Going through a stressful financial emergency and thinking a Personal loan can help you out? Consumers can access personal loans through providers such as a bank, credit union, direct lender, or an AI marketplace like Upstart. Here, you will learn about how loans like Upstart work, what your other options are, and how you can go about finding the best deal for you!
Finding the Right Personal Loans
Below are some tips that may help you find the right kind of personal loans, whether they be through Upstart or another more affordable option.
Check Your Credit Score
The first step in researching the best personal loan companies and products for you is to check your most recent credit report. Your credit report contains essential data about your credit score and financial history. This information will give you a clearer picture as to what types of lenders and products you may qualify for.
Wondering how often is your credit score updated? Usually, consumer credit reports and credit scores are updated approximately once a month. So, if you are actively working on improving your credit score, be sure to check back every month to see how your new behaviors are affecting your report.
Compare Your Debt With Your Budget
Next, take a look at your current debt situation, and compare that with your budget. If you have an exceptionally high amount of debt that requires a majority of your budget, now may not be the best time to apply for another loan. You may consider paying off some of your debt before applying for additional cash, or it may be a good idea to consider refinancing with a debt consolidation loan.
Research Your Options
If you have decided that a loan is the right choice for you, be sure to research your options. Visit lenders’ websites, check out online reviews, and perhaps even give a few providers a call to speak directly with a loan agent. After gathering information, compare offers to decide which loan or lender will best suit your needs.
Loans Like Upstart: What You Need To Know
Upstart prides itself on being a leading artificial intelligence (AI) lending marketplace. With AI lending marketplaces, loans are fully automated. Fully automated loans are funding where the entire process, from initial loan inquiries to approval and funding, all take place with virtually no human involvement. 75% of loans from Upstart are fully automated.
While exclusively online lenders and AI funding may sound extremely convenient, it also comes with potential setbacks all borrowers should be aware of. For example, if you have an issue with your loan, it may be difficult to get in direct contact with a qualified Upstart loan agent who can help you out.
Upstart references FICO scores when looking into an applicant’s credit history. Your FICO score is your credit score, as reported by the Fair Isaac Corporation. Factors that can contribute to your FICO score are payment history, credit mix, length of credit history, hard credit inquiries, and debt-to-income ratio.
Upstart also offers several lending products, which include personal loans, wedding loans, home improvement loans, moving loans, medical loans, debt consolidation loans, credit card consolidation, and auto refinancing.
Personal loans: Upstart advertises personal loans ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 with fixed interest rates that are typically between 6.7% to 35.99%. Personal loan funds can be used for a wide range of purposes; however, Upstart does have restrictions as to what borrowers may not use their loan funds for.
Wedding loans: Borrowers may also access personal loans for wedding expenses with Upstart. Weddings are one of the most expensive celebrations a person can have. With the cost of venues, meals, dresses, suits, and the other details that go into having a wedding, expenses can easily become tens of thousands of dollars or more.
Home improvement loans: Upstart also offers large personal loans for home improvement purposes. Depending on where you live, you may be at risk of suffering natural disaster damage or normal wear and tear on your house that will require attention at some point. Upstart offers home improvement loans with no collateral, which means borrowers don’t have to worry about risking their home/property, car, or other valuables. However, since Upstart home improvement loans are unsecured, you may have a hard time receiving lower interest rates unless you have a stellar credit score.
Moving loans: When considering down payments, the cost of movers, and other potential popup expenses that will undoubtedly arise when you are moving, you may find it extremely helpful to have a loan to fall back on. Upstart offers loans for people moving down the block, across town, out of state, or even across the country.
Medical loans: Unfortunately, borrowers who have unpaid medical bills may end up getting calls from debt collectors. To help consumers avoid the hassles and potential financial setbacks that can come from not paying their medical bills, Upstart offers medical loans. However, be sure to keep in mind that medical costs directly from a healthcare facility will not come with interest rate charges, while medical loans with Upstart certainly will.
Credit card consolidation: According to data presented by CNBC, the credit card debt of Americans has reached a shocking high of $930 billion. Unfortunately, young adults are the most likely to default on their credit cards, according to that same article. To help combat the negative effects of credit card debt, Upstart allows consumers to consolidate their balances into a single loan.
Debt consolidation loans: If you have other debts besides your credit cards, you may be better off with a debt consolidation loan. Refinancing your debt with a consolidation loan can help you save money on interest rates and reduce the number of monthly payments you are responsible for, making your journey toward becoming debt-free that much more attainable.
