LendUp, a loan company founded in 2012, aims to transform both the mission and the business model of payday lending, which has rightfully earned a poor reputation.
LendUp says it wants to help subprime consumers improve their financial health by offering loans that traditional banks don’t. About 150 million people have credit scores below 720, and that’s who LendUp tends to target for its loans.
Taking out a loan through LendUp is a fast way to get money, but it’s not for everyone. LendUp charges higher interest rates than traditional loans, so consumers may dig themselves into a deeper financial hole if they’re not careful.
In this review:
- LendUp Personal Loans: At a Glance
- Pros & Cons
- Application Process
- Who Should Use LendUp?
- Alternatives to Consider
LendUp Personal Loans: At a Glance
|LendUp Personal Loans|
|Loan amounts||$100 – $1,000 (available amounts vary by state)|
|APRs||Varies by state and repayment timeline, but generally run from 176% to 1,000%|
LendUp is a payday lender, and it should be viewed as such. While other personal loan lenders offer larger loans ranging from 5% to 35% APR, LendUp offers small loans at sky-high rates—higher than credit card interest rates.
The rates vary based on your loan’s length, whether you’re on the “ladder” with LendUp, and the amount. However, they can run up to nearly 1,000% APR with a short-term loan.
What affects your rate
State laws, loan amounts, and repayment terms affect your rate.
For example, a $610 loan issued in South Carolina and repaid over four monthly payments would get an APR of 176.36%. In California, a $250 loan repaid in seven days would get a 917.71% APR. What you get depends on your situation, so you’d need a quote from LendUp to see your rates.
The LendUp Ladder also affects your rates. The company allows repeat borrowers who take certain steps to educate themselves financially to qualify for higher loan amounts and lower rates.
In any case, these rates are high, and you should only consider them as an alternative to more predatory payday lenders with less transparent business practices than LendUp is committed to.
Pros & Cons of a LendUp Personal Loan
Good credit not required
Get a loan even with poor credit.
Get fast approval online without visiting a branch.
Reports to credit bureaus
If you don’t have credit or are trying to rebuild your credit, installment payments are reported to the major credit reporting agencies, allowing you to improve your situation.
The LendUp Ladder is available in some states, allowing you to get discounted rates. If you watch LendUp’s financial education videos and make on-time payments, you get “points” that move you into a different tier.
Choose your repayment date
LendUp allows you to choose your desired repayment date within its terms.
Extended payment date
Depending on state laws, it’s possible to extend your repayment on a lump-sum loan without a late fee.
Not all payments are reported to the bureaus
It could backfire if you’re hoping to use LendUp to build credit. Not all payments are reported, particularly the lump-sum payments. You’re much better off using a secured credit card to rebuild your credit.
High interest rates
Even if you’re in the “prime” category on the LendUp Ladder, you could still pay fees translating into sky-high APRs. These can make the loan expensive and repayment difficult.
You might be limited in eligibility
LendUp uses Veritec in some states to determine loan eligibility, so you could end up not getting a loan or having restricted repayment terms.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined LendUp $3.63 million in 2016 because it didn’t meet some of its claims. Since then, the company has been more careful about its promises regarding building credit and offering low-cost loans.
Applying for a LendUp Personal Loan
Applying for a LendUp personal loan is fairly straightforward. Here’s how it works:
- You provide your name, address, Social Security number, birth date, and email address.
- Provide bank account and routing information for an institution that accepts ACH transfers.
- Send proof of income if your state’s laws require it.
- View your loan offers (if you are eligible) and make a decision.
- Receive your money in as little as one business day.
LendUp’s website allows you to scan and upload all of the required information listed above. Your repayment schedule is based on the amount you borrow, and your repayment date.
Applying for a LendUp loan doesn’t require a review of your credit history. Instead, LendUp customers just need to have a valid checking account and provide the required information.
Who Should Use LendUp?
If you’re struggling with credit, and you’re facing an emergency and need quick cash, LendUp can be a better option than local payday lenders with unscrupulous business practices.
However, just because LendUp is an alternative to going to a check-cashing place or engaging with other, more traditional, payday lenders, it doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you.
Ideally, you’d take steps like building up an emergency fund or keeping a credit card with a sufficient limit for emergencies. Even credit card debt is better than paying LendUp’s high APRs.
While LendUp is an alternative to traditional payday lenders, it is similar to other lenders in its category, such as Rise and OppLoans. Additionally, while its loans might help you reach other goals, like building credit, the reality is that its effectiveness is spotty at best, depending on what state you live in.
If you know you want a loan but are unsure if LendUp if your best choice, you can check out our LendUp Alternatives Guide to compare other options. Our guide to personal loans for bad credit lays out other options with rates under 36% as well.
None of these lenders are probably good for debt consolidation since there’s a good chance your fees will amount to an APR much higher than what you could get with other debt consolidation loans from other lenders.
You also might be better off by looking for emergency cash through cheaper alternatives and applying for a secured credit card if you want to give your credit score a boost. You may want to consider checking out the LendUp Credit Card as a way to build credit if you like LendUp as a company.