With all the different financial institutions and loan products available, finding the right kind of funding can seem overwhelming. Depending on your current financial situation, you may find different advantages and disadvantages that can come with funding like installment loans, bad credit loans, secured loans, or unsecured loans.
Here, you will learn about loans like Oportun and what kinds of products and services they can offer you. You will also learn about your other options, and how you can go about finding the best possible loan deal!
Finding the Right Personal Loan
Below are a few tips that can help guide you toward finding the right personal loan.
Check Your Credit Report
If you are not already familiar with your credit score, now might be a good time to request a soft credit check. To access free credit scores, consumers can request soft credit checks and receive an unofficial copy of their credit reports via most online bank or credit card accounts. All consumers are also entitled to at least one free copy of their credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus (the three major credit bureaus are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).
Your credit score will help give you a quick overview of what types of lenders and financial products may work best for you. For example, if you have poor credit, you may want to stick with bad credit loans or lenders specializing in assisting subprime borrowers. Or, if you see you have a high credit score and strong credit history, you may have a better chance of finding loan approval with a wider variety of lenders.
Consider a Co-signer
If you are worried about receiving credit approval because of a poor financial history, consider asking a trusted friend or family member to act as a co-signer for you. A co-signer is a consumer in good financial standing who is willing to use their creditworthiness to back up someone else’s loan funding. A co-signer could help a bad credit consumer receive approval for loans with higher amounts or lower rates.
Keep in mind that should the original borrower of the loan become unable to pay back the funds, the responsibility would then fall to the co-signer.
Review Existing Debt
Next, take inventory of your current debts. Include all recurring expenses like your credit card payments, auto loans, student loans, and balances from any other existing loans or lines of credit you may have. You can use the amount you come up with to calculate your debt-to-income ratio. Your debt-to-income ratio refers to how much debt you have compared to how much money you make. To maintain optimal financial health, experts suggest that consumers keep their debt-to-income ratio at no higher than 43%.1
Create a Financial Plan
It is also a smart idea to create a financial plan before applying for a loan. Your financial plan should consider factors like:
- How long do you want your loan terms to be?
- How much funding are you looking for / what expenses are you looking to cover?
- Are you willing to use collateral?
- What is the highest monthly payment you can afford?
Creating a financial plan and sticking to it can be a great way to keep your finances on track and avoid the negative effects of impulse buying.
Research and Compare Offers
After you decide what type of loan you want to go with, compare lenders and offers. You may even use a loan offer from one lender as leverage to get a better deal from another lender. Researching different loan offers will also give you an idea of what types of amounts, terms, and rates are available to you.
Personal Loan Breakdown
When comparing personal loans, what factors should you consider? Below is a breakdown of all the factors that can make up a personal loan. After you know how all the different parts work, you can decide which ones are most important to you and seek out the personal loans that will best suit your needs.
Collateral is an asset that borrowers use to secure loan funding. Common loan types that use collateral are home equity loans and car title loans. Home equity loans use land as collateral, and car title loans use the borrower’s free-and-clear vehicle title as collateral.
Loans that utilize collateral are referred to as secured loans. Furthermore, the collateral used for secured loans can help borrowers who don’t have strong credit find loan approval. Usually, lenders focus on an applicant’s credit score and financial history when determining loan approval. But for secured loans, the equity in the collateral is usually more important.
Different lenders have varying requirements when it comes to approval criteria. For example, some lenders, like banks, have strict requirements and may only work with borrowers who have excellent credit. Other lenders like some credit unions or secured funding lenders may be more open to accepting consumers with a minimum credit score.
Looking into the qualification requirements of the different lenders you are considering can also help you avoid submitting too many credit applications. For each credit application you submit, the lender is most likely going to request a hard credit inquiry to take a look at your recent financial history and credit score. Credit bureaus keep track of hard credit inquiries and could penalize the score of consumers who submit too many credit applications within a short period of time.
You should also think about what kind of application process you would like. There are some online lenders who allow borrowers to apply for loans electronically or over the phone. Other lenders may require in-person meetings during the application process.
