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Personal Loans

Is Getting a Personal Loan a Bad Idea?

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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You’re in a pinch and in desperate need of money. You’ve already asked family members for help, but nobody can assist you. You’ve heard of a personal loan before, but is taking one out a good idea?

In short, it depends on your particular financial situation. If you’ve racked up high-interest credit card debt, for example, and you can take out a personal loan with a lower interest rate to consolidate and pay off that debt, a personal loan might be right for you. But if you have other assets you can borrow against that will have lower interest rates — such as a 401(k) loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC) — you might want to consider pursuing those lines of credit instead of a personal loan.

Here’s everything you need to know about when a personal loan might be worthwhile, and when you might want to look elsewhere.

When a personal loan might be the answer

Personal loans can be taken out for a variety of reasons, such as to pay for car repairs or medical expenses, as well as to consolidate debt. Consider these ways you could use a personal loan.

You’re consolidating high-interest credit card debt

Taking out a personal loan is particularly common for people who have significant high-interest credit card debt and are interested in consolidating that debt and paying it off. Personal loans can allow someone with high-interest credit card debt to take out a loan with a lower interest rate than their credit cards. Also, many consumers like having to make only one monthly payment.

If you explore personal loans in our marketplace, you’ll find that they traditionally come with terms between 12 and 84 months.

Charles Adi, a financial advisor with Blueprint 360 in Houston, said the most common reason he advises his clients to take out personal loans is for the consolidation of high-interest credit card debt — particularly when the interest rates on clients’ credit cards are more than 15 percent.

“Because on the personal loan side, you’re probably looking at a 7 to 9 percent interest rate, so that savings is very helpful,” Adi said. (This rate, it should be noted, is likely for borrowers with excellent credit.)

In August 2018, the average interest rate on personal loans for people with excellent credit (760 and above) was 8.10 percent, according to data from our parent company, LendingTree. For those with good credit (680 to 719), it was 17.92 percent.

Josh Nelson, a certified financial planner and the CEO and founder of Keystone Financial Services in Fort Collins, Colo., said one benefit of using personal loans for the consolidation of high-interest credit card debt is that they push clients to begin using better financial habits.

“The nice thing about a consolidation loan is that it does force discipline,” Nelson said. “It forces people to have to make that higher monthly payment.”

In addition, Adi said many of his clients like the one monthly payment that accompanies a debt consolidation loan. “A lot of my clients get frustrated when they have to keep track of five or six different cards,” he said. “Consolidating it into one payment and [seeing] that balance going down steadily — it’s just a feel-good story.”

He adds that he doesn’t recommend clients take out personal loans for debt consolidation if they don’t have good financial habits already in place. He said he has seen a handful of times where clients take out a personal loan to pay off high-interest credit card debt, and then spend the personal loan on their lifestyle.

“That’s pretty much the only time where I don’t move forward with it because it makes no sense helping someone save a few thousand on interest if it’s going to lead to them making poor financial decisions,” Adi said.

You’re making home repairs and can’t access a home equity loan

Taking out a personal loan for home repairs only makes sense if you’re disciplined enough to pay off the loan quickly. It can also make sense if you’re going to refinance your home to pay off the personal loan.

Although many homeowners will make repairs or renovations using a HELOC, some will also take out a personal loan if they are unable to take out a home equity loan because they don’t have enough equity to qualify for a HELOC. “I’ve recommended [personal loans] for individuals who wanted to do some home repairs, but they couldn’t access money from their house via the traditional equity channels,” Adi said.

But Luis Rosa, a certified financial planner with Build a Better Financial Future in Henderson, Nev., said most consumers looking to make home repairs will consider a HELOC before a personal loan.

“Typically, the home equity loan is going to be a lower interest rate than a personal loan because you have the home as collateral,” Rosa said. But consumers who take out a HELOC only get charged for interest as they use the credit line.

“If you needed a $30,000 home improvement project, you might draw $5,000 at a time, as opposed to the personal loan, where you get the whole $30,000 upfront and start paying interest on the full amount,” Rosa said.

You need a real estate bridge loan

Jeff Motske, a certified financial planner and president of Trilogy Financial in Southern California, said he has seen people use personal loans in real estate. For example, he had a client whose house was still in escrow, but the client wanted to buy a home in 30 days.

“Those are opportunities to get personal bridge loans to manage that gap and not have to deal with running a whole new mortgage you want to pay off because you’re moving into retirement or you don’t want debt on the house,” Motske said.

