PNC Personal Loan Review

personal loan_lg

Updated November 08, 2017
With about 2,800 branches in 19 states and the District of Columbia, [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]is the fifth largest bank in the United States. It’s primarily located in the eastern half of the US, with most of its branches and its headquarters being in the northeast.

If you’re looking for a personal loan from a trustworthy, familiar source, [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] might be your answer. It offers an unsecured personal loan on par with most lenders, as well as a [PNCLoanAmt]secured loan that allows up to $100,000 to be borrowed[/PNCLoanAmt].

Most traditional banks haven’t been able to compete with online-only lenders in the personal loan space, so let’s see how [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] compares.

Personal Loan Details

PNC has three personal loan options – secured and unsecured installment loans, and a line of credit. For the purpose of this review, we’ll be focusing on the installment loans.

Most online lenders only offer unsecured loans. In case you’re not sure of the difference:

  • Secured loans require an agreement to let your creditor use your assets as collateral in the event you default on your loan. This protects the creditor as it can sell your assets and recoup the cost of the loan.
  • Unsecured loans are the exact opposite – there’s no collateral involved. There’s less risk for the borrower and more for the creditor.

While secured loans seem to take the creditor’s side, the bonus is they often have more favorable terms because creditors are taking on less risk. You may have access to better interest rates or more money.

A simple example of a secured loan is a mortgage loan. Your home (property) is used as collateral. If you don’t pay your mortgage, your mortgage lender can seize the property and sell it.

Now that you know what it means to have a secured or unsecured loan, we’ll take a look at the differences between the details.

[PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] unsecured personal loan allows you to [PNCLoanAmt]borrow between $1,000 and $25,000[/PNCLoanAmt] on a [PNCTerm]variety of terms: 6 months, and 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5-year options are available[/PNCTerm].

[PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] secured loan allows you to [PNCLoanAmt]borrow much more – between $2,000 and $100,000[/PNCLoanAmt]. The collateral required for this loan is non-real estate (a vehicle, for example).

Both the unsecured and secured loans have fixed interest rates.

Unfortunately, you can’t check APRs or sample payments for secured loans online, and when we called, we were told they vary based on your credit. They were unable to give any APR range.

The APR for unsecured loans varies by the loan amount:

  • [PNCAPR]For a $5,000 loan, the APR ranges from 9.49% – 21.99%
  • For a $10,000 loan, the APR ranges from 6.74% – 19.24%
  • For a $15,000 loan and up, the APR ranges from 5.99% – 18.49%[/PNCAPR]

A payment example: if you borrow $20,000 on a 5-year term with an APR of 7.74%, your monthly payment will be $403.04.

The Pros and Cons

Applying for a personal loan with a bank is typically a bit more time consuming than applying with an online-only lender. This is because banks are thorough with the documentation they request.

However, [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] states the application should take no longer than 15 minutes online.

Unfortunately, if you’re looking at the secured loan option, you can’t apply online. You can only apply by phone, or in person at a branch. You can apply online with the unsecured loan option.

[PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] APRs are also quite high, especially for the loan amounts. Many online-only lenders are offering better rates starting in the 5% range.

An additional negative might be that [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] only offers fixed rates. While variable rates aren’t stable, they’re usually lower than fixed rates. If you’ll have the ability to pay the loan off soon after it’s disbursed, having the lower variable rate can be beneficial.

If you fall on hard times, there’s a possibility that [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] will allow you to defer your payments, but this is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

[PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] urges borrowers to contact the bank at the first sign of trouble – before their payment is due.

Application Process and Documents Needed to Apply

If you’re applying for an unsecured loan, you can easily apply online and be done within 15 minutes. [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] recommends having the following information ready:

  • Your photo ID
  • Annual income, plus any other sources of income you have
  • Employer information (if you’ve been working there for less than 2 years, have your previous employer information as well)
  • Address/proof of residence (if you’ve been living there for less than 2 years, have your previous address ready)
  • If you’re applying with a co-applicant, you’ll need the same information for them
  • If you’re applying for a personal loan to consolidate debt, you’ll need account statements as [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] needs to know your account number, monthly payment, and outstanding balance

[PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] application is straightforward, and it also has a checklist available for you on the application in case you need to reference it.

[PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] will use [PNCInq]a hard credit inquiry when applying for a loan with them[/PNCInq].

Who Qualifies for a Personal Loan With [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]?

To have the best chances of being approved for a loan with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL], you need very good and established credit, along with a reasonable debt-to-income ratio. Your loan terms greatly depend on these two factors. Being a customer with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] doesn’t increase your chances of getting approved.

Just a note – if you choose the secured loan and want to use your vehicle as collateral, it must be less than 8 years old and have less than 80,000 miles on it.

Who Benefits the Most from a Personal Loan With [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]?

Borrowers looking for a larger loan amount would benefit from the secured personal loan with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL].

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] is the only other personal loan lender offering that much money, and while the loan is unsecured, it doesn’t have any physical locations. If you feel more secure applying in-person and receiving assistance from a trusted bank, you might prefer to go with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL].

However, most borrowers will benefit from going elsewhere to get an unsecured personal loan.

The Fine Print

[PNCPrepayFee]There is no prepayment penalty for either loan[/PNCPrepayFee], so you can pay your loan in full at any time.

[PNCOrgFee]There’s no origination[/PNCOrgFee] nor annual fee for the unsecured personal loan.

When called, a [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] representative wouldn’t disclose any other fees associated with the loan (late fees, returned payment fees, etc.).

Transparency

Since there is so little information on its website about the secured loan, it was important to find out as many details as we could from a call.

Unfortunately, the [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] representative that answered the call wasn’t very helpful. The most she could offer was that the loan rates and terms were dependent upon credit, and that the credit score and debt-to-income ratio of an applicant was extremely important.

When asked about late fees for the loan, she said “another department” handles that, and was unable to transfer the call to the appropriate personnel, as you need to have a loan with [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] before fees can be discussed.

This was rather disappointing. Most lenders are open to discussing these details with potential borrowers – fees can make a huge difference when considering loan options. To be one of the few lenders unwilling to discuss fees and rates beforehand kicks [PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] transparency down a notch.

PNC

APPLY NOW Secured

on PNC’s secure website

Alternative Personal Loan Solutions

As mentioned, [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL]* is the closest competitor as it allows borrowers a [SoFiLoanAmt]maximum of $100,000 as well. The minimum you can borrow is $5,000[/SoFiLoanAmt]. Most personal loan lenders have limits of around $25,000 – $35,000.

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] offers fixed rates and variable rates, while [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL] only offers fixed rates for its installment loans. [SoFiPL]SoFi’s[/SoFiPL] [SoFiAPR]fixed APR ranges from 5.49% – 14.24%, and its variable APR ranges from 5.19% – 11.34%, if you’re enrolled in autopay (with a cap of 14.95%)[/SoFiAPR].

There are no fees associated with [SoFiPL]SoFi’s[/SoFiPL] personal loan except for a [SoFiLateFee]late fee, which is 4% of the amount due or $5 – whichever is less[/SoFiLateFee].

You can borrow funds on [SoFiTerm]3, 5, or 7-year[/SoFiTerm] terms, and personal loans are available in 46 states, including the District of Columbia.

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] also offers unemployment protection. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you can apply for payment assistance.

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] uses a [SoFiInq]soft credit inquiry[/SoFiInq] when you first apply to get your rates, which means your credit score won’t be affected. If you choose to move forward with the loan, a hard credit inquiry will be used.

SoFi

APPLY NOW Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

If you’re looking for good alternatives to [PNCPL]PNC’s[/PNCPL] unsecured loan, take a look at [EarnestPL]Earnest[/EarnestPL]. You can borrow between [EarnestLoanAmt]$2,000 and $50,000[/EarnestLoanAmt] on a [EarnestTerm]1, 2, or 3-year[/EarnestTerm] term.

There are no hidden fees associated with [EarnestPL]Earnest’s[/EarnestPL] personal loan, and it’s offered in 23 states plus the District of Columbia.

You’ll need a [EarnestCreditScore]minimum credit score of 720[/EarnestCreditScore] to be eligible for approval with [EarnestPL]Earnest[/EarnestPL], and a [SoFiCreditScore]minimum of 700[/SoFiCreditScore] to be approved with [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL], but both lenders take other factors into account, unlike [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]. Your employment history, education, and salary matter as well.

*referral link

It Pays to Shop Around

While it would be convenient to have the first lender you apply with be the best solution, that’s not always the case, even with a trusted lender like [PNCPL]PNC[/PNCPL]. Personal loans from bigger banks are falling by the wayside as online-lenders are offering much better rates and terms. Do yourself a favor and shop around to get the best rates, even if you have a prior relationship with the bigger names out there. If you shop around within a 30-day window, your credit won’t take a big hit.

promo-personalloan-wide

*We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

The post PNC Personal Loan Review appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Wedding Loans: Find Better Options with Lower Rates

Frugal Wedding

Updated November 03, 2017
Did you know that the average cost of a wedding in the United States is around $31,200? That’s the number uncovered in a 2014 survey conducted by The Knot, a top resource for wedding planning. A figure that doesn’t even include the honeymoon.

If you’re planning a wedding, you’re probably well aware that your big day isn’t likely to be cheap, especially if you have a guest list that exceeds 100.

So what can you do if you can’t afford your dream wedding and aren’t willing (or ready) to compromise on cost? You may have already come across wedding loans, but it’s important to know a few things before you sign for one.