Car refinancing: Along with student loans and mortgages, auto loans are one of the most expensive forms of financing consumers can receive. Depending on the state of your finances when you originally received your car loan, you may be able to get a better deal and save money by refinancing.
What Can I Expect When I Get Loans Like Upstart?
There are several core elements that will greatly impact any type of loan, including loans with Upstart. Some of those factors are the loan amount, interest rate, repayment term, and monthly payment. The combination of these loan factors will determine how expensive your loan will be overall, how long it will take you to pay off your loan, and how much room in your budget you must designate towards paying off your loan.
Loan amounts: Your funding amount is one of the most important aspects of your loan. When determining your desired loan amount, think about what you are expecting to pay with your loan. If you are simply looking for some extra cash to help you get by until your next payday, you may be just fine with a minimum loan amount of a few hundred dollars. More significant expenses, such as medical bills, home improvements, etc., may require larger loan amounts.
Factors that will help determine the loan amount you are able to qualify for will be your income, credit score, and any assets you may have.
Interest rates: Another impactful factor of your Upstart loan are going to be the interest rates. While Upstart does claim to offer interest rates between the range of 6.7% to 35.99%. However, it is much more likely that you will receive an interest rate closer to 6.7% only if you have a higher credit score. Borrowers with a minimum credit score are most likely to get paired with interest rates closer to 35.99%.
Repayment terms: For most personal loans and other financial products offered by Upstart, the repayment terms typically last three to five years. However, Upstart claims they charge no prepayment fees or early payment penalties, so borrowers are able to pay off their loans before that 3 to 5 year period if they wish.
To save money on monthly payments and interest rates, it is usually best practice to try to make additional monthly payments or payments in a higher amount than your minimum amount due.
Monthly payments: Your monthly payment is also another important aspect of your loan to consider. Usually, loans that come in higher funding amounts also require higher monthly payments. Alternatively, you may be able to receive lower monthly payments if your loan amount is also on the smaller side.
While it may seem like your best bet to take the highest monthly payment possible to pay off your loan faster, it is also important to make sure your monthly payments are affordable. While Upstart does not charge prepayment penalties, they do charge late fees.
Extra fees/charges: While Upstart does not charge early payment fees, they do charge late payment fees. This means you can make payments early with no consequence but will be charged a penalty fine if you submit a late payment. Other charges you may come across with an Upstart loan are origination fees. An origination fee is a type of underwriting fee charged by most lenders.
Who Are Loans Like Upstart For?
Normally, personal loans can be used for just about any financial emergency. However, Upstart does have an “Acceptable Use Policy” that all potential borrowers must abide by. Under Upstart’s “Acceptable Use Policy,” a borrower may not use Upstart loan proceeds to:
- Violate any laws, statutes, ordinances, or regulations put forth by state or federal governments.
- Purchase or promote narcotics, steroids, marijuana, or any other controlled substance that presents a risk to the safety of the public.
- Purchase or promote items or goods that “facilitate or encourage others to engage in illegal activity.”
- Purchase stolen goods/property or anything that may be used to promote hate, violence, or any other kind of intolerance based on race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.
- Purchase firearms, firearm accessories (including ammunition), or any other weapon.
- Engage in transactions/dealings which seek to grant money or other services to groups or individuals that the U.S. government has placed on a sanctions list.
- Engage in transactions/dealings which seek to grant money/other services to those who the borrower believes may use funds for activities that are considered criminal or terrorist activities.
What Are My Alternative Funding Options?
Consumers aren’t limited to only loans similar to Upstart when they need to borrow money. Below is more information on other types of personal loan providers and other funding products you may consider.
Personal installment loans: A personal installment loan is a kind of personal loan that borrowers pay back in monthly increments. Installment loans may be either unsecured or secured personal loans. For secured loans, borrowers are required to offer collateral. Collateral is an asset with equity owned by a borrower and used to secure loan funds.
Installment loans may also be unsecured, which means they do not require collateral. Instead of using physical property to secure the loan, lenders look at the consumer’s credit score, financial history, income, assets, etc.
Interest rates, funding amounts, and repayment terms may all vary greatly depending on which kind of installment loan product you go with. Furthermore, there are federal and state regulations regarding what kind of rates, terms, and loan amounts lenders are allowed to offer. These discrepancies are why it is so important for consumers to research products and lenders before they submit credit applications.
