Advertiser Disclosure

Best of, Personal Loans

Best Options for a No Fee Personal Loan

Best Options for a No Fee Personal Loan

Updated April 01, 2019

Interest isn’t the only cost to consider when shopping for personal loans. Fees can also eat away at your money. Many lenders increase profits by charging all sorts of fees – application fees, origination fees, and even prepayment fees! So it’s important you do your homework and find a no fee personal loan.

Below, we help get your research started by rounding up personal loan providers that respect their customers enough not to charge insane fees. This post also lists other lending companies you may already be familiar with, which offer no origination fees and no prepayment fees but do include steeper late fees.

Company
APR
Terms
Credit Req.

4.99%-16.79%*

with AutoPay

24 to 144*

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

*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 without AutoPay may be 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 4.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $299.66.
SoFi

5.99%-17.88%

24 to 84

months

680

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 17.88% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.49% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of November 4, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.49% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.81% plus 3.08% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

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

6.99%-28.99%

36 to 72

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 6.99% to 24.99% APR.

6.99%-24.99%

36 to 84

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

The APR ranges from 6.99% to 24.99% APR based on creditworthiness at time of application. Loans up to $35,000. Fast & Easy Process. Terms are 36 to 84 months. No prepayment penalty. This is not a firm offer of credit. Any results displayed are estimates and we do not guarantee the applicability or accuracy to your specific circumstance. For example, for a $15,000 loan with an APR of 10.99% and 60 month term, the estimated monthly payment would be $326. The estimated total cost of the loan in this example would be $19,560.

6.99%-16.99%

24 to 60

months

Not specified

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure.

To get a Personal Loan (“Loan”) with the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown, you must reside in MA, MD, RI, CT, NH, NJ, PA, NY,DE, ME, VT, or DC, meet our highest credit standards, and use automatic payment (ePay) from any Santander Bank N.A. checking account. Fixed loan APRs (with ePay) range from 6.99% to 16.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. The minimum Loan amount is $5,000 and the maximum is $50,000. The APR on the Loan will increase by 0.25 percentage points and the payment will increase, if ePay is not elected or is discontinued. APRs and other terms are accurate as of 10/01/2018 and may change thereafter. A Santander checking account is not required to qualify for a Loan, but use of ePay from a Santander checking account will result in an interest rate discount. Personal Loans cannot be used to finance post-secondary educational expenses. Loan accounts are subject to approval.
PenFed Credit Union

Starting at 6.49%

36 to 60

months

700

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

USAA Bank

9.49%-17.65%

12 to 84

months

700

Minimum Credit Score

SEE OFFERS Secured

on USAA Bank’s secure website

LightStream

LightStream may be an unfamiliar name, however it’s operated by one of the largest banks in America. LightStream is the online lending division of SunTrust Bank, the 12th largest bank (in terms of total assets) in the United States. LightStream offers up to $100,000 in personal loans for a maximum term of 84 months with 4.99% to 16.79%. It is so confident in its application experience, that any dissatisfied customer will receive a $100 credit towards their personal loan. LightStream also offers a very competitive home improvement loan.

LightStream Personal Loan Fees

  • No origination fee
  • No prepayment fee
  • No late fee

What LightStream Wants to See in Its Personal Loan Applicants

  • A 0+ credit score
  • 5 years or more of significant credit history is preferred
  • No delinquencies
  • Money saved in a bank
  • Some variation of credit lines
  • Proof of stable and sufficient income
APR

4.99%
To
16.79%*

with AutoPay

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

24 to 144*

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS 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 without AutoPay may be 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 4.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $299.66.

SoFi

SoFi offers personal loans ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Terms are 24 to 84 months with fixed APR ranges of 5.99% – 17.88% if enrolled in autopay. Borrowers can use SoFi personal loans for reaching nearly any goal: home renovation, credit card payoff, and more.

Something that makes SoFi stand apart from other lenders is that the company offers unemployment insurance. That means an eligible borrowers who have lost their jobs person can go 3 months in a row (12 months total) without making a loan payment. SoFi also offers job placement services.

