LendUp Personal Loans Review

LendUp was founded in 2012 as a smart alternative to payday loans that could help consumers break the cycle of sky-high-interest debt. Through its dynamic personal loans and unique “points” system, the lender boasts that it has saved customers over $200 million in interest and fees so far while dramatically improving their lives.

The lender’s main product is a personal loan geared toward borrowers with bad credit who may not be able to get approved elsewhere. LendUp lets you apply for its loan products online and from the comfort of your home, and it even promises an instant decision 24 hours a day.

If you owe big money and are tired of paying high interest rates that make everything a struggle, a short-term loan from LendUp may be exactly what you need.

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Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

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In this article

    LendUp personal loans at a glance

    • Despite LendUp’s stated intent, interest rates can be as high as payday loans or even higher in some cases. For single payment loans, they range from 134% to over 1,000%. But for installment loans, rates range from 30% to 80%.
    • Loans are typically available in amounts up to $1,000, but it varies by state.
    • Repay a single-payment loan in less than 30 days or an installment loan in up to 12 months.
    • LendUp works with borrowers in California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. You need a valid bank account to qualify.
    • Repay your first loans on time to qualify for lower rates on subsequent loans.

    LendUp personal loans: an alternative to payday loans

    While LendUp doesn’t offer low rates or affordable terms to borrowers, it offers something many lenders don’t — a way out of the payday loan cycle. While LendUp rates can be as high as 80% on its installment loans and considerably higher on single-payment loans, the company allows consumers to pay off payday loans and build their credit along the way.

    With each loan they pay off, borrowers earn “points” that can help them qualify for lower rates down the line. Better yet, the company lets them earn even more points for completing their free online personal finance courses. LendUp calls this “climbing the ladder,” and it offers financial education and tools all along the way.

    One big upside of using LendUp is the fact it doesn’t check your credit report or your score before it approves you for a loan. This means that nearly anyone can qualify — an important feature for consumers left with few options.

    LendUp single payment loans are also available without any fees, which helps it stand in stark contrast when compared to payday loans. With LendUp, the ultimate goal is using the funding to pay off payday loans and start saving for the future. By avoiding fees and hopefully building your credit score along the way, this company can help you get on the path toward better credit later on.

    As a side note, also be aware that LendUp is launching its own credit card soon. This new card is on a waitlist, but it will be available to consumers with less than perfect credit without a security deposit. The company says monthly fees will also be no more than $5 per month.

    LendUp: what to watch out for

    The biggest downside of working with LendUp is an obvious one — their interest rates are sky-high. If you’re hoping to consolidate high-interest debt into a new loan and save a lot of money in the process, you won’t find that kind of help with LendUp. The main goal of the company is helping consumers earn their way out of the payday loan cycle through responsible credit use. Unfortunately, they have to charge high rates to make up for the astronomical risk they take on.

    Also note that, although some of LendUp’s loans do report to the three credit reporting agencies, there are much better ways to build credit that cost a lot less. For example, you could always apply for a secured credit card that reports to the three credit reporting agencies instead. A secured credit card requires you to put down a cash deposit, but you can recoup your deposit later with responsible credit use. But while it’s a great credit-building tool, a secured card won’t help you escape the payday loan cycle.

    This brings us to our final point. Only some of LendUp’s offerings report to the three credit bureaus. Its installment loans all do, but only its top tier single-payment loans report. Because of this, the starter loans you’ll get at the beginning of the process won’t help you build credit right away.

    Who are LendUp personal loans good for?

    • Consumers stuck in payday loan hell.
    • Bad-credit borrowers who want a chance to secure lower interest rates as they prove they can use credit responsibly.
    • Borrowers who can’t get the money they need anywhere else.

    How to apply for a loan from LendUp

    Since LendUp doesn’t check your credit report or your score when you apply for a loan, the application process is simple. Once you determine you live in a state that is serviced by LendUp, you can enter the amount you want to borrow, agree to a monthly payment amount, and hit “apply now.”

    Check Your Personal Loan Rates

    Answer a few questions to see which personal loans you pre-qualify for. It’s quick and easy, and it will not impact your credit score.

    Get Started

    with our trusted partners at Bankrate.com

    From there, you’ll be prompted to create an online account using your email address. Once you have a new account, you can apply for a loan by submitting:

    • Your full name
    • Social Security number
    • Phone number
    • Date of birth
    • Residential address
    • Housing status
    • Housing payment

    If you’re approved for a loan, you will likely find out right away. Even better, you can have your money automatically deposited into your bank account in just a few business days.

    Methodology

    SimpleScore

    The SimpleScore is a proprietary scoring metric we use to objectively compare products and services at The Simple Dollar.

    For every review, our editorial team:

    • Identifies five measurable aspects to compare across each brand
    • Determines the rating criteria for each aspect score
    • Averages the five aspect scores to produce a single SimpleScore

    Here’s a breakdown of the five aspect scores and their rating criteria for our review of the best personal loans of 2020.

    Why do some brands have different SimpleScores on different pages?

    To ensure the SimpleScore is as helpful and accurate as possible, we developed unique criteria for every category we compare at The Simple Dollar. Since most brands offer a variety of financial solutions, their products and services will score differently depending on what we’re scoring on a given page.

    However, it’s also possible for the same product from the same brand to have multiple SimpleScores. For instance, if we compare NetCredit’s personal loans according to our criteria for the best personal loans, it scores a 2.3 out of 5. But when we compare NetCredit according to the criteria for the best bad credit personal loans, it scores considerably higher, since the criteria for the latter review are more lenient (lenders who serve borrowers with bad credit will always offer higher rates, so we needed to adjust our category methodology to account for different industry standards).

    Questions about our methodology?

    Email Hayley Armstrong at hayley@thesimpledollar.com.

    Rates

    We looked at the maximum APR for each lender — the lower their maximum rate, the higher their score.

    Loan Size

    We awarded higher scores to lenders with more generous loan sizes.

    Customer Satisfaction

    We leveraged the J.D. Power 2019 Personal Loan Satisfaction Study℠ to see how customers rated their experience with each lender. (If a lender wasn’t included in J.D. Power’s study, we skipped this aspect and averaged the four remaining aspect scores.)

    Support

    We awarded higher scores to lenders with the most channels for customer support.

    Fees

    We looked at the three most common fees — origination, late payment, and pre-payment — and penalized lenders for each fee charged.

    Holly Johnson

    Contributing Writer

    Holly Johnson is a frugality expert and award-winning writer who is obsessed with personal finance and getting the most out of life. A lifelong resident of Indiana, she enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling the world with her husband and two children. In addition to The Simple Dollar, Holly writes for well-known publications such as U.S. News & World Report Travel, PolicyGenius, Travel Pulse, and Frugal Travel Guy. Holly also owns Club Thrifty.