Loans from a direct lender: Direct lenders may be able to offer you a variety of financial products, including personal loans, bad credit loans, debt consolidation loans, auto loans, mortgages, and more. The market for direct lenders is extremely saturated, so it is in your best interest to do research on different providers before submitting an application.
Bank loans: Banks are financial institutions that provide consumers with checking accounts, savings accounts, and other financial services like personal loans, auto loans, and more. While banks can be a one-stop shop when it comes to handling your finances, loans through a bank may be difficult to obtain for those with poor credit. Since banks are traditional lenders, they typically only work with borrowers who have an exceptional credit history. Unless you have good or excellent credit, you may not be able to find the best personal loans for you through a bank.
Credit union loans: Credit unions are a type of non-profit financial organization that provides personal loans and other financial services to its members. Membership qualifications for credit unions can vary and may include requirements such as working within a certain field, having a credit score within a particular range, or living in or within a specific neighborhood, township, or county.
Bad credit loans: Borrowers who have less than perfect credit may have a better chance of finding approval for funding with bad credit loans. Usually, bad credit loans come in lower loan amounts, which may start at a few hundred dollars and cap at around $2,000. Due to the lending risk that can come from extending funds to borrowers with poor credit, bad credit loans usually come with interest rates on the higher side.
Although they often make funding available to consumers who wouldn’t be able to find approval anywhere else, bad credit loans can also be extremely expensive. To lessen the financial impact of bad credit loans, borrowers are encouraged to make higher payments or strive towards other means of repaying their loans as quickly as possible.
Payday loans: A payday loan is a type of unsecured loan designed to provide consumers with early access to their paychecks. Usually, borrowers will repay their payday loans in one large payment with funds from their next paycheck. Given the design of payday loans, funding amounts and loan terms are usually relatively small and brief. Typically, payday loans come in funding amounts of a few hundred dollars or less and have repayment terms lasting about fourteen days or less.
Borrowers who fail to repay their payday loans in full within their given repayment period may then have to deal with extremely high-interest rates. The interest rates on payday loans can be so high that loan balances actually increase from month to month, even with making consistent minimum payments! So, unless you have the means to repay your loan in about two weeks, you may want to steer clear of payday loans.
Car title loans: A car title loan falls under the category of secured loans. As collateral, borrowers are required to use their free-and-clear vehicle title. Upon approval for title loans, lenders will sign onto the borrower’s vehicle title as a lienholder. Being a lienholder means that the lender has partial ownership over the borrower’s vehicle while they pay back their title loan.
Similar to payday loans, title loans also do not usually have a minimum credit score required in order to receive approval, making them a popular choice for subprime borrowers.
Pawns: Consumers can also pawn valuable items in exchange for a quick cash loan. You can pawn items such as cars, jewelry, or other items with significant equity. Equity is simply another term for the value of an item, asset, or piece of property. With pawn loans, borrowers give the pawnshop owner whatever property they are using as collateral until they have completely repaid their loan balance. Borrowers who fail to repay their pawn loans risk having their collateral sold and potentially lost forever.
Credit cards: If you have recurring expenses you need to take care of, you may also consider using a credit card. With credit cards, you can make transactions online or in-person using your credit limit, as well as access credit card cash advances. However, if you do decide to use your credit card to pay for your expenses, make sure you are keeping a low balance or no balance at all. Credit card debt is one of the most common forms of debt among Americans and can cause significant financial harm if left unchecked.
Non-loan options: Before you apply for a loan or line of credit, ask yourself if there are other alternatives available. You may be able to save a significant amount of money on interest rates and other loan fees by choosing a personal loan alternative.
Some non-loan alternative options you may consider are:
- Dip into your savings: If you have a savings account or emergency fund, consider using a portion of it to pay for unexpected expenses. By using your own funds, you won’t have to worry about application wait times, hard credit checks, or finding the right lender who will accept a minimum credit score.
You may also find it helpful to reorganize your budget when looking to free up some extra income. For example, if you currently have a habit of eating takeout for a majority of your meals, you could be wasting hundreds of dollars or more on food costs. To save money, you can try buying groceries and cooking/eating leftovers at home. That way, you can use the extra funds you freed up in your budget to pay for your expenses.
