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Personal Loans

MoneyLion 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.

MoneyLion
APR

5.99%
To
99.00%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

6 to 36

months

Fees

None

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MoneyLion personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 6 to 36 months
  • APR Range: 5.99% - 99.00% APR
  • Loan amounts: $300 to $35,000
  • Time for Funding: Up to one business day
  • Hard pull/soft pull: MoneyLion and BetterCash loans do a soft pull to check rates and a hard pull to complete the application. The MoneyLion Plus does a soft pull for the membership application and no additional inquiry for the loan.
  • Origination fee: None
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: $25 to $37.50

MoneyLion product details

Personal loans are just one aspect of MoneyLion. Collectively, MoneyLion is a personal finance platform with several products many of which are free after you sign up for an account. MoneyLion partners with TransUnion for free credit monitoring. Credit monitoring for users comes with a credit score simulator and scores updated each month.

MoneyLion also offers financial tracking for users where you can view your assets and debts all in one platform. Users can connect bank accounts, investment accounts, and credit card accounts to the financial tracking dashboard to review their overall financial standing.

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

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

MoneyLion Plus

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

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

Here are the features you get with MoneyLion Plus:

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

Eligibility requirements

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

There are a few loan products to review here with slightly different terms and eligibility requirements. The payment schedule for MoneyLion loans match your employer paycheck. If you get paid bi-weekly, your loan payment will also be bi-weekly.

For each loan, you have to sign up to become a user of MoneyLion first.

  • MoneyLion: Allows people with fair to good credit to borrow $1,000 to $35,000. The MoneyLion loan is marketed as an installment loan solution for planned purchases or major emergencies.
  • BetterCash: Those with less-than-stellar credit may borrow between $300 and $10,000 for 6 to 24 months. The BetterCash loan is for unexpected small expenses that pop up and need a quick payment. To be blunt, this product is comparable to a payday loan. Payday loans are meant to keep you afloat from one paycheck to another. Be careful with this type of loan — it can turn into a debt trap because you’re constantly relying on debt to put out financial fires.
  • MoneyLion Plus – As we mentioned above, you may borrow $500 for 5.99% APR, but it’s only available if you sign up for the $79 per month MoneyLion Plus account.

Think twice about signing up for the MoneyLion Plus account for the sole purpose of getting access to these $500 emergency loans. It may not be constructive to pay $79 per month, even if $50 is going into an investment account. That $79 would probably serve you better deposited into a liquid emergency fund savings account you can use when emergencies arise. It can take up to seven business days to withdraw cash from the investment account when you need it.

Eligibility requirements

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

You also need to meet these conditions:

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

Applying for a personal loan from MoneyLion

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

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

Complete the application. You can complete the application online. You will need a Social Security number, email address, home address, phone number, date of birth, and verifiable bank information to apply.

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

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

Pros and cons of a MoneyLion personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Quick loans. MoneyLion can get you approved for a loan within 24 hours and can fund your loan within 24 hours of the approval.
  • Products for both good and bad credit. You can qualify for the MoneyLion loan with fair or good credit, and qualify for the BetterCash loan with less-than-perfect credit.
  • Soft pulls. You can prequalify for a loan with just a soft inquiry that won’t affect your credit score.
  • Free credit scores. Of all the extra MoneyLion perks, the free credit score monitoring may be the best feature. It’s free and you get monthly updates. Having this tool can help you build credit and prevent fraud.
  • Expensive loans. An APR of 30% to 99.00% is astronomical, and MoneyLion products may even surpass this rate range into the triple digits. You could find yourself in a never-ending cycle of debt if you use this loan to pay bills. The MoneyLion Plus product with 5.99% APR is touted as the affordable loan. But to get access to this loan, you’ll need to pay $79 monthly for MoneyLion Plus membership — $29 for membership costs and $50 in required investment contributions. If you’re already strapped for cash, $79 monthly could be cumbersome. You can search for other affordable loan products in our roundup here that don’t require a membership.
  • Limited availability. MoneyLion products aren’t available in all states. Refer to the list of states above before applying.
  • Beware of MoneyLion Plus. Only consider the MoneyLion Plus product if you’ll be logging into the account daily, and if you won’t need the cash you’re investing for emergencies. You earn $1 in cashback to your investment account for each day you log in, so this could cancel out the $29 monthly fee. Otherwise, $29 per month ($348 annually) is an extremely high price to pay for membership access to a $500 installment loan and investment product. You can invest with other companies that could manage your account for cheaper. We have a list of robo-advisors in our roundup here.

