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Personal Loans

P2P Lending: The Complete Guide for Peer-to-Peer Lending

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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Peer-to-peer lending is a modern name for a practice as old as money itself — individuals loaning money among themselves. What’s modern is the scale afforded by technology. Ten years ago, an individual needing a loan to start a business, consolidate debt, or cover unexpected home improvements would have been limited to borrowing from his or her immediate friends, family, and acquaintances outside of a traditional bank loan. Today, online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms connect individuals who need to borrow money with investors willing to lend. Technology now allows perfect strangers to borrow from and lend to each other.

For many people, borrowing from peers can be a great alternative to borrowing from a bank, but it’s not for everyone. We’ll take a look at how peer-to-peer lending works and what you need to know before you apply.

How P2P loans work

The Small Business Administration (SBA) defines P2P lending as, “Individual investors providing small sums to lend personal loans to individuals via internet platforms.” Some of the most popular platforms include LendingClub, Prosper, Upstart and Funding Circle, although there are several others.

Potential borrowers can apply for credit on the platform, and borrower qualifications vary by lender. For example, the interest rate a LendingClub borrower receives depends on an internal score developed by the company, which is one of the largest P2P lenders. “They will give you a grade between A (the best grade, qualifying for the highest amount at the lowest rates) and G (the lowest grade with the highest interest rate),” a LendingClub spokesperson told MagnifyMoney.

LendingClub currently caps its personal loans at $40,000. Prosper caps its loans at $40,000. Typical loan terms range between three and five years.

Who invests in P2P loans

P2P loans may be funded by an individual investor or a group of investors. According to MarketWatch, P2P loans can be a good way to diversify the portfolio of income investors who take time to understand the risks and rewards. Income investing generates a cash income in the form of dividends and interest. In other words, investors don’t buy a stock, bond, or other investment and wait for it to appreciate in value so they can sell it and earn a profit. Simply holding on to the investment generates income.

P2P loans are an income investment because once an investor opens an account and chooses to participate in a loan, principal and interest payments (less fees charged by the platform) are deposited into the investor’s account on a monthly basis.

The investors may be individuals or institutions, such as banks, pension plans, foundations, finance companies, asset managers, insurance companies, broker-dealers, and hedge funds. Individual investors can open an account with Lending Club with an initial investment of $1,000, but other platforms are available only to institutions and accredited investors (those who can demonstrate high-earned income and net worth).

Connor Murphy, a public relations and communications specialist with Funding Circle, says their platform in the U.S. is only open to accredited investors and institutional investors. “We actually use the term ‘marketplace lending’ rather than peer-to-peer lending,” Murphy said, “because investors on our platform globally include large financial institutions and even governments.”

Whether the investor is an individual with $1,000 or an institution looking to invest $250,000, they select loans to invest in and earn monthly returns on. According to Sarah Cain, head of communications at Prosper, borrowers do not know their lenders. “They simply know if their loan has been funded or not,” Cain said.

Why P2P loans?

P2P lending platforms started gaining traction more than a decade ago as a way to bypass banks and use technology to connect investors with money to the borrowers that need it. P2P lenders have claimed their online platforms help them reduce costs, and that, in conjunction with analytics and proprietary algorithms, allow them to offer borrowers lower interest rates or provide loans to individuals who have been refused loans by traditional banks.

LendingClub currently advertises APRs for personal loans from 6.95% to 35.89%. The company surveyed borrowers during the first seven months of 2017 and found that borrowers who received a loan to consolidate existing debt or pay off credit card balances reported that they saved an average of $287 per month. However, that statistic compares high-interest credit card rates with personal loan rates – not P2P personal loan rates to bank personal loan rates.

As of August 2017, the average APR on credit cards carrying a balance was 14.89 percent, but banks may offer much lower rates for personal loans. Of course, whether you choose a P2P loan or a bank loan, having a high credit score can help you get the lowest rate offers, while a lower credit score will likely stick you with higher interest rates, if you are approved for a loan at all.