- Ask friends/family: If you don’t have the cash on your own, consider asking a trusted friend or family member to lend you the money you need. When asking friends or family for money, be sure to thoroughly discuss a repayment plan, so both you and your friend/family member feel comfortable about the situation. Then, do your best to stick to that repayment plan to avoid awkwardness or damaging your personal relationships.
- Sell your junk: Go through your home and take inventory of your belongings. Do you wear every item of clothing in your wardrobe, utilize every appliance in your kitchen, and appreciate all the decor and knickknacks around your home? Chances are there are quite a few things you would be able to part with without feeling like you’ve made a huge sacrifice. By selling items around your home that you no longer need or use, you can earn some extra cash and clean up your space at the same time!
- Get an additional job: Another way to get extra cash without applying for a loan is to get an additional source of income. While investing and real estate can be great ways to generate income, you may not be able to take advantage of these options unless you already have excess income, to begin with. Getting a second part-time job is most likely a much more attainable option. You can choose to work a second job in person or remotely, depending on what kind of schedule and daily responsibilities you have. With a bit of planning, it may be possible to work two jobs without burning out. Just make sure to give yourself some time off and not overschedule yourself. Remember, there are only 24 hours in a day!
CreditNinja: How Does It Compare?
CreditNinja is a financial institution that has connected borrowers to unsecured personal loans since 2018. In those five-plus years of service, CreditNinja has connected over 275,000 people to safe and reliable financial solutions.
What makes CreditNinja such a popular choice amongst borrowers? Below are just a few of the perks you can enjoy when you work with CreditNinja:
Personalized service online: Upstart is an AI lending marketplace, which means it may be difficult for potential and existing borrowers to get in contact with a loan agent should they have questions or run into issues with their loan funding or application. Not being able to speak with a qualified representative can make a financial emergency even more frustrating and stressful. Thankfully, CreditNinja isn’t like that at all. While CreditNinja is an online lender, that doesn’t mean you can’t get personalized service and talk to a loan agent if you need.
Furthermore, CreditNinja will take your personal financial information into account when determining your repayment terms, interest rates, and other aspects of your loan. Many lenders, such as Upstart, may pair applicants with pre-determined loan deals without taking important extenuating circumstances into consideration. This can put borrowers at risk of being in a situation where they can no longer afford their loan, which can then lead to missed payments or even loan default. CreditNinja works to set borrowers up for success with personalized service available online or over the phone.
Wide range of applicants accepted: Most lenders for standard traditional loans may solely look at a borrower’s credit score when determining approval. If they see the borrower doesn’t have a minimum credit score, they may immediately reject their application without looking at their other potentially qualifying factors.
CreditNinja works to be a more inclusive lender by extending funding to a wide range of applicants. Borrowers with good credit, fair credit, bad credit, and even no credit at all may qualify for personal loans with CreditNInja. No matter your financial background, all consumers going through a financial emergency are encouraged to apply.
CreditNinja also looks at other pieces of financial data besides credit scores when granting approval. Other qualifying factors that may help you find an approval for personal loans are having sufficient income or other assets with which to repay your loan balance.
No prepayment penalties or balloon payments: CreditNinja doesn’t want to hold you back from reaching your financial goals, which is why we don’t weigh down your budget by charging prepayment penalties or balloon payments. A prepayment penalty is an extra charge some lenders impose on their borrowers if they try to make a payment on their loan before its designated due date. CreditNinja encourages borrowers to be financially responsible by giving them the freedom to submit early loan payments or even pay off their loan balances early.
Other lenders may also charge balloon payments, which are large lump sum payments due at the end of a loan’s repayment period. Paying off your loan should be a relieving and exciting experience, but balloon payments can make borrowers worried or stressed about reaching the end of their repayment terms. Fortunately, you won’t have to deal with any of those unnecessary charges when working directly with CreditNinja!
Industry-wide competitive rates: CreditNinja loans come with fixed interest rates that borrowers can count on. When personal loans have fixed interest rates, they don’t have to worry about their interest charges going up or down each month. Instead, borrowers can use the same interest rate to calculate each of their monthly payments, making fixed-interest loans well-suited for borrowers looking to keep their finances consistent and organized.
Other types of loans may come with variable interest rates, which can change throughout the repayment period. Variable rates are calculated using current market conditions, so when the market is doing well, borrowers may be able to enjoy lower rates. However, should the market dip in the wrong direction, borrowers may find their interest charges are higher some months.
