A bunch of online lending companies have appeared in the last few years, and each has their own strength. But it’s difficult choosing the right one, or knowing which ones to go to. With more online lenders showing up every day, the choice is just getting harder. Fortunately, there are a few standouts, and as the market gets bigger, these options keep getting better. But they all have their own special value for potential borrowers, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each.
- Review of: Lending Club vs Prosper vs SoFi vs Best Egg
- Reviewed by: Michael Foster
Published on: January 24, 2017
Last modified: January 24, 2017
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Want to learn more? Here are the 4 best online lenders, what they’re best for, and what the downsides are with each one.
Lending Club is the biggest of the peer-to-peer loan universe, and allows people to borrow for all sorts of reasons: debt consolidation, business funding, medical procedures, vacations—really just about anything. The good thing about this is you can go to Lending Club for any kind of loan. Lending Club also can provide great returns for investors, especially if you know how to use it correctly.
For borrowers, this is a bit of a drawback. Peer-to-peer lenders tend to be hungry for the highest rate they can possibly get while taking on the least amount of risk. This can make them picky and raise the floor of how low loan rates can be on the platform. The good thing about borrowing with Lending Club is you can approve or reject any kind of loan offer you want, and set your own terms of how you want to borrow. The tools remain in your hands throughout the entire process.
Prosper is very similar to Lending Club: a peer-to-peer lending platform that matches borrowers with investors who want to give credit to people. Prosper specializes in personal loans of many types, and all Prosper loans last 3-5 years.
Prosper has a wide range of how much people can borrow: anywhere between $2,000 and $35,000. The loans can be paid at any time, and rates will vary but usually start at 7%. Because of the high rate, Prosper is best for emergencies or for consolidating credit card debt—with car loans, student loans, or other financial needs, you’re probably better off with someone else. If you have a student loan, read on.
SoFi stands for “Social Finance” and is another big lending operation. Unlike Prosper and LendingClub, they focus on one thing: refinancing student loans. Since student loan debt has grown to over $1.4 trillion and keeps growing, there’s a big market for SoFi to handle on their own. They’ve already helped people refinance over $9 billion in loans, and there’s plenty of room for more lending.
This is a great opportunity for students to refinance their student loans at very low rates. Unlike LendingClub and Prosper, SoFi does not do peer-to-peer lending. Instead, they get money from accredited investors and large institutions, who are looking to spread their investments to lower their risk.
This is partly why SoFi rates are so low; loans have fixed rates at 3.5% and above, but if you choose AutoPay you can cut your interest rate to 2.14%. Since inflation is currently at about that, this means you’re pretty much borrowing for free.
The one drawback with SoFi: they have high standards, and your rate is based on a variety of things, including your career, the school you went to, and your credit score. Your rate could be considerably higher if any of these isn’t exactly what SoFi is looking for—but it will still probably be lower than what you’re paying now.
With over $1 billion in loans already done, Best Egg has grown fast, and it’s still growing as more people take advantage of the platform’s advanced features. Best Egg offers an excellent, intuitive app for managing your loan and has some of the best customer service in the online lending world.
Best Egg is still borrowing from a bank; the platform is run by Cross River Bank, and all loans are funded through them. This means you can expect personal loan interest rates similar to what you’d get at a bank: Best Egg rates start at 5.99%, and they depend on your credit score when setting your rate. The amount you can borrow is identical to Prosper: $2,000 to $35,000, and the platform only offers 3 and 5-year loans.
The downside is that rates can go up really high—they max out at 29.99%. Also, Best Egg charges an “origination fee” of 0.99% to 4.99%, so beware those fees when you apply. Don’t worry—you won’t pay the fee until after you’ve been offered a loan and accept it.
The best reason to choose Best Egg is loan management: their online tools make it much easier than any bank loan, but remember that it remains a bank loan. Because of that, their approval process can be a bit more demanding than Lending Club or Prosper.
Lending Club vs Prosper vs SoFi vs Best Egg Conclusion
The online lender you choose depends on your situation. If you are looking to refinance a student loan, SoFi should be your first stop. For personal loans of any other type, we recommend Propser.
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