|Best Bad Credit Loans of 2017 – Elite Personal Finance|
|APR: 5.99% – 35.99%
Loan Term: 36-60 months
Min. Credit Score: 0
Loans For Any Purpose
|Up to $35,000|
2) Lending Club
|APR: 5.99% – 35.89%
Loan Term: 36-60 months
Min. Credit Score: 0
No hidden fees or charges
|Up to $40,000|
3) Lending Tree
|APR: 5.99% – 35.99%
Loan Term: 36-60 months
Min. Credit Score: 0
Up to 3 Years
Loans for Any Purpose
|Up to $35,000|
In the frenzied world of online borrowing LendingTree positions itself as a central hub. The well-established online platform seeks to serve all borrowing needs. The site could be described as the Amazon.com of fast lending. As a result, the multi-faceted enterprise offers six major lending options.
We’re going to detail each of these options to you. But first, here’s the list of them:
- Home loans
- Auto loans
- Personal loans
- Business loans
- Student loans
- Credit cards
We’ll also take a look at the free credit score service provided as well as LendingTree reviews and how the rates, services and speed stack up against other niche online players like, Lending Club, Prosper, Quicken Loans and Avant.
What Is LendingTree?
LendingTree finances your goals. Through utilizing a host of services and tools the site endeavors to empower visitors. This value added information allows users to better understand things like their credit score, how this number impacts their borrowing ability, mortgage payment, amortization and more. Information on how to best capitalize on competing credit card offers is also provided.
Just as sites like Hotwire, and Kayak aggregate competing airfare and lodging LendingTree does the same with APRs. With some basic information provided by the user LendingTree generates a list of the most competitive APR offered for various borrowing needs.
LendingTree Mortgage Loans
This represents the most robust group of offerings from LendingTree. First-time buyers or those accustomed to the process will find the tools, resources and programs useful. Borrowers can get a loan for a home purchase, refinance an existing loan, apply for a home equity loan and more. The power of LendingTree is the speed and comprehensiveness of their approach. In less than 2 minutes you’ll be provided a listing of rates that draw from the lowest providers.
The tools add to the value. There are common options like a simple mortgage calculator or a refinance calculator. However, LendingTree introduces some much-needed responsibility in the lending world by including a “home affordability
calculator.” This lesser seen tool takes the extra step of helping the potential borrower understand how their credit score, annual income and existing monthly debt should influence their home buying. This small, but critical piece to their free tools legitimizes their claim to “empower” borrowers. The avoidance of the simple question, “can I afford this” was likely a major contributor to the housing bubble.
The “Resources” section goes further. This area provides an incredibly deep view of customer ratings for thousands of lenders. Better still, users can sort highest to lowest ratings within their home state. The result: smaller, but better banks that would otherwise go unseen are brought to the forefront. This allows homebuyers to access better service and better rates. The savings over the period of a 30-year mortgage from this information could easily be in the tens of thousands.
LendingTree Auto Loans
This is another excellent resource within the LendingTree ecosystem. Through the power of aggregation low auto loan rates are quickly accessible. Everything needed in the auto loan process is here for both buyers of new and old cars. Immediate information of APR is useful and stratified by credit scores. A user can start and end the entire process within LendingTree. This begins with basic, but effective car research tools to find the make and model with the best price in your area. Customers can then move to researching loan quotes across multiple lenders using their credit score. The information provides a clear picture of expected monthly payment based on risk factors and down payments.
This toolbox is well rounded. The overall capabilities are better than what you’ll find on many other auto loan sites, even those devoted only to automotive topics. The included articles also provide useful information designed to inform rather than motivate readers to engage in a soft sales pitch. Consider the article, “Best Gas Mileage Trucks,” which uses the voluminous data within LendingTree to quickly isolate value. These astute articles get right to the point with specific, actionable data that has a measurable impact on what a savvy buyer can save.
Other pieces like a simple and direct five-point checklist explaining what’s needed to secure an auto loan is valuable to those new to the process. Again, this kind of content makes great use of the big data reserves that reside below the surface of the simplified site. These analytics are free, easy to use and provide a basis for genuine value. These benefits appear to be driven by a site focused on the consumer and not pushing particular brands or specific finance companies.
LendingTree Personal Loans
In recent years many other sites devoted solely to personal loans have developed online. This is a competitive business where gaining borrowers is such a drive that even low credit score holders are permitted borrowing levels previously unseen. The options here are designed for a variety of life events like:
- Medical loans
- Wedding loans
- Holiday loans
Other services offered include, debt consolidation, unsecured loans, and personal loans for any other reason. A list of competing rates will be generated based on questions answered by the borrower. Be prepared to get quotes based on personal metrics including:
- Credit score
- Employment status
- Annual income
- Total borrowing need
- Purpose of loan
- Residence status (e.g. renter or owner)
Many of the numbers you provide will have a significant impact on the rates available to you. LendingTree claims to offer APRs on personal loans up to $25,000 that can be as low as 7.16%.
