APR

13.49% - 24.49% Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

With the Discover it® - Cashback Match™, 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 earned at the end of your first year, automatically – 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<sup>®</sup> Platinum Rewards credit card from Nusenda Credit Union

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% cash back on purchases in quarterly rotating categories

Regular Purchase APR

10.25%-14.25%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Nusenda ’s secure website

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® - Cashback Match™, 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® Cash Rewards Credit Card – 1.5% Rewards

Capital One<sup>®</sup> Quicksilver<sup>®</sup> Cash Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day

Regular Purchase APR

14.49% - 24.49% (Variable)

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card 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

Annual fee

$0

Rewards Rate

2x points at US supermarkets, on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1x), 1x points on other purchases.

Regular Purchase APR

14.49%-25.49% Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply

Rates & Fees

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, 14.49%-25.49% 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.

Points for travel on any airline: Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on purchases

Regular Purchase APR

16.49% - 24.49% Variable APR

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website

The Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card allows you to Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on 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 card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

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

TAGS: , ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

LendingClub Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Lending Club
APR

5.98%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on Lending Club’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores in the mid-600s.... Read More

LendingClub personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: LendingClub offers personal loans for terms of 36 or 60 months.
  • APR Range: Loan APR ranges from 5.98% to 35.89%.
  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • Loan amounts: You can borrow up to $40,000.
  • Time to Funding: It usually takes about seven days to have your loan funded.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Checking rates to see how much a LendingClub loan will cost you only requires a soft pull. The soft pull will not impact your credit history. However, a hard pull is required to complete the full application. The hard inquiry may appear on your credit report and can impact your credit score.
  • Origination fee: LendingClub has an origination fee of 1% to 6%. This fee is deducted from the total amount of your loan. For example, let's say LendingClub charges you a 5% origination fee on a loan of $1,000. You may apply for a loan of $1,000 but receive only $950 after that fee is subtracted.

  • Prepayment fee: LendingClub has no prepayment penalty fee.
  • Late payment fee: The LendingClub late fee is 5% of your unpaid payment or $15, whichever one is greater.

LendingClub personal loans can be used for many purposes such consolidating debt, making home improvements, or covering other major expenses.

Debt consolidation is one area specifically where borrowers using a LendingClub loan can save big. A 2017 survey of borrowers who used a LendingClub loan to consolidate debt said that the interest rate on the LendingClub loan was 24% lower on average than the interest rate on their outstanding debt or credit cards. Besides lowering your interest rate, consolidating debt with a personal loan can turn many credit card payments due on random dates into one convenient fixed payment with a set pay off date. That being said, LendingClub is just one of many lenders that allow debt consolidation, so you should definitely shop around to be sure you’re getting the best rate available to you.

However, LendingClub may not be the best option for people looking for funds in a hurry. The company says it will take about seven days to fund your loan, but this estimate depends on how long it takes you to turn in requested documentation during the application like proof of income. The faster you get in all of the information, the faster you can get access to your cash.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: You need at least a 600 credit score to qualify for LendingClub.
  • Minimum credit history: LendingClub doesn’t share what specific aspects of your credit history will make you eligible or ineligible for a loan. Exceeding the 600 minimum credit score is important to qualify. However, the very lowest interest rates advertised will go to borrowers with a high credit score, low debt-to-income ratio, and a long history of managing credit lines successfully.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: LendingClub looks for a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 40%. This means your total monthly debt obligations are no more than 40% of your monthly gross income.

Besides credit requirements, LendingClub has some other basic requirements to note before applying. To qualify, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or long-term visa holder
  • Have a bank account

LendingClub is not currently accepting applications from Iowa, Guam, or Puerto Rico.

Applying for a personal loan from LendingClub

The application and funding process for a LendingClub loan is different from a typical loan because of the peer-to-peer lending element. You aren’t getting funding in the traditional way from a financial institution. Instead, your loan is getting funded in portions by many different investors.

Before you apply for a LendingClub loan we encourage you to check their rates and compare them to other lenders. You can do this by heading to the LendingClub website and filling out a short online form. Checking rates will not impact your credit score because it’s a soft pull.

You’ll get several offers to choose from after doing the initial pre-application. The offers will include the loan amount, loan term, monthly payment and APR. You’ll need to complete a full application after choosing an offer. Part of the full application is providing your social security number, your income, and details about your employment. This is where the hard credit inquiry comes into play.
Here’s an excerpt from the credit authorization document:

Checking your rate and reviewing loan offers on the LendingClub website will not affect your credit; it will result in a soft credit inquiry which is only visible to you. If you receive a loan through LendingClub, then a hard inquiry that may affect your credit score will appear on your credit report after you receive that loan. Additional reporting will be made to credit reporting agencies during the application precess to confirm you continue to meet credit criteria and to prevent potential fraudulent activities.

LendingClub reviews the information you provide to determine your credit risk. If approved, your loan will be deposited into your bank account. You can expect to receive funding within a week or more depending on how long it takes to verify your financial information.

Pros and cons of a LendingClub personal loan

Let’s review the pros and cons of borrowing with LendingClub:

Pros:

Cons:

  • Long loan term options. If you need to stretch out loan payments, LendingClub may be right up your alley because there are lengthy three- and five-year loan terms available.
  • Only a soft pull is required to check rates. There’s no hard inquiry needed to check rates which is ideal when you’re comparing various loan products. This allows you to shop around to secure a loan with the best possible interest rate you can get.
  • You can qualify with a credit score of 600. Credit is just one of several factors that LendingClub reviews to approve your application. You won’t get the very best interest rates available with a low credit score. However, this loan could be a good opportunity for borrowers with fair credit who are used to getting subprime offers.
  • Slightly longer funding times than other products. Innovation in the online lending space has made getting access to money in as little as one day at some lenders. That’s not the case, unfortunately, with LendingClub — because it could take up to seven days to get your funds through LendingClub, it may not be the right product for you if you need money very quickly for an emergency.
  • The origination fee. LendingClub gives you an origination fee and interest rate after determining your credit risk. You should think about the potential cost of an origination fee when you decide how much money to borrow. The origination fee is going to take a chunk of money out of your loan. You can compare origination fees of other personal loans here.

