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Sunday, September 19th
LendingClub has experienced some big changes over the last few years. Originally created as a peer-to-peer platform, where individual and business investors could choose to fund consumer loans (hence the name LendingClub), this source of personal loans now operates like a traditional financial institution. All funding is provided by LendingClub's own bank by the same name, making the loan application extremely streamlined when compared with platforms that refer you to multiple lenders at once.
No surprises in the application process
To get a consolidation loan through LendingClub, start by entering your desired loan amount (between $1,000 and $40,000) and selecting the loan's purpose in the dropdown box, then click on "Check Your Rate" . Indicate whether you're applying alone or with a co-applicant, your date of birth, and your total annual income. Finally, enter your first and last name, plus your address, and LendingClub will try to verify your credit report. If it can't do so based on the information provided, you'll be asked for your Social Security Number.
Expect origination fees and just-average interest rates
What can you anticipate if you are matched with a loan? That largely depends on your details: how much you're trying to borrow, your credit history, your income, and so forth. All consolidation loans funded through LendingClub have a minimum repayment term of at least three years, giving you ample time to repay it. Interest rates here are fairly average, but vary widely. You should also expect origination fees ranging from 3% to 6%, which may or may not be rolled into the total cost of the loan or deducted from the payout deposited to your bank account. LendingClub's fine print at the bottom of the personal loans page said that their average loan has an origination fee of 5% and an APR of 15.95%.
Still being re-evaluated by the BBB
How about LendingClub's reputation? It's not really an apples-to-apples comparison, given how drastically their business model has changed since our last evaluation. However, a few items stand out and are worth keeping in mind. The company used to have an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau, but their listing during our most recent check with the BBB was simply "Not Rated" . That indicates that LendingClub's new structure is still under consideration. More reassuringly, their sole lender WebBank received both accreditation and an "A+" from the BBB: you shouldn't encounter any issues with fraud or other problems if you pursue a consolidation loan through the LendingClub website.
Plenty of recent, positive customer comments
We also followed the link on the LendingClub site to see some of the more than 57,000 independently-verified reviews posted there, so that we could see what their most recent comments indicated about the new-and-theoretically-improved service. Most of the clients gave LendingClub a rating of 4 or 5 stars, and we were happy to see that a decent number of those came from repeat customers.
Wait and see
LendingClub appears to be on the right track, having made quite a few changes to their service that have gotten lots of positive feedback from borrowers. But, until the company has an actual rating from the BBB, we hesitate to give LendingClub a rating higher than average. Reputation matters, and while LendingClub seems to have fixed some of the issues that they had in the past, we'd like to see confirmation from the Better Business Bureau too. You should be fine if you choose a consolidation loan here, but we encourage you to consider other options first.
Maybe you've gotten overwhelmed by credit card payments and overdue bills, and now you're wondering if there's any light at the end of the tunnel. Or, perhaps you're a financially-savvy consumer who wants to take advantage of lower interest rates, in order to pay off your mounting credit cards bills. Debt consolidation can be a smart strategy either way.
What, exactly, is debt consolidation? It's important to understand that companies offering it may mean different things. For some, debt consolidation is offered as a personal loan: you borrow funds that you use to pay off all of your outstanding debts. Your interest rate should be much lower than your credit cards, and now you've got a simplified, single payment to make each month. This can be a great way to boost your credit score by reducing the likelihood of making late payments (or none at all) and get on your feet again financially. On the other hand, you're in charge of using your loan money responsibly - and not to buy things you don't need!
Other providers of debt consolidation take a more hands-on approach, giving you credit counseling and even going to bat for you with your creditors. The services they provide may include negotiating a lower debt amount or getting your debt forgiven altogether! You might pay a monthly fee for this kind of debt consolidation, or it might be a flat fee based on how much money they saved you overall.
Either route you choose, there are a lot of options out there. How can you decide which one is right for you? Keep these points in mind as you weigh out the possibilities:
TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked the best debt consolidation options available today. We're confident that this information will help you choose a strategy to pay down your debts and get your finances in order!
Select any 2 Debt Consolidation Companies to compare them head to head
Reuters on MSN.com
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