Some borrowers just prefer the idea of avoiding large, traditional banks. But as with any borrowing decision, you should compare apples to apples when seeking financing for any purpose and shop around for the best rate.

Applying for a peer-to-peer loan

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To apply for a loan, a potential borrower visits a P2P lending website and fills out an application.

The platform leverages online data and technology to assess risk, determine a credit rating and assign an appropriate interest rate. Applicants may receive offers within a few minutes and can evaluate options without impacting their credit score. Once you select a loan offer, you’re required to complete an online application that gathers information about your income and employment as well as identifying information, such as address and Social Security Number.

You may also be required to provide additional documentation to verify your identity, income, and employment. That may include:

  • Tax forms such as W-2s and 1099s
  • Tax returns
  • IRS Form 4506-T, which is used to request a copy of your tax forms or returns directly from the IRS
  • Recent bank statements or pay stubs
  • Proof of income from alimony or child support, pension or annuity income, disability insurance or workers compensation benefits, if applicable
  • Copies of government-issued photo ID
  • Utility bills

Once you’ve completed the application and submitted the necessary documents, your application is reviewed and the platform matches you with investors to fund the loan. Once the loan is approved, the funds are deposited into your bank account. The process can take anywhere from seven to 45 days.

Each P2P site has its own rules and approval criteria, including minimum credit score, so an application declined by one platform doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t be approved by the others.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Agency (FINRA) reported that P2P lenders tend to be more forgiving than banks when it comes to short credit histories, but if you’re trying to get a P2P loan with less than stellar credit, don’t expect the lowest rates.

Lending Club states that applicants who qualify for the lowest rates have:

  • An excellent credit score
  • A low percentage of total outstanding debt compared with income
  • A long history of credit with significant successful credit lines
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

Upstart looks for borrowers with:

  • A minimum FICO score of 620 (although they do accept borrowers with insufficient credit history to produce a FICO score)
  • No bankruptcies
  • No accounts currently in collections or delinquent
  • Fewer than six inquiries on their credit report in the last six months (other than inquiries for student loans, vehicle loans, or mortgages
APR

4.73%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upstart is an online lender created by ex-Googlers.... Read More

Prosper’s minimum criteria include:

  • A minimum FICO score of 640
  • Debt-to-income ratio below 50%
  • No bankruptcies within the last 12 months
  • Fewer than seven credit inquiries within the last six months
APR

6.95%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

640

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

2.41% - 5.00%

SEE OFFERS 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.

While the approval process isn’t without its hurdles, peer-to-peer loans give borrowers another — sometimes less expensive — option for borrowing beyond credit cards and bank loans. Because P2P lenders facilitate borrowing without a bank intermediary, there is less overhead and none of the capital reserve requirements that drive up costs for traditional banks. As a result, the cost of originating and funding loans is lower, providing more competitive rates to borrowers and a faster approval process.

Plus, some borrowers just like the idea of borrowing outside of the traditional banking industry. Cain says although the process is online, P2P lending is not simply a different way of dealing with a faceless lender. “We do have a robust customer service team that is available to help,” Cain said.

What if your loan isn’t funded?

If your loan application is denied, you will receive an adverse action notice that provides the specific reason for the denial.

Cain says it’s hard to say exactly why a loan application would be denied, as every person’s credit profile is unique. However, some common reasons credit applications may be denied even though the borrower has a good credit score include:

  • Problems verifying employment. A stable job and stable income indicate that you’ll be able to pay your lender back. If the lender has trouble verifying your employment history, they may decline your application.
  • Not enough income. If you don’t have enough income in relation to your existing debt obligations to pay back the loan, most lenders will deny credit.
  • Bankruptcy. Lenders are often wary of approving a loan after you’ve declared bankruptcy. A bankruptcy may remain on your credit report for up to seven or 10 years, depending on the type filed.
  • Credit card utilization. If you are using a large percentage of your available credit, you may be seen as a potential risk to lenders.

