Borrowize Lending and Finance Blog Original articles, opinion pieces, industry news, and product information to help you make wise borrowing decisions and improve your credit. Tue, 16 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 en-US weekly 1 Borrowize Lending and Finance Blog 142 94 Kate Launched Her Freelance Design Business Using a $3,000 Personal Loan <p>Millions of Americans are becoming freelancers. A personal loan can help you build our own gig economy business.</p> <p>The gig economy is here to stay – more than 55 million Americans are working as freelancers either full-time or as a little side hustle. </p> <p>Millions of people are leaving their corporate lives for project-based working arrangements that provide more flexibility and freedom.  If you have a specific skill set, you can get a freelance business up and running with <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">a relatively small investment</a></strong></u>. </p> <p><u><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Kate is one of those talented professionals</a></strong></u>.  Her passion was always art, so she would paint whenever she wasn’t working full time as an interior designer for a company in Los Angeles.    </p> <p>At first, Kate would only sell her art to friends, but after a little word of mouth she started getting more inbound requests.  Soon after came inquiries about logo design, branding, marketing materials, and web design. </p> <p>With the gig economy, Kate saw an opportunity to finally do what she always wanted to, all <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">she needed was the initial money to get going</a></strong></u>. </p> <p>“<u><strong><a href="" target="_blank">With a little bit of capital</a></strong></u>, I knew I could get my design business started quickly.  I could sell my artwork to people all over the U.S. on <u><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Etsy</a></strong></u> and <a href="" target="_blank"><u><strong>Instagram</strong></u></a>, and I can <u><strong><a href="" target="_blank">market my logo and branding services</a></strong></u> on platforms like Upwork and get connected to other professionals in need of design help all around the world.” </p> <p><a class="borrowizeBtnYellowTransparent" href="" target="_self"><u><strong>Apply for a Personal Loan</strong></u></a></p> <p> </p> <h2>The Personal Loan Helped Her Invest in the Business <u>AND</u> Herself:</h2> <p>To get started, Kate took out a <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">$3,000 personal loan</a></strong></u> and used a small portion of her personal savings to buy a new computer and editing software, a new digital camera, and plenty of art supplies.  She also enrolled in a digital design and photoshop bootcamp online and attended a few art classes. </p> <p><a class="borrowizeBtnYellowTransparent" href="" target="_self"><u><strong>Apply for a Personal Loan</strong></u></a></p> <p>“I knew that to thrive as a designer I had to expand my skill set and become a more well-rounded artist.  The technology nowadays is always evolving, and you have to be on top of the design trends to stay relevant.”</p> <p>Kate was able to get a personal loan with an <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">APR just under 12%</a></strong></u> and 3-year term using her good credit history, recent pay stubs and additional side income selling art.  She was <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">pre-qualified</a></strong></u> for several loan offers <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">in a few minutes</a></strong></u> and got her money in less than 2 days.</p> <p>The best part was that Kate’s loan had <a href="" target="_self"><u><strong>fixed monthly payments of $99 a month</strong></u></a>, so she was able to budget around it knowing she’d be debt-free in 3 years as long as she made all her payments. </p> <p>“I never knew that a personal loan was even an option but am so glad it was because I likely ended up saving hundreds of dollars on interest compared to if I’d used a credit card.”</p> <p>[[Choose Personal]]</p> <p> </p> <p><span style="font-size:12px"><em>THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT AN ACTUAL NEWS ARTICLE, OR CONSUMER PROTECTION UPDATE.</em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px"><em>The term "advertorial" is a combination of "advertisement" and "editorial" written in an editorial format as an independent news story, when in fact the advertisement may promote a particular product or interest. Advertorials take factual information and report it in an editorial format to allow the author, often a company marketing its products, to enhance or explain certain elements to maintain the reader's interest.  </em></span></p> <div> </div> Personal Loans Tue, 16 Oct 2018 00:00:00 -0700 This Millennial Used a Personal Loan to Grow His Small Business <p>Alex used a personal loan to launch and grow his restaurant management business after banks wouldn't lend to him.</p> <p>We’ve all heard of the small company started by a couple of college dropouts in a garage that becomes a huge international success.  The poster child of the American Dream. </p> <p>Most small businesses, however, are like the corner bakery in your small town, the jewelry maker that sells at the local swap meet, or the catering company your friend runs out of her kitchen.  Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S.. economy.</p> <p>Small businesses <a href="" target="_self"><u><strong>need capital</strong></u></a>, and once upon a time long ago, community banks would be there to help.  If you had a great idea, a growing client book, a working product, or a unique business skill, banks were willing to take a chance on you. </p> <p>Those banking days are long gone.  Fortunately, there are a <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">handful of online lenders</a></strong></u> that offer <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">affordable personal loans</a></strong></u> that can be used for your small business. </p> <p><strong><u><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href="" target="_self">Apply for a Personal Loan</a></u></strong></p> <p> </p> <h2>Alex Got a Personal Loan after Banks and Business Lenders Turned Him Down</h2> <p>Take Alex, a former private equity VP turned entrepreneur in his 30s.  Alex started his restaurant management company <a href="" target="_blank">KitchenSync</a> after helping one of his friends turn his restaurant business around.</p> <p>For the first few months, Alex ran the business on the side and used his own savings and credit cards to launch the company.  Pretty soon, he landed 3 more restaurants and had to hire a client manager, buy computers, and set up a temporary office. </p> <p>“I knew that unless I ramped up to 10 to 15 clients in the first couple of months that we wouldn’t survive, which meant hiring a sales person and investing in some local marketing.” </p> <p>“I had revenue coming in, so I reached out to a couple of banks and small business lenders and their answer was either no, or the terms were so bad that I would go under just trying to pay back the loan.” </p> <p>Instead, Alex used his most recent pay stubs as well as the income from his first few clients to secure a <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">$35,000 personal loan</a></strong></u>.  The loan had a high single-digit APR and a five year term with <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">equal monthly payments of $725</a></strong></u>.</p> <p>“Getting the capital to expand was a life saver, and having equal monthly payments made it much easier to budget.  Plus, the <em><strong>whole process was fully digital, I didn't have to go into a branch, and I got the money in less than 2 days.</strong></em>"</p> <p>Alex and KitchenSync ended up paying off the loan in under 4 years, and spent less on interest than on our credit card debt that was half the amount. </p> <p>[[Choose Personal]]</p> <h2>A Personal Loan Can Help Launch Your Gig Economy Business:</h2> <p>The “Gig Economy” makes it easier for people to work remotely and on their own schedule for companies such as Uber, AirBnB, TopTal and Upwork.  Web developers, graphic designers, consultants, and other specialized professionals can make a great living AND have a great work-life balance. </p> <p>Getting started in the Gig Economy often <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">takes a bit of an investment</a></strong></u>.  For example, if you’re a freelance photographer, you may need to buy a new camera, a laptop and a photo editing software.  If you want to rent a spare room or guest house on AirBnB, you may need to renovate the space or get new furniture in order to maximize your rent.  You can also use a personal loan to take a coding class or get your certification. </p> <p>Personal loans are a great option for one off business expenses or career investments [Link], particularly if it results in earning higher income.  Unlike credit cards, with a personal loan you know exactly what you’ll pay each month, which helps you decide how much to take out and how long it will be before you’ve paid it off.</p> <p>Use our <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">simple online application</a></strong></u> to find out what loans and terms you qualify for in just a few minutes.  