Here at Elite Personal Finance, we’ve reviewed plenty of online lenders that offer all kinds of products, from payday loans to installment loans and even large personal loans up to $35,000. Payday lending portals are the most common on the Internet, making up the majority of what we have reviewed and what you might find on an Internet ad.
LendUp is different. They’re not a lending portal: they’re a lender, licensed in states across the country. If they’re not in your state, don’t worry: they’ll be in your state soon. They pride themselves on being a socially-responsible lender, promising not to leave you rolling down the “chute” into deeper and deeper debt.
Their main selling point is the “ladder”, which allows people to get better rates and “points” toward a higher level of service. Not only this, but borrowers can eventually start to borrow loans that will appear on their credit history. This is much different from a typical payday lender, where the loans don’t appear anywhere on their credit report and the payments don’t count toward their credit score.
We’re going to review LendUp and look critically at what they are offering: is it a scam? Is it worth it? We’re about to find out.
What is LendUp?
LendUp is a direct lender based out of the USA. Because they lend money directly over the Internet, they have the ability to set their own terms for how much the loans cost and what benefit the loans have to the borrower.
It is currently available in the following states: Alabama, California, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
They offer two main types of loans: short-term loans and installment loans. Short-term loans are the types of loans you see very commonly on a payday loan website or at your payday dealer: small loans that cost a fair bit in interest and have additional finance charges associated with them. A short term loan requires that you pay the entire loan, in full, on the due date. If you cannot do this, you will be charged exorbitant late fees AND the interest will accrue. Since the APRs on these loans can be as high as 2,000%, you do NOT want to be late.
An installment loan is closer to a car loan: you borrow a set amount of money and pay it, with interest, over time. Very few payday lenders offer these, because they specialize in bad credit loans and typically, people with bad credit will not be able to qualify for these kinds of loans. There’s no collateral (that is, nothing for the lender to take away in case of default), and this causes the lenders to be more wary of people with bad credit.
Their main selling point is their “Ladder”, which is a system that they use to help people get better rates on loans, learn more about personal finance, and get out of a cycle of debt. We cover it in a bit more detail later in the article.
The application process is quick and easy, you get a decision instantly, and you can trust that your loan is coming directly from LendUp. No middlemen means you get to work directly with the bank, and no other institution is getting your information. That’s a big fear when using payday portals: some of the more unscrupulous ones want to sell your information to the highest bidder.
Their typical APR’s range from about 200% to about 350%, however you can get lower or higher rates depending on factors such as your credit score and your place on the “ladder”. They charge an additional administration fee of 5% of the amount financed up to $50. Both the interest charge and administration fee must be paid at the end of the term.
You can borrow up to $250 initially, but as you climb up the “ladder”, you will be able to borrow more.
With LendUp, you can trust that you’re getting a safe loan.
Is LendUp a Scam or Legit?
This company has a high Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating and a high rate of customer satisfaction. They expect everyone to pay their loans on time, otherwise they will have to pay a large amount of interest.
LendUp itself is NOT a scam. However, there IS a scam associated with LendUp that we feel all our users must be aware of.
Someone is using their company name in order to scam and defraud people. They are going around asking people to send them money in exchange for a loan. Some people have already fallen for it and have complained to the BBB. The BBB knows about this and has issued a warning.
The real company will NEVER ask you for money through MoneyGram, and they will NEVER ask you to pay anything BEFORE signing up for a loan. You make all secure payments through their HTTPS-secure website, and NOT through MoneyGram or Western Union. Be aware, and keep your eyes open!
What is the LendUp Ladder?
The LendUp Ladder is a system that rewards users that borrow from the company and pay their loans on time. The ladder allows people to get lower APRs (as low as 29%!), access to larger loan amounts, access to installment loans, and the ability to put their payments on their credit history. Upon your first loan, you get 125 points on the ladder.
There are three main ways to earn points on the ladder:
- Borrow from LendUp and pay your loan, in full, on time. By doing this, you get up to 1000 points! You can only earn 1000 points per month by doing this, so just borrowing small amounts multiple times in a month is not going to cut it.
- Complete their FREE Education courses. They offer courses which teach you about personal finance and help you achieve your goals.
- Refer them to a friend. By referring a friend and having them borrow a loan, you will receive 500 points on the ladder!
How Can I Apply?
If you’re current strapped for cash and are looking for a solution that won’t bankrupt you, look no further than LendUp. They’re a socially responsible lender that has provided loans to Americans for several years, no matter what their credit score is.