Lending Club offers personal loans up to $40,000 at reasonable rates, but its strict credit requirements may put it out of reach for some borrowers.
Lending Club is one of the most popular peer-to-peer lenders in the industry. It offers personal loans, business loans and lines of credit, auto refinancing, and patient solutions, which helps cover the cost of pricey medical and dental procedures. Its rates are relatively affordable, especially if your credit is good, and you won’t be charged any prepayment fees if you pay your loan off early.
You must have a minimum credit score of 600 to apply, though most borrowers have scores closer to 700. If you don’t meet this requirement, you may want to explore some other options, like Avant or OneMain Financial instead. Lending Club isn’t a good choice if you need money immediately either. Because you have to wait for your loan to be funded by the company’s network of peer lenders, it could take up to two weeks to actually receive your money.
|Interest Rates||5.32% – 30.99%|
|Loan Amounts||$1,000 to $40,000|
|Loan Terms||3 – 5 years|
|Best For||Those with credit scores over 700|
|Not For||Those who need funds immediately, or those with lower credit scores|
|Standout Features||Borrow up to $40,000
Offers business loans and auto refinancing
No prepayment fees
Make money through investing
Lending Club is a diverse online marketplace connecting borrowers to peers who serve as investors. It promises quick access to funds, flexible loan terms, and affordable rates that beat what most banks will offer you. For investors, it provides a safe and easy way to earn some extra cash while helping out your peers in the process.
Is it True?
Yes. Lending Club offers personal loans up to $40,000 as well as small business loans and lines of credit, auto refinancing and patient solutions to cover medical and dental procedures. This diversity sets Lending Club apart from the rest of the industry and has made it into one of the largest and best-known peer-to-peer lenders. If you need a large sum of money, but you don’t want to deal with high interest rates from a bank, Lending Club is a great place to turn to.
Its interest rates are affordable compared to its competitors. Those with good credit may be eligible for rates as low as 5.32%, while those with poor credit could see rates as high as 30.99%. While that may seem high, it’s pretty reasonable for a personal loan company and only a fraction of the cost of a payday loan, which can have rates as high as 300%. There are no prepayment penalties and no hidden fees, though there is an origination fee of 1% to 6%, depending on your creditworthiness.
Lending Club requires a minimum credit score of 600, though the average credit score of its borrowers is closer to 700. There are no minimum income requirements, but the average is also quite high. This may put Lending Club out of reach to some borrowers, in which case, a company like OneMain Financial or Avant might be a better fit, since their lending requirements are less strict.
Lending Club also isn’t a good fit for people who need funds right away. Once you apply, it can take up to two weeks for your information to be verified and your money deposited into your account. In most cases, though, it only takes about a week.
Because it’s a peer-to-peer lender, Lending Club relies on ordinary people to help finance borrowers’ loans. In exchange for contributing your own money, the company promises returns of 5 to 7% once the borrower pays back the loan. The company assigns ratings from A to G based on income, creditworthiness and other factors. You get to view these ratings and decide which loans you want to fund, so you can build the portfolio you want. If you’re looking for a way to supplement your preexisting investment strategy, this is one easy way to do it.
Our Deep Dive
- Borrow up to $40,000: Lending Club allows you to borrow up to $40,000, which is more than what most personal lenders offer. Most have a limit of $25,000 to $35,000. So if you’re looking to borrow more than that, Lending Club is a good place to turn to.
- Tailored to those with good credit: Though you only need a credit score of 600 in order to qualify, the majority of Lending Club’s customers have high incomes and credit scores closer to 700. If you don’t fit that description, you may find yourself paying higher interest rates or being denied entirely.
- No prepayment fees: Lending Club doesn’t charge any prepayment fees, so if you choose to pay the loan back early, you won’t be charged any extra to cover the lost interest.
- Origination fees: Like most personal loan providers, Lending Club charges an origination fee ranging from 1% to 6%, depending on your creditworthiness. This amount comes off your loan, so if you need a specific dollar amount, make sure you’re borrowing enough to cover the cost of this fee.
- Takes time to get money: You won’t get your funds deposited the same day you fill out the application. Once you apply, your loan goes up on the marketplace, where it must be funded by investors. Once that’s done and your information is verified, the money will be direct-deposited into your account, usually in about a week.
- Few options for loan terms: Lending Club offers three- and five-year loan terms, but that’s it. Some of its competitors give borrowers the option to choose between two-, three-, four- and five-year terms, which is great for those who want a little more flexibility. However, because there’s no prepayment fees, you can shorten your loan term with Lending Club by paying a little extra each month.
- Small business loans: In addition to personal loans, Lending Club also offers small business loans ranging from $5,000 to $300,000, as well as business lines of credit. There are no prepayment fees and rates start off at 5.9%. In order to qualify, your business must be at least two years old and generating $50,000 in annual sales. You also can’t have any bankruptcies or tax liens.