SoFi Personal Loan Fees

  • No origination fee
  • No prepayment fee
  • No late fees

Getting Approved for a Personal Loan by SoFi

  • You must be age of majority in your state (18, 19, or 21 – depending on your state)
  • You must be a US citizen or permanent resident
  • You must have graduated from a SoFi approved school
  • SoFi does not use FICO, but the product is for prime and super-prime consumers. You must be current on all of your accounts and have no previous bankruptcies.
SoFi
APR

5.99%
To
17.88%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 17.88% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 6.49% APR to 14.70% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of November 4, 2019 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at 14.95%. Lowest variable rate of 6.49% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 1.81% plus 3.08% margin minus 0.25% AutoPay discount. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account.

All rates, terms, and figures are subject to change by the lender without notice. For the most up-to-date information, visit the lender's website directly. To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

See Consumer Licenses.

SoFi Personal Loans are not available to residents of MS. Minimum loan requirements might be higher than $5,000 in specific states due to legal requirements. Fixed and variable-rate caps may be lower in some states due to legal requirements and may impact your eligibility to qualify for a SoFi loan.

If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you may apply for Unemployment Protection. SoFi will suspend your monthly SoFi loan payments and provide job placement assistance during your forbearance period. Interest will continue to accrue and will be added to your principal balance at the end of each forbearance period, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Benefits are offered in three month increments, and capped at 12 months, in aggregate, over the life of the loan. To be eligible for this assistance you must provide proof that you have applied for and are eligible for unemployment compensation, and you must actively work with our Career Advisory Group to look for new employment. If the loan is co-signed the unemployment protection applies where both the borrower and cosigner lose their job and meet conditions.

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

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA that offers no-fee, fixed-rate personal loans. Marcus offers unsecured loans up to $40,000 for terms ranging between 36 to 72 months. Their personal loans have fixed APR ranges of 6.99% to 28.99% APR.

One of the best perks of Marcus is that they offer payment deferment for those that have made on time payments for a full year. This allows someone to push back one of their payments for a full month without accruing additional interest or possibly harming their credit. Marcus also offers customers the ability to change their payment date to a date that is most convenient for them every month.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs® Personal Loan Fees

  • No origination fee
  • No prepayment fee
  • No late fee

Getting Approved for a Personal Loan by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

  • There is no strict credit score requirement, though, Marcus targets customers with “prime” credit, which is usually a score of 660 on the FICO scale
  • Missed payments or other negative marks on your credit report will greatly decrease your chances of being approved
  • Must have a valid U.S. bank account
  • Possess a Social Security or Individual Tax I.D. Number
  • Applicants must be over 18 (19 in Alabama and Nebraska, 21 in Mississippi and Puerto Rico)
  • Loans not offered in Maryland
Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

6.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. For New York residents, rates range from 6.99% to 24.99% APR.

Earnest

Besides being a no-fee lender, Earnest is appealing because the company is far from a traditional lender. Instead of focusing on credit scores, Earnest uses a merit-based lending system. Earnest aims to analyze a person’s trustworthiness instead of relying on a credit score. This is good for people with a ‘thin’ credit file – young college students, for instance. However, the application process isn’t nearly as brief as with other lenders.

Earnest Personal Loan Fees

  • No origination fee
  • No prepayment fee
  • No late fee – customers are directed to call into support if they are having trouble paying. They can get their payment amounts readjusted.

Getting Approved for a Personal Loan by Earnest

Firstly, it’s only available in 36 states: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

As mentioned earlier, it’s not a quick process. Potential borrowers must be at least 18 years of age and have a good education. Ideally, applicants will have a college degree and a steady job. An applicant’s debt to income ratio will also be analyzed. With this lender, it’s not just a matter of checking off boxes as one goes through the application process. Earnest really likes to get to know its potential borrowers.

Other No Origination Fee/No Prepayment Penalty Loans

The following are also lenders that don’t have origination fees or a prepayment fee. However, it’s important to be aware of the high late fees associated with these lenders. If paying the loan is already hard, late fees with just add to the pain. But still keep these other lenders in mind when shopping for a loan.

Discover

The most unique aspect of the Discover (yes, like the credit card) is that the loan comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If a borrower discovers a better loan within 30 days, they can just send Discover back the money with no interest charged.