Who’s the best fit for a LendingClub personal loan

LendingClub loans can be a good fit for a wide range of borrowers because the minimum credit score is 600. There are also highly competitive interest rates available for borrowers with stellar credit.
The funding timeline is probably the biggest thing to consider with a LendingClub loan. It may take a week or even more for you to get your money. This won’t be much of an issue for borrowers who aren’t in too much of a rush to get cash. If you’re borrowing money to consolidate debt, pay off credit cards, or fund an event like a wedding that’s a year away, the time it takes to get funding may not be such a problem.

The loan terms available at LendingClub (36 or 60 months) give borrowers a decent amount of time to pay off the debt. A LendingClub loan may be the right product for you if you want to draw out your loan payments.

The customer feedback on LendingClub is pretty positive. Customers report that LendingClub offers transparency throughout the loan process. You can check out customer reviews in detail at LendingTree, a loan comparison site which owns MagnifyMoney.

We rank LendingClub as one of the top places to obtain a personal loan, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t compare options before choosing to borrow. Shop around for loans using our roundup of other top online personal loans.

Alternative personal loan options

Here are some alternatives to the LendingClub loan:

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

Fees

No origination fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on Marcus By Goldman Sachs®’s secure website

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information.... Read More

The Marcus by Goldman Sachs® loan is a no-fee personal loan. Interest charges are the only costs you’ll have to worry about with this product. The interest rates here are comparable to what LendingClub has to offer, plus you can get funding within five days. You can check rates online with only a soft pull that won’t affect your credit score. Ultimately, the lack of origination fee is what gives the Marcus by Goldman Sachs® an edge over LendingClub.

Prosper

Prosper
APR

5.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 5.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on Prosper’s secure website

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending platform that offers a quick and convenient way to get personal loans with fixed and low interest rates. The interest rate you receive is determined by their own proprietary “Prosper Rating”. You can qualify for a loan with average credit and there are no prepayment fees, but your origination fee can be expensive, depending on your Prosper Rating.Prosper is not available in Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa, North Dakota, Maine, New York and Pennsylvania.

Prosper is another peer-to-peer lender with interest rates and origination fees that are close to what LendingClub offers. Prosper also lets you check rates with just a soft inquiry so you can shop with both peer-to-peer lenders to see which one will give you the best deal. According to Prosper, borrowers on average get their money five days after accepting a loan offer.

Payoff®

Payoff
APR

8.00%
To
25.00%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Fees

2.00% - 5.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on Payoff’s secure website

The entire goal of Payoff is to help you pay down your debt and they typically don’t like being described as a loan company. They offer a quick, easy, and digital process for getting a personal loan and consolidating your credit card debt. If you have poor credit, little credit, or are continuing to take on more debt every month, you will find it difficult to get approved.

The Payoff® loan is a product that helps you consolidate existing credit card debt with a low, fixed interest rate loan. Payoff® isn’t an actual financial institution; instead, it works with lenders to originate loans. This loan product has an origination fee but no other fees (late fees, returned check fees, or repayment fees). You may be able to get funding within two to five business days so this is an example of an option that may provide faster funding. Payoff® has a slightly higher minimum credit score than LendingClub.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers 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

RISE Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Rise
APR

36.00%
To
299.00%

Credit Req.

300

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

4 to 26

months

Fees

N/A

APPLY NOW Secured

on Rise ’s secure website

RISE is offered only to residents in states where permitted by law. To obtain credit, you must apply online and have a valid checking account and email address. Approval for credit and the amount for which you may be approved are subject to minimum income requirements and vary by state.

RISE personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: Up to 26 months depending on your state
  • APR Range: 36% to 299% APR
  • Amount you can borrow: $500 to $5,000
  • Time to Funding: As soon as one business day
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Hard pull required
  • Origination fee: RISE has no origination fee.
  • Prepayment fee: RISE has no prepayment penalties.
  • Late payment fee: There are no late fees or NSF fees.
  • Other fees: RISE has no other costs to consider aside from the interest rate.

RISE credit lines and online installment loans come with free TransUnion® credit score updates and money tools. RISE has a risk-free guarantee that you can take advantage of if you borrow money and decide the loan is no longer necessary. Repay the principal within five days and you won’t be charged anything.

Recurring borrowers with good payment behavior will qualify for the very lowest interest rates that RISE has to offer. The minimum interest rate for new borrowers is 60% APR, but you do have a chance to decrease your interest rate on subsequent loans by meeting certain conditions.

You may qualify for a 50% interest rate reduction on your next loan after making 24 months of scheduled payments. You may qualify for the lowest 36% interest rate available after making 36 months of scheduled payments and meeting other credit criteria.

RISE also offers opportunities to refinance existing loans for a better interest rate or more money on a case-by-case basis.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: No strict minimum credit score, but most borrowers have a score of at least 500.
  • Credit history: The qualifying criteria here is forgiving. RISE will accept adverse credit history as long as you’re showing signs of improvement, such as paying off debt recently.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: There’s no maximum debt-to-income ratio required. RISE looks at many variables while underwriting including debt-to-income, income, spending habits and more.

There are some basic qualification requirements to keep in mind before applying. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Have a job and a regular source of income
  • Have an email address where you can get loan updates

The loan or credit line offers available to you will depend on your state. For example, Kansas and Tennessee are states that offer lines of credit instead of a typical installment loan because of state regulations. RISE shows a breakdown of the loan or credit limit, interest rates and terms that are available for each state here.

(Source: RISE website. Information in above infograph is accurate as of date of publication.)

Applying for a personal loan from RISE

To apply for RISE, you have to fill out a short application form. You will be asked to input your Social Security number for a credit check during the first section.

Reviewing offers with RISE will trigger a hard inquiryAccording to RISE, a pre-qualification form where prospective borrowers can check rates with just a soft inquiry is in the works.

The second section of the application is where you’ll add your checking account information and your income. You may be asked to provide supporting documents to backup the income you claim.

The last section is signing off on the disclosure agreements. The disclosure agreement is where you’ll see the consent to a hard pull, which can impact your credit score.

agree to personal use & credit bureau inquiry

After completing the application process and getting an approval, you’ll get money deposited into your account within a business day (excluding holidays).
You will get assigned a bi-weekly or monthly payment depending on factors like when you get paid each month. You have the option to change the frequency of payments.