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

Cost is the biggest disadvantage of this loan. The interest rate range can go from 30% to 99.00% APR or even higher depending on the product (unless you invest in MoneyLion Plus). Sure, you can qualify for a BetterCash loan with less-than-perfect credit, but you could be paying on it for quite some time if you get a three-digit interest rate.

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

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

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

Alternative personal loan options

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

6.87%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

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Loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.87%-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 lets you borrow between $1,000 to $50,000. You can check rates with a soft inquiry. After you’re approved for a loan, you can get access to funding within a day. There are no prepayment penalty fees, but there is an origination fee to consider. This loan is another one for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit that may be more affordable than MoneyLion.

SoFi

SoFi
APR

7.08%
To
15.37%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 84

months

Fees

No origination fee

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on SoFi’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Fixed rates from 7.08% APR to 15.37% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.81% APR to 14.11% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 10, 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 5.81% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.07% 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. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.Terms and Conditions Apply.

Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.

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

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


SoFi has loans from $5,000 to $100,000 — if you need to borrow a large sum, this is one of the lenders that offers the most money, and there are also long loan terms that give you a decent amount of time to repay debt. SoFi doesn’t have a credit score minimum, but there are no fees and competitive interest rates (especially when using autopay), which is a sign that the loan is geared toward people with decent credit.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

6.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Fees

No origination fee

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on LendingTree’s secure website

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


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

Advertiser Disclosure: The 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

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Reviews

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

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided 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$0.9B
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

1.95%

Savings

Northpointe Bank Ultimate Savings

1.85%

Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

1.35%

CD Rates

Northpointe Bank 12 - 17 Month CD

2.45%

Synchrony Bank 12 Month CD

on Synchrony Bank’s secure website

1.75%

CD Rates

Northpointe Bank 36 - 47 Month CD

2.55%

Ally Bank High Yield 3 Year CD

on Ally Bank’s secure website

2.55%

CD Rates

Northpointe Bank 60+ Month CD

3.00%

Barclays 60 Month Online CD

on Barclays’s secure website


Northpointe Bank savings account options

Ultimate Savings

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

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.12% APY

$0.01-$2,499.99

1.95% APY

$2,500-$99,999.99

1.12% APY

$100,000-$999,999,999

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kid’s Savings

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

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

1.50% APY

Up to $1,000

1.11% APY

$1,000+

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

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

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

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

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

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Health Savings Account (HSA)

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

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.50% APY

$0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Northpointe Bank’s saving accounts compare

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

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

Northpointe Bank checking account options

Interest Checking

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

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.00% APY

Up to $2,499.99

0.15% APY

$2,500 - $24,999.99

0.25% APY

$25,000 - $99,999.99

0.30% APY

$100,000+

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Free Checking

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

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

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

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How Northpointe Bank’s checking accounts compare

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

Northpointe Bank CD rates

Fixed Rate CDs

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

Term

APY

7-91 Days

0.30% APY

92-182 Days

0.90% APY

6-11 Months

1.00% APY

12-17 Months

1.35% APY

18-23 Months

1.60% APY

19 Month CD Special

2.30% APY

24-29 Months

1.65% APY

30-35 Months

1.65% APY

35 Month CD Special

2.50% APY

36-47 Months

1.75% APY

48-59 Months

2.25% APY

60+ Months

2.55% APY

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

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

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

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

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

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How Northpointe Bank’s CD rates compare

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

Northpointe Bank Money Market rates

Liquid Money Market account

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

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.20% APY

Up to $2,499.99

0.25% APY

$2,500 - $24,999.99

0.40% APY

$25,000 - $99,999.99

0.50% APY

$100,000+

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

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

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

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

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

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How Northpointe Bank’s Money Market account compares

