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      July 5, 2020

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Upstart vs Avant

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To help you find the Bad Credit Loans, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Upstart and Avant.

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If you have poor credit, where's the best place to get a bad credit loan? With so much economic turmoil, there's never been a time where bad credit loans have been more in demand. No matter what caused your credit score to be below 600 - the typical threshold for a "bad" credit rating - you're far from alone.

Out of approximately 230 million Americans who qualify for a credit score, almost 70 million have poor credit. Some of the most common reasons for low credit scores are expected financial hardships (like job loss or medical expenses), not using credit responsibly, or simply being unaware of the factors that contribute to having a healthy credit history.

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Best Reviews

2020

Bad Credit Loan Reviews

5 stars
Upstart

UPSTART

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Loan:

From $1,000 to $50,000

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Founded by former-Google employees, Upstart wants to make credit affordable to borrowers while reducing risk for banks. Although Upstart targets a specific demographic - recent college grads and young professionals - they earn our top rating for bad credit loans. Why? It's the only lender in our review that looks far beyond your actual credit score when deciding if you're eligible to borrow money. Do you have a degree, in a solid field of study? Do you have a strong work history? How many years of credit are on your record? Upstart takes all of this into account, making it more likely that you'll qualify.

Your minimum credit requirements to be eligible for an Upstart bad credit loan depend on where you live. Generally speaking, you'll need a minimum Vantage or FICO score of 580. In some states, that minimum score is 620. However, if you don't have a sufficient credit history to produce a FICO score, you can still apply for funding through Upstart - which you probably won't find with many other lenders.

Upstart also takes into consideration your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and you can't have any bankruptcies or accounts in collections/delinquent currently on your credit report.

The online application takes just 5 minutes, but expect to answer more in-depth questions about your employment and educational background. A "soft pull" of your credit history will be done, to verify your credit score and information. If your application is approved and you accept your loan terms, you could have your loan money deposited by the next business day. (Please note that if you live in Iowa or West Virginia, you aren't eligible for a bad credit loan through Upstart.)

Loans are available in amounts ranging from $1,000 to $50,000. All of the loans offered have a fixed-rate APR, no matter the amount borrowed. According to Upstart, the average 3-year loan funded through them will have an APR of 21%. That's not a bargain, but we're pretty sure it's a lower interest rate than what you're currently paying on your credit card(s). Although we couldn't find this detailed on the Upstart site, our research indicates that you should also expect origination fees when your bad credit loan is funded. Those fees could represent up to 8% of your total loan amount, so be sure to read the fine print before you accept your funding.

On the other hand, there are no fees for paying off your loan early or for making extra payments. (And that's usually a smart idea!)

Upstart has a phenomenal reputation. The Better Business Bureau continues to give this lender an "A+" rating and accreditation. And, over nearly 6,000 independently-verified client reviews, Upstart earned a 4.9 out of 5 stars. We were especially encouraged to see reviews from repeat customers - it's always a plus to see that people like a business enough to come back for more, especially in an industry that can be as tricky as loans/finance.

If you have not-so-great credit (or no credit history at all) and want a lender that will look at the whole picture of your life, start with Upstart. There's no other institution that takes your education and earning potential into consideration when deciding if you qualify to borrow money. Upstart is trustworthy and efficient, and they easily earned our highest recommendation among providers of bad credit loans.

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3 stars
Avant

AVANT

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Loan:

From $2,000 to $35,000

Even though Avant has only been around since 2012, they've already funded more than $6.5 billion in loans. With headquarters in Chicago, this company seeks to provide access to funding, including bad credit loans, to "middle-income borrowers". So far, that represents more than 800,000 people who have been helped by loans through Avant.

Avant doesn't specify a minimum credit score necessary to qualify for one of their loans, but they state that the majority of their clients have scores between 600-700, and we found several third-party sites that said you'll need a minimum score of 580 to be eligible. (For reference, Avant considers anything less than 580 as "poor".) To find out what loan options you have, you'll have to allow them to do a soft pull by entering your information, including your full Social Security number, monthly net income, and your current credit score. Expect to need at least $20,000 in gross annual income to qualify for a bad credit loan with Avant.

What does Avant charge in fees? Most customers pay an administrative fee of up to 4.75%. APRs range from 9.95% to 35.99%, with loan terms from 24 to 60 months. You can borrow anywhere from $2,000 to $35,000, depending on your overall situation (e.g. income, whether you own or rent, etc.).

At first, we found only positive things to say about Avant. Over 10,000 independently-verified customer reviews, the company received nearly 9,500 4- or 5-star reviews. Borrowers said that they got their money very quickly, the process was simple, and that even with bad credit they were still able to get a loan. And, although we didn't find it referenced on the Avant site, we found customers referring to a "postpone payment rule" that's allowed once a year (which we encourage you to ask about if you decide to use this lender).

But, since the time of our last review, the company's rating with the BBB dropped from an "A+" to an "A-" (while still maintaining accreditation). Unfortunately, in April 2019 Avant agreed to settle on charges made by the Federal Trade Commission regarding "deceptive and unfair loan servicing practices". Those charges included failing to credit loan repayments in a timely way, giving consumers incorrect information with respect to payoff amounts, and charging borrower's accounts multiple times in a month. (One customer had his monthly amount debited more than 10 times in one day!)

For all of those reasons, Avant winds up in the middle of our rankings. We're glad to see so many customers who have had great experiences with this lender, especially those who might not qualify for a bad credit loan elsewhere. However, having charges brought by the FTC is no laughing matter, and we hope that Avant continues to shore up their reputation moving forward.

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Continued from above

Unfortunately, getting a loan when you have bad credit can be a paradox: in order to qualify for the best loans, you need a good credit history. But, to establish a good credit history, you often need to have demonstrated that you are responsible with credit - by making on-time payments, not overutilizing the credit you've been extended, and so on. On the other hand, without a loan to pay off debts and handle current financial demands, you could find yourself even deeper in the hole as calls from collection agencies start coming in and the pressure mounts.

Does this sound familiar? If so, take a deep breath and recognize that there's hope - because there are providers out there who offer loans to people with bad credit. And no, you won't have to sign away your life to qualify, though you should be aware that the terms will probably not be as favorable as those offered to people with high credit scores. That's only fair, as the lenders are taking on more risk when they give money to people with a less-than-sterling track record.

How can you tell which lender to use for your bad credit loan? That's an excellent question to ask. After all, you want to be sure that any loan you accept is going to help you get back on your feet financially, with terms you can actually meet. Here are several criteria that can help you choose the right lending partner for your situation:

  • Reputation. With something as major as a loan, you want a provider that has already established itself as being trustworthy, reliable, and fair. What do other people say about their experiences borrowing from this lender? Has the company been rated by the BBB?
  • Transparency. Shady lenders hide everything in the fine print, like high interest rates and penalties for early repayment. You want to choose a lender that makes their terms as clear as possible before you sign on the dotted line. While the terms of your particular bad credit loan will probably be determined during your application process, the most transparent lenders will provide estimates of their fees and average APR, to give you an idea before you start providing your personal details.
  • Usability. Applying for a bad credit loan could be a little nerve-wracking, and a hard-to-use website doesn't make things easier. Choose a lender that makes it as simple and fast as possible to complete your application and receive your funds.

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best bad credit loan providers available today. We hope this information helps you to quickly get the money you need, with terms that are fair and affordable, so that you can get back on your feet financially!

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