This guide is intended to walk you through the pros and cons of a wedding loan, what to look out for with lenders, other methods you can use to affordably finance your wedding, and finally, what alternatives are available if you realize that a loan isn’t the right option for you.

Wedding Loans Are Personal Loans in Disguise

When searching Google for “wedding loans,” you’ll find plenty of lenders offering them. However, you should know that a wedding loan is really just a personal loan that anyone can get. They’re not specifically meant for weddings. In fact, if you fill out an application for a personal loan and have to choose the purpose of the loan, you’ll likely have a few options to choose from.

Lenders are aware that people are searching for “wedding loans” just like they’re searching for “home renovation loans” and “vacation loans.” They create these specific pages you find for those keywords (so they get more search engine traffic), when they actually offer more than just wedding loans.

What this means is that you should broaden your search to all personal loan lenders. You don’t have to specifically search for wedding loans as, in most cases, you can use a personal loan for a wedding (or anything, for that matter). The good news is that there are plenty of personal loan lenders out there for you to shop around with.

What to Watch Out For

As with any loan, you want to get the lowest APR possible. Unfortunately, because lenders have these “wedding loan” pages, you may not be aware that other types of loans are offered at a lower APR. If you find yourself on such a page, try going to the lender’s homepage to see how the rates compare.

promo-personalloan-halfFor example, upon searching “wedding loans,” [KarrotPL]Karrot’s[/KarrotPL] wedding loan came up in the results. The landing page says it [KarrotAPR]offers APRs as low as 8.99%[/KarrotAPR], but if you visit the main page, you’ll see that personal loans are available with APRs starting at 6.44%. For the most part, the APR you’re eligible for won’t depend on the purpose of the loan; it will depend on your credit history. It’s worth digging deeper so you’re not caught paying more than you have to.

As you go through search results, you may also find that there are sites specifically for wedding loans that are a bit misleading. For example, MyWeddingLoans.com looks like a legitimate site, but when you click “apply,” it leads to [LendingClubPL]LendingClub’s[/LendingClubPL] website.

The URL of the application also contains a “partner ID,” which means it’s an affiliate of [LendingClubPL]LendingClub[/LendingClubPL] and receives a commission every time someone applies through that link. MyWeddingLoan discloses this in the fine print on its “Terms of Use” page. It’s important to know that MyWeddingLoans isn’t the actual lender or the company you’ll be dealing with if you obtain financing.

Other “wedding specific” lenders, such as Promise Financial, claim there are no hidden fees and prepayment penalties. While its fees aren’t necessarily “hidden,” there are fees to watch out for, such as an origination fee. You need to make sure you read the fine print for any loan you’re considering; otherwise it may cost you more.

[Four Times You Shouldn’t Use a Personal Loan]

What Will a Wedding Loan Cost You?

Do you think weddings are expensive? Then you should know how costly personal loans are. You’re going to pay interest on your loan, which means you’ll end up paying more than what you borrow. Let’s look at an example.

Say you want to finance $20,000 of your wedding as you’ve already saved $10,000. $20,000 on a 3-year term at a fixed APR of 7.246% results in a monthly payment of $619.79. You’ll pay a total of $22,312.44. If you choose a 4-year term at a fixed rate of 8.247%, your monthly payment will be $490.58, for a total amount of $23,547.84.

Both of these are actual examples, and in each case, you end up paying a few thousand dollars in interest. The APR you’re eligible for is largely based on your credit score. Having a higher credit score and a longer credit history will make lower APRs available to you.

If you’re absolutely set on borrowing money for your wedding, then it literally pays to increase your credit score prior to applying for a personal loan. Do yourself a favor and check your score using a free tool like Credit Karma or Credit Sesame, and download your free credit report at annualcreditreport.com. Is your score below 700? Then have a look at 6 ways you can improve your credit score before you shop for a loan.

As you’ll see below, some lenders have APRs with a large range. To get on the lower end of that range, you should have a score close to 700. Having a score below 600 will put you on the high end of the range, which will make the loan less affordable.

Least Expensive Wedding Loan Options – Good Credit Required

These lenders are your best bet if you must take out a personal loan to afford your wedding. They have the lowest APRs, lowest fees, and the most flexibility. These are all online lenders for a reason – traditional banks tend to have pricier personal loans.

We recommend shopping around to all the lenders that make the most sense for your situation. Similar inquiries to your credit made within a 30-day period will only count as one inquiry, so your credit score won’t take too much of a hit.

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL]: One of the leading online lenders in almost all categories, [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] offers borrowers excellent terms. There’s [SoFiOrgFee]no origination fee[/SoFiOrgFee] to worry about, and [SoFiAPR]fixed APRs range from 5.49% to 14.24% if enrolled in autopay. Variable rates range from 5.19% – 11.34% with a cap of 14.95%[/SoFiAPR]. You can borrow a maximum of [SoFiLoanAmt]$100,000[/SoFiLoanAmt] (hopefully you don’t need that much for your wedding) on terms of [SoFiTerm]up to 7 years[/SoFiTerm]. There’s [SoFiCreditScore]no minimum credit score required[/SoFiCreditScore], although your accounts should be in good standing.

SoFi

APPLY NOW Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

[EarnestPL]Earnest[/EarnestPL]: Another good choice for personal loans, [EarnestPL]Earnest[/EarnestPL] offers borrowers [EarnestLoanAmt]up to $50,000[/EarnestLoanAmt] on a [EarnestTerm]3-year term[/EarnestTerm] with [EarnestOrgFee]no origination fee[/EarnestOrgFee]. You need a minimum [EarnestCreditScore]credit score of 720[/EarnestCreditScore] to be approved.

[LightStreamPL]LightStream[/LightStreamPL]: You can borrow [LightStreamLoanAmt]up to $100,000[/LightStreamLoanAmt] on terms ranging [LightStreamTerm]from 2 to 7 years[/LightStreamTerm]. [LightStreamAPR]APRs range from 5.99% to 15.69%[/LightStreamAPR], and there’s [LightStreamOrgFee]no origination fee[/LightStreamOrgFee]. The minimum [LightStreamCreditScore]credit score needed to apply is 680[/LightStreamCreditScore]. [LightStreamPL]LightStream’s[/LightStreamPL] maximum APR is slightly higher than [SoFiPL]SoFi’s[/SoFiPL] and [EarnestPL]Earnest’s[/EarnestPL], and it’s the only lender out of these choices that requires a [LightStreamInq]hard credit pull[/LightStreamInq].

[UpstartPL]Upstart[/UpstartPL]: We recommend looking at [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] and [EarnestPL]Earnest[/EarnestPL] first, only because of the lack of an origination fee. However, if your credit isn’t the best, lenders such as [UpstartPL]Upstart[/UpstartPL] can help. You can borrow [UpstartLoanAmt]up to $50,000[/UpstartLoanAmt] on a [UpstartTerm]3 or 5-year term[/UpstartTerm] with [UpstartAPR]APRs ranging from 9.45% to 29.99%[/UpstartAPR]. [UpstartOrgFee]Origination fees range from 3.655% to 8%[/UpstartOrgFee] depending on the terms of your loan, and a minimum [UpstartCreditScore]credit score of 640 is required[/UpstartCreditScore].

Prosper: This is a peer-to-peer marketplace where people can invest in your loan. As a result, requirements are a bit leaner, but you’ll pay for it with higher APRs and an origination fee. [ProsperAPR]APRs range from 5.99% to 36.00%[/ProsperAPR], [ProsperOrgFee]origination fees range from 1% to 5%[/ProsperOrgFee], and the [ProsperLoanAmt]maximum amount you can borrow is $35,000[/ProsperLoanAmt]. You can [ProsperTerm]borrow on 3 or 5-year terms[/ProsperTerm], and [ProsperCreditScore]need a minimum credit score of 640 to qualify[/ProsperCreditScore].

[LendingClubPL]LendingClub[/LendingClubPL]: Another great option is [LendingClubPL]LendingClub[/LendingClubPL], which has a minimum [LendingClubCreditScore]credit score requirement of 600[/LendingClubCreditScore]. It works in much the same way as Prosper as it’s also a peer-to-peer marketplace lender. Again, you can borrow [LendingClubLoanAmt]up to $40,000[/LendingClubLoanAmt] for [LendingClubTerm]up to 5 years[/LendingClubTerm], and [LendingClubAPR]APRs range from 5.99% to 35.89%[/LendingClubAPR], with [LendingClubOrgFee]origination fees ranging from 1% to 6%[/LendingClubOrgFee]. [LendingClubPL]LendingClub[/LendingClubPL] is not available in Iowa or West Virginia.

Lending Club

APPLY NOW Secured

on Lending Club’s secure website

PenFed: Pentagon Federal Credit Union offers personal loans starting with a fixed interest rate of [PenfedAPR]9.99%[/PenfedAPR]APR for 36 months. You do need to be a member of the credit union, but anyone can become. You pay a one time dues to Voices for America’s Troops for $14 or National Military Family Association for $15 in order to become eligible for a PenFed membership.

As you can see, [UpstartPL]Upstart[/UpstartPL], Prosper, and [LendingClubPL]LendingClub[/LendingClubPL] all have high APR caps. If your credit isn’t in the best shape, you’ll likely be approved for a rate on the higher end.

Also note that aside from [LightStreamPL]LightStream[/LightStreamPL] and PenFed, all of these lenders allow you to apply for a pre-approval without a hard credit pull. That means you can see your potential terms before committing, and your credit score won’t be harmed in the process. Just remember that these rates and terms are estimated; those rates and terms may change after a hard credit pull.