LendingTree also offers debt consolidation services. This allows users to enjoy the potential benefit of reducing their total debt payment and simplifying the process of reaching solvency. The efforts made to educate borrowers are commendable. LendingTree is upfront about the real, long-term challenges debt consolidators will face. LendingTree explains, “The great thing about consolidating debt is that it can allow you to get yourself debt-free quickly. But the only way it really works is if you’re disciplined about sticking to a debt repayment program. Remember experts estimate that between 50 and 85 percent of people that consolidate debt fail to stay out of debt.” This sobering statistic alerts users to the responsibility they face in addressing their own debt problems. The included calculators help clarify if this is a good option for the individual.
Personal loans, like any other, carry risk. These are unsecured loans, which means there is no underlying asset backing them. Often, a borrower can access funds at a lower rate then they would receive on a credit card. Total loan values offered to LendingTree users range from $1,000 to $35,000.
LendingTree Business Loans
The LendingTree small business loan service will not apply to most users. The LendingTree model is built for individuals and their borrowing needs. Those running a small business in need of capital are more likely to rely on their own bank to secure additional funds. However the options at LendingTree are surprisingly varied. They offer 11 types of business loans. Examples include, equipment financing, revenue loans, startup financing and micro loans.
The value here again is speed. Many of the loans can be wrapped up in a time frame that is much faster than other conventional methods. Those who qualify can usually access the funds within 24-48 hours. LendingTree will use three key metrics in determining your eligibility, they are:
- Length of time in business
- Credit score
- Annual revenue of company
Several of the small business loans offered do not require collateral, an attractive feature for some. LendingTree uses a long list of lenders to generate the best competitive rate for borrowers. The range of amounts offered is wide. The smallest micro loan could be as low as $500 while a major equipment loan could reach $5,000,000.
As with the other lending services there is a wealth of articles published on the site. These cover topics relating to the operation of small and mid-sized businesses. These pieces are designed to inform and provide specific, actionable insights while being brief.
LendingTree Student Loans
LendingTree cautions students against borrowing without fully understanding the consequences. They explain, “Unfortunately, about 65% of students misunderstand the terms of their own student loans. That means they aren’t comparing options, reading the fine print or asking questions about one of the most important financial decisions they’ll ever make. Don’t be one of them.” This is wise advice for those embarking on the uncertain journey of student loan borrowing. This may be the most sought after service within LendingTree. College tuition has long been on the rise. As the groundswell of angst concerning student loans grows people are increasingly searching for low cost borrowing. This phenomenon is reflected in a recent piece in Consumer Reports where the author explains, “The federal government holds about 93 percent of the $1.3 trillion in outstanding student loans. That makes the Department of Education, effectively, one of the world’s largest banks, but one that rarely deals directly with its customers.”
A user can quickly access student loan rates by entering just the state of their desired school and the total loan need. The lending programs offered can be used towards:
- Bachelor’s degree
- Master’s degree
- Associates degree
The true APR extended to a student will, as usual, rely on several pieces of information including credit score and total balance. The included glossary of terms helps to equip students with a better working knowledge of their borrowing. If used properly and responsibly, LendingTree can be a good introductory education tool. The biggest mistake students make is the decision to engage in expensive loans without fully understanding the long-term picture and the costs.
LendingTree Credit Cards
Comparing credit cards is difficult. Why? Each card offers different perks and rewards. Therefore, a true apples-to-apples comparison is difficult. LendingTree offers deep analytics to guide credit card shoppers to the card that will best reward their style of spending. LendingTree addresses this issue by segmenting their recommended credit cards by various classifications. Examples include:
- Cash back
- Airline miles
- Low interest
- No annual fees
When a user visits the page they’ll need just an understanding of their own credit score and their category preference (e.g. rewards points, cash back, travel, etc.). LendingTree will then use this information to build a list of the most attractive offers. The friendly interface allows for a quick glance at competing cards within similar categories. This brings ease to the decision making process. Each card listed includes a helpful list of “highlights.” This list quickly summarizes the real value and perks of each card. The information provided here is robust enough to make LendingTree a good one-stop shop for credit cards.
The “Resource” section offers a helpful “Definitions” list. This is important for those new to credit cards. Again, like student loans, understanding the risks associated with owning a credit card are critical. By toggling between the offerings for good credit customers and poor credit customers a user can better understand with value they can earn by earning a better credit score over time.
LendingTree Free Credit Score
Getting a free credit score is easy and available through numerous resources. Therefore, this service, on the surface doesn’t add real value to the LendingTree system. However, LendingTree attempts to take this basic option further by offering programs designed to alert you to potential savings unlocked by a strong or improving credit score.