If your loan application is denied, check your credit report to make sure that there are no inaccuracies that are dragging down your credit score. You can check your credit report with each of the three credit reporting agencies for free once a year at annualcreditreport.com.

Also, review your loan application to ensure you filled it out completely and accurately. If you find any errors in your credit report or application, correct them and apply again. Otherwise, take a look at the adverse action notice and see what you can do to improve your situation.

While there are no quick fixes for a bad credit score, small steps can improve your score over time.

  • Reduce the amount you owe. Stop using credit cards and make a plan to pay down existing balances.
  • Pay your bills on time. Payment history accounts for as much as 35 percent of your FICO score, so set up payment reminders to avoid missed or delinquent payments.
  • Avoid closing unused cards. Part of your credit score depends on the average length of time you’ve been using credit, so closing old accounts can actually hurt your score.
  • Don’t open new accounts too rapidly. A large number of new accounts in a short time frame can make you look risky to lenders, so apply for and open new accounts only as needed.

Shopping around

Each platform has their own lending criteria, loan limits, fees, interest rates, and areas of operation. Take a look at the FAQs and other information on the provider’s website to get an overview of the types of loans they offer, and the rates and fees they charge.

Here are a few to get started:

Lending platform

Loan amount

Terms

Who it’s best for:

Upstart


$1,000-$50,000

36 or 60 months

Borrowers who may not have an
excellent FICO score (or any score
at all) but are good loan candidates
based on other factors such as
education and job history

Prosper


$2,000-$40,000

36 or 60 months

Borrowers interested in a personal
loan to consolidate credit card debt,
fund home improvements, vehicle
purchases or other life events,
or start, or expand a small business

Lending Club


$1,000-$40,000

36 or 60 months

Borrowers interested in a personal
loan for consolidating high-interest
debt, funding home improvements,
or paying for unexpected expenses

Funding Circle


$25,000-$500,000

6 months to 5 years

Borrowers looking for funding to start
or expand their business

Keep in mind that interest rates and other terms can change, so you should compare rates and other terms from a variety of lenders every time you need to borrow.

The P2P lending market is only a little over a decade old, thus P2P platforms have not had the long history of government oversight to which banks and credit unions have been subjected.

And there is reason to be cautious about getting involved in P2P lending. In 2016, the Department of the Treasury released a report, Opportunities and Challenges in Online Marketplace Lending, looking at the opportunities and risks of P2P lending. Their concerns included:

  • The use of data-driven algorithms for making credit decisions has the potential to violate fair lending laws and doesn’t allow applicants to check and correct the data being used.
  • Interest rates may be high. The report acknowledged that the majority of loans are made to borrowers with good credit scores, but some platforms offer loans to borrowers with poor credit (FICO scores as low as 580) at interest rates as high as 36 percent.
  • Borrowers using P2P lending to refinance federal student loans lose the protections available to federal student loan borrowers, including income-driven repayment plans, loan forgiveness, and deferral or forbearance while the borrower returns to school or faces economic hardship or disability.
  • Many borrowers use P2P loans to fund small business development, but it may be difficult to enforce consumer protection laws and regulations, contract law, or fair lending laws with P2P platforms since these platforms are not subject to the same oversight as traditional banks.
  • While many marketplace lenders clearly disclose loan rates and terms, not all platforms are as transparent. The report acknowledged a need for standardized disclosures.
  • Most P2P platforms service loans only until a loan becomes delinquent, at which point collection is outsourced to a collection agency. Not all platforms have plans in place to work with borrowers who are experiencing financial distress or plans to continue servicing loans if the company goes out of business.