You can also use our <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">loan payment calculator</a></strong></u> and <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">personal loan vs. credit card calculator</a></strong></u> to find out how much you’ll pay each month and how much you’ll save compared to a credit card.</p> <p><strong><u><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href="" target="_self">Apply for a Personal Loan</a></u></strong></p> <p> </p> <p><span style="font-size:12px"><em>THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT AN ACTUAL NEWS ARTICLE, OR CONSUMER PROTECTION UPDATE.</em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px"><em>The term "advertorial" is a combination of "advertisement" and "editorial" written in an editorial format as an independent news story, when in fact the advertisement may promote a particular product or interest. Advertorials take factual information and report it in an editorial format to allow the author, often a company marketing its products, to enhance or explain certain elements to maintain the reader's interest.  </em></span></p> <p> </p> Personal Loans Wed, 26 Sep 2018 00:00:00 -0700 How This Working Mother Saved Thousands by Paying Off Her Credit Card Debt <p>Christina used a personal loan to pay off over $25,000 in credit card debt and saved thousands in interest expense</p> <p>Christina and her husband live in Los Angeles and both have good jobs.  They make enough to live comfortably and cover day-to-day expenses, but the rising cost of living in LA with a young son makes it difficult to save money, much less pay off debt.   </p> <p>That’s why 5 years after getting married, the Smiths were still struggling to pay off the more than $25,000 in credit card deb they racked up after the wedding and the birth of their first child.  </p> <p>“When we got married in 2010, we both worked full time and barely had any credit card debt.  But then we went on our honey moon and had our son soon after.  I made the decision to stay home the first couple of years after he was born, and having one income really put us behind financially.”</p> <p>While most cautionary tales about debt involve careless spending or financial mismanagement, it was not the case for Christina and her husband. </p> <p>“We live a frugal lifestyle but living in Los Angeles with a kid can get really expensive at times.  There’s always that one big expense you don’t see coming, and before you know it, you are paying catch-up financially.”</p> <p>[[Choose Personal]]</p> <h2>Christina Set Up a Strict Repayment Schedule with a Lending Club Personal Loan:</h2> <p>Paying off credit cards requires that you make sizable monthly payments that chip away at both principal and interest.  It takes discipline and commitment, and often-times the only way to stick with it is to have no other choice.  </p> <p>That’s why <a href="" target="_self"><u><strong>a personal loan</strong></u></a> with equal and finite monthly payments can be such a great alternative. </p> <p>“We tried to create a payment schedule on our own, but on tight months we kept reverting back to only paying the minimum payment on the credit card statement.” </p> <p>How about using a balance transfer card with a 0% APR introductory period? </p> <p>“Balance transfer cards work if you can pay off most of all of the debt within the interest free period.  Instead, we realized that the 0% interest almost enticed us to spend more than we typically would, since it felt like free money.”</p> <p>Instead, Christina decided to take out <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">a personal loan</a></strong></u> with Lending Club.  <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">Lending Club</a></strong></u> loans have <a href="" target="_self"><u><strong>APRs between 6.16% and 35.89%</strong></u></a>, which means that if you have good to excellent credit you could qualify for a lower APR than even the best credit cards.  </p> <p>Plus, they have a fixed number of equal monthly payments, so even if the APR is on the high end of their range, you could still save thousands compared to a credit card because you pay it off in 3 years or less. </p> <p>“The <u><a href="" target="_self"><strong>Lending Club</strong></a></u> loan made it easy to plan out the monthly debt expense.  We knew what we needed to set aside each month, which was tough at times but well worth it.”   </p> <p>In the end, Christina and her husband paid off the full amount in <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">3 years by making payments of roughly $500 each month.</a></strong></u> </p> <p>Had they kept paying barely above the minimum payment, it could have taken them more than 20 years and $40,000 in interest to pay it off! </p> <p><strong><u><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href="" target="_self">Apply for a Lending Club Loan</a></u></strong></p> <p> </p> <h2>Once Paid Off, Christina Stayed Debt Free by Sticking to a Budget and Saving:</h2> <p>“Paying off the debt gave us an unbelievable sense of accomplishment and lifted a huge burden that we carried with us.  We never want to go back to where we were a few years ago.”</p> <p>Christina now understands that their financial situation can change instantly if one of them loses their job or if they face an emergency expense, so they make sure to stay on top of their bills and put away money each month, no matter how small the amount. </p> <p>To help you stay on track, there are great personal finance management tools and apps that are free and easy to use.  Companies like <strong><u><a href="" target="_blank">Hellowallet</a></u></strong>, <u><strong><a href="">Acorns</a></strong></u>, <u><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Mint</a></strong></u> or <u><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Moven</a></strong></u> provide you with a simplified and complete view of your financials, analyze and track your spending habits, and give you tools and tips to save daily. </p> <p>“Will we stay debt free forever?  I hope so, but understand it’s not likely.  The biggest takeaway for us was that we need to be proactive during bad times and never let it get to a point where it is unmanageable.”</p> <p><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href="" target="_self"><u><strong>Apply for a Lending Club Loan</strong></u></a></p> <p> </p> <p><span style="font-size:12px"><em>THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT AND NOT AN ACTUAL NEWS ARTICLE, OR CONSUMER PROTECTION UPDATE.</em></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12px"><em>The term "advertorial" is a combination of "advertisement" and "editorial" written in an editorial format as an independent news story, when in fact the advertisement may promote a particular product or interest. Advertorials take factual information and report it in an editorial format to allow the author, often a company marketing its products, to enhance or explain certain elements to maintain the reader's interest.  </em></span></p> Personal Loans Mon, 23 Jul 2018 00:00:00 -0700 Borrowize Top Personal Loan Picks for 2019 <p>Our 2019 picks for best personal lenders gives you everything you need to know to find the right loan for you.</p> <p>Personal loans can be a flexible and affordable way to <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">pay off high interest credit card debt</a></strong></u>, cover emergency expenses, or finance a <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">big purchase such as a home remodel or wedding</a></strong></u>.  With so many companies offering online loans, it’s essential that you <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">find the right one that fits your needs</a></strong></u>.</p> <p> </p> <h3><strong>Below are our 2019 best personal loans by category</strong> <em>(Click on category to read more)</em>:</h3> <p><u><strong><a href="#Excellent%20Credit">Best Loans for Excellent Credit</a><br><a href="#Credit%20Cards">Best Loans for Paying Off Credit Cards</a><br><a href="#Recent%20Grads">Best Loans for Recent Grads or People with Limited Credit</a><br><a href="#Millennials">Best Loans for Millennials</a><br><a href="#Payday">Best Alternative to Payday Loans</a></strong></u></p> <p> </p> <h2><a id="Excellent Credit" name="Excellent%20Credit"></a>Best Loans for Excellent Credit:</h2> <p>If you have excellent credit then you have plenty of financing opdtions, such as a low cost personal loan, a home equity line of credit, or a zero APR balance transfer card, so you should never pay an origination fee.  <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Our top personal loans for excellent credit</a></strong></u> have a combination of <strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_blank"><u>low APRs</u>, <u>no fees</u></a></strong><u>,</u> a user-friendly application process and unique member perks.  </p> <h3><strong>Our Top Choice:  <u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">SoFi</a></u> &amp; <u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">Lightstream</a></u></strong></h3> <p><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">SoFi</a></strong></u> and <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">Lightstream</a></strong></u> are both great companies.  