Pros and cons of a RISE personal loan

Here are the pros and cons of doing business with RISE:

Pros:

Cons:

  • Quick financing. You can get money within one day, which can be helpful if you need money fast to pay bills or to cover an emergency. Terms Apply.
  • Free credit score. Borrowers get a free TransUnion® credit score that updates every 30 days. Keeping tabs on your credit score can help you improve it so you can qualify for more affordable debt products in the future.
  • Transparency. RISE is upfront with the costs of this loan or line of credit.
  • Opportunity to reduce rates. You can qualify for a reduced interest rate for future loans if you meet conditions.
  • High potential cost. There’s just no denying these interest rates are high. You will be paying quite a bit of money when you borrow from RISE. Check out alternative lenders in this personal loan roundup. This is a list of products with the best interest rates and includes options for borrowers with poor credit or no credit.
  • Hard pull required. A soft pull is better when shopping for a personal loan because you can look at many options with less of an impact on your credit history. Again, the soft pull functionality is something RISE is working on. You can always check back to see if it becomes available.

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

RISE is a solution for borrowers who have adverse credit history which is why the cost is so high. But if your credit score is even marginally healthy (580 and above), consider other lenders that have lower rates.

High-risk borrowers are more likely to default on loans. Lenders cover the risk of default by charging more interest. In this case, RISE is willing to lower your interest rate on future loans if you show a record of responsible payment. Despite the interest rates being high, customers who’ve decided to borrow from RISE report satisfaction with the ease of the application process, according to reviews on LendingTree, the parent company of MagnifyMoney. The responsiveness of customer service is another area where customers give RISE praise.

Let’s look at an example of how much a RISE loan costs to really dig into the facts and figures. RISE makes it quite easy to review potential costs by laying out common loan scenarios for products on the website.

For Idaho, here’s a loan scenario from RISE:

  • Loan amount – $1,250
  • APR – 298.18%
  • Number of bi-weekly payments – 22
  • Amount per payment – $157.84

In this scenario, you’re borrowing $1,250. Making 22 payments of $157.84 means you’ll pay close to $3,500 in total for a $1,250 loan. This is a huge amount of money to pay for a short-term loan.

It’s generally more expensive to borrow money when you have poor credit history. It can also feel like you have minimal options. However, RISE isn’t the only lender that offers loans to borrowers with less-than-stellar credit. Shop around with multiple lenders before choosing one to compare costs. Ideally, you want to shop around with lenders who only do a soft pull on your credit so you can avoid multiple hits. Review these loan options we’ve put together for borrowers with bad credit.

RISE has no prepayment penalty fee. If you do experience an emergency and decide to borrow from RISE, the best strategy is to pay it back as fast as possible to reduce the cost.

Another thing to do is be proactive if you have poor credit or no credit. Creating an emergency savings fund while you’re building credit can give you cash to dip into so you can avoid last-minute, high-cost loans to cover unexpected bills. Learn strategies for building up your emergency fund here.

Alternative personal loan options

Check out this personal loan comparison tool that can assist you while loan shopping. Here are a few other loan options for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit:

Lending Club

Lending Club
APR

5.98%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on Lending Club’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores in the mid-600s.... Read More

LendingClub will lend to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. The interest rate range here is considerably lower than the RISE loan, but you need at least a 600 credit score to qualify. Keep in mind, a higher credit score will be necessary to get the lowest interest rates available.

You can check for rates with LendingClub without a hard pull on your credit. LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lender, so you may not get money as fast with this loan. According to LendingClub, the application, approval and funding process can take about seven days.

OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial
APR

16.05%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

Varies

months

Fees

Varies

APPLY NOW Secured

on OneMain Financial’s secure website

OneMain Financial offers quick turnaround times and you can get your money the same day if you apply before noon. Interest rates are higher than other online lenders, especially for those with excellent credit, and you will need to visit a branch to get your loan.

OneMain Financial is a lender that will work with borrowers who have a credit score below 600. The interest rates offered by OneMain Financial aren’t the lowest around, but they’re still much lower than what’s offered by RISE. OneMain Financial has both shorter and longer term loans available as well.

LendingPoint

LendingPoint
APR

15.49%
To
34.99%

Credit Req.

585

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 48

months

Fees

Fee Varies

APPLY NOW Secured

on LendingPoint’s secure website

LendingPoint offers personal loans for a wide variety of reasons, including paying for home repairs, consolidating credit card debt, or to make a large purchase. Their online process can help you to quickly apply for a personal loan, get qualified, and receive funding. While their interest rates can be higher than others, they do offer fast approval and can transfer funds to your bank account in 24 hours.

LendingPoint is another lender that will offer loans to those with fair credit. One thing to note is there is an origination fee. RISE doesn’t have one. However, the interest rates at LendingPoint are more competitive and checking for rates doesn’t require a hard credit inquiry either. Money can be in your account as soon as the next business day after you’re approved for a loan.

* Applications processed and approved before 6pm ET are typically funded the next business day. RISE is offered only to residents in states where permitted by law. To obtain credit, you must apply online and have a valid checking account and email address. Approval for credit and the amount for which you may be approved are subject to minimum income requirements and vary by state.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers 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

Creative Ways to Pay for Your Honeymoon

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Noah Bouillon, a 27-year-old travel blogger, paid less than $400 for a honeymoon to Fiji and New Zealand that was valued at around $14,000. (Photo courtesy of Noah Bouillon)

Getting engaged is a momentous occasion. You pose for the perfect photo. The congratulations phone calls and social media comments come pouring in. You and your fiance are on cloud nine. Then you start looking for wedding venues, caterers, DJs, honeymoon airfare and hotel accommodations. Dollar signs begin adding up as reality sets in —things are about to get expensive.

According to WeddingWire’s 2017 Wedding Report, the average cost of a wedding in 2016 was $28,000 — we’re talking enough to cover a down payment on a house here. And this figure doesn’t even include the cost of the honeymoon, which costs couples a whopping $4,000, according to the same report.

If these numbers are making your head spin, you can rest easy knowing your dreams of a luxury vacation aren’t down the toilet just yet. Planning smart can get you to a beautiful destination after you exchange vows.

Noah Bouillon, a 27-year-old travel blogger, is an example of a honeymooner who paid less than $400 for a trip to Fiji and New Zealand that was valued at around $14,000. Bouillon and his fiancee (now wife) got crafty with credit card points and miles to make their dream trip a reality. They signed up for multiple credit cards with huge sign-on bonuses to stockpile 435,000 points and miles.

Aside from amassing points and miles, there are multiple ways you can get the money you need to have the vacation you want. We’ve put together an all encompassing resource on affording your dream honeymoon to help you review options.

