Avant is an online lender with a clear and simple mission: to make borrowing money easier for more people. To achieve this, it provides two types of lending products: personal loans and the Avant credit card. Founded in 2012, Avant is dedicated to serving the middle-class consumer or those with low credit scores. It has serviced more than 800,000 people and lent more than $4 billion since it opened its doors.
Avant by the numbers
- APR range: 9.95% to 35.99%
- Min-max loan range: $2,000 to $35,000
- Repayment term range: 24 to 60 months
- Minimum credit score: 580
- Minimum gross income: $20,000
- J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Study: The Rest (2 out of 5)
- Administration fee: up to 4.75%, nonrefundable
- Late payment fee: $25. Also may vary by state and length of the application
- Returned payment fee: $15
- Avant doesn’t offer the option for a loan co-signer
Who should consider Avant personal loans?
People with bad to fair credit scores should consider Avant. Its soft credit pull means credit scores won’t get dinged when you’re being considered for a loan. Avant offers somewhat flexible payment plans, which is also attractive to those with lower incomes or who are paid on irregular schedules. For example, Avant will forgive a late payment after a borrower makes three on-time payments in a row. Additionally, there is no fee for paying a loan back early. Both of these are exceptional payment options and make Avant a great option for people who have struggled to overcome financial barriers in the past.
Avant’s personal loans are best for people who want to consolidate debt, those experiencing a financial emergency — such as a sudden car repair or medical bill — or those looking for help building their credit score to a higher range.
Who should avoid Avant personal loans?
A common complaint on review websites for Avant is that it can take up to 10 days for payments to clear in credit card accounts. This long of a delay between payment and record of payment could be frustrating, or financially harmful for some customers. Avant personal loans are not suitable for anyone who needs a loan co-signer, as it doesn’t offer an option for joint borrowers. Avant is also not a good fit for anyone with good to great credit. Those with a credit score of 700 or more are likely to find better interest rates at other lenders. Additionally, if a borrower is looking for an in-person lender to work with, Avant is not the company for them. Avant works entirely online or over the phone.
Furthermore, the high administration fee is applied to your loan balance — if you take out a $5,000 loan and your admin fee is 4.75%, the deposited amount will only be $4762.50, but you would be responsible for making payments on a borrowed amount of $5,000. So those who need the full amount borrowed should also avoid Avant for its high administration fee.
How to apply for an Avant personal loan
- Head to Avant’s personal loan page
- Click ‘check your loan options’
- Click ‘agree and check my options.’
- From here you can click on the loan option that is most attractive to you.
- If additional documentation is required, you will be alerted at your Avant dashboard and by phone and can submit paperwork online, by fax or by email
Alternatives to Avant
USAA is an attractive alternative to Avant for those with higher credit scores and consistent income. USAA offers competitive rates for personal loans, and there is no minimum credit score required. People can take out loans ranging from $2,000 to $50,000. Funding may come through on the same day as individuals apply, which makes it a stand out option. However, there is a hard credit pull, which may not appeal to some people.
The biggest thing to note here is that only USAA members can use their personal loan services.
Upstart was founded in 2012 by Google alum Anna Counselman and Dave Girouard. Similar to Avant, the mission of the company is to help those with lower credit scores who have a harder time getting approved for credit. To that end, Upstart takes into consideration things like borrower’s education, GPA and work history to determine their creditworthiness, rather than just the traditional measures like credit score and income.
It has the same minimum credit score as Avant (580) and requires borrowers have no delinquent loans or recent bankruptcies on their credit report, and fewer than six recent credit inquiries (outside of student loans, car loans and mortgages.) Upstart does require that you have some kind of consistent stream of income, or that you have a job offer that begins within six months of getting your loan.
Payoff offers loans to consolidate credit card debt. Therefore, Payoff is best for those who are weighed down under high-interest credit card debt. There is no fee or hard credit pull for inquiring about what rates are available to you, but there is a hard credit pull in the final stages of approval. Loans range from $5,000 to $35,000 and applicants must have a 640 credit score or higher, debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less, at least three years of credit history, no delinquencies and at least two other open lines of credit. With these standards, and by focusing only on credit card debt, Payoff is a more limited lender. Its services can’t be used if you want a personal loan for home improvement, and it has a more narrow range of people it will work with than Avant.