Discover offers loans up to $35,000 with APR ranging from 6.99% to 24.99%. Loan duration is anywhere from 36 to 84 months. That’s much longer than most lenders offer.

For a Discover personal loan, applicants must be at least 18 years of age and a credit score of at least 0.

APR

6.99%
To
24.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

36 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Discover is a financial services firm that offers credit cards, deposit accounts and personal loans. ... Read More


The APR ranges from 6.99% to 24.99% APR based on creditworthiness at time of application. Loans up to $35,000. Fast & Easy Process. Terms are 36 to 84 months. No prepayment penalty. This is not a firm offer of credit. Any results displayed are estimates and we do not guarantee the applicability or accuracy to your specific circumstance. For example, for a $15,000 loan with an APR of 10.99% and 60 month term, the estimated monthly payment would be $326. The estimated total cost of the loan in this example would be $19,560.

Santander

Santander Bank, N.A is only available in certain states: NH, CT, DE, DC, RI, MA, ME, NY, NJ, PA, MD, or VT. The Santander personal loan boasts no origination fee and no prepayment penalty. The late payment fee is an even $20. A personal loan can range anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000. A successful applicant will have at least a 0 credit score.

APR

6.99%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

Santander’s personal loan might be a great option for you if you want to work with a traditional brick-and-mortar bank. ... Read More


To get a Personal Loan (“Loan”) with the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown, you must reside in MA, MD, RI, CT, NH, NJ, PA, NY,DE, ME, VT, or DC, meet our highest credit standards, and use automatic payment (ePay) from any Santander Bank N.A. checking account. Fixed loan APRs (with ePay) range from 6.99% to 16.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. The minimum Loan amount is $5,000 and the maximum is $50,000. The APR on the Loan will increase by 0.25 percentage points and the payment will increase, if ePay is not elected or is discontinued. APRs and other terms are accurate as of 10/01/2018 and may change thereafter. A Santander checking account is not required to qualify for a Loan, but use of ePay from a Santander checking account will result in an interest rate discount. Personal Loans cannot be used to finance post-secondary educational expenses. Loan accounts are subject to approval.

PenFed

PenFed is another possibility if late fees aren’t a concern. PenFed is short for Pentagon Federal Credit Union. As intimidating as that may seem, military service is not required. In fact, anyone can join PenFed by making a one-time charitable contribution to one of its military-based charities. Tax-deductible donations can be as low as $14. That would more than pay for itself if a great personal loan is secured. A PenFed personal loan has no origination fee, no prepayment penalty but it does have a late fee of up to $25. You need a minimum 700 credit scores.The APR starts at 6.49% on a maximum loan of $25,000.

PenFed Credit Union
APR

Starting at 6.49%

Credit Req.

700

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 60

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

APPLY NOW Secured

on PenFed Credit Union’s secure website

Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) offers personal loans with terms up to five years and maximum loan amounts of $25,000.... Read More

USAA

USAA boasts Not specified and no prepayment fee. But USAA personal loans come with a late fee of 5% of the remaining balance of the loan. No wonder that fee isn’t advertised anywhere online. That’s the highest late fee (by far!) of any of the loans on this page.

The application process is very similar to that of PenFed. Successful applicants will have a credit score of at least 700. The maximum $50,000 loan can be set for terms of 12 to 84 months. Rates are as low as 9.49%. One neat aspect of applying with USAA is most applications result in instant approval.

USAA Bank
APR

9.49%
To
17.65%

Credit Req.

700

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12 to 84

months

Origination Fee

Not specified

APPLY NOW Secured

on USAA Bank’s secure website

USAA offers personal loans for members with low, fixed interest and protections to fall back on if you get behind in payments.... Read More

Next Steps Towards a No Fee or Low Fee Loan

It’s important to assess all aspects of a loan before signing and avoiding fees is an excellent start. You also need to shop around for the best option. If you do all your shopping within a 30-day window it will minimize the impact on your credit score. There are many personal loans available; it’s just a matter of finding one to fit your wants and needs.