Lightstream has the edge when it comes to personal loan options and rates, while SoFi has the edge when it comes to offering a more complete experience, such as member perks, wealth management, checking accounts, student loans, and more.  </p> <p><u><strong><a class="borrowizeBtnYellowTransparent" href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">Apply for a SoFi Loan</a></strong></u></p> <h3> </h3> <h3><strong>Other Options:</strong></h3> <ul><li><strong><u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Marcus</a></u></strong></li> </ul> <table class="table table-blog table-bordered table-hover table-striped" style="width:100%"><thead><tr><th scope="row"> </th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"> <p><strong>Loan Amounts</strong></p> </th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"><strong>APRs </strong></th> <th scope="col"> <p style="text-align:right"><strong>Origination Fee</strong></p> </th> </tr></thead><tbody><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self"><strong>SoFi</strong></a></u></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">$5,000 - $100,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">5.49% - 14.24%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self"><strong>LightStream</strong></a></u></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">$5,000 - $100,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">2.29% - 17.49%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self"><strong>Marcus</strong></a></u></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">$3,500 - $30,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">6.99% - 23.99%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None</td> </tr></tbody></table> <h2> </h2> <h2><a id="Credit Cards" name="Credit%20Cards"></a>Best Loans for Paying Off Credit Cards:  </h2> <p>Credit card debt can be extremely difficult to pay off, especially if you’re only making the minimum recommended payment.  Personal loans come with a set number of equal monthly payments and fixed rate that is often times lower than the best credit card APR offers.  Throw in the additional tools and resources that some lenders provide, and a personal loan become a no brainer way to become debt free. </p> <p>For a breakdown of how personal credit cards stack up against credit cards, take a look at our personal loan vs. credit card comparison.  </p> <h3><strong>Our Top Choice:  <u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Payoff</a></u></strong></h3> <p>Payoff’s singular focus is to help you become debt-free sooner, which is why every dollar you borrow must be used to pay a dollar of existing debt.  They also offer unique perks such as free FICO score updates, job loss support, and if you miss a payment, a Member Advocate may help you work out a plan that lets you either defer, skip, or reschedule your payment.</p> <p><u><strong><a class="borrowizeBtnYellowTransparent" href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Apply for a Payoff Loan</a></strong></u></p> <h3> </h3> <h3><strong>Other Options:</strong></h3> <ul><li><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">Lightstream</a></strong></u></li> <li><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Lending Club</a></strong></u></li> <li><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Marcus</a></strong></u></li> </ul> <table class="table table-blog table-bordered table-hover table-striped" style="width:100%"><thead><tr><th scope="row"> </th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"> <p><strong>Loan Amount</strong></p> </th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"><strong>APRs</strong></th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:right"> <p><strong>Origination Fee</strong></p> </th> </tr></thead><tbody><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Payoff</a></strong></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">$5,000 - $100,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">8.00% - 22.00%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">2.00% - 5.00%</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self"><strong>LightStream</strong></a></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">$5,000 - $100,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">2.29% - 17.49%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self"><strong>Lending Club</strong></a></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">$1,000 - $40,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">5.99% - 35.89%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">1.00% - 6.00%</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self"><strong>Marcus</strong></a></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">$3,500 - $30,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">6.99% - 23.99%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None</td> </tr></tbody></table> <h2><a id="Recent Grads" name="Recent%20Grads"></a><br> Best Loans for Recent Graduates or People with Limited Credit</h2> <p>If you’re a recent grad, chances are you have student debt and a limited credit history.  In other words, banks and credit card companies see you as a higher risk borrower.  </p> <p>Good news!  There are <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">lenders that cater to recent grads and young professionals</a></strong></u>.  However, there is big difference between the type of offers that you’ll receive if you’re a recent undergrad or graduate student.  <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Knowing where to apply</a></strong></u> will save you significant time and improve your chances of getting approved.    </p> <h3><strong>Our Top Choice:  <u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self">Upstart</a> </u></strong></h3> <p>Upstart is our top choice over <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">SoFi</a></strong></u> and <strong><u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Earnest</a></u></strong> because they are able to lend to a broader borrower pool.  While Earnest and <a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">SoFi</a> both offer lower rates than <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self">Upstart</a></strong></u> <strong>AND</strong> don’t charge origination fees, their approval criteria is much more selective, and most applicants will NOT qualify. </p> <p><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self">Upstart</a> </strong></u>offers competitive rates to younger borrowers that other lenders perceive to be “high risk” by incorporating a few additional factors into the application process, including education, degree, employment history, earning potential and credit history. </p> <p><u><strong><a class="borrowizeBtnYellowTransparent" href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self">Apply for an Upstart Loan</a></strong></u></p> <h3> </h3> <h3><strong>Other Options: </strong></h3> <ul><li><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">SoFi</a></strong></u></li> <li><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">Earnest</a></strong></u></li> </ul> <table class="table table-blog table-bordered table-hover table-striped" style="width:100%"><thead><tr><th scope="row"> </th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"><strong>Loan Amounts</strong></th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"><strong>APRs </strong></th> <th scope="col"> <p style="text-align:right"><strong>Origination Fee</strong></p> </th> </tr></thead><tbody><tr><th scope="row"> <p style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self"><strong>Upstart</strong></a></p> </th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self">$1,000 - $50,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self">6.00% - $29.99%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">0.00% - 8.00%</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row"> <p style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self"><strong>SoFi</strong></a></p> </th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">$5,000 - $100,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">5.49% - 14.24%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row"> <p style="text-align:left"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>Earnest</strong></a></p> </th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">$2,000 - $50,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">6.99% - 14.24%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p> </p> <h2><a id="Millennials" name="Millennials"></a>Best Loans for Millennials:</h2> <p>Millennials are the largest generation by population size, making them the largest consumer group in the United States. Millenials have different spending habits and brand preferences than older generations.  Still, most banks, credit card companies and major lenders are not adapting to properly serving them.  </p> <p>The <u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=a3dd7f4e-6794-42de-ac5f-3034e0ac29d0" target="_self">following lenders have loan products and services</a></strong></u> that cater specifically to Millennials.  They also offer a user-friendly, mobile-friendly and streamlined experience in addition to unique member perks.  </p> <h3><strong>Our Top Choice:  <a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">SoFi</a> </strong></h3> <p><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">SoFi</a></strong></u> was built to help young professionals save on student debt.  