CreditNinja also keeps borrowers in mind by using personal financial information when determining interest rates, instead of pairing borrowers with a preset rate that may not work for them.
Flexible repayment options: CreditNinja wants to connect borrowers to hassle-free funding, which means pairing borrowers with repayment terms that fit in with their unique budget and lifestype. During the approval process, borrowers can help decide what kind of repayment options they feel most comfortable with.
Convenient monthly payments: One of the details of your loan you may be most familiar with are the monthly payments. Factors that will help determine your monthly payments are the loan amount, interest rates, and repayment terms. Also, remember that CreditNinja doesn’t charge early payment fees, so you can feel free to make your monthly installment any day on or before your due date that works best for you.
Free resources available: CreditNinja knows that knowledge is important, which is why we work to equip borrowers with core information regarding finances, financial products, creating and handling your own budget, and more. These resources are available on the CreditNinja website absolutely free of charge. You can also take advantage of other helpful and free financial tools such as debt consolidation calculators, amortization calculators, credit score trends, U.S. debt statistics, and even a financial glossary!
How Do CreditNinja Unsecured Personal Loans Work?
CreditNinja is proud to offer borrowers a convenient and streamlined funding process. You can start the process online at whatever time that works best for you. Depending on when you submit your initial application, you may receive an approval status in as little as a few minutes. From there, you can complete the process and receive your approved funds as soon as the very same or the next business day.* Here’s how it works:
Step One To Get a Personal Loan: Submit an Application
Begin your funding journey by filling out a CreditNinja loan application online. Your initial inquiry form will ask for basic information such as your name, address, general income, and desired loan amount. Upon approval, you will receive information regarding the funding amount, repayment terms, interest rates, and other details of your loan. During this time, you can work with your loan agent to make sure you feel comfortable with every aspect of your loan.
Step Two of Getting Personal Loans: Send In Your Documents
Before you can receive your approved funds, you will have to submit a few forms of documentation. The purpose of these documents is to confirm the information given on your initial application form. Below are the documents you will need:
- Government-issued photo ID – Lenders must confirm a borrower’s identity to ensure funding is going to the correct consumers, prevent fraud, etc. In order to prove your identity for a personal installment loan, you can use documents such as a driver’s license, passport, state-issued ID, or military ID.
- Proof of residency – As mentioned, there are laws and regulations that govern the lending industry, and those laws and regulations can vary from state to state. In order to make sure borrowers are paired with the appropriate funding amounts, rates, terms, etc., lenders ask for proof of residency. You can prove your residency for an installment loan with documents like a lease agreement, mortgage statement, or utility bill.
- Proof of income – Lenders never want to set borrowers up with a loan they cannot afford, which is why lenders ask about the borrower’s recurring income. You can show you have the means to repay your loan balance by presenting your income information, such as a paystub, bank statements, tax documents, or even a letter of employment.
- Bank account information – CreditNinja requires borrowers to have a bank account in order to receive funding. This requirement is so we can deposit your approved funds directly into your checking account via direct deposit. The reason CreditNinja funds borrowers via direct deposit is because it is the fastest and most efficient way to deliver approved funds to borrowers.
To possibly help your loan process go by even smoother and quicker, you may consider gathering these documents before you begin your application. That way, you can be sure to submit your documents and receive your approved loan ASAP.
Step Three of Getting a Personal Loan: Sign Your Contract
The last step of the funding process is to read and sign your loan agreement. Your loan contract will contain details on the specifics of your loan, such as a breakdown of the repayment terms and a full list of all additional fees/charges. Read your contract over carefully to make sure you fully understand your loan. Once you feel comfortable, you can sign your contract to get your money! After signing your loan contract, you should see your approved funds in your checking account promptly.
Who Should Pick CreditNinja?
CreditNinja wants to help you achieve your personal finance goals! Personal loans with CreditNinja are for consumers going through a financial emergency and looking to take care of their expenses. If you’ve considered non-loan alternatives and decided that getting a personal loan will work best for you, let CreditNinja help you out!
* “Applications approved before 10:30 a.m. CT Monday-Friday are generally funded the same business day. Applications approved after this time are generally funded the next business day. Some applications may require additional verification, in which case the loan, if approved, will be funded the business day after such additional verification is completed.”
US Credit Card Debt Hits All-Time High of $930 Billion | CNBC