To borrow the smart way, think about what you want to spend your loan funding on before you apply. It would be a shame to go through the loan process only to realize you need additional funding. Some lenders, like payday lenders, specialize in small loan amounts and short repayment terms, while other private lenders may be able to offer higher loan amounts and more convenient terms.
How long you want to take to pay off your loan will help you determine what kind of loan term you are looking for. Larger loans typically require longer repayment terms, while smaller loans could be paid off in shorter terms of just a few weeks or months.
Your loan amount and repayment terms will help determine your monthly payments. While it is possible to have small monthly payments with large loan amounts, this will almost surely result in longer repayment terms and, ultimately, higher interest charges. While your monthly payments should fit in well with your current budget, it’s important for them to be enough to pay off your balance in an efficient manner.
How fast do you need funding? Are you going through a financial crisis and need cash ASAP, or are you looking for funding for an anticipated expense? Depending on your needs, you may find some lenders may work better for you than others. Some lenders take days or even weeks to approve applications and deliver loan funds, while others specialize in same-day funding.
Annual Percentage Rate (APR) vs. Interest Rates
Another important aspect of your loan to consider is the annual percentage rates and the interest rates. While the interest rate of a loan is calculated using the principal balance, APR is calculated using the principal balance plus other fines/fees currently included in the loan. Usually, the best rates are reserved for borrowers who have a clean credit history and higher credit scores, while borrowers with a poor credit history are often stuck with higher rates.
Fees, Penalties, and Additional Charges
Lastly, consider any potential fees, fines, penalties, or other additional charges your lender may require. Some common charges that come with almost every loan are going to be origination fees and late payment penalties.
An origination fee is an underwriting charge many lenders require when borrowers sign their loan contracts. A late payment penalty is a fine borrowers are charged if they make their loan payments after their designated due date. Avoiding late payment fees is simple and involves making all loan payments on or before their due date.
Other fees you may run into with other lenders are prepayment fees or balloon payments. A prepayment fee is a penalty fine some lenders charge borrowers who make loan payments early. Balloon payments are large lump sum payments due at the end of some loan terms. Prepayment fees and balloon payments are often considered financial hindrances and can be avoided by choosing lenders who don’t implement these kinds of charges.
Loans Like Oportun: What You Need To Know
Oportun loans are often considered emergency loans for bad credit, which means your current credit score won’t be the major deciding factor when it comes to your loan approval. However, Oportun will still request a copy of your credit report, usually just to make sure borrowers are not currently going through the bankruptcy process. Furthermore, Oportun will report payment history to select nationwide credit bureaus.
The following pricing basics apply to all funding products and services offered by Oportun:
- Maximum Loan Amount of More Than $5,000: Not available for Florida customers or first-time borrowers from Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, or Wisconsin.
- Maximum Loan Amount of More Than $6,000: Not available for Arizona, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, or Wisconsin customers; or for first-time borrowers in the remaining U.S. states (including California loans).
- Minimum Loan Amounts of Less Than $3,100: Not available for Georgia customers.
- Minimum Loan Amount of Less Than $1,600: Not available for Hawaii customers.
- Secured Loan Amounts Range of $2,525-$18,500: Only offered by Oportun to qualified customers in Arizona, California, and Florida.
Oportun INC. originates approved Oportun loans in the following states:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
Pathward, N.A., originates approved Oportun loans in the following states:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
Oportun advertises several financial products and services on its website; they are:
- Unsecured personal loans
- Secured loans
- Credit cards
- Bank account services
- Budgeting services
Unsecured Personal Installment Loans
An unsecured loan is a type of funding approved based on the borrower’s creditworthiness, financial history, and other personal financial information. While there are many unsecured bad credit loans available, the best loan amounts, rates, and terms are usually reserved for consumers with higher credit scores.
While minimum loan amounts vary based on your financial history when it comes to unsecured personal loans, Oportun tends to favor returning customers over first-time borrowers regarding funding amounts. Loan amounts for Oportun personal loans can range from $600 to $6,000 for new customers and $2,100 to $8,000 for returning customers.