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

Northpointe Bank IRA accounts

IRA CD Rates

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

Term

APY

7-91 Days

0.30% APY

92-182 Days

0.90% APY

6-11 Months

1.00% APY

12-17 Months

1.35% APY

18-23 Months

1.60% APY

19 Month CD Special

2.30% APY

24-29 Months

1.65% APY

30-35 Months

1.65% APY

35 Month CD Special

2.50% APY

36-47 Months

1.75% APY

48-59 Months

2.25% APY

60+ Months

2.55% APY

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

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

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

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How Northpointe Bank’s IRA CD rates compares

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

Liquid IRA Savings

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

APY

Minimum Balance Amount

0.20%

Up to $2,499.99

0.25%

$2,500 - $24,999.99

0.40%

$25,000 - $99,999.99

0.50%

$100,000+

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

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

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

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on Northpointe Bank’s secure website

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

Best of, Reviews

10 Best NO ANNUAL FEE Rewards Credit Cards of August 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® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

Annual fee

$0*

Cashback Rate

Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay

Regular Purchase APR

15.24% - 25.24%* (Variable)

APPLY NOW Secured

on Citibank’s secure website

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

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

2. Honorable Mention: 2% Fidelity Rewards Visa Signature, NO FEE

Fidelity® Rewards Visa Signature® Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

2% on all spend

Regular Purchase APR

15.74%

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

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

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

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

Uber Visa Card

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

16.74%-25.49%

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® 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® 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

11.00%-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

14.74%-25.74% 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® Signature Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

Regular Purchase APR

15.99% - 23.99% Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Amazon’s secure website

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

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

5% Cash Rewards in Rotating Categories: NO FEE

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

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

Chase Freedom®

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories

Regular Purchase APR

16.74%-25.49%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase Bank’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 each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. Check out our review for more benefits of the Chase Freedom®.

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

Discover it® Cash Back

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

13.74% - 24.74% Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

With the Discover it® Cash Back, earn 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Earn 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases. You can redeem your cash back for any amount at any time. And your cash back never expires. Discover will match ALL the cash back 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® 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

10.75%-14.75%

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® Cash Back, so it’s a great way to get you closer to 5% rewards on everything you spend.

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

Honorable mentions for travelers

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

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

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

1.5% Cash Back on every purchase, every day

Regular Purchase APR

14.74% - 24.74% (Variable)

APPLY NOW Secured

on Capital One’s secure website

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

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

The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express

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

14.74%-25.74% 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, 14.74%-25.74% Variable APR). This gives you the opportunity to not only pay for new purchases over the course of many months without accruing interest, but also earn rewards on those purchases that can be redeemed in a wide variety of ways, like the real airline miles mentioned earlier.

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

Bank of America® Travel Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

$0

Rewards Rate

Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent on all purchases

Regular Purchase APR

16.74% - 24.74% Variable APR

APPLY NOW Secured

on Bank Of America’s secure website

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

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

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

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

Advertiser Disclosure: The 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: , ,

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Best of, Earning Cashback

10 Best 5% Cash Back Credit Cards for August 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®

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

Earn 5% cash back in bonus categories

Regular Purchase APR

16.74%-25.49%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Chase Bank’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 each quarter. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases. This translates to a maximum return of $75 per quarter on the 5% bonus category. You earn an unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases outside of the bonus categories. You can also Earn a $150 Bonus after spending $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

The 5% categories change every quarter.

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

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

chasefreedommobileapp

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

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

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

Discover it® Cash Back

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

13.74% - 24.74% Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Discover Bank’s secure website

Rates & Fees

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

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

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

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

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

Extra perks: As an Intro Offer, Discover will match ALL the cash back earned at the end of your first year, automatically..

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

Visa® Platinum Rewards Credit Card from Nusenda Credit Union

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% cash back on purchases in quarterly rotating categories

Regular Purchase APR

10.75%-14.75%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Nusenda ’s secure website

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card

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 US Bank’s secure website

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

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

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

  • Gas stations
  • Restaurants
  • Grocery stores

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**Terms and Conditions Apply.

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

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

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

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

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

Amazon Prime Rewards Visa® Signature Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

Earn 5% back at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market with eligible Prime membership, 2% back at restaurants, gas stations, and drugstores, and 1% back on all other purchases.

