LendUp Review: What’s Behind the Sales Pitch?

LendUp Review: What’s Behind the Sales Pitch?

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Loan Ammount
$100 - $400
Loan term
7 Days to 4 Months
Min. credit score
None
Est. APR
41 - 1250%
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6/10 (Expert Score)
Product is rated as #3 in category Lenders

The world of short-term loans is a competitive and constantly changing one. How is the average consumer supposed to keep track of who is who and what kind of loans you can get from each of them?

Nobody, certainly, has all the answers, nor is everyone's situation the same. Some, particularly those with good credit, may be seeking personal loans with the best interest rates; others whose credit score has taken a hit may need access to quick cash as soon as possible. This LendUp review aims to answer all the questions you may have, whether you're an experienced borrower with a solid financial education or someone who's never applied for a loan before.

Availability
6.5
Affordability
5
Customer Experience
7
PROS:
  • No hard credit check and available even with bad credit
  • Improved rates for returning customers
  • Good financial education program available online for free
CONS:
  • Extremely high APRs on some loans
  • Only available in a few states
  • Regular payments build credit, but only under certain circumstances
Editorial Note: Although LoanWinners receives indirect compensation from our advertisers, we follow a strict editorial process to ensure that all our reviews are fair and free from bias. All information provided here is accurate to the best of our knowledge at the time of writing.

Company (Lender) Loan Amount Loan term Min. credit score Est. APR Funds available in
LendUp Logo $100 – $400 7 Days to 4 Months None 41% to 1250% one business day


Payday loans, which are what LendUp specializes in, are very short-term, high-interest loans that can offer a way out of emergencies. Some of their good qualities are that even people with a poor credit score have access to these, and the time between application and payout is very short. Beware, though: this type of loan, used irresponsibly, can easily lead the unwary into a debt trap where the original loan is renewed several times while fees pile up. The typical maximum loan amount for payday loans from LendUp is $300, depending on your history with the company and the state in which you live.

You can also apply for an installment loan from LendUp, generally up to $400 (again, depending on your state of residence and prior dealings with the company). This is a kind of installment loan – i.e. you pay it off in several installments over a period of up to four months – so interest rates are lower, making them more affordable.

The Low-Down on LendUp

lendup review pros and cons

lendup review pros and cons

LendUp is one of the plethora of lending companies servicing the many people who can’t get credit from ordinary financial institutions like banks and credit unions. Even by the standards of the cash advance industry, their lending criteria are very lenient and their fees high. In other words, LendUp offers loans primarily to people who have few other financial options.

 

One thing which makes them stand out is their “LendUp Ladder” program. Whereas a LendUp loan usually won’t be reported to the major credit bureaus – meaning that it won’t help build your credit – they do take your repayment history with them into account the next time you apply for a LendUp loan. Repaying these on time helps you climb the rungs, reducing the interest rates you have to pay and giving you access to better loans in future.

LendUp also offers free financial education, something which all short-term credit providers really should do. This comes in the form of short video clips on a variety of financial subjects, followed by a simple quiz. Each one you complete successfully earns you LendUp Ladder points. Regular customers who take care to repay their LendUp loans will eventually earn Platinum status, meaning that future loan repayments will be reported to credit bureaus, improving their scores over time.

Is LendUp a Legit Company?

LendUp, like many payday loan providers, is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau. It is, however, a company incorporated in California and properly registered with all relevant oversight bodies. You can review their operating licenses for each state via their website.

More importantly, their desire for repeat business, their referral program (which also earns you LendUp Ladder points), and apparent commitment to improving their customers’ financial situations over time make us believe that LendUp is indeed an honest company. Many of the complaints leveled against them revolve around banking errors and stolen identities being used to take out loans with them, neither of which is under LendUp’s control. At the time of writing, their TrustPilot rating is 4.7 out of 5, averaged from 2,468 reviews.

On the other hand, LendUp was fined $6.3 million dollars in 2016 for misleading advertising. According to the company, the issues that led to this were quickly fixed.

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LendUp Loans and Other Financial Products

You can take out either a single-payment or installment loan from LendUp; with the latter, you repay the loan amount plus interest over several months instead of on your next payday. It’s recommended that you review the terms and conditions for each as they apply in your location, since there are major variations between state laws.

There also used to be LendUp credit cards, the idea being that individuals who can’t qualify for a regular credit card may still need the same functionality. If you think you might be interested in a LendUp card, you’ll be happy to know that they are still available, but now through a separate business entity called Mission Lane.