Creative ways to pay for your honeymoon

Honeymoons don’t have to be a debt trap. Ideally, you want to avoid debt on travel altogether, and it’s possible if you plan ahead. Here are a few unique ways to pay for your honeymoon:

Honeymoon registries

You’ve probably heard of gift registries related to home goods and furnishings before. You may be less familiar with honeymoon registries. Starting a registry for your honeymoon can potentially save you quite a bit of money. Honeymoon registries like Honeyfund, The Newlywed Fund™ and Traveler’s Joy let you create registries where guests give you money toward your trip.

Rebecca Forst, a 31-year-old administrative professional of Towson, Md., is one bride who’s using the Honeyfund website to afford a once-in-a-lifetime trip with her fiance. “My favorite movie is ‘Lord of the Rings’ so New Zealand is a bucket-list destination,” said Forst. “We noticed the cost of our wedding going up and were scared that we wouldn’t be able to afford our trip.”

To foot part of the bill, Forst and her fiance created a Honeyfund account. Close family members were concerned at first that the fund wouldn’t go over well with some wedding guests. “We also decided to put some traditional gifts on our registry for those who wanted to give that sort of gift,” Forst explained.

Honeymoon registries through Honeyfund are simple to set up. You list airfare, accommodations and excursions that you want as a gift. You can split the expenses into smaller gifts as well. For example, airline tickets to New Zealand for Forst and her fiance will cost over $1,000 each. She broke down gifts into smaller $25 to $100 options to make it manageable for guests.

Crowdfunding

Honeymoon registries work like a gift registry except they are for a travel experience. You share the registry with wedding guests and they buy experiences on your list as your wedding gift.

A crowdfunding campaign is different — it’s fundraising. You create a campaign and ask people to donate money so you can get where you want to go. FundMyTravel, GoFundMe and Plumfund are examples of sites that can help you campaign for travel expenses.

Understand that fundraising for your honeymoon may be difficult if you don’t have a highly compelling reason for someone to donate money. With that said, it’s still an option that you can consider to make your dream honeymoon less of a strain on your purse strings. It may be specifically worthwhile if you’re interested in ecotourism or voluntourism.

Credit card points

If you want to fund the trip on your own without asking for help, credit card points or miles can help you avoid having to pay completely out of pocket. Bonus points or miles that can be used for travel are offered by some credit card companies when you get a new card. But they may require meeting a minimum spending requirement before you can qualify.

Keep in mind, you should be a highly responsible credit card user before signing up for new cards. It makes zero sense to rack up credit to get points, and then turn around and get slapped with tons of interest charges on your unpaid balance.

Bouillon strategically gained the amount of points needed to pay less than $400 for an estimated $14,000 trip by signing up for multiple new credit cards that were all giving him a sign-up bonus.

“The biggest concern people have about [opening new cards] is thinking that it will be bad for their credit,” said Bouillon, but according to him, opening credit cards for points in this way has actually been positive for his and his wife’s credit scores. They increase their credit limits by opening new cards, keep their credit utilization low and pay bills on time. This formula can do great things for your credit score.

Bouillon suggests strategizing a good 12 months or more out to amass the points you need for your dream honeymoon. This will give you time to get approved for cards and have the bonus points added to your account. From there, you can use the points for travel and accommodation. Check out our top cards with sign-up bonuses here.

Sign up for a home-exchange program

House exchanging is when you swap houses with someone who wants to visit your area. You list your home and look through other home listings as well. Check out IVHE, HomeExchange and Love Home Swap for home-exchange opportunities. Contact residents of homes that you’re interested in and see if you can strike up an agreement.

Housesitting is another way to lower the cost of accomodation. You stay at someone’s home for free in your desired location and take care of household tasks while they’re out traveling. Housesitting placement sites like TrustedHousesitters can connect you with people looking to form an arrangement.

Photo courtesy of Todra Payne

Todra Payne, a 50-year-old copywriter, has a home based in Los Angeles, but is soon going to be location independent with her fiance thanks to her house sitting hustle. She stays in homes across the world and does small jobs for the homeowner.

“[Housesitting] tasks can run the gamut from staying in the home so it’s not empty, watching farm animals, or managing a B&B,” said Payne. She adds that often a pet is involved or there’s a garden to water.

Payne suggests that honeymooners should be flexible in their travel dates or the location to make the most of housesitting opportunities. There are listings all over the world, including luxury homes. To learn the ropes, Payne recommends doing it locally first. Always talk to the homeowner before committing so you can ask questions about their home and neighborhood. Create a written agreement so you both know what to expect.

Don’t take a home assignment that gives you a lot of responsibilities if you really just want to relax on your honeymoon. Housesitting can even turn into a long-term adventure. Payne and her fiance plan to housesit across Europe and Australia for the next year.

Work in hospitality to get the perks

Connections can be your very best friend. Check to see if you have any friends or family that work for airlines or hotels because they may be able to offer you a nice friends and family discount.

For example, at the time of writing this article, the standard rate starts at $410 for a room at the luxury Marriott Scrub Island Resort in St. Thomas for dates Aug. 3, 2018 to Aug. 10, 2018. The starting rate drops to $269 when you use the Marriott employee discount. That’s a possible savings of over $100 per night.

Don’t know anyone in the hospitality industry? Consider taking on a part-time job to snag the travel benefits. You can get paid while possibly saving a nice chunk of money on your honeymoon and other travel.

Have a destination wedding

Before signing up for a Honeyfund account, Forst considered having a very small destination wedding. This would have made it easier to afford the nuptials and New Zealand trip on their own. However, Forst’s destination wedding idea was ruled out when she chose to have a larger shindig for family reasons.

A smaller affair or destination wedding may still be a good plan for some couples. It can give you some leeway to sock away savings for the honeymoon if a trip is what’s most important to you. Another option is making your destination double as a wedding location and honeymoon spot. You can find more frugal wedding tips here.

Borrowing money for your honeymoon — The pros and cons

We’ve covered several creative ways to fund your honeymoon, but you still may be considering taking on some debt to make your dream trip happen. Before borrowing a whole bunch of money, think about whether your money is better spent on starting a new life together. Also be careful about stretching yourself thin if you both have lingering student loans. Money trouble can bring strain to a marriage. You don’t want to your happily ever after to begin on shaky financial footing.

It can make sense to finance your honeymoon if you have a sound plan for repayment, and you’ve exhausted all other options beforehand.