However, they are required to follow the same state and federal laws as other lenders. If you encounter any problems with a P2P lender, you should submit a complaint to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The CFPB began accepting complains about P2P lenders in March of 2016. We reviewed the complaints database in December of 2017 and counted more than 300 complaints about some of the largest P2P lenders. Consumers who submit complaints assign categories themselves and can opt not to have their complaint narrative published, so it’s difficult to parse the top complaints, but they include:

  • Having difficulty getting the loan
  • Problems making payments
  • Problems with the payoff process
  • Being charged interest or fees that aren’t expected
  • Inaccurate information reported to the credit bureau

These problems aren’t unique to P2P lenders, given that borrowers from traditional banks can face similar frustrations. Still, it’s important to know what other borrowers have experienced if you’re thinking of pursuing a P2P loan.

Lending Club and Prosper are the most popular platforms, but experts expect the industry to grow, so it’s worth expanding any comparison shopping beyond the biggest players. Just do your research before providing your personal information.

  • Search for the lender online. Is the platform mentioned in roundups of the best P2P platforms from reputable financial websites? Do your search results include consumer complaints?
  • Check the platform’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Make sure the platform takes steps to protect your personal data. They should have security and privacy certification from a company like TRUSTe or Symantec.

Alternatives to a P2P loan

It makes sense for anyone interested in a P2P loan to also compare alternatives before committing to a loan:

  • Community banks
  • Credit unions
  • Friends and family

Peer-to-peer lending can be a less expensive alternative to high-interest credit cards and easier to get than a bank loan. But, like all borrowing decisions, it needs to be carefully considered for your individual financial circumstances. The bottom line is that P2P is another option, and more options and increased competition are always good for borrowers.

LendingTree
APR

As low as 3.99%

Credit Req.

Minimum 500 FICO®

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 60

months

Origination Fee

Varies

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

LendingTree is our parent company

Advertiser Disclosure

LendingTree is our parent company. LendingTree is unique in that you may be able to compare up to five personal loan offers within minutes. Everything is done online and you may be pre-qualified by lenders without impacting your credit score. LendingTree is not a lender.


A Personal Loan can offer funds relatively quickly once you qualify you could have your funds within a few days to a week. A loan can be fixed for a term and rate or variable with fluctuating amount due and rate assessed, be sure to speak with your loan officer about the actual term and rate you may qualify for based on your credit history and ability to repay the loan. A personal loan can assist in paying off high-interest rate balances with one fixed term payment, so it is important that you try to obtain a fixed term and rate if your goal is to reduce your debt. Some lenders may require that you have an account with them already and for a prescribed period of time in order to qualify for better rates on their personal loan products. Lenders may charge an origination fee generally around 1% of the amount sought. Be sure to ask about all fees, costs and terms associated with each loan product. Loan amounts of $1,000 up to $50,000 are available through participating lenders; however, your state, credit history, credit score, personal financial situation, and lender underwriting criteria can impact the amount, fees, terms and rates offered. Ask your loan officer for details.

As of 17-May-19, LendingTree Personal Loan consumers were seeing match rates as low as 3.99% (3.99% APR) on a $10,000 loan amount for a term of three (3) years. Rates and APRs were based on a self-identified credit score of 700 or higher, zero down payment, origination fees of $0 to $100 (depending on loan amount and term selected).

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.

Janet Berry-Johnson
Janet Berry-Johnson |

Janet Berry-Johnson is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Janet here

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Up to $50,000

$

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Best of, Personal Loans

Best Options for Covering the Cost of Adoption

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.

adoption

You can’t put a price on the value of your child, but for couples who wish to adopt, the process can be quite costly. If you feel you are ready to start or grow your family through adoption but don’t have the funds to cover all the fees and expenses, you may want to consider an adoption loan.

What is the cost of adoption?

The cost of adoption can range enormously, based on factors such as whether you are adopting domestically or internationally, whether you are going with an agency or choosing a private adoption or whether you are adopting from foster care. The cost of going through an agency can be as much as $40,000, while an independent adoption is not that much less, at $34,000, according to AmericanAdoptions.com. An international adoption can run as high as $45,000, depending on the country from which you are adopting. The average cost of foster care adoption, however, is significantly less, at $2,744.