[How to Create a Frugal Wedding]

Credit Card Options for Those With Good Credit

We wouldn’t normally recommend that you finance your wedding on a credit card, as purchase APRs are typically much higher than APRs on personal loans. However, if you have the means to pay off the debt quickly, then you might want to consider these 0% APR offers. This gives you a way to avoid paying interest on your debt for a short period of time.

Please keep in mind when using this method that you should be absolutely certain you could pay off the amount you finance within the 0% APR introductory period. If you don’t, you’ll be subject to very high interest rates after it expires, negating the entire point of this strategy.

For that reason, it’s a good idea to know how much you’re planning to finance beforehand. You can use that number to calculate how much you’ll have to pay per month to get your balance paid off. Make sure it’s realistic for your situation.

Citi Simplicity: This card has a 21-month 0% introductory APR. That means you have just shy of two years to pay off your balance before the regular purchase APR kicks in. The Citi Simplicity card also has no late fees, no annual fee, and no penalty APR if you’re late in making a payment. These benefits make it a great everyday use card after you’re done paying off your wedding charges.

Barclaycard Ring: This offer is no longer available. With this card, you can save with no transfer fee and get a 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers made within the first 45 days. Plus, receive your monthly FICO® Score for free. This is our favorite balance transfer offer.

If you don’t qualify for any of these offers, you can try checking around local credit unions and community banks for low interest credit cards. Many of our top recommendations have APRs ranging from 6.25% to 9%. While these aren’t ideal, they may be more affordable than a personal loan, depending on your credit.

Because credit cards are revolving debt, if you go this route, do not be fooled into making just the minimum payments. Do your best to pay extra and get the balance paid off within 3 years or less.

We also want to mention the possibility of using a 0% APR balance transfer offer. This should only be considered if you have strong credit (otherwise you might not be approved for one). If you must charge wedding expenses to your card and can’t pay them off right away, or you plan on using your credit card to finance most of your wedding, then you can still avoid paying interest with this option.

[Find the Best 0% APR Balance Transfer Offers Here.]

Top Wedding Loans for Those With Bad / Poor Credit

There are a few solutions available for couples with bad or poor credit that don’t qualify for any of the above offers, but they come with a hefty price tag. We’re hesitant to recommend going this route in the first place, but if your wedding can’t wait and you don’t have time to improve your credit score, these options might be worth looking at.

[AvantPL]Avant[/AvantPL]: With [AvantPrepayFee]no prepayment fee[/AvantPrepayFee] and [AvantAPR]APRs ranging from 9.95% to 35.99%[/AvantAPR], [AvantPL]Avant[/AvantPL] could be a good option. You could [AvantLoanAmt]borrow $2,000 to $35,000[/AvantLoanAmt] and need a [AvantCreditScore]credit score of 580 to apply[/AvantCreditScore]. Through [AvantPL]Avant[/AvantPL], you could get your money as soon as the next business day. Loans through [AvantPL]Avant[/AvantPL] are available in all states except Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and Vermont.

Avant

APPLY NOW Secured

on Avant’s secure website

[OneMainFinancialPL]OneMain Financial[/OneMainFinancialPL]: This company is known for making loans to those with less than stellar credit, and its rates reflect that reality. You can only [OneMainFinancialLoanAmt]borrow a maximum of $10,000[/OneMainFinancialLoanAmt] on [OneMainFinancialTerm]terms of 3 or 5 years[/OneMainFinancialTerm]. While [OneMainFinancialOrgFee]there’s no origination fee[/OneMainFinancialOrgFee], [OneMainFinancialAPR]the APRs range from 17.59% to 35.99%[/OneMainFinancialAPR], and you need a minimum [OneMainFinancialCreditScore]credit score of 600 to apply[/OneMainFinancialCreditScore].

OneMain Financial

APPLY NOW Secured

on OneMain Financial’s secure website

[FreedomplusPL]FreedomPlus[/FreedomplusPL]: With [FreedomplusAPR]APRs ranging from 4.99% to 29.99%[/FreedomplusAPR], this loan is similar to [AvantPL]Avant[/AvantPL] in that you’re probably looking at an [AvantAPR]APR closer to 29.90%[/AvantAPR]. There’s also an [FreedomplusOrgFee]origination fee ranging from 1.38% to 5%[/FreedomplusOrgFee] that you need to watch out for. You can [FreedomplusLoanAmt]borrow up to $35,000[/FreedomplusLoanAmt]on a term of [FreedomplusTerm]up to 5 years[/FreedomplusTerm], and need a [FreedomplusPL]minimum score of 600 to qualify[/FreedomplusPL].

Note that with the exception of [AvantPL]Avant[/AvantPL], all of these lenders use a [AvantInq]hard credit pull[/AvantInq] when you check your rate. ([AvantPL]Avant[/AvantPL] does not use a hard pull to check your rate, but will complete a hard pull if you decide to take out the loan).

Consider Creative Alternatives to Borrowing

As you can tell, financing all or part of your wedding may cost a lot more than you anticipated. If it’s at all possible, we suggest using one of the alternatives below as opposed to going into debt for your big day.

While it’s undoubtedly a day you want to remember forever, starting out married life with a bunch of debt (especially if you already have consumer debt or student loans to deal with) doesn’t feel great. It also doesn’t bode well for your relationship, considering arguments about money are a top reason for divorce.

Instead of taking chances with debt and your sanity, try these alternatives instead.

Hold off on the wedding: According to another survey conducted by The Knot in 2014, the average length of an engagement is 14 months. That’s not a long time to save up $10,000, let alone $30,000 (the estimated average cost of a wedding). That would take a monthly savings of $714 and $2,142 respectively. Instead of rushing to the altar, try lengthening your engagement to lessen the financial burden. Giving yourself more time to save is a wise idea; what’s the rush?

“Crowdfund” your honeymoon: We don’t literally mean asking strangers on the internet to fund your honeymoon, but you could ask your family and friends to “crowdfund” your honeymoon by using sites like Honeyfund. It’s a honeymoon registry that allows you to ask for cash from your wedding guests in a classier way, and hopefully, they feel more comfortable giving it. Remember, that $31,000 figure didn’t take the honeymoon into account. Now isn’t the time to go further into debt for your dream vacation.

Side hustle for extra money: If you’re really hurting for money, you need to find a way to earn more of it. Side hustling can be a great option if you have marketable skills that are in demand, especially online. These extra jobs should also be flexible – what’s better than working from home? You can also try picking up extra shifts at your job, working overtime, or getting a part-time job temporarily to cover costs. This doesn’t have to be forever; you just need enough stashed away in your wedding savings fund to cover your needs.

Reevaluate your wedding budget: Speaking of needs, are you going over your original wedding budget? Something might have to give. It’s time to take another look at it. For example, maybe you need to narrow your guest list down. Perhaps you need to reconsider your dream venue if it’s costing you an arm and a leg. Can you have DIY decorations and invitations? Postage often costs couples much more than they thought; classy invitations from Paperless Post can help offset that cost. The Knot has a list of common wedding expenses and what percentage of your budget can be expected to go toward each here if you need a comparison.

Know how to deal with deposits: Many items, such as the venue, food, and photography, will require a deposit. That means you don’t need to pay an overwhelming amount in one lump sum, but it does mean that you need to come up with something to reserve these things. If you have anything saved for your wedding, you should earmark it for deposits first to ensure you can pay the upfront cost.

You can pay for deposits with cash or check, but some advice says to pay via credit card to cover you in case something happens. As most deposits are non-refundable, if you’re unhappy with the services provided, or if services aren’t provided, you can contact your credit card company and dispute the charge as long as you do so within 60 days of the event. Some vendors and merchants might do wrong by you, and miscommunication can occur. Using your credit card gives you a better chance of recovering your money.

Of course, you should only charge expenses that you have the cash to cover. Putting your wedding expenses on a credit card and then not paying it off in full can be extremely expensive – the average credit card APR is 15%!

Remember to keep in mind that the deposit is only one portion of what you have to pay. You’ll need to come up with the rest of the funds prior to your wedding. Do your best to save up before then. If it helps, create a separate “wedding expenses” savings account so you won’t be tempted to raid it for another reason.

[How to Effectively Combine Income and Debts After Marriage]

Be Realistic and Create a Plan

You now have all the information you need to create a plan to fund your wedding. You might find that it’s not as easy as you thought it would be, but don’t let that dampen your spirits. If your wedding means that much to you, you’ll find a way to make it happen. Whether you take on side jobs to earn more, slash everyday expenses (such as cutting cable and brown-bagging lunch), or work toward improving your credit score, you can make room in your regular budget for your wedding.

Just stay realistic on costs and include your future spouse in all discussions pertaining to your finances. Now is the time to work as a team, not to surprise each other by going into debt to afford certain aspects of your wedding. Talk it through –your future spouse may have a great idea on how to lessen the financial burden of your wedding

The post Wedding Loans: Find Better Options with Lower Rates appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Earnest: Personal & Student Loans for Responsible Individuals with Limited Credit History

Earnest - Personal & Student Loans for Responsible Individuals with Limited Credit History

Updated August 21, 2017

Earnest is anything but a traditional lender for unsecured personal loans and student loans. They offer merit-based loans instead of credit-based loans, which is good news for anyone just starting to establish credit. Their goal is to lend to borrowers who show signs of being financially responsible. Earnest is working to redefine credit-worthiness by taking into account much more than just your score.

They have a thorough application process, but it’s for good reason – they consider different variables and data points (such as employment history, education, and overall financial situation) that traditional lenders don’t.