Here are a few of the financing methods you can consider for your honeymoon:

Personal loans

Personal loans offer a fixed payment over a fixed period of time. Quite a few online lenders offer personal loans you can use for practically any reason.

  • Pros. The best part of a personal loan is that you have one predictable payment each month and a predetermined payoff date. The interest rate is also fixed, which means you can calculate the total cost of your loan at the very beginning. With a decent credit score, you may be able to qualify for a remarkably low interest rate.
  • Cons. At the end of the day, an affordable personal loan is still a loan and increases your debt balance. The money you spend on the loan and interest may be better spent on a mortgage down payment, furniture, household goods and other items you need as a new couple.

You can find a roundup of our top personal loan suggestions here.

LendingTree
APR

5.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Minimum 500 FICO

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Fees

Varies

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that they allow you to compare multiple, personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you can have your loan pre-approved without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender, but their service connects you with up to five offers from personal loan lenders.

Credit cards

Using a credit card may be the first thing you think of doing to fund your trip.

  • Pros. Smart use of a credit card can make your dream trip come true at an affordable price. Instead of using existing credit cards, you can find and open a new credit card that offers a 0% interest introductory deal. Just be sure to pay it off before the promo period ends and interest starts to accrue. Check out our list of credit cards with the longest 0% purchase offers here. Opening credit cards with high points or mile bonuses can also help you fund a trip.
  • Cons. Unlike a personal loan, your credit cards can have variable interest. The no-interest period on credit cards with introductory deals will expire eventually. The cost of borrowing with a credit card can be less predictable, especially if you pay just the minimum amount each month. Have a plan to pay off your credit card debt in a timely manner to avoid an array of interest charges.
Planning on using credit card points to finance your honeymoon? Bouillon suggests strategizing at least 12 months or more from the date you plan to travel to give yourself enough time to earn points.

Home equity loans

You may qualify for a home equity loan if you have enough equity in your home and a decent credit score. A home equity loan is sometimes called a second mortgage. It’s basically taking out a loan from the equity that you have in your home.

  • Pros. The benefit of a home equity loan is it’s a fixed-rate loan that can be less expensive and volatile than credit card debt.
  • Cons. Think long term before taking equity out of your house. Will you want to make home renovations in the future? Your equity can be valuable in a pinch when you need to do maintenance or home improvements. Also, you won’t be able to deduct the interest on your home equity loan unless you use it to substantially improve your home in some way.

LendingTree, which owns MagnifyMoney, has a more detailed walk-through of home equity loan pros and cons. Check it out here to see if it’s the right move for your honeymoon.

Cash-out refinances

A cash-out refinance is when you refinance your mortgage for a higher amount and take cash out of the transaction.

  • Pros. With a cash-out refinance, the payment for the cash you borrow is lumped in with your regular mortgage payment so it’s a simple one to keep up with.
  • Cons. A mortgage refinance costs you money. You need to think about application, origination and appraisal fees, and more. Be sure to factor in these costs against the cost of your honeymoon to see if a cash-out refinance makes sense.

LendingTree has another detailed overview of how a cash-out refinance works.

Take a loan from your 401(k)

The balance sitting in your retirement account may look enticing when you’re planning your wedding and honeymoon. An employee plan may let you take out a loan from your 401(k) so check with your employer for details first.

  • Pros. Borrowing money from your 401(k) can give you access to the cash you need without repercussions if you follow the rules. According to the IRS, money you borrow may not be taxable if you borrow up to 50% of your vested balance (up to a $50,000 max) and repay the loan within five years.
  • Cons. Money put away in your 401(k) is there for a purpose — retirement. Make sure you can adhere to the rules to avoid having the money borrowed from your 401(k) taxed. This scenario would be a double whammy. You may have to pay out of pocket to cover the income tax and you lose a portion of your retirement savings. Not good.

How to plan an affordable honeymoon

Here are a few more ways to cut costs and save up money for your dream honeymoon:

Pump the breaks. You don’t need to drive straight from your wedding to the airport with empty soup cans jingling at the back of your car. You have a lifetime together, so what’s the rush? Consider putting off the big trip until you can save enough money for the honeymoon you want. It may take you several months or several years to save enough cash or reward points, but the experience (and not struggling to pay for it) can last a lifetime.

Put on that thinking cap. If you’re not set on a specific location, choose a location that will be budget-friendly. A local spa will save you money on airfare. This means you’ll have more to spend for luxury accommodations, meals, drinks and entertainment. You can also eliminate airfare costs by driving to your destination. A cross-country trip can be a romantic experience in and of itself. Another option is reaching out to family and friends who may have a timeshare that you can use. The bottom line is, use your resources.

Go where it’s cheap. Two honeymooners we interviewed for this article cite New Zealand as their dream trip. Let’s be honest, New Zealand isn’t a cheap place to visit. Some places are cheaper to visit than others. Go to a place where your money will go far. Always look at the exchange rate before you travel. Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Mexico are a few affordable travel locations to think about visiting.

Test the waters with Airbnbs and hostels. A luxury hotel may not be in the budget, and that’s okay. Try Airbnb or hostels if you and your partner like exploring. You may not be in the room you rent often anyway. Plus, crashing at a place with the owner and other travelers means you can meet new people and even have a built-in tour guide.

Scroll through your contact list. Ask to visit people you know who live in unique places. You can even stay in a hotel for a few days to get some personal time, and bunk up with your contact for the rest of the stay to cut costs.

Go all-inclusive. Vacation packages may offer you a cheaper rate than booking each individual arrangement for your own trip. Pros. Travel aggregators like Expedia and Priceline may offer a discount for booking a package all in one. In some cases, food and drinks are also included in your stay. The beauty of this is you don’t have to worry about budgeting cash for spending money. Cons. A low-budget, all-inclusive resort can also mean low quality. Beware if this is a deal breaker for you. If you do find a decent all-inclusive deal (one that includes airfare, hotel, food etc.), compare the cost of the trip booked separately to be sure it’s cost-effective.

Bring in the professionals. Sometimes travel agents have a hookup on deals that you wouldn’t be able to find on your own. Look for an agent that gets paid solely on commision. You won’t need to fork over cash if they don’t find any worthwhile vacation specials.

Get airline deal notifications. Having open travel dates can make booking airfare less expensive. The Flight Deal and Fare Deal Alert are two sites that regularly post specials and flight glitches. Be warned — you need to book these deals fast whenever they come up because they can disappear. You snooze, you lose.

