Best Personal Loans
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LendingTree vs SoFi
Are you in need of some cash? Historically, borrowers have had limited options for a personal loan. You could ask a family member, a friend, or find a personal finance company that offered fixed-rate loans, typically at exobrtantly high interest rates.
Today, however, finding a personal loan brings several more options to the table. While you can still ask a family member, or get a high-rate loan from a finance company, you can also consider using a social lending network. These networks, also called peer-to-peer loans, generally have much lower overhead and as a result can offer much lower interest rates. They're facilitated by professional companies familiar with this type of lending, to simplify things for all parties.
LendingTree is one of the most recognized names in the personal loan market, connecting borrowers with a wide assortment of potential lenders that can meet their financial needs on loans from $1,000 to $35,000.
As a connection service rather than a lender, the loan products LendingTree has to offer and their terms and conditions naturally vary with each individual lender. One advantage of using LendingTree is the ability to survey multiple lenders' offerings without having to disclose one's identifying information to those lenders, only doing so when the customer has made the decision to apply for the lender that best fits their requirements. Borrowers can also use offers obtained on LendingTree to negotiate directly with lenders; LendingTree provides customers with lenders' direct contact information for that very purpose.
If you choose to research loans using LendingTree, be aware that you will need to provide your credit score, which is used by lenders to determine if they would like to compete for your business. Even if you have a low credit score, you may still receive offers as LendingTree has several providers who work with borrowers just like you.
One thing to note is that LendingTree's main website takes you to the page for entering your information to get started in the quote process, and there is very little other information on that page. We were able to determine that entering your personal information to begin the process will not impact your credit report or your credit score, though we would have liked to see that fact clearly spelled out on LendingTree's landing page.
With a solid A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, accredited since 1998, and its ability to connect borrowers with a wide range of potential lenders, we give LendingTree high marks.
SoFi, short for "Social Finance", bills itself as a modern personal finance company, and its clean, crisp, easy-to-use website definitely matches that description. And, with more than $11 billion in loans funded to date and 165,000 borrowers (described as "members"), they're clearly making an impact in the lending industry. SoFi currently has a variety of products, including personal loans, mortgage loans and refinancing, student loan refinancing, and more.
SoFi's application process is straightforward: enter your personal information, such as your name and address, current employer and annual wages/salary, and post-secondary education information, and if SoFi is able to confirm your information you'll be able to see the loan and terms for which you qualify. (If they are not able to confirm your data, you will be asked to enter your Social Security Number.)
There is an easy-to-miss link at the bottom of the site called "Eligibility Criteria". We encourage potential borrowers to look through the information there, as several states are excluded from their personal loan program, and there are other state-specific details to be aware of. Also, it states that personal loan recipients must be US citizens or permanent resident aliens, be of the age of majority in their state of residence, and must be currently employed.
We love that SoFi publishes its personal loan rates and that there are no prepayment penalties or origination fees: "what you see is what you get". At the time of our review, their interest rates on personal loans were as follows:
Loan terms of 3, 5, and 7 years were available for both fixed and variable interest rate loans, in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $100,000.
SoFi also has several unique perks that we like, from referral bonuses for new members referred by current borrowers (both parties get a cash benefit), to unemployment protection that suspends payments required from borrowers - for up to 12 months over the course of the repayment term - who lose their job through no fault of their own. SoFi even provides help through its Career Strategy department to assist borrowers in their search for a new job!
If you're in the market for a personal loan, you'll definitely want to take a look at what SoFi has to offer. We give them a strong recommendation because of their low interest rates, transparency, and lack of loan fees.
No matter where you borrow money from, before you get your next personal loan you should consider the following:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best online personal loan providers available today. We hope this information helps you find the best loan at an affordable rate that meets your needs!
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