Whichever method you decide to choose, you may need some financial assistance. That is where an adoption loan can come in.

What is an adoption loan?

An adoption loan is essentially a personal loan you can take out to use for adoption-related costs. There are many personal loans on the market, so you shouldn’t limit your options as long as the loans you are considering are low-interest, have no or low fees and offer flexible repayment terms.

If you search online for the term “adoption loans,” you may find a few offers, but it’s best to search first for personal loans to broaden your search and help you locate the best loan option for you.

Here, to help you get started, are some of the best personal loans to use for adoption.

What to watch out for

Before you choose a loan for adoption costs, there are a few things you need to watch out for. Consider a realistic amount, for one. You may be able to cover some of the costs on your own, but some lenders who offer personal loans for adoption may encourage you to take out more than you need.

When taking out a loan, only you know how much you truly need, so it’s important to research the process thoroughly and formulate a realistic amount of expenses you can’t cover with your savings.

Another thing to watch out for is how some lenders may prey on couples’ vulnerability and eagerness to adopt. Companies who send out messages like “your child’s life is worth any cost” should be examined with caution.

When you take out a personal loan, you should always look at how affordable it will be. Is the interest rate low? Is there an origination fee, or any hidden fees? How short or long are the terms? Is there a prepayment penalty?

Ask yourself all of these questions and make sure you are positive about the answers and comfortable with them before you take out a loan. As with any loan, you’ll ideally want something low interest, with no fees and no prepayment penalties.

Be wary, too, of lenders promising affordable loans for people with bad credit, as this is almost never possible. In order to secure a low interest rate for your loan, you generally need to have good credit.

Affordable adoption loan requirements

LightStream allows you to borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 with fixed APRs that range from 3.99% to 16.99% (with autopay). Terms range from 24 to 144 months, and the shorter your term is, the lower your rate may be. No origination fee means your loan costs will be lower. There will be a Hard Pull of your credit report upon applying.

APR

3.99%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Minimum Credit Score

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 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

America’s Christian Credit Union specializes in adoption loans and lends up to $50,000, which should be more than enough to cover adoption expenses. Annual percentage rates start at 5.99% but can range from 8.90% to 10.90% for most borrowers. Borrowers have up to 84 months to pay back their loan, and the loan is good for domestic and international adoptions. This lender also offers home equity loans, with no closing costs or annual fees, to use for adoption costs. This includes a quarterly adjustable HELOC with a current starting APR of 3.5% and an annual adjustable HELOC with a current starting APR of 4%.

America’s Christian Credit Union
APR

8.90%
To
10.90%

Credit Req.

0

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

84

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 0.00%

APPLY NOW Secured

on America’s Christian Credit Union’s secure website

SoFi is a popular lender offering a variety of personal loans at competitive rate and terms. Borrowers can receive anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 with fixed APRs ranging from 5.99% to 17.67% and variable APRs ranging from 6.40% to 12.70% as long as borrowers sign up with autopay. Terms are 24 to 84 months, and there is no origination fee required.

SoFi
APR

5.99%
To
17.67%

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 5.990% APR to 17.67% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.60% APR to 14.700% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 7, 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 5.60% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.27% 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)

Upstart offers quick and easy approvals for loans up to $50,000 with APRs ranging from 4.73% to 35.99%. Borrowers need at least a minimum credit score of 620 to qualify. Loan terms are 36 or 60 months, and there is no early repayment fee. There is, however, an origination fee of 0.00% - 8.00% to keep in mind.

APR

4.73%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upstart is an online lender created by ex-Googlers.... Read More

Adoption grants

Before you look into loan options, you should see if you qualify for any grants to help fund the costs of adoption. An adoption grant can help provide you with partial funding throughout the adoption process to ease the financial burden.

There are quite a few adoption grants available, but most have specific criteria. For example, in order to qualify for a grant, you may need to adopt through a licensed agency, or adopt within the country.