Regular Purchase APR

15.99% - 23.99% Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Amazon’s secure website

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

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

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

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

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

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

Target REDcard™ Credit Card

Annual fee

$0 For First Year

$0 Ongoing

Cashback Rate

5% at Target & Target.com

Regular Purchase APR

24.40%

Variable

APPLY NOW Secured

on Target’s secure website

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

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

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

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

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

Fort Knox Federal Credit Union Visa® Platinum Card

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

11.00%-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

14.74%-25.74% 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®Cashback Rewards Plus American Express® Card

Annual fee

$0

Cashback Rate

Earn 5% cash back on your first $3,000 in gas and military base purchases annually on these categories combined. Earn 2% on your first $3,000 on supermarket purchases per year. Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases.

Regular Purchase APR

13.65% - 27.65% 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

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Advertiser Disclosure

Personal Loans

First Midwest Bank 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.

First Midwest Bank
APR

7.42%
To
12.44%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 to 60

months

Fees

$100

APPLY NOW Secured

on First Midwest Bank’s secure website

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

First Midwest Bank personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

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

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

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

Eligibility requirements

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

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

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

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

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

Applying for a personal loan from First Midwest Bank

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

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

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

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

Pros and cons of a First Midwest Bank personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

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

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

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

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

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

Alternative personal loan options

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

6.87%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.87%-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 lets you borrow from $1,000 to $50,000. Unlike First Midwest Bank, there’s an origination fee. However, you can borrow with a lower credit score and there’s a soft pull prequalification process available. The low end of the Upgrade interest rate range is competitive, but the best rates are typically given to those with the best credit. It can take up to four business days to get funding.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

6.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Fees

No origination fee

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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


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

Avant

Avant
APR

9.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Fees

Up to 4.75%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

Avant has helped over 600,000 customers by providing access to over $3.5 billion in personal loans. Whether you need to improve your home, make a major purchase, or consolidate your debts into one simple monthly payment, Avant may be able to provide you access to the funds you need as soon as next business day! ‡

For Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.


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

Advertiser Disclosure: The 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

loanDepot 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.

loanDepot
APR

6.17%
To
29.00%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 5.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on loanDepot’s secure website

loanDepot offers personal loans that carry no prepayment penalty and a 15-day grace period. They offer some of the lowest APRs available on personal loans that can go up to $35,000. While these loans and rates are available for most areas, there is a lot of fine print and you may find that loans are not available in your location based on the rate that you receive.

loanDepot personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

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

loanDepot benefits

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

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

Eligibility requirements

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

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

Loan restrictions

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

Here are a few APR restrictions:

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

Applying for a personal loan from loanDepot

The application process for loanDepot happens in three stages:

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

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

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

Pros and cons of a loanDepot personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alternative personal loan options

LendingClub

LendingClub
APR

6.16%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

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

SoFi

SoFi
APR

7.08%
To
15.37%

Credit Req.

680

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 7.08% APR to 15.37% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.81% APR to 14.11% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 10, 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 5.81% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.07% 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. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.Terms and Conditions Apply.

Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.

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

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

SoFi is one lender that has no origination fee. There’s no specified minimum credit score. However, SoFi generally lends to borrowers who have at least good credit. You can borrow large amounts from SoFi ($5,000 to $100,000). There are also multiple loan terms to choose from — 36 to 84 months. As an added benefit, SoFi offers loan perks like employment protection if you lose your job.

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

6.87%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.87%-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 a lender that offers personal loans with a minimum credit score that’s also welcoming to people who have less than perfect credit. Interest rates are competitive like loanDepot. There’s also an origination fee that’s comparable to what loanDepot charges. You can borrow from $1,000 to $50,000 so this could be a better option if you need access to more money.

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Personal Loans

Upgrade 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.

Upgrade
APR

6.87%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.87%-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 personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 36 or 60-month loan terms are available.
  • APR range: Upgrade offers interest rates from 6.87% to 35.97% APR.
  • Loan amounts: You can borrow from $1,000 to $50,000.
  • Time to funding: You can get funding within four business days after your loan is approved.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: The initial application to check rates only requires a Soft Pull which will not impact your credit. The full verification to approve you for the loan does require a hard pull.