They’ve since expanded their offerings to include personal loans, mortgages, wealth management, deposit accounts, and other unique member perks.  </p> <h3> </h3> <h3><strong>Other Options:</strong></h3> <ul><li><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">Earnest</a></strong></u></li> <li><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self">Upstart</a></strong></u></li> </ul> <p><u><strong><a class="borrowizeBtnYellowTransparent" href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">Apply for a SoFi Loan</a></strong></u></p> <table class="table table-blog table-bordered table-hover table-striped" style="width:100%"><thead><tr><th scope="row"> </th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"> <p><strong>Loan Amounts</strong></p> </th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"><strong>APRs</strong></th> <th scope="col"> <p style="text-align:right"><strong>Origination Fee</strong></p> </th> </tr></thead><tbody><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self"><strong>SoFi</strong></a></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">$5,000 - $100,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">5.49% - 14.24%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self"><strong>Earnest</strong></a></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">$2,000 - $50,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=434e2bde-16c1-4d32-891d-a54812d950a3" target="_self">6.99% - 14.24%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self"><strong>Upstart</strong></a></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self">$1,000 - $50,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=575e64f2-3943-4328-89ee-2c7794c3c4f5" target="_self">6.00% - $29.99%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">0.00% - 8.00%</td> </tr></tbody></table> <h2><a id="Payday" name="Payday"></a></h2> <h2>Best Alternative to Payday Loans: </h2> <p>Having poor credit limits your ability to find fair and affordable credit, making it difficult to avoid payday and subprime lenders that trap you with predatory and deceptive loans with APRs as high as 600%.  </p> <p>Luckily, there are lenders and credit unions with much better alternatives.  While they’re still expensive relative to other forms of credit, the following lenders offer longer-term loans with manageable payments and low fees, repayment forgiveness, and they report to credit bureaus so that you can improve your credit.  </p> <h3><strong>Our Top Choice: <u><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=85f16b90-7a03-461e-b9df-f7b06a93f699" target="_self">Avant</a></u> &amp; <u><a href="" target="_blank">OppLoans</a> </u> </strong></h3> <p>Avant and <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">OppLoans</a></strong></u> both offer installment loans that are much better options than payday loans.  Even though Avant lends to people with poor credit, you still need to have at least a 580 FICO to qualify.   </p> <p><u><strong><a href="" target="_self">OppLoans’ interest rates</a></strong></u> are quite a bit higher than Avant’s, but they have a much more flexible approval process and offer loans as small as $400.  <u><strong><a href="" target="_self">OppLoans</a></strong></u> doesn’t require a minimum FICO, as long as you’re employed, they have very low fees, and make sure that your monthly principal payments don’t exceed 7% of your gross monthly income.   </p> <p><u><strong><a class="borrowizeBtnYellowTransparent" href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=85f16b90-7a03-461e-b9df-f7b06a93f699" target="_self">Apply for an Avant Loan</a></strong></u><strong>    </strong><u><strong><a class="borrowizeBtnYellowTransparent" href="" target="_blank">Apply for an OppLoans Loan</a></strong></u></p> <h3> </h3> <h3><strong>Other Options:  </strong></h3> <ul><li><u><strong><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=5000&amp;offer=d990b3dd-12ea-422f-82ec-e05b0c75ccd0" target="_self">OneMain Financial</a></strong></u></li> </ul> <table class="table table-blog table-bordered table-hover table-striped" style="width:100%"><thead><tr><th scope="row"> </th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"> <p><strong>Loan Amounts </strong></p> </th> <th scope="col" style="text-align:left"><strong>APRs </strong></th> <th scope="col"> <p style="text-align:right"><strong>Origination Fee</strong></p> </th> </tr></thead><tbody><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=85f16b90-7a03-461e-b9df-f7b06a93f699" target="_self"><strong>Avant</strong></a></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=85f16b90-7a03-461e-b9df-f7b06a93f699" target="_self">$2,000 - $35,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=&amp;offer=85f16b90-7a03-461e-b9df-f7b06a93f699" target="_self">9.95% - 35.99%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right"> Up to 4.75%</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>OppLoans</strong></a></th> <td><a href="" target="_blank">$400 - $4,000</a></td> <td><a href="" target="_blank">57.00% - 199.00%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">None^</td> </tr><tr><th scope="row" style="text-align:left"><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=5000&amp;offer=d990b3dd-12ea-422f-82ec-e05b0c75ccd0" target="_self"><strong>OneMain Financial</strong></a></th> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=5000&amp;offer=d990b3dd-12ea-422f-82ec-e05b0c75ccd0" target="_self">$3,500 - $30,000</a></td> <td><a href=";referralcompany=c5deb939-f238-4d3a-80af-28e2b53a4f2a&amp;loan_amount=5000&amp;offer=d990b3dd-12ea-422f-82ec-e05b0c75ccd0" target="_self">17.59% - 35.99%</a></td> <td style="text-align:right">Varies</td> </tr></tbody></table> <p> </p> Personal Loans Fri, 01 Jun 2018 00:00:00 -0700 Avant Personal Loan Review <p>Avant personal loans are a good alternative for borrowers with limited options</p> <h2>Borrowize's Take:  Good alternative for borrowers with limited options</h2> <p>Avant loans can be a good option for borrowers with poor to average credit that find themselves in a cash crunch or facing an emergency expense.  However, if you have a credit score of 700 or higher and/or have a high earning job, you're likely to find a cheaper rate with another online personal lender or credit union.    </p> <p>Similarly, if you want to build credit or improve your current score, a secured credit card can be a cheaper alternative than an Avant loan with an APR on the high range, which can be as high as 35.99%.  But keep in mind that a secured card will require an upfront deposit that's usually equal to the credit limit you'll receive, which can seem counter-intuitive if you're applying for a loan because you need the cash right away.     </p> <p>On the flip side, Avant is a no-brainer when compared to payday loans.  Avant offers true installment loans with fixed rate, equal and finite monthly payments, and no prepayment penalties, which means you can be debt free within a couple of years.  </p> <p> </p> <h2>Avant personal loans at a glance: </h2> <p>Avant is one of the original and largest lending platforms in the online lending industry.  Their mission is to take advantage of technology to serve non-prime borrowers that cannot qualify for credit at traditional banks or other prime online lenders.  </p> <ul><li> <strong>Loan Amounts &amp; APRs:  </strong> Avant offers loans of <strong>$2,000 - $35,000</strong> with fixed APRs between <strong>9.95% and 35.99%</strong> that charge equal monthly payments over a <strong>2</strong> to <strong>5</strong> years  </li> <li> <strong>Loan Uses: </strong>Pay off credit card debt, home improvement project, or major life event (wedding, travel, etc.)</li> <li> <strong>Fees &amp; Fine Print:  </strong>A 4.75% origination fee is tacked on to every loan that's made, which means the borrower receives only 95.25% of the amount she requested, but has to pay the full 100% back.  Avant also charges an average late fee of $25, though it varies by state.  The late fee is excessive, considering that the average sized loan will have a monthly payment of $80 - $150, so $25 amounts to 15% to 30% of your payment.  </li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href=";PID=7928939" target="_blank">Apply for an Avant Loan</a> </p> <p> </p> <h2>Avant is a good fit for: </h2> <p>Avant loans are good for people with poor-to-average credit <strong>(580 – 700 FICO)</strong> making more than $40,000 and living in any U.S.. state except Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, or Vermont. </p> <p>Paying above 25% APR is only recommended if you need the money for emergency expenses and have no other options.  If you do take out a loan with a high APR, we recommend that you try to pay it off before the end of the term, or refinance it with a lower interest rate loan if your situation improves.  </p> <p><em><strong>Avant is NOT a good fit </strong></em>if you have good to excellent credit and can qualify for a low interest rate loan.  Avant's APRs can be as high as 35.99%, so even an average credit card is cheaper than half the loans Avant offers, as long as you stick to a strict repayment plan and don't just pay the minimum monthly payment.   </p> <p> </p> <h2>Avant offers quick funding and reliable customer service</h2> <p>Their platform is easy to navigate, the application is straightforward, and the customer service consistently receives high marks. The online application process can takes a few minutes and borrowers can receive funds as quickly as the next business day if all documents are provided on time. </p> <p> </p> <h2>How to apply for an Avant loan: </h2> <p>The Avant personal loan application process is quick, straightforward, and <a href=";PID=7928939" target="_blank">can be done entirely online</a>.  You can check your loan options without impacting your credit score by using their online application.  To do so, you will need to create a user profile and provide some basic personal information, such as: </p> <ul><li>  Home address and </li> <li>  Monthly rent or mortgage payment</li> <li>  Date of birth</li> <li>  Social security number</li> <li>  Monthly income type and amount</li> <li>  Loan purpose </li> </ul> <p>Once your application has been verified, you can review and sign the final loan agreement electronically, and your funds can be deposited as quickly as the next business day.  </p> <p><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href=";PID=7928939" target="_blank">Apply for an Avant Loan</a></p> Personal Loans Fri, 19 Jan 2018 12:00:00 -0800 SoFi Personal Loan Review <p>SoFi offers top of the line loans for those lucky enough to qualify</p> <h2>Borrowize's Take:  SoFi offers top-notch personal loans for those lucky enough to qualify</h2> <p>Social Finance Inc., also known as SoFi, is a high quality, affordable credit alternative for borrowers with excellent credit.  Our only complaint is that they don't offer a mainstream loan for borrowers with good credit, especially since so many people could benefit from their personalized client perks. </p> <p>That being said, we understand they're focused on a specific market niche, and believe there are enough borrowers within it to continue growing rapidly while also keeping default risk low. </p> <p>If you've been approved for a SoFi loan, it means you'll likely qualify for most of the other top quality credit offers, such as 0% credit cards and private banking products at a major bank. </p> <p>Before choosing a product, you should keep in mind that a SoFi personal loan is a term loan and not a line of credit, which means you'll pay equal monthly principal and interest payments on the total loan balance even if you don’t use the money.  Therefore, if you just want to have immediate access to credit in the event of an unforeseen expense, or if you pay your credit card balance in full each month, then a premium credit card with rewards or a bank line of credit might be a better fit.   </p> <p>However, if you have a major expense coming up such as a home improvement project, a personal business expense, or a major life event like a wedding, or vacation, then SoFi is your best option. </p> <p>SoFi offers lower interest rates than most banks and credit card companies, and will lend you up to $100,000, which is more than most online lenders.  In addition, you will have a set repayment schedule and a wealth of personalized benefits at your disposal.  </p> <p> </p> <h2>SoFi personal loans at a glance: </h2> <ul><li> <strong>Loan Amounts &amp; APRs:  </strong> SoFi offers loans of <strong>$5,000 - $100,000</strong> with fixed APRs between <strong>5.49% and 14.24%</strong> that charge equal monthly payments over a <strong>3</strong> to <strong>7</strong> years  </li> <li> <strong>Loan Uses: </strong>Pay off credit card debt, home improvement project, or major life event (wedding, moving, medical, etc.)</li> <li> <strong>Fees &amp; Fine Print:  </strong>Follows through on transparency and common-sense pricing by not charging any origination fees, payment processing fees, or most importantly, prepayment fees.  Charge a late payment fee equal to the greater of $5 or 4% of missed monthly payment.  </li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href=";h=WYzYTViYzl" target="_blank">Apply for a SoFi Loan</a> </p> <p> </p> <h2>SoFi is a good fit for: </h2> <p>SoFi personal loans are a good fit for established borrowers with excellent credit, high earnings and limited debt obligations, or those with considerable liquid assets.</p> <p>The company also targets "HENRYs" (High Earners who are Not Rich Yet).  HENRYs tend to be recent graduates with an education from a top notch school with high salaries or who have strong future earning potential and solid job security.  </p> <p>While SoFi does not place a big emphasis on traditional credit scores, their average borrowers typically have FICOs of 750 or above and annual salaries greater than $100,000.  </p> <p><em><strong>SoFi is NOT a good fit for</strong></em> almost everyone else.  We want to emphasize that most people will NOT qualify for a SoFi loan.  If you saw their Super Bowl ad, you may recall the ending line: “Find out if you’re great at… <strong><em>you’re probably not</em></strong>.”    </p> <p> </p> <h2>SoFi Company Snapshot:  Not your typical financial institution... in a good way</h2> <p>SoFi, has big plans to shake up the personal finance sector and compete with large banks for coveted life-long clients.  Judging by their Super Bowl ad a few years ago, rapid growth, and continued run of success, they seem to have to the long-term game plan and resources to take on the challenge. </p> <p>SoFi got its start as a student loan refinance company catering to young, up-and-coming high-earners with post-graduate degrees.  Over the last couple of years, they expanded beyond student refinance loans to personal loans, mortgages, wealth management, and insurance products. </p> <p>In an effort to offer more traditional bank products, they recently acquired Zenbanx, which will add deposits, online savings accounts, and ATM cards to their suite of products.   Their vision is to become the anti-bank alternative.  </p> <p> </p> <h2>SoFi is unique because it makes clients feel like they're part of an elite club</h2> <p>SoFi claims to be much more than a lender, and in fact, it is.  They realize that to attract their target customers – most of whom are millennials with a negative opinion of financial services companies – they have to offer additional, long-lasting value.   As such, SoFi not only emphasizes affordable products but also positions itself as a financial partner.  </p> <p>SoFi’s customers have access to unique perks such as networking events, career training, wealth management advice, entrepreneurial programs, and other benefits.  If you happen to lose your job, SoFi’s unemployment protection will pause your monthly payments, and the career strategy team will help you get back on your feet.  </p> <p> </p> <h2>How to Apply for a SoFi Loan: </h2> <p>Start your application process with SoFi by first <a href=";h=WYzYTViYzl" target="_blank">checking to see if you qualify using their online rate checker</a>.  Doing this will only take you a couple of minutes and require you to create a user profile and enter a few personal details such as education, employment status and income.  SoFi performs a "soft" credit check, which means that getting a pre-qualified rate NOT affect your credit score.  </p> <p>If you're approved, then congratulations!  From there, the SoFi application process is straightforward and can be done entirely online in about 15-30 minutes.  First, SoFi will present you with one or more loan offers depending on your financial background, and typically include a fixed and variable rate option, as well as different repayment terms.  </p> <p>After you select the best loan option for you, you will be asked to complete the application process and verify certain personal information, at which point they will also perform a "hard" pull, which can negatively impact your credit score.  To do so, you will need the following:</p> <ul><li>  Drivers license</li> <li> ​ Recent pay stubs</li> <li>  Bank account information </li> <li>  List of assets and liabilities</li> </ul> <p>Once your application has been verified, you can review and sign the final loan agreement electronically, and your funds should be deposited between 4 and 7 business days.    </p> <p><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href=";h=WYzYTViYzl" target="_blank">Apply for a SoFi Loan</a></p> <p> </p> Personal Loans Tue, 12 Dec 2017 15:00:00 -0800 How to Be Prepared for An Emergency Life Expense - 1 in 4 Americans Are Not <p>One-in-four Americans are not prepared for an emergency life expense...</p> <p>Earlier this year, I had one of those dreaded unexpected life events that threw my finances out of whack. I got into a minor fender bender and let’s just say that my Prius didn’t fair as well against the SUV/tank that I collided with. While insurance was there to help, I still had to pay my hefty deducible. </p> <p>A recent survey, released by <a href=""></a>, found that 1 in 4 Americans are not prepared for a similar unplanned life expense because they don’t have any emergency funds saved. Additionally, more than two-thirds are short on savings.</p> <p>Experts recommend having enough savings to cover expenses for three to six months to act as a cushion to cover anything from a hospital bill, home repair, emergency travel, to car repair or replacement.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:1000px; width:1091px"></p> <ol><li> <strong>The best and most obvious way to prepare for unexpected expenses is to <u>save more money</u>.