National Adoption Foundation. This organization has very few strict requirements, and considers single adults who wish to adopt. The program has no exclusions based on race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation or income, and awards grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 depending on the needs of the family and the circumstances surrounding the adoption.

HelpUsAdopt.org. This organization awards grants to couples, singles and LGBT applicants who are U.S. citizens and wish to adopt. Recipients can use the funds for private, agency or domestic adoption, and award amounts range from $500 to $15,000. The organization awards grants in February, May, August and September.

A Child Waits Foundation. If you are adopting internationally and your annual household income does not exceed $130,000, you may qualify for an adoption grant from this agency, as long as you are a U.S. or Canadian citizen. Applicants can apply for a grant no sooner than three to four months prior to when their family makes their final adoption trip. There is a $20 application fee and grant amounts typically do not exceed $7,000.

Bottom line

If you need funding to help you adopt a child, it’s best to consider all your options and try to obtain a grant along with a low-interest loan to help cover the rest of your financial needs. You can take a look at more personal loan options for adoption all in one chart with our comparison tool.

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.

Chonce Maddox
Chonce Maddox |

Chonce Maddox is a writer at MagnifyMoney. You can email Chonce at [email protected]

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Personal Loans

5 Personal Loans for Fertility Treatments

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The excitement of starting a family can turn into despair if you face difficulty getting pregnant. Thankfully, treatments including medications and surgery can make parenthood a possibility for couples having trouble conceiving on their own. However, these treatments may not always be covered by medical insurance; whether all or part of an infertility procedure is covered will depend on your insurance plan and where you live (some states have laws mandating coverage).

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is one procedure in particular that insurance may not cover. A cycle of IVF can cost $12,400 on average, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Because success with IVF may require more than one cycle, the entire process can get quite expensive.

Instead of paying for fertility treatments out of pocket, a low-interest personal loan may be a solution. Here are just some of the many available personal loans to consider.

SoFi – Fixed rates starting at 5.99% APR

SoFi offers personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000 to cover medical costs. Terms are 24 to 84 months. Both fixed- and variable-interest loans are available. A variable-interest loan means your interest will fluctuate based on an index. SoFi does have a variable interest cap for personal loans. Generally, you should stick with a fixed-interest personal loan because your rate will stay the same throughout the entire term.

A variable-interest loan is only worth considering if you can pay it off quickly. In this scenario, you take advantage of very low interest for a short time and then pay off the loan before the interest changes. SoFi has no prepayment penalty, so you can do this without incurring a fee.

SoFi doesn’t charge for origination either. If you lose your job, SoFi has a unique borrower benefit as well. You may be able to pause payments until you find another position.

SoFi
APR

5.99%
To
17.67%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

24 to 84

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Advertiser Disclosure

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


Fixed rates from 5.990% APR to 17.67% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 5.60% APR to 14.700% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of August 7, 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 5.60% APR assumes current 1-month LIBOR rate of 2.27% 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)

Earnest – Fixed rates starting at 5.99% APR

Earnest offers personal loans from $5,000 to $75,000. Loans have competitive interest and a streamlined online application process. Terms are 36 to 60 months. There are no application or origination fees. If you pay off the loan early, there are no prepayment penalties either.

Earnest takes a look at your entire financial profile, including your savings habits and earning potential, to qualify you for a loan. Most approved Earnest applicants are employed or have an offer letter, have at least a month’s worth of expenses in savings and enough monthly income to support their regular expenses and loan payments. Earnest will do a Hard Pull of your credit report when you apply.

Earnest
APR

5.99%
To
17.24%

Credit Req.