Peruse deal sites regularly. Groupon and LivingSocial are two examples of places where you can snag travel package deals. Again, having open travel dates will often help you book the most affordable trips. You may also find some opportunity in last minute deals.

Save without effort. Automatic saving apps can help you save without you even having to think about it. Digit and Rize are accounts that can help you automate money to travel savings. Cash that these apps save on your behalf can add up quite a bit before you know it.

Traveling can get expensive. But you can still make the honeymoon of your dreams happen without going broke before your first or second wedding anniversary. Run through these tips and be thoughtful with your cash.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers 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

Auto Loan

Ally Bank Auto Loan Review

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

ally bank review

If you’re familiar with online banking products, you’re probably very aware of Ally Bank’s presence in the online banking market.

But contrary to what it may seem, Ally isn’t a direct-to-consumer auto lender. That means you can’t find out whether or not you prequalify for an Ally Bank auto loan unless you go through a dealership. In 2016, Ally Auto served 18,000 auto dealerships and over 4 million auto dealership customers.

The thing is, it’s never a good idea to walk into a dealership before you’ve shopped around to get financing offers from multiple lenders. But with that being said, you might find yourself looking at a financing offer from Ally through a dealership and want to better understand how it works and what some alternatives might be.

In this post, we’ll take a look at the Ally Bank auto loan to let you know what steps are required to borrow and our take on the entire process. We’ll also cover rates and terms of Ally auto financing because we found them to be lacking transparency.

Who Ally Bank auto loan financing is best for

We don’t recommend that anyone chooses an auto loan through a dealership unless you get a ridiculously good deal compared to other offers.

The far better move is to first shop around for interest rates on auto loans with multiple lenders. Then go to the dealership with financing already secured. This way you’ve had time to get preapproved for the most affordable financing you can get, and you won’t fall victim to a subprime auto loan.

When reviewing a dealership auto loan, compare the interest rate, monthly payment, and total costs to other loans to make sure it’s truly a better agreement overall.

Check out this post for an in-depth guide on how to borrow money before car shopping.

Here’s a summary of the steps you should take:

  • Improve your score. Work on your credit score health since a higher credit score is what will get you the best loan offers.
  • Get preapproved. If you’re worried that shopping for several loans will damage your credit score, you can breathe a sigh of relief. Having your credit pulled by several lenders within a 14- to 45-day period can count as a single inquiry and has a limited impact on your score.
  • Take your preapproval with you when car shopping. You can make well-informed buying decisions with a preapproval in hand.

How Ally Bank auto financing works

Ally Bank is an indirect auto lender. An indirect auto lender is one that offers loans through dealerships. You can’t call up Ally Bank directly to get auto loan rate estimates.

Instead, here’s how it works:

  • Step 1: You go to a dealership that has a relationship with Ally Bank.
  • Step 2: You choose a car you want to buy.
  • Step 3: The dealership performs a credit review.
  • Step 4: The dealership crunches numbers and comes up with loan offers you qualify for based on your credit and the car you’re buying.
  • Step 5: You choose between offers, which can include an offer from Ally Bank.

One thing to be highly vigilant of with any indirect auto lender is that they may set a base interest rate and allow the dealership to tack on an additional markup on top of that rate. The interest rate markup can be revenue for the dealership and is an incentive to give you a more expensive loan.

Ultimately, it’s the dealership’s prerogative to make the most money possible regardless of what it costs you. To avoid getting finessed into a bad deal, it’s imperative that you search for auto loans from many lenders before car shopping at a dealership.

Ally Bank auto financing products

Ally Bank has four auto financing options:

Buying. According to Ally Bank, their auto loans have flexible terms. Auto loans come with online account management, auto-payments, and speciality financing for accessibility needs.

Leasing. There are lease financing options as well. A lease is kind of like renting a car for a certain time frame. You may have a limited number of miles you can drive on your lease, and you may be responsible for car repairs. Leasing cars long term can be more expensive than buying. A situation where a lease may make sense is if you want to drive new cars every few years.

Otherwise, you’re likely better off saving to buy a car in cash or financing to own it outright. Learn what you need to know before leasing a car here.

Ally Buyer’s Choice. Ally Bank offers a middle ground option between leasing and buying called Ally Buyer’s Choice. With the Ally Buyer’s Choice program, you make regular payments on an auto loan until the 48th month. At that point, you can decide to sell back the car to Ally Bank, or you can continue making regularly scheduled payments on the car.

Ally Balloon Advantage. Balloon financing is when you have smaller monthly payments and a larger lump-sum payment at the end of the contract. The benefit of a balloon loan is that you can have payments that are lower than a regular term loan. The drawback is obviously the large payment you’ll have to come up with down the road. Learn more about Ally Balloon Advantage loans here.

What we like about Ally Bank auto financing

The educational resources and account management tools. Ally Bank has an online and mobile app that can be convenient for account management. Ally Bank offers some articles on their website that can teach inexperienced car buyers what they need to know about auto loans.

There’s a post on whether it’s better for you to lease or buy. Ally Bank also encourages you to shop for rates with other lenders before car buying in its auto financing guide, which is sound advice.

What we don’t like about the Ally Bank auto loan

Transparency is lacking. Since Ally Bank is primarily an indirect auto lender, there’s hardly any information available online or through Ally Bank customer service about fees, terms, or interest rates. There are no details on what type of cars (make or age) that qualify for financing.

Ally Bank points you in the direction of dealerships you can visit to see what loans you qualify for. The dealerships are pretty much the middleman.

In comparison, some lenders will give you more insight on auto loan products. You can also get preapproved for these products before ever stepping foot on the car lot. We’ll give you examples in the next section.

Alternative auto loans

You should always shop around to compare rates before you head to a dealership. The dealer’s financing office may be able to beat your rate from another lender — but they won’t do that unless you’ve got an actual rate for them to see.

Use MagnifyMoney’s auto loan comparison tool to find great offers in your area.

Here are some lenders that will let you shop for loans before going to the dealership:

U.S. Bank – Rates start at 3.12% APR

The maximum you can borrow is $100,000. You can get a 0.50% discount off of your interest rate if you buy an EPA-Certified SmartWay vehicle or sign up for automatic payments.