Those curious about their score and how it’s influenced would likely see more value in using the free services offered by the government here. This will provide an in-depth look at your credit history, where it’s strong and where it’s weak. To get your FICO score you’ll need to pay a fee of $3.95.
LendingTree offers a “Vantage Score” as an alternative to the more traditional FICO score. The Vantage Score is a scale developed in 2006. This number is based on the last two years of your credit history. The Vantage Score site claims that the differentiating factor with this score is, “Traditional credit scoring models exclude many consumers, often leaving them unable to get credit. For example, other models do not score consumers who are new to the credit market or who use credit infrequently. The Vantage Score 3.0 model, which is the most recently introduced model, provides a score to 30–35 million adult consumers who otherwise would be virtually invisible to mainstream lenders.” Other nuanced differences include:
- Reason codes explaining the influencing factors on one’s credit
- Universal metrics so each Vantage Score can be compared to another equally
- Highly predictive and consistent
This newer scoring system has some value but nearly any consumer will be satisfied with the simplicity and speed of a free report from Experian, Equifax and Transunion. Given that all three of these bureaus will generate their own report annually for free there is little need for more metrics.
Be Warned: LendingTree Reviews
There are risks to consider when working with LendingTree. The business model behind the site may be based on referrals. This means LendingTree gets rewarded for each consumer they refer to a lending institution (i.e. a bank). The consumer-reporting site CreditKarma.com offers a grim glimpse into the experiences of other LendingTree customers. A collection of 53 reviews averages out to a rating of only 1.3 stars out of 5. One anonymous reviewer writes, “Lending tree will send to you a “approved” loan offer which is FALSE. These are apparently companies paying to get referral from Lending Tree.” This practice is a common complaint from users. Another disgruntled loan holder writes, “It was horrible, be ready for them to flood you with phone calls.” 88% of the respondents give a 1-star rating. This is a problem.
Any consumer casually using the site should investigate first if any “hard credit pulls” will be performed when shopping. If so, take caution as these “hard pulls” can adversely impact your credit score. Many customers have complained about a flood of offers, emails and calls following an application on LendingTree. Therefore, be warned that creating an account with LendingTree may make you a target for aggressive lenders calling for your business.
As a venue for due diligence and research LendingTree offers tremendous value. However, take a careful look at what you’re getting into before engaging their services as many before have been left disappointed.
LendingTree As a Resource For Bad Credit Holders
Those with poor credit will not find any benefit with LendingTree. The burden of limited borrowing and high APRs is likely to follow someone with poor credit no matter where they go. LendingTree can equip you with knowledge and resources to better understand how to improve credit. However, there are no products or services here or anywhere else that can help credit above and beyond the simple practice of regularly paying down debt. The credit card database within LendingTree does offer some guidance for those seeking a credit card while carrying poor credit. However, a new credit card account is likely a bad idea for those already saddled with poor credit.
LendingTree vs. The Competitors
There are many competitors to the personal loan services offered by LendingTree. These online options seek to attract your business through advertised low APRs on personal loans. The key personal metrics used to determine your borrowing terms are the same across all these options. Therefore, the differences in the loan deals are likely to be minor. However, lets take a look at others in this market place.
LendingTree vs LendUp
LendUp personal loans share many characteristics with “payday loans” where a short-term, unsecured loan is repaid upon the borrowers receiving their next pay check. The short-term borrowing with LendUp, however, is not a “payday loan” according to the site. LendUp loans explains, “Unlike payday loans, our interest decreases to under 30% APR as you demonstrate financial responsibility.” Yet, the simple fact remains clear: you will pay astronomical interest rates. LendUp offers speed and flexibility for those with poor credit looking to secure a very small loan not to exceed $1,000.
LendingTree vs Prosper
Prosper is a peer-to-peer lending site built for speed and simplicity. Prosper is a great LendingTree alternative for those in search of a personal loan for nearly any need. Unlike LendingTree you will not be pushed into the fray of banks but rather individuals offering personal loans. Any LendingTree user should seriously review the rates and terms available with this service as the execution and rates are strong.
LendingTree vs Avant
Avant enjoys a strong customer service feedback history. The site uses your FICO score to generate your expected rate. Remember that rates will increase as your score decreases. While the customer service is strong your ultimate costs will be the biggest consideration and Avant is unlikely to have rates that are lower than other lenders. However, given the excellent testimonials any consumer should consider their rates here before committing to another option. Avant explains that the perform only a “soft pull” on credit thereby avoiding a negative impact on your score.
The Final Word
Start your research process at LendingTree, but take great caution before committing. You may be making the decision based on false rates designed to bring you through the door. The data provided by LendingTree is a great baseline from which to build your expectations. Remember, you aren’t doing business with LendingTree, your doing business with a collection of lenders and therefore things can get confusing. Buyers beware.