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

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

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

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

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

Eligibility requirements

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

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

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

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

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

Applying for a personal loan from Upgrade

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

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

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

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

Pros and cons of an Upgrade personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alternative personal loan options

SoFi

SoFi is an example of one lender that has No origination fee. SoFi also has longer loan term options than Upgrade. You can borrow up to $100,000. The interest rate range for SoFi is more competitive. Lenders with low interest rates generally serve borrowers with good to excellent credit. Qualifying for SoFi may be more of a challenge. Fortunately, SoFi will let you pre-qualify without a hard inquiry so you can check rates.

SoFi
APR

7.08%
To
15.37%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 84

months

Fees

No origination fee

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


Fixed rates from 7.08% APR to 15.37% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.81% APR to 14.11% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 10, 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 5.81% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.07% 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. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.Terms and Conditions Apply.

Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.

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

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

LendingClub

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

LendingClub
APR

6.16%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

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

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

6.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Fees

No origination fee

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

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.

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10 Places You Can Earn Six Figures and Still Feel Broke in 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.

iStock

A six-figure income may not go as far as you think depending on where you live. After factoring in taxes, debt payment and living expenses like child care and transportation, a family earning $100,000 in certain cities could still find themselves struggling to get by. Last year, MagnifyMoney published “The Best and Worst Cities to Live on Six Figures.” This year, we’re back for the 2018 edition to uncover the metro areas where a household income of $100,000 can still leave you strapped for cash.

For this study, we created a hypothetical, but fairly typical, couple with one child who earns a combined gross income of $100,000 (or $8,333 monthly). We estimated monthly expenses, debt payments and tax obligations to calculate what the family’s disposable income would be in various metro areas based on the average lifestyle of a six-figure earner in the corresponding metro area. Then, we ranked the locations from places where they would have the most and least disposable income.

The order in this year’s ranking has changed from last year due to changes in living costs like housing, transportation and child care. But you’ll notice many usual suspects on the worst list and some familiar faces on the best list.

Places Where You Can Earn 6 Figures and Still Be Broke

How the study — and our findings — evolved in 2018

There are a few changes to the methodology in our 2018 study. We focused on the largest 100 metros this time around as opposed to some 381 metros last year. We also took a more detailed approach to calculating variables that impact a family’s disposable income. Here are the updates we made:

We based our case study on a family earning a gross income of $8,333 per month. Then we subtracted their monthly expenses, debt obligations and savings to come up with an estimate of how much cash they’d have left over at the end of the month.

Savings. We assumed the family contributed $500 monthly to their 401(k). Last year, we assumed the family set aside 5% of their savings in a regular savings account. This year, we changed the savings to 401(k) contributions because it’s something of a bastion of corporate middle-class personal finance, and it offers a tax benefit.

Tax assumptions. Our study assumes the couple will file jointly for 2018. They took the standard federal deduction and received a federal $2,000 credit for their one child. They also took the standard deductions and credits offered by their state, and took advantage of the pretax DCFSA child savings plan to deduct the $5,000 maximum from their taxable income by their employer. The couple had insurance premiums paid from their pretax income by their employer and their 401(k) contributions paid from their pretax income by their employer.

Debt: We assume the family had a monthly student loan payment of $222, which is the median student loan payment according to the Federal Reserve. Housing and auto debt are bundled in with the housing and transportation cost budget line items in monthly expenses.

Monthly expenses. We based monthly expenses — housing, transportation, food, utilities, household operations, child care and entertainment — for each location on data taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Care.com, Kaiser Family Foundation and the Federal Reserve. We calculated an average for these expenses taking into account the lifestyle costs of a six-figure earner.

Compared with last year, we beefed up the monthly necessity expenses — although by no means hit them all — by adding costs like household operations costs and utilities to get a more realistic sense of how much people would have left over after paying their basic bills. We also added health insurance since it’s one of the most basic expenses.

Read the full methodology here.

Key takeaways:

  • In San Jose, Calif. (the seat of Silicon Valley), a joint income of $100,000 with a preschool-aged child means a couple would have to run up their credit cards $454 a month just to make monthly bills on the basics (not including compounded interest on that credit card debt)
  • In McAllen, Texas, a couple earning $100,000 can expect to have around $2,267 left over every month after paying bills.
  • In fact, the five places where couples can expect the most in disposable income are in Texas and Tennessee, where there’s no state income tax, and metros in Florida (also without state income tax) tend to have six-figure earners with plenty of money left over.
  • Regionally, with the exception of Minneapolis — a perennial on our list of most prosperous places — the most expensive cities lie on the coasts and Hawaii, and the most affordable cities are in Southern states without a state income tax.