</strong> <p>A good way to start is by setting up a direct deposit to your savings account every month. You can start with a small amount and increase the amount over time. Make sure you take a look at your budget first and set a realistic goal for what you can manage to direct to your savings each month, after all your monthly expenses are accounted for.</p> </li> <li> <strong>Make and stick to a <u>budget</u>.</strong> <p>You can try to create your own budget with an excel sheet or by using the old "cash-in-envelope method," or you can use other third party tools like <a href="">Mint</a> to help manage and budget your spending. </p> </li> <li> <strong>You could also look into a <u>Roth IRA</u> or a <u>Health Savings Account (HSA)</u>.</strong> <p>A Roth IRA is a type of retirement account where you set aside post-tax income, which can also be deducted on your income tax return. The Roth IRA allows early withdrawls (before your reach 59 and a half), income tax and penalty free, for specified financial needs.</p> <p>An HSA is a medical savings account available to taxpayers who are enrolled in a high-deductible health plan (HDHP). The funds contributed to an account are not subject to federal income tax at the time of deposit and can be withdrawn without tax liability or penalty to pay for certain medical expenses. </p> </li> <li> <strong>Another way to build savings fast is to <u>increase your income</u>.</strong> <p>Aside from the obvious - get a new, higher paying job, there are plenty of alternative ways you can <a href="">make extra money</a><a href=""> </a>to help build your safety net.</p> </li> </ol> <p>The reality is that many people will end up putting this expense on a credit card, many of which charge extremely high interest rates (15-22%) each month, if you are unable to pay the balance down at the end of the month.</p> <p>Instead of using a credit card, you may want to look into taking out a small <a href="">personal loan</a>, to either pay for the expense directly or to pay off the credit card debt that you already accrued. The right <a href="">personal loan</a> can often offer a much more favorable interest rate than a credit card. For some useful tips, read: <a href="">Four Tips that Will Help You Find the Right Personal Loan</a>.</p> <p>Many people, young adults in particular, have a “worry about it later” type attitude about personal finances and financial security. However, every financial decision can have a lasting impact, so knowing your options is essential to your long-term financial success.</p> Personal Loans Thu, 09 Nov 2017 12:00:00 -0800 Payoff Personal Loan Review <p>Payoff is a great loan option for people who want to get rid of credit card debt</p> <h2>Borrowize's Take:  Payoff is a perfect loan if you're serious about becoming debt free​</h2> <p>We recommend Payoff if your goal is to eliminate or consolidate your existing high interest loans or credit card debt.  While their APRs are not the lowest in the industry, their loans are a still a smart and cost-effective alternative to expensive credit card debt.   </p> <p>Payoff also offers unique tools and proprietary financial education resources to help you manage your debt and develop the right habits to make smart financial decisions. </p> <p>There are plenty of online lenders that claim to be different, but Payoff actually delivers.  Payoff is committed to taking a consumer-advocacy approach to lending, starting with their aversion to further indebting borrowers, to their affordable loan APRs, to their flexible qualifying criteria and payment options, and finally to their Payoff® Life community.</p> <p> </p> <h2>Payoff Personal Loans at a Glance: </h2> <ul><li> <strong>Loan Amounts &amp; APRs:  </strong> Payoff offers loans of <strong>$5,000 - $35,000</strong> with fixed APRs between <strong>8.00% and 22.00%</strong> that charge equal monthly payments over a 2 to 5 year period.  </li> <li> <strong>Loan Uses: </strong>Strictly for debt consolidation</li> <li> <strong>Fees &amp; Fine Print:  </strong>Payoff charges all borrowers an origination fee between <strong>2.00% and 5.00%</strong>, which tends to be higher as the loan amount increases.  For example, if you borrow $10,000 with a 5% origination fee you will only receive $9,500 but you will still be charged interest and have to repay the full amount of $10,000.  Charging an origination fee is uncharacteristic for a lender that markets itself as a financial partner, particularly since there are other lenders such as SoFi and Lightstream that do not charge origination fees.</li> </ul> <p> </p> <p><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href=";utm_medium=p3&amp;=utm_campaign=1703_pac" target="_blank">Apply for a Payoff Loan</a></p> <p> </p> <h2>Payoff is a Good Fit For: </h2> <p>Payoff wants to help borrowers who have accumulated too much debt, yet have demonstrated an ability to make on-time payments.  Payoff does not place a big emphasis on traditional FICO scores, though their average borrowers generally have credit scores of 660 or higher.  </p> <p>While this means they are more accommodating than some of the prime or near-prime lenders, Payoff does require that the borrowers have at least 3 years of credit history and less than a 50% debt-to-income ratio, </p> <p><em><strong>Payoff is NOT a good fit for</strong></em> borrowers with limited to no credit history, which may end up excluding millennial borrowers who are new to the workforce and are more likely to carry credit card and/or student debt.  Additionally, Payoff will not approve borrowers with recent credit delinquencies, bankruptcies, or those that demonstrate a pattern of late or missed payments.  </p> <div> </div> <h2>Payoff Company Snapshot:  An Anti-Debt Lender... If There is Such a Thing</h2> <p>A lender that wants to eliminate debt sounds like a bit of an oxymoron, right?  Payoff’s singular focus is to help its customers become debt-free sooner (hence the name Payoff).  If you need money to go on vacation, pay for your wedding, or cover unforeseen expenses, you should apply elsewhere.  </p> <p>Payoff understands the tremendous long-term costs of being in a never-ending cycle of debt, which occurs when most of a borrower’s monthly payments go towards covering the interest while the principle owed barely decreases. </p> <p>In 2016, the average American family carried $8,377 in credit debt at an average APR of 15.99%.  Assuming they only make the minimum monthly payment, each family will end up paying $10,434 in interest and take more than 24 years to pay it off.  </p> <p>That’s why Payoff does not issue any new debt.  Any dollar you borrow from Payoff must be used to pay a dollar of existing debt.  In addition, their set loan terms mean that you will become debt free within two to five years as long as you make your monthly payments.</p> <h2> </h2> <h2>Payoff is Unique Because it is Invested in Your Financial Well-Being: </h2> <p>The Payoff Member Community offers borrowers unique perks such as free FICO score updates, job loss support, and “Member Advocates” that offer ongoing support and guidance on how to improve your financial outlook and achieve long-term financial goals. </p> <p>If you miss a payment, a Payoff Member Advocate will work out a plan that may allow you to either defer, skip, or rescheduling your payment. </p> <p>Payoff’s innovative model extends beyond its unwillingness to further indebt borrowers.  In addition to lending industry veterans, Payoff’s founding group includes research and clinical psychologists, data scientists, neuroscientists, and technology experts.    They offer financial literacy, financial personality quizzes, a user community, and other free resources to help change the way people spend, save, and think about money.  </p> <p> </p> <h2>How to Apply for a Payoff Loan: </h2> <p>The Payoff application process is <strong><a href=";utm_medium=p3&amp;=utm_campaign=1703_pac" target="_blank">simple, highly transparent, and can be completed online in only a few minutes</a></strong>.  If you’re undecided and want to first estimate your rate, you can do so by answering a few questions.  Payoff conducts a soft-credit pull for rate estimates, which means that your credit score will not be impacted.</p> <p>If you decide to move forward, the detailed application process, or a company representative if you prefer, will walk you through the loan options, contract information, and any additional information required to verify that you qualify for the loan.   Funds are generally deposited directly into your bank account within 1 to 7 days, at which point you will be set up on their platform to manage your loan going forward.  </p> <p><a class="borrowizeBtnYellow" href=";utm_medium=p3&amp;=utm_campaign=1703_pac" target="_blank">Apply for a Payoff Loan</a></p> Personal Loans Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 From the Founders - Welcome to Borrowize! <p>Borrowize eliminates the stress and confusion that comes with finding the right loan - Quickly find, compare, and apply for top quality loans in minutes...</p> <blockquote> <h2><strong>“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” – Benjamin Franklin</strong></h2> </blockquote> <p>Borrowize is a consumer finance platform dedicated to helping people save money by making educated borrowing decisions.   