Ilene Davis, a certified financial planner based in Melbourne, Fla., said she rarely advises clients to pursue personal loans because of their high interest rates. In fact, one of the only situations in which she would recommend clients use them is for a bridge loan in which the client will only need the money for a short period and has the resources to pay it back quickly.

You’re making a large personal purchase (and have good financial habits)

Although it’s not ideal, Rosa said he has seen people take out a personal loan to finance a large purchase, such as an engagement ring or wedding. “You probably don’t want to buy a big-ticket item like that on credit, but I’ve seen people do that just because it was cheaper than credit cards,” he said. This only makes sense if you have excellent credit and can repay the loan back quickly.

Also, Rosa said he has seen people take out personal loans to pay for medical procedures. “If you’ve considered the alternative of financing through the doctor’s office or if that was not an option, then perhaps it makes sense because it would be cheaper than putting it on a credit card,” he said.

When a personal loan might not be the answer

A personal loan can be a great way to manage your debt or afford purchases. But weigh your options carefully. Taking on debt is a long-term decision — and you may have other options to consider.

You may qualify for a HELOC

Dennis Nolte, a certified financial planner with Seacoast Investment Services in Oviedo, Fla., said he typically recommends clients borrow against their own assets, such as their home, before pursuing a personal loan.

“Because [personal loans] are so expensive, and you have to jump through hoops to qualify, we try to find where they have assets and borrow against those assets first,” he said, adding that a HELOC is not as common as it used to be because the new tax law doesn’t allow deductions if the funds aren’t being used for real estate. “But most people who are going for a personal loan probably aren’t itemizing anyways,” he said.

Motske said he recommends a HELOC over both a 401(k) loan and a personal loan nearly every time.

“In particular, if it’s just a short-term or a manageable piece, because a home equity line usually has some tax benefits next to it, whereas personal loans and credit card loans not only don’t have those benefits, but also they come at much higher interest rates,” he said.

You have a 401(k) loan

Nolte said that despite the common lore that you should never borrow against your 401(k), it might be the last resort for young people whose only savings are in their retirement accounts. Nolte said the benefits of taking out a 401(k) loan over a personal loan are that you don’t have to qualify, you’re paying yourself back in interest and it’s your money.

“Basically, it’s your assets,” Nolte said. “If you’re just shifting assets on a balance sheet and you’re disciplined about it, that’s not a bad way to go. Rather than going to other sources that are going to charge you a lot more interest, a lot of times it makes sense to use your existing assets if you can.”

Sallie Mullins Thompson, a certified public accountant and financial planner based in New York City, said that although taking out a 401(k) loan is fine, people have to be extremely careful that they follow the guidelines set in place for paying it back.

You have to pay the loan back monthly, you have to pay it back within five years, you can’t get another loan on that 401(k) and if you leave the company before the loan is paid back, there are ramifications: The entire loan has to be paid back immediately, and, if it isn’t, you’re liable for the income tax on it as well as the 10 percent penalty if you’re under 59 ½, Thompson said.

“Plus, there’s the fact that you’re taking money from your retirement investment that’s no longer earning money,” she said. “And then you’re paying it back with interest.”

Adi has also recommended that his clients take out 401(k) loans in the past. “Depending on what the rates are, you could probably hit a 5 percent rate on a loan from a 401(k), and that interest is going back to yourself,” he said.

Be cautious of the idea that you’re “paying yourself back,” Mostke said.

“You’re really not,” Motske said. “You’re hurting your ability to grow that nest egg that you’re going to need for retirement.”

You’re consolidating student loan debt

Thompson said, typically speaking, it’s not wise to use a personal loan to consolidate and pay back student loan debt.

“The personal loan rates are usually under credit card debt rates, but they would not be under student loan debt rates, particularly with the various repayment programs you find these days,” she said.

Rosa said he doesn’t advise his clients to use personal loans for student loan debt either. “There are companies that do debt consolidation loans specifically for student loans, and you can do them through the government as well,” he said. “You can actually just consolidate it through studentaid.ed.gov, so you wouldn’t need to go to an outside lender for that.”

Shopping for personal loans

By shopping online for personal loans, you can compare more rates than you’d be able to compare by going to banks in person. Further, an online lender or member-owned credit union may be able to offer more competitive rates.

Where to find a personal loan

You might be able to secure a better personal loan interest rate through a credit union. Adi said he often advises his clients to look for personal loans at credit unions or even local banks because they tend to have better rates than larger institutions. If you already have a loan at the institution, that’s even better.

