MoneyLion is a mobile personal finance and lending app that helps customers get in control of their finances by providing them with tools that help them track their spending, saving, and credit usage.
The company was started in 2013 by a team of technologists and financiers and is based in New York City. They have developed a user base of over 2 million customers, but they also have something called MoneyLion Plus. This is a service that allows you to get low-interest loans without a credit check. They have originated over 200,000 loans via MoneyLion Plus.
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The Benefits of MoneyLion Plus
MoneyLion Plus is a subscription service for users of the MoneyLion app that gives them access to several great benefits. They look at your money habits to decide when to set money aside from your checking account. They also provide daily budgeting tips that are personalized in order to help you spend less.
The next thing that the MoneyLion Plus account offers is a managed investment account. MoneyLion automatically invests money that you save into a diversified portfolio of ETFs, which are created to suit the financial needs and life stage of each of their subscribers. They do not charge management fees for this service and if you sign up through LendEDU, MoneyLion will deposit $10 into your investment account.
Another benefit MoneyLion offers is access to low-interest loans. MoneyLion Plus uses the behavioral data and analytics from your use of the MoneyLion app in order to approve you for a low-interest loan. You can borrow up to $500 at APRs as low as 5.99%. The biggest benefit is that you don’t need a credit check in order to get approved.
They also offer one additional benefit of an instant $1 cash back whenever users log into the MoneyLion app. You can also earn cash rewards based on your investment account balance.
Ultimately, the goal is to help users build wealth and weather unexpected expenses. The regular app combines with these specialty services to create an integrated approach to savings, borrowing, and investing.
The Drawbacks of MoneyLion Plus
Whether MoneyLion Plus is a good option depends on your personal financial and credit situation. Each month, MoneyLion Plus withdraws $79 from your account. They then deposit $50 into an investment account that they invest for you – and the other $29 is your monthly fee. That’s somewhat expensive, but you can reduce the cost. Every day that you log into the app, you get $1 cash back. But you’ll have to remember to log into the app every day in order for MoneyLion Plus to be free.
Whether the $29 price for membership is worthwhile to you depends on how much you have invested with them and how much you’re borrowing. After all, $29 will represent a big proportion of your investment if you have only $290 in your account versus $29,000 in your account. If you never logged in, the total amount you would pay per year would be $348. While you’re unlikely to pay that, you might be better off signing up for another investment service that offers you a better rate.
Also, the credit that they offer you access to without a credit check sounds like a great deal, until you find out that you can only borrow $500. If you need more, you’re out of luck. If you have good credit, there are also a lot of other companies that offer personal loans at lower or similar rates like Sofi or Citizen’s Bank. You’ll also be able to borrow more money from these lenders.
The downside is that you’ll have to have a credit check in order to qualify for those loans. For that reason, if you have bad credit and need access to a small amount of cash in case of emergencies or to build your credit, MoneyLion Plus could be a great option.
While one of the benefits of MoneyLion Plus is that they combine saving, investing, and borrowing with a financial analytics app that motivates you to save more, it’s not necessarily that great of a selling point. There are a number of other great financial analytics apps that offer more tools than MoneyLion.
While not all of these apps offer investing or borrowing options, it can be easy to connect these apps with your existing investments or loans. For that reason, MoneyLion might be trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.
The Bottom Line
MoneyLion Plus offers you the option to save, invest, and borrow all in the same place, but the products that they offer aren’t right for everyone. When launching their products, MoneyLion said that their goal was to help people who struggle to save be successful at saving their first $2,000 over two years.
For that reason, MoneyLion Plus is likely better for those who are in lower income brackets, have bad credit, struggle to get low-interest loans, or struggle to save money for one reason or another. The big drawback is the monthly fee that they charge for these services – which can eat into the savings you set aside unless you frequently check the app.
If you have more money or need more access to credit, you might want to consider another option.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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