Earnest*, unlike traditional lenders, says their underwriting team looks to the future to predict what your finances will look like, based upon the previously mentioned variables. They don’t place as much emphasis on your past, which is why a minimal credit history is okay.

Additionally, as their underwriting process is so thorough, Earnest doesn’t take on as much risk as traditional lenders do. With their focus on the financial responsibility level of the borrower, they have less defaults and fraud, which allows them to offer some of the lowest APRs on unsecured personal loans.

Personal Loan (Scroll Down for Student Loan Refinance)

Earnest offers up to $50,000 for as long as three years, and their APR starts at a fixed-rate of 5.25% and goes up to 12.99%. They claim that’s lower than any other lender of their type out there, and if you receive a better quote elsewhere; they encourage you to contact them.

Typical loan structure

How does this look on paper? If you needed to borrow $20,000, your estimated monthly payment would be $599-$638 on a three- year loan, $873-$911 on a two- year loan, and $1,705-$1,744 on a one-year loan. According to their website, the best available APR is on a one-year loan.

Not available everywhere

Earnest is available in the following 36 states (they are increasing the number of states regularly, and we keep this updated): Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Get on LinkedIn

Earnest no longer requires that you have a LinkedIn profile. However, if you do have a LinkedIn profile, the application process becomes a lot faster. When you fill out the application, your education and employment history will automatically be filled in from your LinkedIn profile.

What Earnest Looks for in a Borrower

Earnest AppEarnest wants to lend to those who know how to manage and control their finances. They want borrowers to know the importance of saving, living below their means, using credit wisely, making timely payments, and avoiding fees.

They look at salary, savings, debt to income ratio, and cash flow. They want borrowers with low credit utilization – not those maxing out their credit cards and experiencing difficulty in paying.

Borrowers must be over 18 years old and have a solid education background. Ideally, they attended college or graduate school, have a degree, and have a history of consistent employment, or at least a job offer that gives them the opportunity to grow.

Overall, Earnest wants to make sure borrowers are taking their future as seriously as they are. After all, they’re investing in it! The team at Earnest knows that money often holds people back when it comes to being able to achieve their dreams and goals, and they’re all about helping borrowers get there.

For that reason, Earnest seeks to learn more about those that apply for loans with them. They review every line of your application, and they want to develop a lifelong relationship with their borrowers. They genuinely want to help and see their borrowers succeed.

The Fine Print – Are There Any Fees?

Earnest actually doesn’t charge any fees. There are no late fees, no origination fees, and no hidden fees.

There’s also no penalty for prepaying loans with Earnest – they encourage borrowers to prepay to reduce the amount of interest they’ll pay over the life of the loan.

Earnest states that one of its values is transparency (and of course, here at MagnifyMoney, that’s one of ours as well!), and they are willing to work with borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

Hala Baig, a member of Earnest’s Client Happiness team, says, “We would work with the client to make accommodations that are appropriate to help them through their situation.”

She also notes that if borrowers are late on payments, they do report the status of loans on a monthly basis.

What You Can Do With the Money

The $30,000 loan limit is enough to pay off debt such as an undergraduate student loan, medical debt, or consumer debt, relocate for a job, improve your home or rental property, help you fund a down payment, or further invest in your education.

Earnest’s APR is much, much better than you’ll receive on many credit cards, and it could be a viable way to decrease the burden of debt you’re currently experiencing.

Earnest logo 1

The Personal Loan Application Process

Earnest does a hard inquiry upon completion of the application. They’re very open about this on their website, stating that hard inquiries remain on credit reports for two years, and may slightly lower your credit score for a short period of time.

Compared to Upstart, their application process is more involved, but that’s to the benefit of the borrower. They aim to underwrite files and make a decision within 7 business days – it’s not instantaneous.

However, once you accept a loan from Earnest and input your bank information, they’ll transfer the money the next day via ACH, so the money will be in your account within 3 days.

Student Loan Refinance

When refinancing with Earnest, you can refinance both private and federal student loans.

The minimum amount to refinance is $5,000 – there’s no specific cap on the maximum you can refinance.

We encourage you to shop around. Earnest is one of the best options, but there are others. You can see the best options to refinance your student loans here.

Earnest offers loans up to 20 years. Unlike other lenders, Earnest allows borrowers to create their own term based on the minimum monthly payment you’re comfortable making. Yes, you can actually choose your monthly payment, which means the loan can be customized to your needs. Loan terms start at 5 months, and you can change that term later if needed.

You can also switch between variable and fixed rates freely – there’s no charge. (Note that variable rates are not offered in IL, MI, MN, OR, and TN. Earnest isn’t in all 50 states yet, either.)

Fixed APRs range from 3.35% to 6.39%, and variable APRs range from 2.81% to 6.19% (this is with a .25% autopay discount).

If you refinance $25,000 on a 10 year term with an APR of 5.75%, your monthly payment will be $274.42.

The Pros and Cons of Earnest’s Student Loan Refinance Program

Similar to SoFi, Earnest offers unemployment protection should you lose your job. That means you can defer payments for three months at a time, up to a total of twelve months over the life of your loan. Interest still accrues, though.

The flexibility offered from being able to switch between fixed and variable rates is a great benefit to have should you experience a change in your financial situation.

As you can see from above, variable rates are much lower than fixed rates. Of course, the only problem is those rates change over time, and they can grow to become unmanageable if you take a while to pay off your loan.

Having the option to switch makes your student loan payments easier to manage. If you can afford to pay off your loans quickly, you’ll benefit from the low variable rate. If you have to take it slow and need stability because you lost a source of income, you can switch to a fixed rate. Note that switching can only take place once every 6 months.

Earnest also lets borrowers skip one payment every 12 months (after making on-time payments for 6 months). Just note this does raise your monthly payment to adjust for the skipped payment.

Beyond that, Earnest encourages borrowers to contact a representative if they’re experiencing financial hardship. Earnest is committed to working with borrowers to make their loans as manageable as possible, even if that means temporary forbearance or restructuring the loan.

Lastly, if you need to lower your monthly payment, you can apply to refinance again. This entails Earnest taking another look at your terms and seeing if it can give you a better quote.

Who Qualifies to Refinance Student Loans With Earnest?

Earnest doesn’t have a laundry list of eligibility requirements. Simply put, it’s looking to lend to financially responsible people that have a reasonable ability to pay their loans back.

Earnest describes its ideal candidate as someone who:

  • Is employed, or at least has a job offer
  • Is at least 18 years old
  • Has a positive bank balance consistently
  • Has enough in savings to cover a month or more of regular expenses
  • Lives in AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IL, IN, KS, MA, MD, MI, MN, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, Washington D.C., and WI
  • Has a history of making timely payments on loans
  • Has an income that can support their debt and routine living expenses
  • Has graduated from a Title IV accredited school

If you think you need a little help to qualify, Earnest does accept co-signers – you just have to contact a representative via email first.

Application Process and Documents Needed to Refinance

Earnest has a straightforward application process. You can start by receiving the rates you’re eligible for in just 2 minutes. This won’t affect your credit, either. However, this initial soft pull is used to estimate your rates – if you choose to move forward with the terms offered to you, you’ll be subject to a hard credit inquiry, and your rates may change.

Filling out the entire application takes about 15 minutes. You’ll be asked to provide personal information, education history, employment history, and financial history. Earnest takes all of this into account when making the decision to lend to you.

The Fine Print for Student Loan Refinance

There aren’t any hidden fees – no origination, prepayment, or hidden fees exist. Earnest makes it clear its profits come from interest.

There are also no late fees, but if you get behind in payments, the status of your loan will be reported to the credit bureaus.

Earnest logo

Who Benefits the Most from Earnest

Those in their 20s and 30s who have a good grip on their finances and are just getting started with their careers will make great borrowers. If you’re dedicated to experiencing financial success once you earn enough money to actually achieve it, you should look into a loan with Earnest.

If you have a history of late payments, being disorganized with your money, or letting things slip through the cracks, then you’re going to have a more difficult time getting a loan.

Amazing credit score not required

You don’t necessarily need to have the most amazing credit score, but your track record with money thus far will speak volumes about how you’re going to handle the money loaned from Earnest. That’s what they will be the most concerned about.

What makes you looks responsible?

Baig gives a better picture, stating, “We are focused on offering better loan alternatives to financially responsible people. We believe the vast majority of people are financially responsible and that reviewing applications based strictly on credit history never shows the full picture. One example would be saving money in a 401k or IRA. That would not appear on your credit history, but is a great signal to us that someone is financially responsible.”

Conclusion

Overall, it’s very clear that Earnest wants to help their borrowers as much as possible. Throughout their website, they take time to explain everything involved with the loan process. Their priority is educating their borrowers.

While Earnest does have a nice starting APR at 3.35%, remember to take advantage of the other lenders out there and shop around. You are never obligated to take a loan once you receive a quote, and it’s important to do your due diligence and make sure you’re getting the best rates out there. If you do find better rates, be sure to notify Earnest. Otherwise, compare rates with as many lenders as possible.

Shopping around within the span of 45 days isn’t going to make a huge dent in your credit; the bureaus understand you’re doing what you need to do to secure the best loan possible. Just make sure you’re not applying to different lenders once a month, and your credit will be okay.

Customize your personal loan offers with Magnify tools

*We’ll receive a referral fee if you click on offers with this symbol. This does not impact our rankings or recommendations. You can learn more about how our site is financed here.