U.S. Bank lets you get preapproved online to check for rates and terms. The preapproval is free but does require a hard inquiry credit check. Remember, if you shop for auto loan rates with several lenders within a short time frame, it can count as a single credit pull.

LightStream – Rates start at 2.49% APR

You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000. If you sign up for automatic payments, you can get a 0.50% rate discount. The process of getting a loan is simple. You apply online, accept your loan terms, and receive your funds to make the car purchase.

Your loan can get approved and funded the same day if your application process is complete before 2:30 p.m. ET on a bank business day.

Capital One – Rates start at 3.24% APR

Capital One lets you borrow between $4,000 and $40,000 for new and used cars. The car has to be 12 years old or older with less than 120,000 miles on it.

You can prequalify for rates on the Capital One website without a hard inquiry. Once prequalified, you can search for cars through Capital One partners and personalize your loan terms.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

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

TAGS: ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Earning Cashback, Reviews

Is the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card or Amazon Prime Store Card Better for Your Amazon Purchases?

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Review - Amazon Rewards Visa Card or Amazon Prime Store

For loyal Amazon shoppers, a credit card that will give you money back for spending only makes sense. There are three options:

  • Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card (from Chase) – 5% back, and our top choice
  • Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card (also from Chase) – 3% back
  • Amazon Prime Store Card (from Synchrony, can only be used at Amazon) – 5% back

The good news: if you are an Amazon Prime member, it is easy to get 5% cash back from all of your Amazon spending all year long. And if you spend a lot of money at Amazon, the savings can be significant.

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

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa<sup>®</sup> Signature Card5% at Amazon: The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card

With this credit card, 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.

There is no annual fee, no earning caps and no foreign transaction fees.

How the points work

When you use your card, you will actually be earning points.

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.

You can choose to redeem those points at Amazon (during checkout) or through Chase.

When you check out at Amazon, you will see your point balance and would be able to apply those points to your purchase. Every 100 points = $1.

But you can also redeem those points through Chase and get cash back, gift cards or travel. If you want cash back or gift cards, the value is the same as using the points at Amazon to shop. Every 100 points = $1.

You will also Get a $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval. The best part is you do not have to spend a certain amount of money in order to get the gift card.

If you are already enjoying the benefits of Amazon Prime, this card is an obvious choice.

But if you are thinking about Amazon Prime, this card is a great way to try it out.

If you spend $99 for Amazon Prime membership and then apply for this card, you will immediately get $70 of it back in the form of an Amazon gift card. You can learn more about the card at Amazon.

Amazon Rewards Visa<sup>®</sup> Signature Card 3% at Amazon: Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card

Everything is the same as the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card, except you Earn 3% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases. .

Just like the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card, cash back is tracked with a point system. 1 point equals $0.01. For example, if you spend $100 on Amazon.com, you’ll get $3 in cash back, which equals 300 points. You can trade in points for statement credit, travel or gift cards. Points never expire unless your account is closed and there’s no rewards cap.

The card doesn’t have a 0% introductory promo period. As a rule of thumb, you should avoid transferring a balance to a card you want to use for rewards. This card has an exceptionally high balance transfer fee (Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.) and no 0% introductory promo period; two major red flags for a balance transfer.

Get a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval. The Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card has no annual fee and you can learn more here.

Amazon Prime Store Card 5% at Amazon: Amazon Prime Store Card

The card can be used on Amazon.com and on other merchant sites that have the Amazon Prime Store Card option activated for payment. However, the card can’t be used for the following: textbook rentals, digital and print + digital subscriptions (including newspapers and magazines), cell phones associated with a plan, purchases on Amazon subsidiaries, digital add-on subscriptions (e.g. Starz, Hulu, GameFly, etc.), Prime Now items.

You can redeem cash back for statement credit until instructed otherwise. In the fine print, Amazon reserves the right to change the cash back program into a rewards program where you redeem points for products instead.

If you end your Amazon Prime Membership, your Amazon Prime Store Card will become a regular Amazon Store Card that doesn’t earn 5% cash back. There’s no annual fee on the card, but Prime membership does cost $99 per year.

This card offers special financing on all orders of $149 or more. You will pay no interest if your balance is paid in full within 6, 12, or 24 months as applicable. If you don’t pay off your balance within the promotional period, interest will be charged to your account from the purchase date. Minimum monthly payments are required. Learn more about the terms on here.

Pros and Cons

Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Cards

Pro: Multiple bonus categories. Sure, you shop on Amazon.com, but you probably shop elsewhere too. With this card you’ll get an extra bonus for shopping online plus cash back in other areas that fulfill everyday needs like filling up your gas tank. You also have flexibility to redeem cash back in multiple ways.

Pro: No annual fee. Earning cash back from each category is free, no annual fee.

Pro: A gift card once approved. When you get approved you’ll get Get a $70 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval (Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card) or Get a $50 Amazon.com Gift Card instantly upon credit card approval. (Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card) gift card right away you can use to shop.

Pro: 3% or 5% cash back when you pay for Amazon Prime Membership. Amazon Prime Membership comes with free two-day shipping and unlimited TV and movie screening with Prime Video. What devoted Amazon shopper doesn’t want that? An added benefit with this card is double-dipping. You get the Prime perks and cash back for paying for them.

Pro: High cash back for Prime members. If you’re a Prime member, you can get 5% cash back. You likely won’t be able to beat that rate.

Con: No intro APR. Since most credit cards have some type of introductory interest rate, a card that doesn’t have one stands out. You’ll need to pay off the balance each month starting from the very beginning to benefit from rewards earned.

Con: Tougher approval. You may need better credit to get these cards from Chase than the Amazon Store Card from Synchrony, which has a much higher interest rate.

Amazon Prime Store Card

Pro: 5% cash back. This is a huge amount of cash back for faithful Amazon shoppers. You’ll get rewarded handsomely for spending. And the redemption process is easy; your cash back is used for statement credit. One thing to keep in mind is it may take up to two billing cycles for the money to appear on your account.

Pro: Easier approval. This is a store card limited to Amazon purchases, so you might find it easier to get approved for this card with less than perfect credit.

Pro: No annual fee. The Amazon Prime Store Card doesn’t have an annual fee.

Con: A very high APR for everyone: This card charges a 26.99% APR for everyone, regardless of credit score. Yes, even an 850 FICO would still get you a horrible 26.99% interest rate. Never borrow with this card.