We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on the “Apply Now” buttons in this post. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

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

Will Lipovsky
Will Lipovsky |

Will Lipovsky is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Will at [email protected]

Advertiser Disclosure

Earning Cashback

Sam’s Club® Mastercard® Review

This site may be compensated through a credit card partnership.

review-cc-full

The Offer

The Sams Club® Mastercard® has some generous category bonuses for a no annual fee card. This credit card is not just for diehard Sam’s Club shoppers, and not just for Sam’s Club purchases.

The card can be used to earn 5% cash back on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Sam's Club (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1% after). Earn 3% cash back on dining and travel. Earn 1% cash back on other purchases at Sam's Club and wherever Mastercard is accepted.

There is a $0 annual fee, but it does require a Sam’s Club membership. The cheapest Sam’s Club membership is $45 per year.

Pros

  • $0 annual fee
  • New cardmember offer: Earn a $55 statement credit when you open a new account and spend $55 online today. Offer expires January 15, 2020.
  • Cash back program: Earn 5% cash back on eligible gas worldwide, including gas at Sam's Club (on the first $6,000 per year, then 1% after). Earn 3% cash back on dining and travel. Earn 1% cash back on other purchases at Sam's Club and wherever Mastercard is accepted.
  • Includes identity theft resolution services
  • Offers a product extended warranty coverage
  • $0 foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • Rewards are only paid out once per year (in February) in the form of a mailed check which must be cashed inside a Sam’s Club location.
  • $5,000 annual cap on total cash back rewards
  • 5% cash back on gas is limited to your first $6,000 in gas purchases each year, then 1%

Fine Print

There is some fine print to consider. First, gas purchases are considered as those made at “U.S. and Puerto Rico Sam’s Club and Walmart fuel stations, and at gas stations located in the U.S. and Puerto Rico (but excluding purchases at fuel stations at wholesale clubs other than Sam’s Club), certain supercenters, and supermarkets.” So, if you get gas at BJ’s, you won’t earn 5%.

The 5% cash back on gas is limited to your first $6,000 in gas purchases each year, then 1%. That’s not a big deal for most card users, but it’s worth noting.

Cash rewards are forfeited “if the Sams Club® Mastercard® account is not in good standing or is more than two months delinquent on the minimum payment, if the Sam’s Club Membership terminates or lapses, or if the cash back earned in a calendar year is less than $5.00.”

Although there is a $0 annual fee, the card requires a Sam’s Club membership (cheapest membership costs $45 per year).

Who This Card Would Benefit Most

Loyal Sam’s Club shoppers may want to pick this card. This way, the Sam’s Club membership requirement is a non-issue. People who drive a lot would do well with this card as long as they don’t enjoy the low-cost Costco fuel. This card is a strong candidate for users living in rural locations where driving long distances is necessary or those living where Sam’s Clubs are more prevalent than Costco’s.

Sams Club® Mastercard®

APPLY NOW Secured

on Sam's Club’s secure website

How it Stacks Up Against Competition

Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer is a worthy adversary. When using this card, Earn 2% cash back on purchases: 1% when you buy plus 1% as you pay.. Essentially, all purchases paid in full each month come with a 2% cash back reward. If a person averages out the 5%, 3%, and 1% rewards with the Sam’s Club card, they may not make the 2% this card offers. The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer may rein superior.

Other Pros

  • $0 annual fee
  • Late fee waiver: the first late payment is forgiven
  • Citi® Price Rewind: After a purchase is made, Citi will search online retailers to see if the product could have been purchased at a lower price. If, within 60 days, Citi finds a lower price on the same item, the difference in price will be refunded to the card. The maximum refund amount is up to $200 per item and up to $1,000 per year. This could be the end of price hunting.
  • Pre-qualification available

Cons

  • High interest rates after the intro 0% for 18 months on Balance Transfers. The entire premise of this card is to not carry a balance so avoid doing so when possible. After the intro period ends, expect an APR of 15.49% - 25.49% (Variable).
  • If the card is paid using cash back funds, there is no additional 1% reward upon payment.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer

The information related to Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

If you frequently shop at U.S. supermarkets, the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express offers a rewards program tailored to that spending. Cardholders earn 6% Cash Back at U.S. supermarkets on up to $6,000 per year in purchases (then 1%).