The post Earnest: Personal & Student Loans for Responsible Individuals with Limited Credit History appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

32 Ways to Leave Your High-Interest Credit Card

credit card with high apr

Sure, there were the good times — back when you and your credit card first got together. Maybe your card was giving you a 0% introductory APR. Maybe you went everywhere together, bought everything together … but things changed. Today you feel like you’re giving a lot more than you’re getting, and now you’re wondering how you can leave your high-interest credit card behind.

While there aren’t as many options for leaving your credit card as there are ways to leave your lover (Paul Simon famously notes there must be 50 of those), it doesn’t mean you’re stuck. No, you’re probably not going to be able to slip out the back, Jack (that debt’s not going away even if you run!), but you most definitely can make a new plan, Stan. So don’t be coy, Roy, just listen to me …

1. Negotiate a Lower Rate

Most people don’t bother to ask their credit card issuer for a lower rate, but sometimes lowering your current APR can be as simple as that, so …

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Before you storm out on your credit card, try communicating. It could be worth your time to see if your card issuer will lower your interest rate, especially if your relationship is a long one. Keep in mind, they might pull your credit to see if you’re deserving of a lower APR. That’s why you’ll want to …

3. Check Your Credit Score …

You’ll want to get an idea of whether you’re likely to qualify for a lower APR, lest you incur a hard inquiry on your credit report only to get rejected. (You can view two of your free credit scores, along with some recommendations for credit cards it could help you qualify for, on Credit.com.)

4. … Fix it Up Before Inquiring

If your scores are less than stellar, you may want to try brushing them up before you call up your issuer. You can find 11 ways to improve your credit here.

5. Do Some Research

Are there other cards out there you qualify for that can offer you a better APR? If so, you can use this information to your advantage while negotiating with your current issuer.

6. Begin Negotiating With Your Oldest Card

Like we said before, your issuer might be willing to work with you, especially if you’ve been a cardholder for several years, so start negotiating with whichever card issuer you’ve been with longest to see if you can reduce your interest rate there.

7. Keep It Simple

It’s not a difficult process to ask for a decrease in your APR. In fact, it’s as simple as a call to the customer service line listed on the back of your card. Yes, they could say no, but that’s where your research will come in handy and you can …

8. Leverage Your Loyalty

If they say they can’t reduce your rate, remind them of how long you’ve been with the company, how you’ve never had a late payment or maxed out your card’s balance. Whatever positives you can cite can be helpful. If that doesn’t work, tell them what the other cards you’ve researched are offering. But most importantly …

9. Don’t Give Up Right Away

The old adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is especially important here. Your issuer may say no, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. Call them multiple times, and ask to speak to a supervisor if their answer continues to be no. Of course, you’ll want to be polite throughout the process. If all of this doesn’t work, it’s time to …

10. Consider an Upgrade

A lot of card issuers have tiered credit card offerings, so you could potentially upgrade to a new card with the same issuer that offers a lower interest rate and transfer your current balance to that card.

11. Keep Watching Your Credit …

Just like when an issuer considers lowering your interest rate, which we mentioned above, they’ll likely check your credit as part of your application for a card upgrade. So, if you think there’s a better credit card available elsewhere, you might not want to ask them to upgrade you.

12. … & Limit Your Card Applications

In fact, every time you apply for new credit you’re going to have a hard inquiry and a ding to your credit scores. These can add up if you have too many in a short span of time and even impact your ability to qualify for a new card, so be very selective or you could end up hurting your credit. (You can read here about how often you can apply for new credit without hurting your credit scores too much.)

If you’ve tried all these steps with your current credit card issuer to no avail, it’s time to look at starting a new relationship with a new issuer.

13. Get a Balance Transfer Card

Let’s say you’ve tried everything to lower your current APR with your card issuer and they just won’t work with you. Perhaps you’ve had some late payments or you just haven’t been with them that long. Getting a balance transfer credit card could make sense for you.

14. Find an Introductory 0% APR

There are lots of options to choose from in the world of balance transfer credit cards with a low or even 0% introductory APR. Here’s how to find the right one for you …

15. Comparison Shop

You can start by checking out some of the best balance transfer credit cards and comparing what they offer.

16. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

There are balance transfer cards that offer as long as 21 months at 0% financing for balance transfers and even new purchases. If you have a lot of current credit card debt, that could be very beneficial to you, as you’ll eliminate your interest while paying down your principal.

17. Don’t Forget the Transfer Fees …

Of course, most balance transfer cards charge you a fee for transferring your balance – typically 3% to 5%, so be sure to compare those amounts as well.

18. … & the Annual Fees

Some cards also charge an annual fee, so you’ll want to consider that cost as well as you compare balance transfer offers.

19. Make Sure You Time it Right

If you’re looking at buying a new house, car or other major purchase anytime soon, you’ll want to time your credit card application with that in mind since your credit scores will be impacted by that aforementioned hard inquiry that takes place during your application process.

20. Include Your Balance Transfer Amount in Your Application

This can help ensure the transfer goes smoothly and quickly. The new issuer will reach out to your current card issuer once you’re approved and get the transfer process started right away, saving you the hassle of doing it later.

21. Pay Off Your Balance

Once you have your new balance transfer card, it’s important to focus your attention on getting that balance paid off before your introductory rate expires. Otherwise, your balance is going to revert to the standard variable rate.

22. Keep Your Old Card

No, keeping your old card isn’t exactly leaving it, but hear us out. You might be tempted to close your old card, particularly if your card issuer refused to reduce your APR when you transferred your balance, but keeping it open can be good for your credit score.

That’s because your credit scores improve the longer you have a credit account in good standing, so if you had a decent payment history, keeping that card open could really help. Moreover, your total credit line will be higher if you keep it open, also helping your scores. (You can find a full explainer on how closing a card can affect your credit here.)

Go ahead and cut it up, though, if it makes you feel better. That will also keep you from using it.

23. Keep Your New Interest Rate Low

Now that you have a card with a lower APR, even if it’s just an introductory rate, there are things you can do to keep your rate as low as possible. You’ll want to …

24. Make Your Payments On Time …

Late payments can send your APR soaring, so make all of your payments on time to avoid a penalty APR.

25. … & Keep Your Balance Low

If you can’t pay off your balance each month, at least try to make payments that keep your balance below 30% of your credit limit, though below 10% is even better if you want to do your credit scores a real favor.

26. Don’t Take Cash Advances

These usually come with a higher variable APR than purchases or balance transfers, so try to avoid them if you want to keep your rates down.

27. Try Some Other Alternatives …

If you’ve had a bad run financially and aren’t going to qualify for a credit card with a lower APR, you still have plenty of money-saving options, so don’t give up just yet. You have some alternatives …

28. Like a Personal Loan …

You may be able to pay off your credit card debt with a personal loan from your bank or credit union, but keep in mind that unless you have excellent credit, you’ll likely need some kind of collateral to secure it. Be sure to ask about the lender’s credit requirements before applying.

29. Or a Home Equity Line of Credit …

If you own a home and have some equity built up, this can be a great option for paying off debt at a lower interest rate. You can save a ton by moving your debt to a HELOC.

30. … But Don’t Spend Your Savings

Use the money you save by refinancing through a HELOC on creating an emergency fund (if you don’t already have one). Once that’s set up, you can use the money as prepayment against your home loan or to boost your retirement savings.

31. Consider a Debt Management Plan …

A debt management plan allows you to turn over all of your debt information to a credit counseling agency. You make one monthly payment to them, and they pay your credit cards and other debts for you. These plans usually last three to five years, and a lot of lenders lower your interest rates when you participate in such a plan. You’ll want to be sure to find a reputable credit counseling agency, so do your research.

32. … Or File for Bankruptcy

As a last-resort option, you can consider getting out from under your high-interest credit card debt by declaring bankruptcy. You’ll lower your debt and have many years to pay it off depending on the type of bankruptcy relief you file for. Just remember you’ll also have a major blemish on your credit reports for up to 10 years that could seriously affect your ability to get credit (in general and at n affordable rate) during that time. Still, if your debt is significant, this could be the right option for you. Talking to a credit counselor or bankruptcy attorney before deciding could help you make the right choice for your circumstances.

Have another question about credit card debt? Leave it in the comments section and one of our credit experts will try to get back to you.

Image: skynesher

The post 32 Ways to Leave Your High-Interest Credit Card appeared first on Credit.com.

SoFi Review: Personal & Student Loans with Low Rates and No Fee

SoFi Review: Personal & Student Loans

Updated August 21, 2017

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] is an online loan company that offers student loan refinancing options, mortgages and personal loans. [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] offers some of the lowest interest rates and the best consumer experience in the market. We have researched thousands of products from hundreds of companies, and [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] is one of our favorites. However, they have strict credit criteria and target people with good jobs, good income, a proven ability to manage a budget and good credit history. If [SoFiPL]SoFi*[/SoFiPL] approves you, you will probably have a difficult time finding a lower interest rate anywhere else.

In this post, we will review both Student Loans and Personal Loans. (They have just launched mortgages, and we will be updating this post later with a review of that product). For each, we will discuss:

  • The details of the product: how much can you borrow, and at what price
  • Approval criteria: how does [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] underwrite, and who are they likely to accept

In addition, at the end we will give you more details of [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL], including who funded them, how big they are and their reputation.

Student Loan Refinance (Skip Ahead for Personal Loans)

[SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] has just reduced the minimum loan amount. You can now refinance as [SoFiSLLoanAmt]little as $5,000[/SoFiSLLoanAmt] of student loan debt. There is no cap on how much you can refinance. Based upon your cash flow, [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] will try to provide an option to refinance all of your student loan debt.