Con: Fine print. The fact that you can’t use this card for software downloads on Amazon sticks out as a negative. Amazon sells software downloads including TurboTax, QuickBooks and Norton Security. These products aren’t cheap and purchases you would want to get 5% cash back on.

Con: Requires Amazon Prime Membership. To use this card you have to be an Amazon Prime Member so in some respects there is a fee involved even though it’s not an annual fee specifically for the card. Amazon Prime Membership costs $99 per year. If you’re not already a member and want to become one for the card, you must spend enough to pay for membership.

Con: Exclusive to Amazon. A gift and a curse. You’ll have to follow up with another card for cash back on other things like groceries, gas, dining or travel.

Which Card Should You Choose?

The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card is a good one to consider if you already have an Amazon Prime account. It’s not worth getting an Amazon Prime account just to get this card unless you plan on spending big in the future on the site. If you spend moderately throughout the year, the basic Amazon Rewards Visa® Signature Card is a better choice between the two. You’ll get rewarded for more diverse spending in addition to your online shopping.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

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

TAGS: ,

Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Life Events, Personal Loans

Top 4 Personal Loans for an Engagement Ring

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any financial institution and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities prior to publication.

Engagement ring

Updated November 08, 2017
Getting engaged is an exciting yet nerve-wracking milestone. You’re eager for your partner to say “yes” and hoping she’s impressed by what she sees when you open the box.

The best way to afford the ring of her dreams is planning early and saving up. Financing an engagement ring should be your absolute last resort. After all, there are other larger expenses that come after marriage including moving, buying a home or starting a family that you could spend that money on instead.

Still, if you decide financing is right for you, here are a few personal loans that provide funds for engagement rings:

Earnest

Rates from 5.49% to 18.24% APR

Earnest has the lowest interest rate of the loans on our list and no origination fee. Loan terms are from 36 to 60 months. Earnest will lend you $5,000 to $75,000. Other than your credit score, Earnest will look at your income, education, earning potential and other factors to decide if you’re eligible for the loan. There’s no origination fee and no prepayment penalty. There is, however, a hard pull of your credit report.

Earnest could be a good option if you have limited credit history, but an offer letter or current position that pays you more than enough money to cover loan payments. After submitting an application, you’ll get a response within 2 business days.

Earnest
APR

5.49%
To
18.24%

Credit Req.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 60

months

Fees

No origination fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on Earnest’s secure website

Instead of offering credit-based loans, Earnest has taken a very non-traditional approach and used a merit-based system. This is great for recent graduates and those that are just beginning to establish credit. In addition, they offer some of the most flexible terms among all personal loan lenders, allowing for borrowers to get a customized loan and repayment plan that fits their financial situation.

LendingClub

Rates from 5.98% APR

LendingClub is a peer-to-peer loan marketplace where people who need to borrow money are matched up with investors. You can get a loan for up to 5 years. You can borrow up to $40,000. The origination fee is 1% to 6%. Your origination fee is assigned based on your credit profile. The higher your credit score the less you’ll pay for origination. You can check to see if you’re approved and your rate without harming your credit score.

After applying for LendingClub, peer investors will see your profile in the marketplace and hopefully fund your loan. Once your loan is funded by investors and your application documents check out, you’ll get the money wired to your account.

To get the very best rates through LendingClub you’ll need an excellent credit history, low debt-to-income ratio and a high credit score among other factors.

LendingClub loans are not available in Iowa or West Virginia.

Lending Club
APR

5.98%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on Lending Club’s secure website

LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates and approvals for people with credit scores in the mid-600s.... Read More

Karrot

Karrot is not currently offering new loans. Should you have an outstanding loan, Karrot states they are still servicing those loans.

Karrot gives out personal loans from $5,000 to $35,000. Loan terms range from 3 to 5 years. The loan has an origination fee of 1.05% to 4.75% that’s non-refundable and deducted from the loan upfront. Karrot doesn’t charge prepayment penalties. Other than origination, fees will only come into play if you skip out on a payment, have a check returned or request copies of your loan documents.

Shopping for loan rates on the site won’t ding your credit score. Karrot doesn’t go into specifics about the credit score you need to qualify, but you do need to at least have a credit history and a bank account to verify your income.

Prosper

Rates from 5.99% APR

You can borrow as little as $2,000 and up to $35,000 from Prosper, another peer-to-peer lending marketplace. Loan terms are 3 and 5 years. Prosper loans have a 1% to 5% origination fee, but no prepayment penalties.

At a minimum, you must have a 640 FICO score to qualify for Prosper. You also need to have a debt-to-income ratio less than 50%. Shopping for rates with Prosper won’t impact your credit score either.

Prosper
APR

5.99%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 5.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on Prosper’s secure website

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending platform that offers a quick and convenient way to get personal loans with fixed and low interest rates. The interest rate you receive is determined by their own proprietary “Prosper Rating”. You can qualify for a loan with average credit and there are no prepayment fees, but your origination fee can be expensive, depending on your Prosper Rating.Prosper is not available in Vermont, Connecticut, Iowa, North Dakota, Maine, New York and Pennsylvania.

Honorable Mention – LendingKarma

LendingKarma isn’t a lender. Instead, it’s a site that manages loans between people who know each other. As a rule of thumb, you should avoid borrowing or lending money to friends and family since involving money in relationships tends to cause drama.

But, if someone you know agrees to help out and you’re both on the same page, LendingKarma can make your life easier. LendingKarma takes care of the logistics of borrowing including the contract, payment schedule and friendly reminders. The fee for contract administration is paid one time and $50 to $100 per loan.

Final Thought

Financing an engagement ring is not something we recommend. It’s just not worth going into debt over. Explore all of your options instead. Here are a few:

  • Get what you can afford in cash now and upgrade when you have more money.
  • Try unclaimed diamond and discount jewelry stores to get a deal.
  • Skip the diamond altogether for gems that are a little more affordable like amethyst or sapphire. These gems are popular now anyway.
  • Buy a stone similar to a diamond like moissanite or a replica until you can get a real one. If you choose a “fake” starter ring, make the decision as a couple. You don’t want her to find out from another source that her ring isn’t a true diamond.

At the end of the day, an engagement ring is supposed to symbolize commitment. Sadly in some ways it’s morphed into a symbol of status. That doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to get a ring (or ask for a ring) you can’t afford. Do what’s best for you.

Advertiser Disclosure: The card offers that appear on this site are 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 card companies or all card offers available in the marketplace.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

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

TAGS: ,