According to Oportun, borrowers may use an unsecured personal loan to pay for expenses such as:
- Home improvements
- Car repair
- Rental deposits
- Medical bills
- Unexpected expenses
Also, according to Oportun, a borrower seeking out an unsecured personal loan of $3,000 may receive loan terms resulting in 66 payments of $70 due every two weeks for 30 months with an APR of 35.95% and an origination fee of up to $240.
Secured Personal Loans
A secured personal loan is funding that requires collateral from the borrower. Collateral is something with equity (or value) that the borrower is willing to use to secure their loan funding. Should the borrower default on a secured loan, the lender has the right to repossess whatever property the borrower offered as collateral.
There are several types of secured personal loans; some common ones are:
|Type of Secured Loan||Collateral Required||Pros||Cons|
|Car Title Loans||Borrower’s free-and-clear vehicle title||Quick access to cash, no credit check or minimal credit requirements||High interest rates, risk of vehicle repossession if not repaid, short repayment terms|
|Mortgages, and Home Equity Lines of Credit||Equity in the borrower’s home||Can borrow large amounts, typically lower interest rates than unsecured loans||Risk of home foreclosure if not repaid, long-term commitment, requires good credit history|
|Pawn Loans||Equity in the item the borrower decides to pawn (e.g., jewelry, electronics)||Immediate cash, no credit check, amount based on item’s value||High interest rates, risk of losing the pawned item if not repaid, typically smaller loan amounts|
|Boat Loans||Borrower’s boat or watercraft||Enables boat ownership, fixed or variable interest rates available||Risk of boat repossession if not repaid, Depreciation of boat value|
|Recreational Vehicle (RV) Loans||Borrower’s RV or motorhome||Facilitates RV ownership, potentially longer terms||Risk of RV repossession if not repaid, RVs can depreciate quickly|
|Equipment Loans||Business equipment (e.g., machinery, computers)||Helps businesses get essential equipment, potential tax benefits||Risk of equipment repossession if not repaid, equipment can become obsolete|
|Savings Secured Loans||Borrower’s savings account||Helps build credit, lower interest rates than unsecured loans||Cannot access savings until loan is repaid, risk of losing savings if not repaid|
At Oportun, borrowers will use their qualifying vehicle title as collateral if they want to receive funding from a secured loan. Loan amounts for secured personal loans through Oportun can range from $5,800 to $17,300. These loan amounts are based on the borrower’s financial history from previously approved loans.
According to Oportun, a borrower seeking out a secured personal loan in California for $7,000 could receive loan terms resulting in 91 payments of $134 due every two weeks for 42 months with an APR of 34.95% and an origination fee of $560.
Oportun offers credit cards via their partner, WebBank, N.A. A credit card is a revolving form of credit where borrowers have access to a set credit limit every month. Furthermore, borrowers are only charged interest on the funding they actually used, not their entire approved credit limit amount. However, to keep from accumulating too much credit card debt, it is a good idea to regularly pay off your balance each month.
Credit limits for cards offered by Oportun typically range from $300 to $1,000, with APRs that can range from 24.90% to 29.90%. Unfortunately, customers from the following states won’t be able to take advantage of the credit card services offered by Oportun:
- District of Columbia
- West Virginia
For consumers looking to build wealth and establish a diversified credit portfolio, Oportun offers investing advice and counseling. While no-risk investments aren’t always possible, Oportun can help guide interested consumers in the right direction.
However, it’s important to keep the most important rule of investing in mind, never invest money you aren’t willing to lose. So, unless you have an excess of income you don’t rely on, investing money may not be a smart financial decision for you.
Bank Account Services
Oportun offers bank and checking account services with its partner, Pathward, N.A. There are many benefits of having a bank account, including the ability to receive direct deposits, make purchases with a debit card, and more.
Consumers may also access budgeting services through Oportun. All personal loan members get one free year of budgeting, savings, and investing service via the Oportun app. Interested consumers can also download the app on their own for a six-month free trial.
Payday Loans vs. Personal Loans
When looking for fast cash, bad credit borrowers are usually left debating between getting a personal loan or a payday loan. While payday loans and personal loans share many similarities when it comes to ease of funding and inclusive qualification requirements, they can differ greatly when it comes to interest rates, your credit score, and risk to your overall financial health.