“Let’s say you have your car at a local regional bank, go back to the same institution looking for the personal loan as opposed to going somewhere else, because you want to have that history with the bank so that the next time you come back, you’re a preferred customer,” Adi said.

And if you have two financial products open with an institution, such as a car loan and a mortgage, you’ll be in even better shape. “Try to accumulate goodwill with the particular institution if possible,” Adi said.

Nolte said he advises his clients to look for personal loans at credit unions, too. “For interest rates on loans, they are generally cheaper, and they work with you a little bit more than some of the bigger banks,” he said.

And while credit unions used to have strict membership requirements to join, they may be more lenient nowadays, Nolte added.

How a personal loan affects your credit

If you’re shopping for a personal loan online, you’ll likely be submitting to soft credit checks, which don’t affect your credit. But if you find lenders that require a hard credit check each time you request a quote, that could hurt your score.

Regular on-time payment on a personal loan can boost your credit score, as it shows that you responsibly manage and pay back your debt.

One thing to be cautious of is taking out a personal loan for credit card debt consolidation, and then closing old credit cards. Rosa said consumers will often take out a personal loan and then close all their credit cards because they feel like they need a fresh start.

“But that might hurt them creditwise, because they might pay off a card that they’ve had for a very long time, which has helped them build that credit history,” he said. In addition, some people will open a new credit card at the maximum limit while they are still paying back their personal loan, which can lower one’s credit score, according to Rosa.

Personal loan pitfalls to avoid

When shopping for a personal loan, there are a few common pitfalls you should avoid.

  1. There’s a sales pitch at the end. Often at the end of closing for a personal loan, there will be a life insurance or unemployment insurance sales pitch. These policies might be beneficial for some people, but you should do your due diligence to figure out if either is right for you.
  2. There might be talk of precomputed interest. In short, precomputed interest is bad. Ask if it’s part of your loan, and do not pursue the loan if it is.
  3. There is an origination fee. You likely cannot avoid this, so just make sure you understand the fee and take a look at the APR of the loan, not just the interest rate, as the APR takes the origination fee into account.
  4. There might be a prepayment penalty. Most loans will not have a prepayment penalty, but you should check to make sure yours doesn’t before signing on the dotted line.

The bottom line

When considering whether to take out a personal loan, your financial habits, credit score and need for the money should all be taken into consideration.

In general, personal loans can be a good idea for consumers with excellent credit. But if you don’t have excellent credit, a personal loan might come with an interest rate so high that it’s more than some credit card rates. Make sure you know the interest rate before you take on a personal loan.

Nearly every financial adviser and planner interviewed warned against personal loans if the consumer didn’t have good financial habits already in place.

“Sometimes people do personal loans because that’s their last resort,” Motske said. “That can be a real dangerous path to run on.”

Nelson said he feels similarly. “I think it really depends on the psychology of the person — if they’re really trying to pay debt off, or if they’re looking for a quick fix,” he said. “And quick fixes don’t typically work.”

Thompson advises her clients take a good hard look at why they’re considering a personal loan in the first place.

“They really need to look at the reasons they got into that problem to begin with,” she said. “The personal loan is not the solution. You can get the personal loan, pay off your credit card debt and then you have an issue with paying off the personal loan.”

If her clients do take out personal loans, Thompson said she spends ample time educating them about personal finance. “I spend a lot of time talking to my clients about what they’re going to do differently this time so that they can pay off that personal loan and not get themselves right back into credit card debt again,” Thompson said.

But if you have the right discipline in place, a personal loan can be a good financial decision. Adi said one of the most satisfying personal loans he ever did was with a client who was in his mid-70s and had several store credit cards — including Dillard’s, Macy’s and Costco — racked with debt.

“We consolidated it into a personal loan, and he paid it off in three years,” Adi said. “The client told me, ‘I never thought I would be debt-free.’ I think it’s important for everybody to know that no matter your age, it’s possible to get a personal loan to pay off all of these debts.”

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.

Jamie Friedlander
Jamie Friedlander |

Jamie Friedlander is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Jamie here

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Prosper Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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

APR

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35.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

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Origination Fee

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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 personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 36 or 60 months
  • APR range: 6.95% to 35.99%
  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000
  • Time to funding: On average, borrowers can see funds deposited in their bank accounts within a week of starting the loan review process. However, investors will have up to 14 days to fund loans.
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Prosper does a Soft Pull on your credit when you check your rates.
    Origination fee: Origination fees range from 2.41% - 5.00% and will be deducted from the final loan amount.
  • Prepayment fee: Prosper has no prepayment penalties for paying your loan off early.
  • Late payment fee: You will be assessed a late fee of $15 or 5% of your unpaid monthly amount — whichever is greater — if you have not paid in full within 15 days of your due date.
  • Other fees: Prosper charges a check processing fee — the lesser of $5 or 5% of your monthly payment — as well as an insufficient funds fee of $15 for each returned or failed payment.