There is [SoFiSLOrgFee]no origination fee[/SoFiSLOrgFee] and [SoFiSLPrepayFee]no prepayment penalty[/SoFiSLPrepayFee]. It offers some of the lowest rates out there. [SoFiSLAPR]Fixed APRs range from 3.35% – 7.125%*, and variable APRs range from 2.815% – 6.740%[/SoFiSLAPR].* These rates are available so long as you enroll in auto-pay.* Given that interest rates are at an all-time low, you should think carefully before signing up for a variable interest rate. If you can pay off your loan in a short period of time, you could save a lot of money. If it will take you longer, you may not want to take the interest rate risk.

You can refinance on a [SoFiSLTerm]5, 10, 15, or 20 year term[/SoFiSLTerm].

For example, if you borrow $30,000 on a 10 year term at an APR of 4.615%, your monthly payment will be $312.58. Under those terms, you’re paying back a total of $37,509.60 (120 payments). If you borrow the same amount, but have a 6.8% APR, your monthly payment is $345.24, paying back a total of $41,428.80. In this case, [SoFiSL]SoFi’s[/SoFiSL] low rates have the potential to save you nearly $4,000.

[SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] will refinance both private and federal student loans. However, if you refinance a federal loan you will give up all federal protections and programs, including income-based repayment programs. [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] is unique among private lenders because it offer unemployment insurance, free of charge. If you lose your job for no fault of your own (you can’t quit), [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] will suspend your monthly payments until you find a new job. You can do this for up to 12 months. The interest that accrues during this period would be added to the loan.

[SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] also offers an entrepreneur program to help graduates who dream of owning a business.

Under this program, loans can be deferred for six months so borrowers can focus on growing their businesses. [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] provides access to networking events, mentors, and investors.

Refinancing with [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] isn’t an option for everyone. First, refinancing is currently unavailable to those residing in Nevada, and variable rate options aren’t available to those in Ohio or Tennessee.

Second, [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] has a list of available schools and programs it services. If your school or program isn’t on that list, you won’t be eligible to refinance.

Third, [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] typically [SoFiSLInq]requires applicants to have excellent credit[/SoFiSLInq]. [SoFiSLCoSigners]It occasionally accepts co-signers – you must call to review your situation with a representative. However, there’s no co-signer release if you move forward with one on your loan[/SoFiSLCoSigners].

To be eligible to refinance your student loans with [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL], you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 18 years or older
  • You need to have a 4-year undergraduate or graduate degree from a Title IV accredited institution
  • You have to be employed or have an offer of employment starting in 90 days from the time you apply
  • You need to be in good standing on your current student loans
  • You should have a good, stable employment history
  • A strong monthly cash flow is a must
  • [SoFiSLCreditScore]An excellent FICO score will improve your chances of being approved[/SoFiSLCreditScore]

The application process is straightforward and [SoFiSL]SoFi’s[/SoFiSL] pre-approval should take you less than 15 minutes to complete. You likely won’t need most of the documents listed below until you’re ready to move forward with a loan, but they’re good to have on hand while you’re shopping around.

  • Existing student loan information [SoFiSL](SoFi[/SoFiSL] will need your account information for the loans you wish to finance)
  • Employment information – salary, offer of employment, length of employment
  • Most recent pay stubs as proof of income and employment (if you’re currently employed)
  • Diploma or transcript in the event [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] needs to verify your graduation

It’s good to note [SoFiSL]SoFi[/SoFiSL] accepts screenshots from your PC and pictures taken from a phone, so if you don’t have access to a scanner, there’s no need to worry.

If you’re ready to get started, you can apply for a refinance and check your rate by clicking the button below.

APPLY NOW Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

Details on [SoFiPL]SoFi’s[/SoFiPL] Personal Loan

At [SoFiPL]SoFi,[/SoFiPL] you can [SoFiLoanAmt]borrow between $5,000 and $100,000[/SoFiLoanAmt].

There is [SoFiOrgFee]no origination fee,[/SoFiOrgFee] [SoFiPrepayFee]no prepayment penalty[/SoFiPrepayFee] and no balance transfer fee. They are truly unique in this regard.

You can [SoFiTerm]borrow the money for 3, 5 or 7 years[/SoFiTerm].

In addition, [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] offers unemployment protection. Unlike traditional personal loan companies, they are not looking to make money from unemployment insurance. Instead, they are offering it as a feature and a brand promise. And the insurance is generous. If you lose your job through no fault of your own, you will be given a payment holiday. Interest will continue to accrue on the loan (and be added to the balance), but no payment will be due and your loan will continue to be reported as current to the credit bureau. You can have 3 consecutive months of payments made at a time, and you can have up to 12 months of payments made during the life of the loan. That offers great flexibility. In addition, they offer job placement services to help you find a job.

[SoFiAPR]Fixed interest rates range from 5.49% to 14.24%[/SoFiAPR]* – but you have to sign up for auto-pay in order to get these rates. In addition, [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] offers [SoFiAPR]variable interest rates from 5.17% – 11.32%* with auto-pay. The rates are based upon 1-month LIBOR and are capped at 14.95%[/SoFiAPR].*

You can use the loans for almost any purpose: pay off credit card debt, home improvement, or anything else because the money can be deposited as cash in your checking account.

APPLY NOW Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

What Does It Take to Get Approved?

In order to be approved for a loan, you must at least meet the following requirements:

  • You are a US citizen or permanent resident
  • You are at least the age of majority in your state (typically 18)
  • You are currently employed
  • You have graduated from a selection of Title IV accredited universities or graduate programs (only for the student loan product. For personal loans, there is no university requirement).

Personal loans are not available to residents of the following states: Mississippi, Nevada and Tennessee.

If you fail to meet the above criteria, you will be rejected. However, just because you meet these criteria does not mean that you will be approved. [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] will:

  • Perform an analysis of your ability to repay. They do a “cash flow analysis” looking at your income and expenditure, making sure you can pay
  • Perform an analysis of your history with credit. Missed payments and defaults will most likely get your rejected. You need to have a strong history of repayment. Although they are not a FICO-driven lender (because they look at education, employment and cash flow), the following people will likely have a difficulty getting approved:
    • People who do not have excellent credit. In particular, if you have missed payments or have rapidly built up debt, you could find it difficult to qualify.
    • If you have a “thin credit file”, you will still have a good chance of getting approved. A thin file means that you do not have much information in your credit report. Although that could be a problem with traditional credit scores, [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] might still be willing to work with you.
    • People with collection items, judgments or other negative legal action

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] offers some of the lowest interest rates out there, and they are picky about who they approve. If you have a good degree, a good job and a history of making payments on time, you will likely be able to benefit from [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL].

And here is the best news: you can check to see if you will be approved, and the interest rate you would receive, without hurting your credit score. [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] uses what is called a [SoFiInq]“soft pull”[/SoFiInq] to determine your interest rate and your loan amount.

Given how low the interest rates are at [SoFiPL]SoFi,[/SoFiPL] if you have a college degree you should take the 3-4 minutes to see if you can be approved. The only cost is your time.

Screen Shot 2015-02-26 at 6.49.15 PM

Remember that you’re in no way obligated to take a loan once you apply.

Unless you accept the loan and go through with the hard credit inquiry, [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] doesn’t hold you to taking the loans presented to you.

All About [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL]

You can trust [SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL]. They are a very well funded start-up, having raised $164 million from some of the biggest and most influential venture capital firms in the Silicon Valley.

They have also built a very strong relationship with investors, and have funded more than $2 billion in loans to date.

[SoFiPL]SoFi[/SoFiPL] has been created with a mission to revolutionize the way we borrow in this country. In particular:

  • They want to make it easy for people to shop for a loan, believing that you should be able to get your interest rate without hurting your score
  • They want to create an easy, seamless experience with a great user experience
  • They want to cut out the costs of the big banks, giving lower interest rates to borrowers and higher interest rates to lenders
  • They want to create a different type of borrowing experience, by providing unemployment insurance as a free benefit.

Their mission, and their personal loan product, align to the vision of MagnifyMoney. When we created MagnifyMoney, we hoped to find lenders like [SoFiPL]SoFi,[/SoFiPL] and are pleased to award them an A+ Transparency Score.

APPLY NOW Secured

on SoFi’s secure website

We only have one criticism: their underwriting criteria is very tight right now. Hopefully, over time, they will be able to expand the criteria and be able to provide the great experience to people who may have experienced some financial difficulties in the past.

The post SoFi Review: Personal & Student Loans with Low Rates and No Fee appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt

Before you read on, click here to download our FREE guide to become debt free forever! 

Screen Shot 2015-02-03 at 1.30.44 PM

Digging out of the debt hole can feel frustrating, intimidating and ultimately impossible. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be any of those things if you learn how to take control.

Paying down debt is not only about finding the right financial tools, but also the right psychological ones. You need to understand why you got into debt in the first place. Perhaps it was a medical emergency or a home repair that needed to be taken care of immediately. Maybe you’d already drained your emergency fund on one piece of bad luck when misfortune struck again. Or maybe you’re struggling with a compulsive shopping problem, so paying down debt will likely result in you accumulating more until the addiction is addressed.

Understanding the why and how of your debt isn’t the only reason psychology plays a role in how you should create your debt attack plan.

You also need to understand what motivates you to succeed. Do you want to pay down your debt in the absolute fastest amount of time possible that will save more money or do you want to take some little wins along the way to keep yourself motivated?

The common terms for these debt repayment strategies are:

  • Debt avalanche: starting with the highest interest rate and working your way down, which saves both time and money.
  • Debt snowball: paying off small debts first to get the warm and fuzzies that will motivate you to keep going.