We are a husband and wife team, Federico and Brianna Douzoglou, who used our years of experience in finance and law to create a more common-sense approach to borrowing, after spending countless hours researching lenders and working through our own repayment schedule and options. </p> <p>We understand that finding the right loan can be a stressful process, oftentimes leaving you with more questions than answers. How do I make sure the lender is reputable? How much should I ask for? How do I know there isn’t a better deal out there? Will I be able to pay this back? Etc.</p> <p>Borrowize connects borrowers to a vetted network of trustworthy, innovative, and non-predatory personal and student lending partners to help users borrow wisely. At your fingertips is our loan comparison feature, suite of free personal and student loan calculators, our proprietary “WizeScore” lender rating system, educational guides, as well as our expert tips and reviews.</p> <p>“When I graduated law school, I realized that I was not prepared to tackle the complexity of understanding and managing my student debt, and that a majority of my friends felt the same way,” says Brianna Douzoglou, who refinanced her own student debt through the website, saving her almost $15,000 in interest.</p> <p>“Millions of Americans rely on personal loans each year to cover unforeseen expenses, or on student loans to pursue a higher education,” says Federico Douzoglou.  “Unfortunately, too many of those borrowers end up with harmful, predatory, high-cost loans, often because they simply don’t know their options or because the recent recession’s lingering impact has made it increasingly difficult for regular, hard-working, middle-class American consumers to qualify for traditional bank loans.”  Borrowize aims to be the go-to resource for trustworthy loan alternatives and hopes that by also offering practical financial education and resources, borrowers will be able to make smarter borrowing decisions, with peace of mind.</p> <p>We are very proud of what we created and can’t wait to make a positive impact on people’s financial well-being. If you would like to receive information directly, please sign up for our newsletter and/or follow us on Twitter <a href="">@borrowizeDOTcom</a>.</p> <p>We are always looking for additional voices, so please reach out if you’d like to share your insight via one of our personal blog posts. We are excited to meet and work with you as we strive to build a network of responsible and knowledgeable borrowers.</p> Announcements Fri, 03 Feb 2017 00:00:00 -0800 Where do the Top 5 Presidential Candidates Stand on Student Debt? <p>Our comprehensive guide to the different student debt plans of the top 2016 presidential candidates...</p> <p>The 2016 Presidential elections are getting into full swing, with the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primaries only a couple of weeks away.  So we thought, why not join the election coverage party?  </p> <p>Over the next two weeks, we are publishing a 3 part guide to the top 5 presidential candidates' (based on RealClearPolitics polling) stance on issues we care about deeply on the Borrowize blog: student debt, online lending and consumer protection, and small business growth.  </p> <p>Borrowize is not politically affiliated, so none of our coverage should be interpreted as endorsing or supporting any of the candidates.   Think of this as the cliff notes to the various policies and opinions of each of the candidates.  </p> <p>Part 1 of 3 covers student debt and the cost of higher education.  As of right now, there is an estimated $1.3 trillion in student debt outstanding, which is more than all American credit card debt combined.  Not only that, but the problem will continue to get worse as the cost of higher education sky-rockets and graduates continue to struggle to find employment.  </p> <p>This is a major issue for millions of Americans and a topic that will likely get a lot of attention.  Here are the top 5 candidates' plans on combating student debt (in order of general election polling):</p> <h2>Hillary Clinton:   </h2> <p>Last fall, Hillary Clinton unveiled a plan called the New College Compact, which would allocate $350 billion over the next 10 years to make college affordable for all Americans.  The plan is highly ambitious, but can be summarized into three sections:</p> <ul><li>Make public colleges debt-free</li> <li>Cut interest rates for people struggling with student debt</li> <li>Expand existing financial aids to cover more people</li> </ul> <p>The plan borrows a lot of the ideas from Elizabeth Warren’s <a href="" target="_blank">Student Emergency Loan Refinancing Act</a>, which was shot down by the Senate, but instead of funding it through a tax increase on the wealthy, it would rely on capping tax deductions. </p> <p>Mrs. Clinton’s proposal combines cost cutting measures that would impact tuition costs for future generations with relief programs for recent graduates with existing debt. </p> <p>To address the sky-rocketing cost of higher education, Mrs. Clinton would provide states with a total of $175 billion in grants to lower the cost of education and increase oversight of public university spending. </p> <p>As for the $1.3 trillion of existing debt, Mrs. Clinton’s plan would make it easier for students to refinance loans at a lower rate, eliminate the for-profit model of federal loans, and create a flexible income-based repayment program.</p> <p><a href="">Have Student Debt?  10 Ways to Pay it Off and Save Money</a></p> <h2>Donald Trump:</h2> <p>Donald Trump has promised to make a “big announcement” on how to tackle student loans, but until now has not given many specifics.  As such, we are forced to rely on conversations with reporters and comments during campaign rallies to get a better idea of his plan to tackle the student debt crisis.  </p> <p>During an interview with <a href="" target="_blank"></a> last year, Mr. Trump signaled that he might take a more liberal approach to the student debt crisis, insinuating that he would continue to promote the loan forgiveness programs.  </p> <p>Mr. Trump pointed to the bigger issue that is tuition costs, acknowledging that the reason college costs are out of control is because students can borrow money from the federal government.  He does not think the government should be making money off of student loans, and said “student loans are probably one of the only things the government shouldn't make money off – I think it’s terrible that one of the only profit centers we have is student loans”</p> <p>However, most of his implied solutions come back to job growth, arguing that his focus and ability to improve the employment prospects of graduating students will go a long way in solving the student debt crisis. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Find Out How Refinancing Your Student Loans Can Save You Thousands in Interest</a></p> <h2>Bernie Sanders:</h2> <p>Free public college tuition for all!  No, really, that’s what Bernie Sanders proposes in his plan.  Under Mr. Sanders’ College for All Act, the federal government would cover 67 percent of the costs, while states would account for the remaining 33 percent. </p> <p>While that is the most headline-grabbing part of his plan, there are other features that are equally ambitious and beneficial for graduates with existing debt.  For example, student loan rates (presumably those for non-tuition related expenses) would be reduced to 2.32 percent, and existing borrowers would have the ability to refinance their loans based on current interest rates (though those are set to increase).</p> <p>How would the government pay for the roughly $70 billion in public tuition a year? </p> <p>Mr. Sanders would put in place a Robin Hood tax on Wall Street, which would place a 0.5 percent tax on most stock transactions, and a lesser one on bond and derivative trades.  This is not as radical as most thing.  In fact, a similar tax is already in effect in more than 40 countries, including Britain, Germany, Switzerland and China, and is estimated to raise about $300 billion per year. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Do You Trust Your Federal Student Loan Provider?</a></p> <h2>Ted Cruz:</h2> <p>Ted Cruz recently told a crowd of Liberty University students that he took $100k in student loans, and that he only just recently paid it off.  I’m sure this means he can relate to the pain that more than 43 million Americans are facing, but does it mean that he will make it easier for students to pay their loans off?  Let’s examine. </p> <p>In general, there has been little specifics disclosed on how Mr. Cruz would address the $1T+ student debt issue, but his broader stance on government involvement and spending suggests he would aim to cut some of the existing programs that benefit student borrowers.  For example, he wants to shut down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Education.</p> <p>In the absence of a dedicated student debt plan, or any substantial comments on the issue, we took a look at his history in the Senate on policies tied to the student debt crisis.  </p> <p>Mr. Cruz voted in favor of Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013, which capped student loan interest rates and fixed them for life.  