Other Pros

  • Intro 0% for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers (after, 14.49%-25.49% Variable APR).
  • ShopRunner: Receive free two-day shipping on eligible items at over 140 online stores. Terms apply; learn more at shoprunner.com/amex.
  • Potential to shop before your card arrives: If you’re eligible, you can instantly use your new card number online or through digital wallets.
  • $250 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months.

Cons

  • There is a $95 annual fee.

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

APPLY NOW Secured

on American Express’s secure website

Terms Apply | Rates & Fees

Read Full Review

Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express

Regular Purchase APR
14.49%-25.49% Variable
Intro Purchase APR
0% for 12 months
Intro BT APR
0% for 12 months
Annual fee
$95
Rewards Rate
NEW 6% Cash Back on select U.S. streaming subscriptions & 3% Cash Back on transit including taxis/rideshare, parking, tolls, trains, buses and more
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Credit required
good-credit
Excellent/Good

Evaluate Your Spending Habits

While there is no ‘best’ rewards card for everyone, there are a lot of great cash back cards available. To decide which is best, it really comes down to a person looking at their spending habits and credit card which will give them the highest rewards. Enjoy the rewards.

Customize your cash back rewards offers with magnifymoney tool

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Will Lipovsky is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Will at [email protected]

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College Students and Recent Grads, Reviews, Student Loan ReFi

LendKey Student Loan Refinance Review

LendKey Student Loan Refinance Review

Updated August 8, 2017

Could you imagine trying to find the best student loan refinancing rate from community banks and credit unions on your own? How would you do it? Would you call every bank and credit union and ask for help? What a nightmare.

LendKey has relationships with 300+ community banks and credit unions all over the United States. LendKey* can issue loans to residents in any of the 50 states. This keeps you from having to pound the pavement by your lonesome. LendKey’s website will show you the best rate for refinancing your student loans.

Since 2007, LendKey has been a one stop shop for student loan refinancing. It also offers other types of loans. But for the sake of this review we’ll be focusing on how LendKey takes care of graduates looking to improve their debt situation. Fixed APRs range from 3.49% – 7.75%. Variable rates start as low as 1.90% – 8.65%. (All of these rates include the auto-pay discount). LendKey is one of the top four lenders in MagnifyMoney’s survey of where to refinance your student loan.

Who can benefit from using LendKey? Anyone hoping to refinance their student loans should consider LendKey. It is easy to apply:

LendKey

APPLY NOW Secured

on LendKey’s secure website

If you’re on the fence about refinancing, here are some of the benefits to be gained:

Lower Payments

Refinance your way to a more manageable monthly payment.

Lower Rates

Spend less on interest by getting a lower rate than the aggregate of all individual student loans.

Simplified Finances

Making payments on multiple loans to multiple institutions at different times of the month can be quite the hassle. It’s much easier to remember just one payment. Many lenders even let you consolidate both private and federal loans.

Different Repayment Options

Different lenders offer different repayment options. It’s wise to explore all the options to determine what makes the most sense for your particular situation.

Pros of Using LendKey

A Unified Application Process

This is hugely important. With LendKey, you’re not shuffled through tons of screens on different domains – all using different logons and different (confusing!) user interfaces. Within 5 minutes, a person can navigate through LendKey’s application process. This means after 5 minutes, you can see how much you can save by refinancing. You can even choose what loan you want.

Cosigner Release Available

Yes, you can secure a low interest rate and then cut loose your cosigner. Once you prove you are responsible – LendKey no longer needs a cosigner tied to your account. This may help convince a cosigner to work with you initially. They won’t need to be on the hook for long. Once you’ve made 12 full and consecutive on-time payments, your cosigner may be released. LendKey does a credit check and examines your income to see if you are free to go it alone.

No Origination Fee

This is helpful since it means you are free to shop around without feeling committed.

Further Interest Rate Reduction

1% interest rate reduction once 10% of the loan principal is repaid during the full repayment period. This is subject to the floor rate.

0.25% ACH Interest Rate Reduction

Many lenders reduce interest rates by a quarter percent for borrowers who agree to automatic payments.

Federal and Private Loans Can Be Consolidated Together

However, you lose some federal benefits in doing so. Things like free insurance (provided with federal loans if you are killed or severely disabled), public service forgiveness and military service forgiveness as well as income-based repayment plans. Grace periods will likely be omitted when writing the new consolidated loan.