Worst Places to Make Six Figures

1. San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, Calif.

San Jose, Calif., moves up to the top spot replacing Washington D.C. from last year’s study. San Jose is the location where a combined income of $100,000 is going to offer the least amount of security for our hypothetical family of three.

To make ends meet, they would need to either dip into savings or rely on credit cards to cover the $454 budget deficit. Housing in this area decreased compared with last year ($2,916 in 2017 versus $2,520 in 2018). However, an 84% increase on child care costs and 30% increase on transportation costs takes the location to the no. 1 spot. This year, we used a different source for child care costs, which could also contribute to the increase in cost.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,087
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA, 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,768

2. Washington/Arlington/Alexandria, DC-VA-MD

Washington D.C. comes in at a close second leaving the family $360 in the hole each month. Housing costs increased to $2,597 compared with $2,274 in 2017. This is the most expensive metro area to find living arrangements. The general rule of thumb is to not spend more than 30% of your gross income on housing, but this recommendation could leave you house poor since it doesn’t consider your net income.

In this case, housing takes up about 31% of the couple’s gross income ($8,333 per month). However, housing takes up 47% of the family’s actual paycheck after subtracting taxes, FICA, 401(k), health insurance and the pre-tax child care saving incentive. Couple the housing costs with the transportation expense ($1,302), and a six-figure earning family can really struggle to live comfortably in and around the nation’s capital.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $6,932
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA, 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,560

3. San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, CA

San Francisco is about 50 miles away from San Jose (no. 1 on the list), but offers slightly lower living costs, which makes the $100,000 income go a bit further. The two cities share almost the exact same monthly expenses. It’s the $320 total saved on housing and transportation that makes San Francisco slightly more affordable than the San Jose metro area. San Francisco made it to no. 4 last year, so it’s no surprise we’re seeing it again this year taking one of the top spots.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,086
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,768

4. Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, Conn.

The Bridgeport, Conn., area offers some opportunity for savings in food and child care costs, but estimated utilities and transportation costs come in higher than even the top three worst places for six-figure earners. Our hypothetical family would spend almost 29%* of their paycheck on transportation and utilities alone.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,035
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,678

5. Boston/Cambridge/Newton, MA-NH

Boston has the third highest cost of child care to make the list. Child care could take up a whopping 15%* of a family’s paycheck after subtracting taxes and savings contributions. Just like last year, housing is another budget buster in the Boston area eating away another 37% of their paycheck.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $6,932
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,595

6. Oxnard/Thousand Oaks/Ventura, Calif.

Oxnard, Calif., is a new addition to the list this year, and the first metro area that doesn’t leave a $100,000 earning household in the red each month after taxes, investment contributions and expenses.

With that said, disposable income of just $138 isn’t much to write home about. An unexpected expense could easily wipe out their spare cash. Like the other California locales above, housing takes a huge bite out of their budget — almost 38% of net income.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,086
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings— $5,768

7. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu gives the family more disposable income than Oxnard, Calif., but just barely. When all expenses are covered, the family has $140 left over to spare, which is less than last year’s disposable income of $302. Year over year, child care and transportation costs increased by 30% and 23% respectively, but housing decreased by almost 18%.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $6,805
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,527

8. Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington, MN-WI**

State income tax is one of several reasons the Minneapolis area makes the list. The estimated state tax here ($506) is higher than the top two worst places — San Jose ($206 state tax) and Washington, D.C. ($366 state tax). Housing takes up about 37% of the family’s paycheck, which isn’t ideal but less than other locations.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $6,785
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA, 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,470**

9. Hartford/West Hartford/East Hartford, Conn.

Hartford, Conn., is another new addition to the list. Hartford offers $339 in disposable income which is more than double that of Honolulu. Housing in Hartford is the second lowest of this list taking up just 33% of the family’s paycheck.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,035
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,678

10. New York/Newark/Jersey City/NY-NJ-PA

The New York metro area came in no. 5 last year, but takes spot no. 10 for 2018. It may come as a shock that it’s not closer to the top, but major savings in transportation contributes to a disposable income of $505 after bills and other responsibilities.