680

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 to 60

months

Origination Fee

No origination fee

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on LendingTree’s secure website

Instead of offering credit-based loans, Earnest has taken a very nontraditional approach using a merit-based system.... Read More

Lending Club – Fixed rates starting at 6.95% APR

Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lender that offers fixed-rate loans, and also promotes fertility loan options. You can borrow $1,000 to $40,000. Loan terms are 36 or 60 months. Once approved for a Lending Club loan, you get a credit rating and loan options from which to choose. After accepting your loan terms, the loan appears in the marketplace where investors select loans to invest in.

Lending Club does charge an origination fee of 1.00% - 6.00%. How much you’ll pay for origination depends on the credit rating Lending Club assigns you. That credit rating is determined using factors including your credit history and credit score. Lending Club has no prepayment penalties.

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

LightStream – Fixed rates starting at 3.99% APR (with auto pay)

You can borrow $5,000 to $100,000 from LightStream for family planning, including fertility treatments and adoption. Loan terms are 24 to 144 months. To qualify for the lowest rates with LightStream, you need to have at least five or more years of positive credit history, no delinquencies, a stable income and money in savings.

The LightStream loan is transparent with fees. There are no fees for origination or early payment of the loan. LightStream also has a “rate beat” program. If you get approved for a personal loan by another lender with a lower interest rate, LightStream will try to beat that rate. The competitor loan must meet certain requirements to qualify for the program. LightStream doesn’t offer preapprovals at this time and will do a Hard Pull on your credit history at application.

APR

3.99%
To
16.99%

Credit Req.

Not specified

Minimum Credit Score

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 3.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $295.20.

Upstart – Starting at 4.73% APR

Upstart has personal loans from $1,000 to $50,000 that can cover various life expenses including medical bills. Loans are available at 36 or 60 month terms. Upstart takes into account more than your credit history to decide whether you qualify. Your education and job history will also be considered.

At a minimum, you need a 620 credit score to qualify for this loan. You must also have no more than six inquiries on your report over the past six months. Like Lending Club, Upstart charges an origination fee. You’ll have to pay 0.00% - 8.00% for loan processing. Depending upon your risk profile, interest rates can be as high as 35.99% APR.

APR

4.73%
To
35.99%

Credit Req.

620

Minimum Credit Score

Terms

36 or 60

months

Origination Fee

0.00% - 8.00%

SEE OFFERS Secured

on LendingTree’s secure website

Upstart is an online lender created by ex-Googlers.... Read More

Other options to pay for IVF

There are options besides personal loans to help you pay for IVF if you can’t afford to pay out of pocket. Here are a few.

  1. Health savings account (HSA). An HSA is a tax-advantaged savings vehicle that allows you to contribute pre-tax dollars to a fund you can tap for out-of-pocket medical expenses. If you have a high-deductible health insurance plan, you should have access to an HSA. If you’ve saved up a good amount in your HSA, these funds can be used to help pay for your IVF treatments. There are limits to how much you can contribute each year; in 2019, the limits are $3,500 for an individual and $7,000 for a family.
  2. Home equity loan. If you own your home and have a decent amount of equity, you might consider taking out a home equity loan, or applying for a home equity line of credit, to pay for your IVF treatments. Keep in mind the risks involved, however. If you cannot repay your home equity loan, you are putting your homeownership in danger. Only consider taking out such a loan if you know you can repay it with no problem.
  3. Credit card. Paying for your IVF treatment with a credit card may not be the best option, as the interest rates can be very high. However, if you are able to obtain a 0% interest card and pay all or most of the charges off before the promotional period ends and your rate rises, using your credit card may be the right choice.

Bottom line

While the loans noted here have competitive interest rates, it’s best to first consider those without an origination fee. Remember, you need to have an excellent credit score and a positive credit history to qualify for the very lowest interest rates with any of these companies.

Upstart and Lending Club could be good fallback options if you have trouble getting approved elsewhere. Both may qualify you with a credit score below 650.

You can also turn to RESOLVE, the national infertility association, for an extensive current list of infertility financing programs. These include CapexMD, EggFund and Prosper Healthcare Lending.

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.

Taylor Gordon
Taylor Gordon |

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

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