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Online lending has exploded in the last few years. The idea of applying for a loan while sitting on the couch at home is enticing enough, but online lenders also offer some of the lowest rates and most attractive benefits as well.
Two popular companies are SoFi and LendingClub. Both companies offer personal loans to creditworthy customers, but how do they stack up against each other? It depends on what you’re looking for.
In this comparison:
SoFi vs. LendingClub: At a glance
|Rates (APR)||5.74% – 16.99%||6.95% – 35.89%|
|Loan Terms||3 – 7 years||3 – 5 years|
|Loan Amounts||$5,000 – $100,000||Up to $40,000|
|Fees||No origination or prepayment penalties||Origination fee: 1% – 6%|
SoFi Personal Loans
SoFi is a heavy hitter in the online loan market. It was launched in 2011 and has since expanded rapidly to offer a broad variety of loan types and perks. The company also offers other benefits, such as career coaching or an interest-rate discount if you borrow multiple loans.
You can easily apply for a rate quote online and find out if you’re approved in minutes. You can learn more in our full SoFi Personal Loans review.
LendingClub Personal Loans
Like SoFi, LendingClub offers personal loans for a variety of reasons and has a no-hassle online application process. However, the way it disburses loans is different.
While SoFi operates more like the online version of a traditional lender, LendingClub is a peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform. This means an individual will fund your LendingClub loan rather than a larger institutional investor.
After filling out the basic pre-approval online form, LendingClub will give you several loan options to choose from, with different payment plans and interest rates from their investors.
SoFi vs. LendingClub: Which is right for you?
With so many rates, terms, and other factors to compare, you may have a hard time determining which lender is right for you. To help, we’ve broken down some scenarios where one option stands out.
- If you have good credit
- If you want to avoid fees
- If you only need to borrow a little
- If you need to borrow a large amount
- If you want more flexibility in your repayment term
- If you want career coaching and salary advice
If you have good credit: SoFi
If you have a good credit score, SoFi should be your first option. SoFi targets good credit borrowers, and it offers lower interest rates to earn their business. If your credit is excellent, you could score a lower rate from SoFi than LendingClub offers on any of its loans.
On the other hand, if your credit is only fair, you may get a better offer from LendingClub. Rates vary based on a number of factors, so it’s always smart to get quotes from multiple lenders before making a decision.
If you want to avoid fees: SoFi
If you borrow from SoFi, you won’t need to worry about running into any unexpected fees. The lender doesn’t charge anything for loan origination, prepayment, or late payments.
LendingClub charges a loan origination fee of 2% – 6% and a late payment fee of $15 or 5%.
If you only need to borrow a little: LendingClub
If you only need to borrow a small amount, LendingClub is likely the better option. The lender allows borrowers to take out loans of just $1,000. SoFi doesn’t offer loans of less than $5,000.
It’s hard to find loan amounts so low from reputable online lenders since businesses need to earn enough to make facilitating the loan worthwhile. But since individual investors use their own money to fund LendingClub loans, it’s able to keep its minimum loan amounts low.
To see more options, check out our guide to small personal loans.
If you need to borrow a large amount: SoFi
If you need to borrow a very large amount, SoFi may be the winner. SoFi allows you to borrow up to $100,000, while LendingClub only lets you take out $40,000.
LendingClub’s maximum loan amount may still be enough for most borrowers, but those who have a very large amount of debt to consolidate or who are eyeing expensive home repairs may need more.
If you want more flexibility in your repayment term: SoFi
If you’d like more (or less) time to pay off your personal loan, SoFi has better options. You can opt for both a shorter or longer repayment term than LendingClub.
Since neither lender charges prepayment fees, the shorter repayment term doesn’t matter quite as much. But if you’re borrowing a large loan amount, having a longer repayment term can make a huge difference in the amount you have to pay each month.
If you want career coaching and salary advice: SoFi
One of the unique perks SoFi offers is career coaching. This includes advice about career moves and salary negotiations, and it comes totally free for all SoFi borrowers.
Where to find other lenders
As you can see above, SoFi is the stronger option for most prospective borrowers. However, both LendingClub and SoFi are legitimate loan options.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to get quotes from multiple lenders and compare your options. Check out these guides to see how SoFi and LendingClub stack up against other lenders.
Author: Daniel Caughill