For a comparison, the other “worst places to live” have monthly transportation costs ranging from $1,200 to $1,400. The estimate for transportation costs in the New York area is just $997 per month.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $6,934
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,629

Best Places to Make Six Figures

100. McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, Texas

It’s no surprise that states without state income tax make the top of the list for best places to make six-figures. McAllen also has a remarkably low monthly housing cost ($889). Last year, housing costs for McAllen were sitting at $1,086 contributing to its no. 5 ranking on the best list.

Here, the family has a nice $2,267 per month in disposable income. This surplus in cash can offer plenty of flexibility to save, invest or tackle lingering debt. Overall, household bills take up just 62%* of the paycheck in McAllen. In comparison, for San Jose, the worst metro area for six-figure earners, bills take up 108%* of the paycheck.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,300
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, childcare savings — $5,913

99. El Paso, Texas

El Paso, Texas, has a slightly higher housing cost than McAllen ($1,060 versus McAllen’s $889). In El Paso, the hypothetical family gets a disposable income of $2,135, again, enough to comfortably stash some cash away for a rainy day while keeping current on bills.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,301
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,913

98. Chattanooga, TN-GA

Chattanooga, Tenn., offers low child care and health insurance, but comes in third with a disposable income of $2,048 thanks to the higher housing cost ($1,116) and transportation cost ($1,186) . These two major living expenses are higher than McAllen and El Paso, but when combined still only take up 39% of net income.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,290
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,894

97. Memphis, TN-MS-AR

Memphis has higher housing costs than the locations above but more affordable child care. Child care ($622 per month) is lower than even the two best metro areas — McAllen and El Paso (both $686 per month). The family gets a disposable income of $1,970, which is a respectable sum.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,290
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,984

96. Knoxville, Tenn.

Knoxville, Tenn., is yet another southern metro area in a state with no income tax. Housing and child care costs put Knoxville behind Chattanooga and Memphis. But together, housing and child care costs, two big ticket budget line items, only eat up about 31% of the household’s paycheck.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,290
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,984

95. Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.

The monthly disposable income at Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla., clocks in at $1,850. The health care costs ($525) are considerably higher here when compared with other cities even the most expensive places for six-figure earners. San Jose, Calif., and Washington, D.C., have health care costs of $402 and $456, respectively.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,306
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,866

94. Jackson, Miss.

Jackson, Miss., is the first locale on the best places to live list that has a state income tax. Jackson offers a disposable income that’s just two dollars shy of Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla. at $1,848. Despite the state tax, housing ($1,082 per month) and child care ($514 per month), it’s still an affordable place to call home for six-figure earners.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $6,993
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,627

93. Youngstown/Warren/Boardman, OH-PA

Youngstown, Pa., is the only location representing the Northeastern states in this list. Child care is high ($694) compared with other states that have affordable living. But housing and transportation costs are comparable with other locales, and health care is noticeably lower at $331 per month.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,069
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,823

92. Deltona/Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach, Fla.

Daytona Beach, Fla., is in a no-income tax state but has high housing, transportation and food costs, which takes it down a few pegs even below two states that have state taxes. Bills take up 70%* of net income.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,306
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,866

91. Toledo, Ohio

Toledo, Ohio, rounds out the top ten best places for six-figure income households. Like, Youngstown, Pa., Toledo has high child care costs ($694 per month) when compared with the other affordable locations. Food and entertainment costs can also put some pressure on the purse strings. But overall, the household will pay just 70%* of their paycheck on household expenses.

  • Monthly income minus taxes and FICA — $7,069
  • Monthly paycheck minus taxes, FICA 401(k), health insurance, DCFSA child savings — $5,823

*These numbers have been corrected due to an editing error.

**Due to a data collection error, the health insurance costs for Minneapolis were incorrectly calculated. We have updated the ranking for Minneapolis from #5 to #8. 

Additional Findings:

  • Residents of the New York metro (10th on the list) get a bit of a reprieve, thanks to low cost public transportation. They’ll have $505 left over every month for things like clothes, toys, and co-pays for their kid.
  • Other states with no income tax include Nevada, Vermont and Washington, but expenses there are high enough to eat up most of the savings (Seattle is the 13th brokest metro).