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Applying for a Loan Using the LendUp Platform

The entire application process takes only a few minutes and can be done from any computer or mobile device. Simply select your desired loan amount and repayment date, fill out a few personal details on their digitally secured form, and you’re good to go. Significantly, LendUp does not run a “hard” credit check: a request for detailed credit history information that tells a credit bureau that you’re about to take on more debt and therefore causes your score to dip temporarily.

Once you’ve registered, you can use your LendUp login to check all important information, such as the status of your loan, your next repayment date, and when you can apply for a new LendUp loan on their handy online dashboard. You will only need to contact their customer service department in rare instances. This dashboard also allows you to pay a loan back earlier than the date you originally selected. You can also extend its period or ask for a payment plan if you can’t come up with the full amount in time – without damaging your credit score. Note that these options usually entail an additional fee and may not be allowed under some states’ laws.

After this is completed, you should receive the money on the next business day. Note that your bank’s internal processes can sometimes cause a delay. In future, LendUp may offer transfers in under 15 minutes to certain types of bank account, but this service is currently not supported.

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LendUp Interest Rates and Fees

LendUp charges high interest rates compared to other companies that offer personal loans, but is in the ballpark when it comes to payday advances (they claim to offer an alternative to the conventional payday loan, but the actual differences are minor). What exactly you should expect depends on how far up the LendUp ladder you’ve climbed, which state you live in and whether you have good credit.

In other words, LendUp loans are probably not going to be the cheapest you can get, but not the most expensive either. Assuming that you’re happy with the company in general, the best thing to do is use an online loan comparison service to see which loans you can qualify for and choose the most economical.

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Customer Experiences with LendUp

In general, most LendUp clients are satisfied with the level of service they receive. Of course, as you would expect from any company that deals with thousands of clients a month, some were also unhappy, particularly with the helpline. When a problem does arise, it sometimes takes several days to resolve this through normal channels.

One point that counts in LendUp’s favor is the level of transparency they offer. Even if you know nothing about payday or personal loans, their website does a good job of explaining how much one will cost, what your obligations are, and what to expect. It’s worth mentioning that they make it easy to renegotiate a loan that you’re about to fall behind on; it is strongly suggested that you do rather than just getting into arrears.

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LendUp’s Minimum Eligibility Requirements

Note that LendUp only operates in a few states and, depending on what kind of LendUp loan you’re applying for, even residents of those states may not be eligible for the financial product they had in mind. Note that the following information was accurate in October 2020; maximum loan amounts are expected to increase as the pressure caused by the coronavirus pandemic eases.

In California, you can request a single-payment loan for up to $255 or a multi-payment loan for $400 or lower.

Louisiana residents can borrow up to $300 for a month or less, or a maximum of $400 for four months.

People living in Mississippi have access to single-payment loans up to $300.

Missourians can apply for single-payment loans of $300 and installment loans reaching $400.

Should you live in Tennessee, you can request a cash advance of up to $300.

First-time customers in Texas can be approved for amounts as high as $300 on either a single-payment or installment basis.

Cash advances of up to $300 are available in Wisconsin.

Aside from the legal restrictions imposed on residents of some states, you can gain access to a LendUp loan as long as you have a bank account that can accept wire transfers (i.e. not most savings accounts), a phone number and email address, a valid Social Security number, and (again depending on your state) proof of income such as paystubs.

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LendUp Loans: Right for You, or Better to Look Elsewhere?

In general, you should get a very short-term loan from a company like LendUp only if there are no better options available to you. Not all LendUp loans are reported to credit bureaus, meaning that there are several better alternatives for building your credit. In addition, these loans are very expensive compared to those you can find at a credit union or bank – assuming, of course, that you have the credit to qualify for them.

In terms of how much you pay for what you get, LendUp is neither the best nor the worst direct lender willing to approve people with low credit scores. If you find that you’re frequently in need of instant cash but can also keep up with the repayments, their LendUp Ladder program does make this company a more attractive option than most. Constantly running out of money before the end of the month usually points to a more serious financial problem, though. If this describes your situation, your only long-term solution may be to ask for free counseling and improve your spending habits. A LendUp loan, like all similar products, is a bandaid and not a cure.

Terms: LendUp Review: What’s Behind the Sales Pitch?

Min. credit score None
Funds available in one business day
Est. APR 41 - 1250%
Loan term 7 Days to 4 Months
Loan amount $100 - $400

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LendUp Review: What’s Behind the Sales Pitch?
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