Whichever version you pick needs to set you up to be successful in your debt repayment strategy. Now it’s time to find the proper tools to help you dump that debt for good.

The first step in crafting a debt repayment strategy is to understand what you’re eligible to use. Your credit score will play a big role in whether or not you’ll qualify for products like balance transfers or competitive personal loan offers.

A credit score of less than 600 will make it difficult for you to qualify for a personal loan and will eliminate you from taking on a balance transfer offer.

If you have a credit score above 600, you have a good chance of qualifying for a personal loan at a much lower interest rate than your credit card debt. With new internet-only personal loan companies, you can shop for loans without hurting your score. Use this tool to see if you can get approved for a loan without hurting your score. Click here to get rates from multiple lenders in just a few minutes, without a credit inquiry hurting your score. For people with the best scores, rates start as low as 4.80%.

If you have a score above 700, you could also qualify for 0% balance transfer offers.

[Click here if you’re looking to rebuild your credit score.]

Not sure what your credit score is? Click here to learn how to find out.

Now let’s talk about the financial tools to add into your debt repayment strategy in order to dig out of the hole.

Let’s say you have $10,000 in credit card debt, and are stuck paying 18% interest on it.

You already know that putting as much spare cash as you can toward paying down your debt is the most important thing to do. But once you’ve done that, so what’s next?

Use your good credit to make banks compete and cut your rates

MagnifyMoney’s Paying Down Debt Guide has easy to follow tips on how to put banks to work for you and get your rates cut.

You could save $1,800 a year in interest and lower your monthly payments based on several of the rates available today. That means you could pay it off almost 20% faster.

Here’s how it works.

Option One: Use a Balance Transfer (or Multiple Balance Transfers)

If you trust yourself to open a new credit card but not spend on it, consider a balance transfer. You may be able to cut your rate with a long 0% intro APR. You need to have a good credit score, and you might not get approved for the full amount that you want to transfer.

Your own bank might not give you a lower rate (or only drop it by a few percent), but there are lots of competing banks that may want to steal the business and give you a better rate.

Our favorite offer is Chase Slate®. You can save with a $0 introductory balance transfer fee, 0% introductory APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, and $0 annual fee. Plus, receive your Monthly FICO® Score for free.

Chase Slate Credit Card

learn more

If you don’t think Chase is for you, consider Discover, which offers an intro 0% APR for 21 months (with a 3% balance transfer fee). MagnifyMoney keeps the most complete list of the longest and lowest rate deals available right now, including deals with no fees. Just answer a few questions about how your debt and much you can afford to pay, and you’ll get a personal list of the deals that will save you the most.

promo-balancetransfer-halfIt also has six tips to make sure you do a balance transfer safely. If you follow them you’ll save thousands on your debt by beating the banks at their game.

You might be scared of a balance transfer, but there is no faster way to cut your interest payments than taking advantage of the best 0% or low interest deals banks are offering.

Thanks to recent laws, balance transfers aren’t as sneaky as they used to be, and friendlier for helping you cut your debt.

Sometimes the first bank you deal with won’t give you a big enough credit line to handle all your credit card debt. Maybe you’ll get a $5,000 credit line for a 0% deal, but have $10,000 in debt. That’s okay. In that case, apply for the next best balance transfer deal you see. MagnifyMoney’s list of deals makes it easy to sort them.

Banks are okay with you shopping around for more than one deal.

 

Option Two: Personal Loan

If you never want to see another credit card again, you should consider a personal loan. You can get prequalified without hurting your credit score, and find the best deal to pay off your debt faster. With just one application, you can get multiple loan offers with rates as low as 4.77% here.

Personal loan rates are often about 10-20%, but can sometimes be as low as 5-6% if you have very good credit.

Moving from 18% interest on a credit card to 10% on a personal loan is a good deal for you. You’ll also get one set monthly payment, and pay off the whole thing in 3 to 5 years.

Sometimes this may mean a higher monthly payment than you’re used to, but you’re better off putting your cash toward a higher payment with a lower rate.

And you’ll get out of debt months or years faster by leaving more money to pay down the debt itself.

SoFi logo

Apply Now

The post The Fastest Way to Pay Off $10,000 in Credit Card Debt appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Payoff Personal Loan Review

personal loan

Updated December 13, 2015

Payoff* is a company that offers personal loans. Their goal is to help consumers get out of debt, and they don’t even like to be described as a loan company. If their algorithm is able to detect that you are going to use this loan to go further into debt, rather than payoff your existing debt at a lower interest rate, they may decline you. The goal of their business is in their name: they want you to payoff your high interest rate credit cards so that you can accelerate your debt repayment.

They currently offer a personal loan product, and in this review we will describe:

  • The terms of the loan (price, maximum loan amount, interest rate)
  • The qualification criteria
  • The application process

Terms of the Loan

Interest Rate: Between 8% and 25% APR

Loan Amount: $5,000 – $35,000

Term: Up to 60 months

Origination Fee: Between 2% – 5% of the loan amount, deducted from your proceeds when you book the loan

There are no prepayment or penalty fees with the loan.

The Qualification Criteria

Payoff is extremely transparent about their requirements for a loan. If you don’t meet the minimum criteria outlined below, you should not bother applying. If you do meet these minimum requirements, you should then apply online to see what interest rate and loan amount you would be offered. The great thing about Payoff is that you will not hurt your credit score by applying online. They use a “soft pull” – not only for the initial application, but all the way through to funding. They do not believe that shopping for a faster way to get out of debt should harm your credit score.

Here are the requirements:

Minimum FICO Score: 660 or higher (these scores can vary month to month. If you have a score in the mid-600s, you should give an application a try)

Debt-to-income ratio: 50% or lower. Payoff uses an “unsecured debt-to-income” ratio. Take the monthly payment of personal loans, credit cards and other debt, and divide that by your monthly income. If that ratio is 50% or less, you can get approved. For example, if you make $1,000 a month and pay $500 towards your credit cards and personal loans, you will have a 50% deb-to-income ratio (= 300 / 1000).

Age of credit history: You need to have at least 3 years of credit. In other words, you oldest open credit card should have been opened at least 3 years. They are not looking to work with people who are brand new to credit, and already in a lot of debt.

Other credit requirements: You need to have at least 2 “open and satisfactory” accounts. That means you have at least 2 accounts that are open, and where you have been paying on time. In addition, you can not have opened more than 1 personal / installment loan in the last 12 months. Remember: they want to target people who have debt but want to get out, and a lot of recent borrowing could indicate that you are headed further into debt.

Delinquencies: You should be current on all of your debt. In addition, you should not have been 90 days or more delinquent on any debt in the last 12 months.

And you can not have any tax liens.

In summary: Payoff is looking for people who have found themselves in debt. If you make your payments on time and are responsible, but just feel like the balance on your debt is never going down (because all of your money goes to interest), Payoff could be for you. If you have bad credit, very little credit, or continue to take on more debt every month, Payoff is not the right option.

The Application Process

The application process is very simple. You start by visiting Payoff and applying online. You can do that here*.

You will be asked a few questions, and Payoff will look to see if you are qualified for the loan. They will give you an indication of the loan amount and interest rate. You can do all of that without hurting your credit score.

Payoff may want to verify some of your information. They will walk you through the process.

Once all of the verification is complete, they will transfer the funds to your bank account.

It is a very easy, digital process. But they also have a call center that can answer your questions along the way.

In Conclusion

We spoke to the management team at Payoff. They really are trying to be different. Their goal is to help people get out of debt, and they only want to work with people who share that goal.

If you have a score in the mid-600s, have never missed a payment and are serious about getting out of debt (so that you stop putting all of your money towards interest), Payoff could be the best option for you. And given that you can see your interest rate with a soft pull, you really don’t have anything to lose by checking.

You can apply at Payoff here:

Apply Now

You can see other personal loan options here.

The post Payoff Personal Loan Review appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

SoFi or Lending Club: Which is the Right Fit for You?

personal loan_lg

If you’re hunting for a personal loan, there are a plethora of lenders online that have competitive rates. Two popular options are SoFi and Lending Club.

SoFi offers both student loan refinancing and personal loans with some of the lowest interest rates around. Lending Club is a peer-to-peer lender that connects borrowers with peer investors. According to Lending Club, historic return on notes with low risk range from 5.25% to 8.57%. Low interest for borrowers and high return for investors make Lending Club beneficial for both parties.

Let’s compare what each loan has to offer:

SoFi Loan Terms

SoFi has both fixed and variable interest rates. Fixed interest ranges from 5.95% to 12.99% APR if you sign up for autopay. Variable interest goes from 4.75% to 11.35% APR with a cap of 14.95%. You can borrow from $5,000 to $100,000 for 3, 5, or 7 years.

For the most part, you should choose fixed interest loans. Variable interest can increase in the future since it’s set using the market index. This means you won’t be able to predict your monthly payments in the future with certainty.

The one instance when you may want to consider a variable interest loan is if you can pay the loan off quickly. Using this strategy, you benefit from low interest at the beginning of the loan term and then pay it off before interest has a chance to increase.

SoFi has an unemployment benefit that’s a unique perk. If you lose your job, SoFi may allow you to stop making payments for a short time.

You can use a SoFi personal loan to:

  • Invest in your career
  • Pay off credit card debt
  • Take care of medical expenses
  • Cover moving costs
  • Make home improvements
  • Consolidate other debt

SoFi

Apply Now

Lending Club Loan Terms

Lending Club loans have fixed interest of 5.99% to 35.96% APR. There’s no variable interest option here. You can borrow from $1,000 to $40,000 for 3 or 5 years.