Background & methodology:

The hypothetical family we created is a typical one that earns a combined income of $100,000 (the median income for a married-couple family in 2016 was $81,917, and 39% of such couples earned at least $100,000 that same year).

We were pretty conservative about the couple’s financial and debt obligations by making the following assumptions:

  • Both have corporate-style employers who offer typical benefits.
  • They have one child currently in day care.
  • Between them, they contribute 6% of their income to their 401(k)’s, which is considerably less than the median rate of 5% from an employee in a matching plan (page 40; assumes the employee is contributing half of the 10% median).
  • Only one of them has student loans and is making the median payment of $222 a month.
  • The entire household is on one person’s group insurance plan.
  • The family has average spending habits and expenses for where they live.

To calculate federal and state taxes, we assumed the following:

  • The couple will file jointly for 2018;
  • Took the standard federal deduction;
  • Received a federal $2,000 credit for their one child
  • Took the standard deductions and credits offered by their state;
  • Took advantage of the pre-tax DCFSA child savings plan to deduct the $5,000 maximum from their taxable income by their employer;
  • Had insurance premiums paid from their pre-tax income by their employer;
  • Had their 401(k) contributions paid from their pre-tax income by their employer.

The following variables were used to create their hypothetical expenses (each is the average cost for the geography indicated in parentheses):

  • Federal tax contribution (national, but adjusted for state average health care premiums)
  • State tax contribution (state)
  • FICA contribution (national)
  • 401(k) contribution (national; see notes on assumptions)
  • Insurance premiums (state)
  • Housing costs (MSA)
  • Transportation costs (MSA)
  • Food costs (regional)
  • Utilities cost (regional)
  • Household operations costs (regional)
  • Child care costs (MSAs where available (half of the MSAs), and state averages where not)
  • Student loan payments (national)
  • Entertainment costs (regional)

Sources include the Bureau of Labor Statistics; the Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Tax Foundation; Care.com; the Kaiser Family Foundation; the U.S. Federal Reserve; and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Full ranking:

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

Kali McFadden
Kali McFadden |

Kali McFadden is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kali at kali.mcfadden@magnifymoney.com

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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.

660

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 144

months

Fees

No origination fee

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 3.09% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $291.21.

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 Pull. 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 from 24 to 144 (2 to 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 $5,000 to $100,000 with loan terms of 24 to 144 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

7.08%
To
15.37%

Credit Req.

680

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 7.08% APR to 15.37% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.81% APR to 14.11% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 10, 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 5.81% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.07% 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. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.Terms and Conditions Apply.

Minimum Credit Score: Not all applicants who meet SoFi’s minimum credit score requirements are approved for a personal loan. In addition to meeting SoFi’s minimum eligibility criteria, applicants must also meet other credit and underwriting requirements to qualify.

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

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

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is 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

6.87%
To
35.97%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 6.87%-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

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Won’t impact your credit score

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.

LendingClub
APR

6.16%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

1.00% - 6.00%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

LendingClub personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: LendingClub offers personal loans for terms of 36 or 60 months.
  • APR Range: Loan APR ranges from 6.16% 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 1.00% - 6.00%. 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

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

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

6.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Fees

2.41% - 5.00%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending platform that offers a quick and convenient way to get personal loans with fixed and low interest rates. ... Read More


For example, a three-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of AA would have an interest rate of 5.31% and a 2.41% origination fee for an annual percentage rate (APR) of 6.95% APR. You would receive $9,759 and make 36 scheduled monthly payments of $301.10. A five-year $10,000 loan with a Prosper Rating of A would have an interest rate of 8.39% and a 5.00% origination fee with a 10.59% APR. You would receive $9,500 and make 60 scheduled monthly payments of $204.64. Origination fees vary between 2.41%-5%. APRs through Prosper range from 6.95% (AA) to 35.99% (HR) for first-time borrowers, with the lowest rates for the most creditworthy borrowers. Eligibility for loans up to $40,000 depends on the information provided by the applicant in the application form. Eligibility is not guaranteed, and requires that a sufficient number of investors commit funds to your account and that you meet credit and other conditions. Refer to Borrower Registration Agreement for details and all terms and conditions. All loans made by WebBank, member FDIC.

Prosper is 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%

LEARN MORE Secured

on LendingTree’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