Over 40,000 Borrowers Serviced

As of January 2016, 40,000 people have used LendKey’s services.

Excellent Customer Support

According to cuStudentLoans (which LendKey owns so take this with a grain of salt), 97% of customers are satisfied. Customer support comes out of New York and Ohio. Phone support is available each day from 9AM to 8PM EST.

For what it’s worth, I called into support 5 times at random. The support I received from the sales team was really great. Even the gentleman with only 6 months of experience was quite knowledgeable.

Eligible Schools

This list of eligible schools is 2,200 and growing. Chances are your school is on the list. However, LendKey doesn’t encourage students to submit eligibility requests as other student loan refinancers do.

Return Policy

Yes, you can ‘return’ your loan. LendKey offers a 30 day no-fee return policy to allow you to cancel the loan within 30 days of disbursement without fees or interest. That’s pretty incredible.

Cons

LendKey Doesn’t Give You the Complete Picture

LendKey doesn’t help a lot with stacking institutions against each other. I suppose this is meant to not to play favorites. However, it would be nice to be able to read about each institution within the LendKey interface. I’d still advise opening up another tab to research the banks you are considering.

The Fine Print You May Miss

Since LendKey is a loan matchmaker, there isn’t a lot of fine print on the site. This means a person still needs to review the fine print of each institution before finalizing his or her loan as mentioned before. LendKey does a fantastic job of getting you 90% of the way. But that last 10% of fine print is between you and your lending institution. Read through everything before signing up for a new loan.

I read the Better Business Bureau complaint log for LendKey. There are only 11 complaints in the past 3 years. SoFi (a competitor) has 18 and another competitor, Earnest, has no complaints. These complaints were mostly small misunderstandings between the LendKey support team and the borrowers.

The Application Process

There are four steps to the simple application process. Step 1 is for estimating monthly payments for a private student loan. It’s simple. You identify the amount you’d like to borrow and fill in a radio button indicating your credit is fair, good, or excellent. The last part is where you enter which state you live in. This is because many programs are state specific. Step 1 takes 1 minute.

Step 2 takes 2 minutes. This is the step where you compare the rates and offers available to you. Choose what works best for your unique situation.

Step 3 again only takes 1 minute. This is the actual application. As mentioned earlier in this article, this process is done through the LendKey interface. And don’t worry, information inputted into LendKey is safe (privacy policy).

Step 4 takes 10 minutes. This is the step where a person verifies identity, school, and income (screenshots/pictures work so there’s no hassle with scanning!). You will know if you are approved during this step.

As with any company, there are competitors. Here are two worthy rivals also worth considering:

Alternatives to LendKey

SoFi

SoFi stands out with a job placement programs, free wealth management for borrowers and even a dating app. More importantly, SoFi has low interest rates, with variable rates starting at 2.31% – 7.36% and fixed rates starting at 3.46% – 7.36%.

SoFi

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on SoFi’s secure website

Earnest

If you have a low credit score but have potential to earn a good income, Earnest will treat you well. Earnest looks beyond a simple credit score. The application process examines employment history, future earning potential and overall financial situation.

Earnest seems to take a very personal approach to each customer. A customer states an amount they can pay each month and Earnest will give them a loan, accordingly. Earnest also lets borrowers skip a payment each year. This could come in handy if money gets tight around the holidays. Just keep in mind, this can increase your future payments to compensate for the missed on.

Fixed interest rates start at 3.45% – 6.99% and variable interest rates start at 1.81% – 6.49%.

However, Earnest isn’t available for all US residents.

Earnest

APPLY NOW Secured

on Earnest’s secure website

Final Thoughts

LendKey runs a fantastic student loan refinancing division. The company offers many, many customizable options with very few downsides. With no application fee, it’s worth seeing what this student loan refinancing powerhouse can do for you.

LendKey

APPLY NOW Secured

on LendKey’s secure website

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

Will Lipovsky
Will Lipovsky |

Will Lipovsky is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Will at [email protected]

Disclaimer

Student Loan
earnest

Refinance with Earnest

Refinancing rates from 1.81% APR. Checking your rates won’t affect your credit score.