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: 640
  • Minimum credit history: Borrowers must have at least three open trades on their credit reports; fewer than five credit inquiries over the last six months; and no filed bankruptcies within the last year.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: A borrower’s DTI must be below 50%.

In addition, borrowers must:

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Have a bank account and a Social Security number
  • Report an income greater than $0 and debt-to-income ratio of less than 50%

Prosper is not available to borrowers in Iowa or West Virginia.

Applying for a personal loan from Prosper

To apply for a loan through Prosper, start by filling out their online form to check your rates, which will trigger a Soft Pull on your credit — this does not impact your score. You’ll have to provide some personal information, including your physical address, birthdate, email, annual income, monthly housing cost and employment status. You can also apply via phone at 877-611-8801.

Your loan offer is based on your Prosper Rating, a proprietary score assigned to you when you apply. This score indicates the level of risk you pose to lenders and is intended to create consistency in the evaluation and approval process. An AA rating indicates the lowest estimated annual loss (up to 1.99%), while an HR rating represents the highest (15% or more).

If you choose to accept the offer you receive, you can submit documents for verification via email to [email protected], or upload them within your Prosper account; the latter is recommended. Log in to check the status of your documents, application and the percentage of funding you’ve received. Once you accept an offer and request funding, Prosper will perform a hard inquiry on your credit.

Your loan will be listed for up to 14 days, during which investors commit funds, and Prosper completes the underwriting and verification process. The latter usually takes seven business days or less.

Once your loan application has been approved and your listing is funded, you can expect to see your money deposited in your bank account within 1 to 3 business days. However, if your loan is not funded after 14 days, your listing will be canceled and you’ll need to create a new one.

Pros and cons of a Prosper personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Qualify with lower credit. Prosper will consider applicants with scores as low as 640, though the best rates are offered to those with excellent credit. Borrowers can receive funds in as little as one business day after loan approval.
  • Check rates with a Soft Pull. Your credit won’t be affected when you check your interest rates with Prosper.
  • No prepayment penalties. Prosper offers longer terms of three and five years, but you won’t be penalized if you are able to pay your loan down early.
  • The origination fee. Prosper charges 2.41% - 5.00% to originate your loan, so consider whether this added cost makes sense for you.
  • Potential to go unfunded. Investors have to commit to your loan within 14 days of listing. If this doesn’t happen, you will have to create a new listing, which means more time before you receive your funds.

Who’s the best fit for a personal loan through Prosper

If you have average credit, Prosper may be a good fit for you. With a minimum score requirement of 640, you’ll have slightly more leeway than you would with companies who have stricter standards. However, you’re more likely to qualify for a better rate with a higher score — APRs at Prosper go up to 35.99%, which is higher than with lenders with similar credit requirements.

Prosper is also a good option for those who want to reduce their monthly payments and pay down their loans over a longer period of time. Terms are set at 36 or 60 months — and if your financial situation improves and you are able to pay more quickly, there are no penalties to do so.

Checking rates at Prosper doesn’t impact your credit, so there’s no harm in gathering this information and comparing it with competitors.

Prosper consumer reviews

Prosper has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. On LendingTree, our parent company, customer reviews are generally positive, with a rating of 4.65 out of 5 stars on LendingTree.

Reviewers repeatedly praise the simple and efficient process of applying for a loan with Prosper, and say the company provides excellent customer service. One reviewer summed up the sentiments of most: “The application was quick and easy and I had the cash within days,” said Mark from Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, adding that he was “very pleased with the ease of it all.”

Of those who left less-than-positive reviews, many reports primarily complained about the company’s high interest rates and fees.

Prosper FAQ

Propser is a peer-to-peer lending marketplace, which means it matches borrowers with investors. Borrowers can apply for a fixed-rate unsecured loan. Loan terms are for 36 or 60 months. You can get a loan for between $2,000 and $40,000.

Prosper rates each applicant and assigns you a proprietary score that indicates the level of risk you may pose to investors. The score is based on information you provide, including your credit score, and determines if you’ll be approved for a loan and, if so, the terms of that loan.

