Whether your car broke down or you need to consolidate debt, a personal loan from LendingClub might be just the thing you need. Founded in 2006 and based in San Francisco, LendingClub is an online, peer-to-peer lending marketplace that matches borrowers with individual investors who can provide the funds they need. The application process is fast, easy and fully online. It only takes a few minutes to find out if you qualify for a loan, and if you do, you’ll have access to the funds as quickly as four days, though in some cases it might take longer.
LendingClub’s greatest advantages are speed and convenience — but those advantages don’t come without drawbacks.
LendingClub by the numbers
- APR range: 6.95%-35.89%
- Loan amount: $1,000-$40,000
- Repayment terms: 36 or 60 months (3 or 5 years)
- Minimum credit score: None specified
- Minimum gross income: None specified
- Customer satisfaction: About Average (3 out of 5) from J.D. Power
- Origination fee: 1%-6%
- Late payment fee: 5% of outstanding debt or $15, whichever is greater
- No loans for investments, gambling, post-secondary education or illegal activities
Who should consider LendingClub personal loans?
LendingClub is a good choice for those looking for a personal loan to cover unexpected repairs or replacements or to help fund a vacation or other major expenses. It’s also a good solution for those looking to pay off their loans as soon as possible without having to incur a penalty.
It might also be a good deal for those who qualify for a lower annual percentage rate or even those with fair to poor credit, but with a solid income. It’s hard finding financing opportunities when you have bad credit, even if you have a steady income. Many lenders rely heavily on your credit score for loan decisions. LendingClub considers many aspects of the financial picture to decide a borrower’s creditworthiness. Bear in mind, though, that if you do have bad credit, then you will likely pay a much higher APR if approved — but then, that’s true of most lenders who finance bad credit loans.
Terms are available with two options, which is a nice feature. However, keep in mind that generally, the longer the term of the loan, the higher the APR you will pay. So if you can, opt for a shorter term so you can repay the loan sooner. You may have a higher monthly payment, but you’ll pay less interest altogether on your loan.
Who should avoid LendingClub personal loans?
Although LendingClub considers all loan requests, it might not be the right choice for some borrowers. If you have good credit and a solid income, then you might be able to get a better rate elsewhere. Sometimes it pays to shop around, but arm yourself with information and compare the top lenders that fit your needs before agreeing to a loan.
Soft inquiries to your credit report do not impact your score. These are inquiries where either you are checking or monitoring your score or you are applying for pre-certification for lending. This is not the same thing as a hard inquiry that is later used for the final loan decision. So, shop around to see what other lenders might offer and then compare them.
How to apply for a LendingClub personal loan
Applying for a personal loan through LendingClub is a piece of cake. You can apply within minutes using its online form. Here’s how it works:
- Visit LendingClub’s personal loan page
- Choose the loan purpose from the quick form menu
- Enter the amount that you want to borrow — up to the $40,000 maximum
- Select the red Check My Rate button
- Choose who is applying. There are two choices: Just Me or Two of Us
- Enter your birthday
- Enter your income
- Enter your name and address and that of your co-borrower if you’re using one
- Enter your email
- You may need to enter your Social Security number as well, so have it ready
That’s it! LendingClub will email you a decision on which rate you might be pre-certified for. From there, if pre-certified, you can choose to bow out or move on to the next step, where a hard inquiry into your credit report will be made to finalize the financing decision. The pre-certification process is simple and the interactive form walks you through each step.
Alternatives to LendingClub
There are many alternatives to LendingClub. If you’re a member of a credit union, you might start your shopping there. Many credit unions offer more flexibility in financing than banks and other types of lending institutions. Sometimes you can get approved with a lower credit score or find a better APR. However, if a credit union is not for you, then there are other avenues to search for a personal loan.
TD Bank offers express loans with a fast certification process. Borrowers can get a financing decision in as little as 48 hours. It offers terms from 24 to 60 months with fixed APRs between 6.99% and 18.99%. Finally, TD Bank provides personal loans between $2,000 and $25,000, which is a lower loan limit than LendingClub offers. If you don’t need the upper loan limits offered by LendingClub, then this might be a good alternative.
OneMain Financial offers another take on personal loans. Its loan limits have some variables. Depending on which state you live in, you might have a different loan minimum or maximum, but the average overall is $1,500 to $20,000. Like TD Bank, OneMain Financial also offers loan terms that range between 24 and 60 months. It’s always nice to have more choices in how long you’re going to have to repay the loan. The downside, however, is with the APR: it’s much higher than the other picks and ranges from 18.99% to 35.99%. So, if you have the credit and the income for a better rate elsewhere, it might be best to skip this one. Yet, it does offer a good solution for others who might not otherwise qualify with other lenders.
SoFi is another alternative with some impressive features. It offers APRs from 5.99% and 20.01% — if you pay using auto-pay. Now, here’s where it gets interesting: SoFi is virtually fee-free. There are no origination fees, no prepayment fees, and even no late fees — at least not for personal loans. You can borrow anywhere between $5,000 and $100,000, depending on your creditworthiness and other factors.
It’s always good to shop around for a loan provider — even if you need the funds quickly — because rushing into a financing decision without a clear picture could leave you paying more in interest or fees than you need to.