- Patient solutions: If you have an expensive medical or dental procedure coming up, Lending Club’s patient solutions can loan you the funds you need. You can borrow up to $50,000 with interest rates ranging between 3.99% and 24.99% APR.
- Make money by investing: If you’re looking to make some extra cash, you can invest in borrowers’ loans. You get to decide which ones you’d like to fund after reviewing their ratings and reasons for the loan. Most investors earn about 5 to 7% interest, though that depends on how much and what you invest in, and, of course, whether the borrower pays back the loan.
- Auto refinancing: If you have an expensive car loan, you can refinance it with Lending Club. Vehicles must be less than seven years old with less than 80,000 miles on them in order to qualify. You can borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000, and interest rates vary from 2.49% to 19.99% APR.
You won’t know how much a loan from Lending Club will cost you until you apply, though you can get some idea by checking your rate on the company’s website. This won’t impact your credit score. Once you’ve filled out the application, you’ll be presented with several options and you can choose the one that best suits you.
In order to determine interest rates, Lending Club looks at your income, credit history, as well as other factors, and then assigns you a rating from A to G. Those who receive an A rating could see rates as low as 5.32% while G-rated borrowers could be charged as much as 30.99% interest. This is still reasonable compared to what some other personal loan providers and banks would charge you, and next to payday lenders, it’s a real bargain.
For investors, the costs are a little more straightforward. You choose how much you want to invest, starting at $25. You also decide which loans you want to invest in, which affects your returns. A-rated borrowers are going to be a safer investment, but interest rates will be lower. On the other hand, a G-rated borrower could earn you a bigger return, but they’re also more likely to default on their loan. You can diversify your portfolio so you have some of each and set up automated investing so you don’t have to do the work manually if you don’t want to.
Cheaper (or Free!) Alternatives
You may be able to secure a better rate elsewhere, but you’ll have to do your research in order to find out. Compare rates from your local bank, Lending Club, and other personal loan lenders and see what they can offer you. Whatever you do, make sure you choose a fixed-rate loan. A variable interest rate could result in that initially affordable loan becoming very expensive over time. Also, be on the lookout for hidden or prepayment fees, which could lead to unexpected charges down the road.
Shopping around can be time-consuming, but the potential savings make it well worth it. Say you’re borrowing $5,000 at 15% interest with a five-year term. Over the life of that loan, you’ll pay $7,136.98. That same loan with a 16% interest rate will cost $7,295.42. That single percentage point just cost you an extra $158.44. And the difference would be even greater if you were borrowing more money. So it’s worth taking the time to compare your options before committing to any lender.
Prosper: Another peer-to-peer lender like Lending Club, Prosper offers loans up to $35,000 at 5.99% to 32.99% APR. Three- and five-year loan terms are your only options. In order to qualify, you have to have a FICO score of 640 or above, a source of income, a debt-to-income ratio less than 50%, and no bankruptcies filed in the last year.
OneMain Financial: Offering personal loans up to $10,000, OneMain Financial can be a good choice if you’re having difficulty securing financing elsewhere, because there’s no minimum credit score required. Interest rates vary from 25% to 36%, which is higher than what Lending Club charges, so if you have good credit, this may not be your best option. There are no prepayment fees.
Avant: Another personal loan platform that caters to those with average or poor credit, Avant has no minimum requirements to apply. You may be able to borrow $2,000 to $35,000*. Interest rates vary from 9.95% to 35.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. This is a good deal if your credit score is under 650, but if it’s over 700, you can find a better rate elsewhere.
* The actual loan amount, term, and APR amount of loan that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and state law. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.
Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.
What Others Are Saying
- The Wall Street Journal reported on Lending Club’s recent decision to branch out into auto refinancing. The article expresses doubt about the success of this new venture, saying that “Lending Club has had limited success moving beyond its original business of making unsecured loans that mostly went to consolidating credit-card debt.”
- Bloomberg announced that Lending Club raised its interest rates and tightened its credit standards for the second time in a year. The company explained this move: “We have continued to observe higher delinquencies in populations characterized by high indebtedness, an increased propensity to accumulate debt, and lower credit scores…Although the trend can now be observed across grades, it is less notable in lower-risk grades and more notable in higher-risk grades.”
- CNBC ran a story about a scandal that resulted in Lending Club’s CEO, Renaud Laplanche’s, resignation. According to other executives, staff “knowingly sold $22 million in loans in March and April 2016 that did not meet the buyer’s requirements.” A company representative commented on the CEO’s resignation: “We are truly and very clearly saddened by his departure…This is not something the board will compromise on.”
Lending Club is a great choice if you’re looking to borrow a lot of money without going through a bank. However, if your credit score is low, you may have difficulty securing a loan through Lending Club. In that case, you’ll want to explore some other options, like OneMain Financial or Avant.