Your loan funds can be used for almost any purpose, including consolidating existing debt, paying for medical expenses, buying a vehicle and financing home-improvement projects.

Once you submit your application, the loan review process may take up to 14 days, though it’s usually completed in less than 7 days. Once your loan is approved, it can take 1 to 3 days to show up in your bank account, depending on your bank.

If you don’t qualify for a loan the first time you apply, you will receive notice as to why your application was rejected. You may reapply for another loan after 120 days.

If you can’t pay your bill within 15 days of the due date, your account will be considered delinquent and a late fee will be assessed. Bills that are more than 120 days overdue will be reported as “charge-offs,” which will negatively impact your credit score and prohibit you from borrowing from Prosper in the future.

Yes, if you’re able to, you may pay off your loan early with no prepayment penalty fee. You can see your pay-off amount and make additional payments by signing into your Prosper account.

Alternative personal loan options

Lending Club

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

Like Prosper, LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lending platform funded by investors. The rates and terms are similar, and they won’t do a hard pull on your credit until after you’ve checked your rates and completed your application.

LendingClub is a good alternative if you don’t meet Prosper’s minimum credit score requirement — they will consider borrowers with scores as low as 600. You will pay an origination fee of 1.00% - 6.00% of your loan amount.

There are no prepayment penalties. Expect to wait up to seven days to see your funds deposited. Loans aren’t available to residents of Iowa, Guam and Puerto Rico.

Upgrade

Upgrade
APR

7.99%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.50% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

Upgrade is an online lending platform that offers similar personal loan rates, terms and fees. You can check your rates without impacting your credit — sign up for autopay and get a better rate.

Borrowers can get between $2,000 and $40,000 through Upgrade. The company claims most borrowers can expect to see their funds within four business days of approval.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®
APR

5.99%
To
28.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 72

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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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 5.99% to 24.99% APR.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs offers a no-fee personal loan. Rates are also slightly more favorable than those offered through Prosper. Terms are for 36 to 72 months, which gives you more flexibility to pay over time.

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.

Julie Ryan Evans
Julie Ryan Evans |

Julie Ryan Evans is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Julie here

Emily Long
Emily Long |

Emily Long is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Emily here

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Finova Financial Personal Loan Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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

Finova Financial
APR

18.00%
To
204.00%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

12

months

Origination Fee

Up to $10 per $100 of the loan

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Finova Financial personal loan details
 

Fees and penalties

  • Terms: 12 months
  • APR range: 18.00% to 204.00%, varies by state. It’s unclear if these rates include all finance fees.
  • Loan amounts: Varies based on state, vehicle and monthly income
  • Time to funding: As soon as the same day
  • Hard pull/soft pull: Soft Pull to check your rates and terms. Hard pull if you choose to submit a full application.
    Origination fee: Up to $10 per $100 of the loan
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: Not specified
  • Other fees: $25 credit investigation fee, $75 DMV lien fee, filing fee of $0 to $75 (depending on state), document stamp tax (depending on loan amount)

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: As long as you own your car outright and it has enough equity to fund your loan, you should be able to get approval.
  • Minimum credit history: No minimum, but borrower cannot currently be in bankruptcy.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified.

To secure a personal loan with Finova Financial, one of the most important requirements that applicants will have to meet is the owning of a vehicle. This vehicle must be in the borrower’s name, have a car title that is lien-free and have comprehensive and collision insurance. Borrowers are not required to obtain Finova’s voluntary debt cancellation addendum, but should a borrower not be able to provide proof of insurance, this is mandatory.

In addition to the vehicle requirement, applicants will need to be U.S. citizens who are at least 18 years old and residents of Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, South Carolina or Tennessee. They cannot be active-duty service members and must have verifiable income.

Applying for a personal loan from Finova Financial

Applying for a Finova Financial personal loan is simple. The process is fairly quick, and begins with a short form on Finova’s homepage to determine if interested parties prequalify for a loan. At this stage, Finova only requests the applicant’s name, phone number, email and information about their vehicle, including the make, model and mileage.

Upon submission of this information, applicants will be informed of the probability of being approved for a loan. Once the results from the prequalification process are reviewed by the applicant, the application can be completed by logging into their account.

At this point, applicants can request a loan, which will involve their Social Security number as well as details regarding residency, vehicle and requested loan amount. After this, they will be able to schedule a time to speak with a Finova Financial representative. During this call, the representative or specialist will evaluate and review the applicant’s vehicle, monthly income and residency information.