Payday loans are known for coming with extremely high-interest rates. Since they were designed for people looking for extra cash while they wait for their next paycheck, payday loans usually have very brief terms of about fourteen days or less. Borrowers who fail to pay back their payday loans in full within this time are often stuck with extremely high-interest rates.
Personal loans may offer more competitive rates that allow borrowers to have comfortable repayment terms and repay their balances in affordable payments.
Credit Score Penalties
The high rates and brief terms that often come with payday loans can leave borrowers at risk of not being able to keep up with their payments. Missing just one payment on any kind of loan can result in penalty fees and a decline in a consumer’s credit score. Unfortunately, missing a single loan payment can penalize your credit score for up to seven years!
With personal loans, it can be much easier to negotiate rates and terms in order to get a loan deal that works with your individual budget and financial situation. When you are set up for success with your loan, you can keep up with your monthly payments and easily pay off your balance with no penalty to your credit score.
Risk of Falling Into a Cycle of Debt
Given the high rates and short terms that come with payday loans, it can be difficult for borrowers to clear their balances within a reasonable time. In some cases, the rates on payday loans can actually cause the balance to go up from month to month. This cycle of debt can be extremely challenging to pay your way out of, even when making minimum monthly payments consistently.
CreditNinja: How Does It Compare?
CreditNinja is an online lender specializing in personal installment loans. We have been a proud lender since 2018 and have funded over 475,000 loans. During that time, we’ve been able to help over 275,000 people overcome their financial emergencies.
Some perks borrowers can enjoy when they choose CreditNinja are:
- Competitive rates
- Flexible terms
- All credit types considered
- High and low loan amounts
- Top-notch customer service
How Will CreditNinja Loans Affect My Credit Score?
Consumers have the ability to build and boost credit when using personal loans responsibly! By making on-time payments and paying off your balance, you may see an improvement in your credit score over time. This is because payment history and your total amount of debt have the biggest impact when it comes to credit scores. Other factors that contribute to your score are your length of credit history, your number of recent hard credit checks, and mix of credit accounts.
How Do CreditNinja Personal Installment Loans Work?
CreditNinja knows that when you’re going through a financial crisis, you need a solution fast. That is why we are proud to offer a streamlined process consumers can take advantage of online. Borrowers can apply, receive loan approval, and get paid without ever having to leave home!
Getting a Personal Loan like Oportun FAQ
A fixed-rate personal loan has an interest rate that remains the same throughout the loan term, ensuring consistent monthly payments. A variable-rate personal loan has an interest rate that can fluctuate based on market conditions, which means monthly payments can vary. While variable rates might start lower than fixed rates, they can increase over time, potentially costing more in the long run.
Yes, it’s possible to get a personal loan without a credit history, but it might be more challenging. Some lenders specialize in offering loans to those with no credit or limited credit history. They might consider other factors like employment history, income, and bank statements. However, interest rates might be higher for these loans due to the perceived risk.
Loan pre-approval is a preliminary assessment by lenders to determine how much you might be eligible to borrow. It’s based on a soft credit check, which doesn’t impact your credit score. However, once you decide to proceed with the loan application after pre-approval, the lender will perform a hard credit check, which can temporarily affect your credit score.
Generally, personal loans are versatile and can be used for a wide range of purposes, from consolidating debt to funding home improvements or covering unexpected expenses. However, it’s essential to read the loan agreement as some lenders might have restrictions on how you can use the funds, especially if the loan is marketed for a specific purpose, like a car loan.
Many lenders allow borrowers to pay off their personal loans early without penalty. However, some might charge a prepayment fee or penalty for settling the loan before the end of the term. It’s crucial to check the loan agreement or ask the lender about any potential fees before making extra payments or paying off the loan early.
Who Is CreditNinja For?
CreditNinja is for people going through a financial emergency and looking for a quick and convenient solution. If there are no other options available, CreditNinja could provide fast and essential funding to a wide variety of borrowers, even those with bad credit or low credit scores!
CreditNinja also works to set consumers up for success with free financial resources like blogs, debt calculators, and more. Check out the CreditNinja dojo for articles about budgeting, savings, and other financial education topics, entirely for free!
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