Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Updated on Wednesday, September 11, 2019
If you need money — such as to cover an emergency expense or to consolidate debt — but you’re worried about high-interest rates you might face with a personal loan, there is an alternative funding option you may consider: an income-share agreement (ISA).
An ISA doesn’t come with a set interest rate. Instead, you pay a percentage of your yearly income every year for a set number of years, paying back what you originally borrowed plus more.
Chicago-based Align Income Share Funding is one source of this type of agreement. The company has been providing ISAs since its founding in 2011. In this review, we’ll explain how Align’s ISA works and whether it might be a good fit for you.
Fees and penalties
There are no limits on how you can use your funds from an Align ISA. You can use the money for everything from consolidating high interest credit card debt to paying for home repairs or a dream vacation.
Align is flexible, too, when it comes to determining your income. As the company’s website states, anything listed in box No. 1 of your annual W-2 form can be considered income.
- Minimum credit score: Not specified.
- Minimum credit history: Not specified.
- Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified.
Align doesn’t say much about the minimum credit scores or debt-to-income ratio you will need to qualify for an income-share contract. Their website, however, specifies that they’ll consider your income, creditworthiness, job, and location when determining whether to approve your request for funds.
How Align’s income-share agreement works
This yearly percentage is broken up into monthly payments. Say you borrow $8,000 from Align and you earn $30,000 a year. If you agree to pay back your ISA at 10% of your yearly salary for three years, you’d pay Align $3,000 a year, at $250 a month. After the three-year repayment period has ended, you’d end up paying a total of $9,000, or $1,000 more than you borrowed.
When you set up your contract, you pick a date on which you want to pay each month. Align then automatically deducts that amount from your checking account.
As your income changes, so can your monthly payment. If your income goes up, the percentage you contribute will remain the same. But because your income is increasing, the overall amount you pay will jump, too.
It works the other way, too. Align says that if your income falls, you will pay less. If you become unemployed and you have no income, your monthly payment could potentially fall to $0. If you become unemployed, you will have to submit proof that you are not working, such as a notice from your former employer or documents showing you are receiving unemployment benefits.
Applying for an income-share agreement from Align
Applying for an ISA from Align is a simple process. Just click on the “Apply Now” button on the company’s homepage. Once you do, you’ll be asked to provide your name, date of birth, Social Security number, email address, physical address and phone number.
Align will also ask for your gross yearly income, your income source and the industry in which you work. You’ll also need to provide your education level, estimated credit score, the amount you’d like to borrow and what you want the money for.
After filling in this information, you will then submit your application for an online quote. If you are interested, you can contact Align to speak with a representative who will verify your income, job status and credit. Once this is done, Align will make you an official offer stating how much it is willing to lend you and at what percentage of your yearly income. Align will also state how many months you will make payments, and how much you will pay each month and each year to pay off the money you received.
If you like the offer, you will sign your contract. Align will then deposit your funds into your bank account in as little as one business day.
Who’s the best fit for Align Income Share Funding?
An Align ISA can work for people who aren’t afraid of a little uncertainty and are worried about high interest rates. Because Align charges a percentage of your income, your monthly payments can increase or decrease. If you don’t mind this uncertainty, an Align ISA might be a good choice.
This type of agreement might work, too, if you have a relatively low income. But if your income is high, or if you expect it to rise in the near future, an ISA might not be a good fit — your monthly payment could jump too high.
Alternative funding options
36 or 60
2.00% - 6.00%
LendingClub is a great tool for borrowers that can offer competitive interest rates.... Read More
LendingClub is an online lender providing personal loans up to $40,000. Unlike Align, LendingClub provides traditional loans with a fixed interest rate. This means that your payments remain the same every month, a benefit when you are overseeing a household budget. LendingClub does not charge prepayment penalties, but it does have an origination fee between 2.00% - 6.00%. Anyone seeking more certainty with their loan payments should explore this option.
Minimum Credit Score
24 to 84
No origination fee
SoFi offers some of the best rates and terms on the market. ... Read More
Fixed rates from 5.99% APR to 18.53% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 18, 2020 and are subject to change without notice. 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. 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.
SoFi is another popular source of personal loans. This online lender also provides traditional loans, with interest rates lower than many lenders because it primarily targets borrowers with great credit. SoFi charges no origination fee or prepayment fees and temporarily pauses your payments if you lose your job.
Minimum Credit Score
24 and 60
up to 5.00%
Payoff is a financial services firm that offers personal loans mainly to help consolidate credit card debt.... Read More
All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.
Another online lender, Payoff lets you apply online for a personal loan. The company charges no application fees, and applying does not impact your credit score. You can choose a loan amount between $5,000 to $35,000 and terms from 24 and 60 months.