Applicants will then need to send in various documents for verification purposes, including photos of their vehicle. There will also be two forms: one for the lien that will be placed on the title of the vehicle and a power of attorney. They will need to be signed and sent back along with the title for the vehicle. When all signed forms have been returned, borrowers will be able to receive their funds the same day via MoneyGram.

Pros and cons of a Finova Financial personal loan

Pros:

Cons:

  • Poor credit accepted: Bad credit likely won't hold you back from securing a Finova Financial loan as long as you own your vehicle and aren’t in bankruptcy.
  • Prequalification: Applicants can review rates before submitting a full loan application, which may then require a hard pull on your credit.
  • Funding time: Once approved for a loan and all documents and forms are signed and returned, borrowers may receive their funds the same day.
  • Funding and payments via MoneyGram: Loan funds are sent to customers via MoneyGram (which may be inconvenient if you prefer a checking or savings account). Monthly payments can also be made online or at one of more than 30,000 MoneyGram locations.
  • Collateral: Applicants are required to use their vehicle as collateral. The vehicle must have prepaid comprehensive and collision insurance with a deductible of $500 or less. The website doesn’t mention any deductible requirement for California borrowers.
  • Additional fees: There are multiple fees borrowers may have to pay. In addition to an origination fee, borrowers may also be charged credit investigation fees, DMV lien fees and more.
  • Availability: Only residents of Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, South Carolina and Tennessee can apply for a loan.

Who’s the best fit for a Finova Financial personal loan?

For those with poor credit but who own their car outright, a Finova Financial CLOC may be a good fit, especially if you need cash right away. Finova may be able to provide funding the same day as your approval. But there are other lenders who offer loans for those with bad credit that don’t require a car title as collateral.

Finova Financial consumer reviews

When it comes to online reputation, Finova Financial has a lot of ground to make up. The four-year-old lender has received 17 consumer complaints in the last three years. It currently has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau and is not accredited with the organization.

Finova Financial earned 3.7 out of 5 stars from customers who reviewed its services on LendingTree (Disclaimer: LendingTree is the parent company of MagnifyMoney).

Finova Financial FAQ

You have to own the vehicle and have a lien-free title to be eligible for a loan from Finova Financial.

You need to be a minimum of 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license.

Currently loans are only available to residents of six states — Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Yes, you may be charged an origination fee, a credit investigation fee, a documentary excise tax, or a filing fee.

No. There are no prepayment penalties or fees.

You only have to purchase this addendum to receive a loan if you do not provide adequate proof of required insurance.

Alternative personal loan options

LendingClub

APR

6.95%
To
35.89%

Credit Req.

600

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

1.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

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

A loan through peer-to-peer lender LendingClub may be a good alternative to consider. Unlike a Finova Financial personal loan, collateral is not required, and loan amounts range from $1,000 to $40,000.

What stands out about LendingClub is that after checking their rates, applicants may receive more than one loan offer, leaving them to choose the one they believe is the best fit for them. Funding can take up to seven days and there is an origination fee that potential borrowers will want to consider before applying for a loan.

OneMain Financial

APR

16.05%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

Varies

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

If you have a credit score below 600, OneMain Financial is one of the few lenders that you can use to get a personal loan.... Read More


Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. The lowest APR shown represents the 10% of loans with the most favorable APR. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes. Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Florida: $8,000. Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. Texas: $8,000. West Virginia: $7,500. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

OneMain Financial offers loans from $1,500 to $30,000. Applicants can check rates prior to completing an application and if everything looks good, they can also apply for a loan online within minutes.

Applicants will have to speak to a specialist in order to secure a loan. They will have to visit a local OneMain Financial branch to have their identity, employment and income verified, as well as their collateral, if it is required for the loan. Having to visit a branch can be a drawback, but an added bonus for borrowers who select this lender is the OneMain Financial mobile app that makes payments fast and convenient.

LendingPoint

APR

15.49%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

585

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 48

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 6.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingPoint is an online lender that targets borrowers with fair credit, and allows borrowing up to $25,000.... Read More

A LendingPoint personal loan may be good for borrowers who have fair credit and need between $2,000 and $25,000. Potential borrowers can check rates prior to filling out an application, and if they are approved for a loan, funds are made available to borrowers by the next business day. An origination fee may be applied, but the process of securing a loan with LendingPoint is quick and simple, which can prove to be helpful when borrowers need funds sooner rather than later.

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.

Michelle Black
Michelle Black |

Michelle Black is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Michelle here

Kristina Byas
Kristina Byas |

Kristina Byas is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Kristina here

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