The Lending Club process is a little different since it’s a peer-to-peer lender. After you apply for a loan, Lending Club will offer you loan terms and a credit rating. When you select a loan term it appears in the marketplace. The marketplace is where investors view borrower profiles and choose in which to notes to invest.

Lending Club offers loans for many reasons, a few of them including:

  • Credit card refinancing
  • Debt consolidation
  • Home improvement
  • Car financing
  • Medical expenses

LendingClub

Apply Now

SoFi Eligibility Requirements

SoFi has some of the most competitive rates, but it also has strict qualifying criteria. You’ll have the best shot at getting approved by SoFi with a credit score of 700 or higher. Fortunately, prequalifying doesn’t impact your score so if you’re right on the cusp of a good to excellent credit score, you can try your luck.

The entire application process happens online. SoFi will review your income, expenses, and career experience to determine if you’re eligible. SoFi loans are currently not available in Mississippi or Nevada.

Lending Club Eligibility Requirements

Lending Club is more lenient than SoFi when it comes to credit scores. You need a minimum credit score of 660 to qualify. Of course, a higher credit score will get you a better interest rate. Lending Club gives the lowest interest rates to borrowers with an excellent credit score, low credit utilization, and a long history of positive credit use.

The Lending Club application happens completely online. You can shop for rates without it impacting your credit history.

Fees and Gotchas

SoFi is void of any application or originations fees. There’s also no prepayment penalties. If you’re interested in getting a variable interest loan, you can repay the loan early without worrying about getting charged for it. SoFi does have fees for certain circumstances that you have control over. If you’re late, there’s a late fee of $5 or 4%, whichever one is less.

Lending Club has an origination fee, a key differentiator between these two loans. The origination fee is 1% to 6% depending on the credit rating that Lending Club assigns you at application. There’s also a late fee of $15 or 5% of the late payment installment, whichever one is greater. There’s no prepayment penalty with Lending Club either.

Pros and Cons

SoFi Pros

  • No origination or application fees
  • Low interest for borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Unemployment benefits
  • No prepayment penalties
  • Quick online application

SoFi Cons

  • You’ll have a hard time qualifying for SoFi if your credit history isn’t strong

Lending Club Pros

  • Will approve borrowers with a credit score less than 700
  • Quick application process
  • Competitive interest rates
  • No prepayment penalties

Lending Club Cons

  • An origination fee of 1% to 6%

Which Personal Loan Should You Choose?

SoFi offers a less expensive loan for borrowers with excellent credit. There’s low interest and no origination fee, so it’s the way to go if you can get approved. Plus, SoFi has the unemployment benefit, a good thing to have just in case the unexpected happens.

Lending Club is a good alternative if you’re having trouble qualifying elsewhere. The minimum credit score is reasonable although having a credit score on the lower end will likely result in a higher interest rate. But, since there are no prepayment fees, you can always pay the loan off early to save on interest.

The benefit of both loans is you can shop for rates without impacting your credit, so try both to see which one gives you better terms.

The post SoFi or Lending Club: Which is the Right Fit for You? appeared first on MagnifyMoney.

Help! I Owe Money on My Taxes & I Can’t Pay

unexpected-homeowner-costs-001

If you know you owe taxes but can’t pay right away, don’t despair. There are options, although some are admittedly better than others. Here a few ways to take care of your tax debt so it doesn’t come back to haunt you. Failing to pay your taxes can lead to a tax lien on your credit reports, which can not only be costly, it can severely damage your credit scores.

Arrange an Installment Agreement 

Even Uncle Sam understands not everyone has readily available funds to put toward their taxes. If you’re unable to pay your tax debt immediately, you can arrange to make monthly payments through an installment agreement. If you ultimately pay your tax debt in full, you may be able to ditch the fee for setting up the agreement and other penalties or interest, depending on your specific agreement.

To apply for a payment agreement, you’ll need to file your tax returns. You must also owe $50,000 or less in combined individual income tax, penalties and interest. If you’re ineligible for an online payment agreement, you can still pay in installments by completing and mailing Form 9465, Installment Agreement Request, and Form 433-F, Collection Information Statement.

Get a Personal Loan

A personal loan is another way to cover a hefty tax bill, though you’ll pay interest on the financing and the loan amount and your monthly payment record will be noted in your credit reports. Also, the loan application will count as a hard inquiry into your credit, which will temporarily lower your score.

Keep in mind, you need good credit to qualify for a personal loan at the best interest rates. (You can find tips for improving your credit here.)

You can strive to minimize loan applications by researching a lender’s minimum credit score requirements in advance; the idea is to choose a lender whose requirements are in line with your credit score. (You can see where your credit stands by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on Credit.com.)

Pay With Credit Card

The IRS authorizes many companies to accept credit card payments on its behalf, but these companies charge major fees, starting at 1.87% of the amount paid and running as high as 2.25%. (Debit cards also are typically charged between $2.50 and $3.95 per transaction.) Paying with credit card can be convenient, but it can also be expensive, given that, in addition to the fees, any balance you carry from month-to-month is likely to accrue interest.

If you’re in a jam and won’t be able to pay the charges off right away, you can minimize the cost by using your credit card with the lowest interest rate to pay your taxes. You may also want to look into using a credit card that features a 0% introductory interest rate and paying your tax bill off before its promotional interest period ends. (You can learn more about the best balance transfer credit cards in America here.)

More on Income Tax:

Image: Creatas

The post Help! I Owe Money on My Taxes & I Can’t Pay appeared first on Credit.com.

Review: LendingPoint Personal Loans

personal loan_lg

Taking a personal loan could be a good way to do any number things, like refinancing high interest rate credit card debt into one monthly payment at a lower interest rate or using the funds to make a home repair or finance a critical need. Unfortunately personal loans often get a bad reputation because people don’t always use them for the right reasons (think engagement rings and weddings), but the truth is that personal loans can be a good financial tool when used responsibly.

LendingPoint considers itself to be a progressive alternative to the typical loan process, by offering short-term personal loans with fair interest rates. The entire process of applying, qualifying, and receiving personal loan funding through LendingPoint can also be completed online.

Personal Loan Details

LendingPoint offers personal loans for a variety of reasons, including paying for home repairs, consolidating credit card debt, or to make a large purchase.

You can apply for a personal loan from $3,500 to $20,000 on Lending Point’s website. It is important to note that these are short-term personal loans with a repayment term of 24-36 months. The interest rate is also important to be aware of and depending on your creditworthiness, it can be quite high. The interest rate offered on personal loans by LendingPoint is between 17.47% APR and 34.99% APR.

Pros and Cons

One of the big cons of taking out a personal loan with LendingPoint is obviously the interest rate. It is quite a bit higher than several other personal loan lenders. However LendingPoint does offer fast credit approval in as little as 24 hours and, according to its website, LendingPoint evaluates more than just your credit score when determining your creditworthiness. Plus after you accept the loan, you can receive an electronic funds transfer into your bank account in 24 hours.

LendingPoint’s personal loan origination fee varies by state and can be up to 5%. However there is no pre-compute interest and no fee for prepayment if you decide to pay off your personal loan early.

Although LendingPoint looks at more than just your credit score, it’s important to note that the minimum FICO score needed for approval is 600. LendingPoint can do a soft-pull of your credit score, which will avoid you getting dinged just for checking interest rates. Once you decide to move forward and accept a personal loan offer from LendingPoint, a hard credit pull will be used and will show up on your credit report.

Application Process and Documents Needed to Apply

As mentioned, you can complete the entire loan application process online at LendingPoint’s website and it takes only minutes to apply.

You will need to have your basic information prepared when you get ready to apply, as well as knowing how you will use the funds from your personal loan. You also need the following information handy to complete the application:

  • Annual income
  • Employer information

It’s only a short two page web application, after which LendingPoint will pull your credit report before showing you their financing offers.

Lendingpoint

Apply Now

How Lending Point Compares

Lending Point is a short-term personal loan lender so it’s hard to compare it to other personal loan lenders who offer longer repayment terms and lower interest rates. However, these lenders also offer personal loans you should consider.

SoFi allows personal loan borrowers to take out between $5,000 and $100,000, however most personal loan lenders are limited to between $25,000 and $35,000. The interest rate on SoFi’s personal loans also make it a more attractive option than LendingPoint with fixed APRs starting at 5.50% and variable APRs starting at 4.28%. SoFi also charges no origination fee and terms are 3 years, 5 years, or 7 years. Like LendingPoint, SoFi using a soft credit inquiry when you first apply to compare rates.

Read SoFi review

SOFI LOGO

Apply Now

Earnest is a shorter term personal loan lender a little closer in comparison to LendingPoint. Earnest offers 1, 2, and 3 year repayment terms with borrower limits between $2,000 and $50,000. However, with Earnest you need a credit score of 720 to be eligible, which means borrowers with poor credit history will be turned away. Earnest does take other factors into consider, like LendingPoint, to help determine you creditworthiness. When you apply your employment history, education, and salary are taken into account.

Read Earnest reivew

earnest

Apply Now

It Pays to Shop Around

If you are considering taking out a personal loan, it’s important to shop around to find the best interest rate possible as well as a lending that offers terms to fit your needs. With many online personal loan lenders, like LendingPoint, using only a soft pull on your credit history until you are ready to make a decision and take out a loan, you can easily shop around to find interest rates and repayment terms that fit with your needs without harming your credit score.

promo-personalloan-wide

The post Review: LendingPoint Personal Loans appeared first on MagnifyMoney.