He also voted against Elizabeth Warren’s Student Emergency Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow 25 millions of student borrowers to refinance existing loans at lower rates by raising taxes on people earning between $1 million and $2 million a year. However, that bill never gained much traction and has since been abandoned.  </p> <h2>Marco Rubio:</h2> <p>Marco Rubio’s plan to fix the student debt crisis focuses on addressing the high cost of education.  Mr. Rubio unveiled his plan for reforming higher education on September of 2015, and it is highlighted by a few key reform ideas. </p> <p>First, transform the accreditation process.  Granting access to low-cost, innovative higher education providers will increase competition and drive down the cost of obtaining a high-class degree. </p> <p>In addition, the plan calls for career and vocational education to be more widespread, allowing high school students to graduate with a certification to instantly enter a good-paying career.</p> <p>With regards to paying for the education, Mr. Rubio’s plan calls for financial aid programs for working students to attend school at night, on weekends, or online. </p> <p>For those paying off sizeable student loans, his plan calls for loan repayment to be tied to each graduate’s income, enabling those who earn more to pay back their loans faster, and those with lower incomes to make smaller payments over a longer period.</p> <p>------------------</p> <h2>Other articles that may interest you: </h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Does Being Young Make You a Risky Borrower?</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">3 Scenarios Where it Makes Sense to Refinance</a></p> Student Loans & Debt Thu, 21 Jan 2016 00:00:00 -0800 Six Tips to Get the Financial Stress of the Holidays Under Control <p>Holidays are meant for celebrating with family, not stressing over shopping debt</p> <p>This time of year can be so much fun, as we celebrate the holidays with family members and reflect on the year that was. </p> <p>For many, it can also be a stressful time, as they try to manage the extra expenses that come with all of the celebrations.  </p> <p>A recent survey conducted by <a href="" target="_blank">LendingTree</a> discovered that 25% of Americans struggled to pay off subsequent debt from holiday shopping. The problem might result from the fact that more than 50% of Americans don't plan on creating a budget this year.</p> <p>Last year, 41% of Americans admitted they had some financial regret related to spending after the holiday season.  Though it's easy to get wrapped up in the giving mood of the holiday season, it is important to think about your finances ahead of time so that you won’t have regrets or end up in any unwanted financial trouble.</p> <p>As the Holiday season approaches, we wanted to share our tips on how to keep the financial stress to a minimum so that you can focus on the celebrating with loved ones.  </p> <h2>1.  Make a Budget &amp; Stick to It</h2> <p>Be realistic and think about what your obligations are over the holiday season. Also, know who you plan on buying gifts for, set a number that you feel comfortable spending, and then stick to it.</p> <p>This means cutting down on the number of people you buy gifts for. For example, not every person at your office needs a gift, nor do they expect it.  Secret Santa exchanges are great not only for offices but also for big families.  </p> <p>For the friends and family who were naughty this year, a little bit of coal will cost you a couple of dollars at most <img alt="wink" src="" style="height:23px; width:23px" title="wink"></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:75%; width:75%"></p> <h2>2.  Don't Procrastinate</h2> <p>Do you have to travel? If so, plan early and ensure you get better pricing on flights and other travel related expenses.</p> <p>Planning early goes for shopping expenses as well. Not only can you get better deals by starting your search earlier, but you will have time to price compare.</p> <p>According to the LendingTree Survey, of those with holiday spending regrets, the most significant was shopping procrastination  (38.3%), followed by not comparison shopping (27.0%)</p> <h2>3.  Find Ways to Save Over the Next Few Months</h2> <p>Can you manage without your fancy morning latte and instead make a cup at home before work? The little things can really add up!</p> <p>The more you can lower your normal monthly spending between November and January, the better off you'll be when those added holiday costs hit you.</p> <h2>4.  Become a Coupon Collector</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:100%; width:100%"> </p> <p>We all do it – we toss out hundreds of coupons every month that come through our mailbox, whether that be your physical mailbox or your virtual one.</p> <p>Take a closer look at the coupons you receive over the next few weeks, and see how they can help lower your holiday expenses.  If you're an avid online shopper, take advantage of <a href=";utm_expid=66866090-67.e9PWeE2DSnKObFD7vNEoqg.2&amp;" target="_blank">websites</a> that offer great deals.  </p> <h2>5.  Personalized Over Pricey</h2> <p>Spend some time thinking about what your friends and family really want or need this holiday season. Sometimes a thoughtful and personalized gift that tells your loved one that you’ve been paying attention is much more appreciated than that fancy and pricey gift.</p> <p>For example, if your sister recently got into cooking, buy her your favorite kitchen must-have, with a little box of your favorite recipes typed out or copied from your collection.</p> <h2>6. If You Need to Borrow Money, Borrow Wisely</h2> <p>Are you racking up credit card debt to pay for your shopping list? Average credit cards can carry APRs of 18% to as high as 25%.  Some of the most expensive cards are the ones offered by the stores themselves, which come with high fees and APRs.  </p> <p>Be careful not to get drawn in by the side deals the stores offer you in exchange for opening up a card with them, such as 10% off your purchase or the promise of future rewards.  </p> <p>Instead, think about refinancing your credit card debt with a lower interest <strong><a href="">personal loan</a></strong> or looking into a new credit card that offers 0% APR for the first year that you can use for new purchase or for a balance transfer.  A low interest rate loan will cut your interest payments and put you on the path to eliminating your debt quickly.  </p> <p>In the end, just remember to relax and enjoy the holiday season.  You don't have to let your finances rule you. </p> Miscellaneous Mon, 23 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Surprise: Study Funded by Payday Lenders Claims Payday Loans Aren’t Bad <p>Payday lending industry pushes biased research to claim payday lenders aren't bad for consumers...</p> <p>The payday lending industry is under significant pressure from regulators and consumer advocacy groups for pushing predatory loans to financially vulnerable consumers.  Payday loans have interest rates from 350% - 600% and only 15% of all payday loan borrowers repay on time. </p> <p>Since the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the push to bring meaningful change to the industry has gained a lot of momentum. </p> <p>With their backs against the wall, the payday lending industry lobby have cited “academic studies” that attempt to prove that payday lending is a viable and responsible form of lending and that it does not in fact create a cycle of debt for its borrowers. </p> <p>One of the more cited reports is called <a href="" target="_blank">“Do Payday Loans Trap Consumers in a Cycle of Debt?”</a> and was conducted by a business professor at Arkansas Tech University.  While the report discloses that it was funded by pro-industry groups, it assures readers that the industry “exercised no control over the research or the editorial content of this paper.” </p> <h2>Not true.</h2> <p>According to the watchdog group Campaign for Accountability and the Huffington Post, the payday lending industry had tremendous influence over the message and conclusion of the entire report. </p> <p>To start, the industry paid the author at least $39,912 dollars to write the paper, as well as an undisclosed amount to his research partner. </p> <p>Their involvement didn’t stop there.  Emails show Hilary Miller, the president of the Payday Loan Bar Association, a lawyers’ group for the industry, as well as president of the pro-industry group Consumer Credit Research Foundation, requesting multiple wording changes to sections of the report and omissions of findings that were not favorable to the industry. </p> <p>However, the most shocking part of the investigation came in the form of a quote from Mr. Miller himself, writing in an email that “In practice, consumers mostly either roll over or default; very few actually repay their loans in cash on the due date (which you know).” </p> <p>This quote perfectly sums up the horrible nature of payday loans, and the fact that it came from one of the industry’s top representatives makes it that much worse.  </p> <p>It goes to show you that payday lenders are well aware of the negative impact their loans have on consumers, and their only way to cover it up is to fund biased academic studies.</p> <p>----------------------</p> <p><strong>For great alternatives to payday loans, visit our <a href="">personal loan search</a> to get connected to our network of responsible and transparent lenders</strong>.  </p> <h2>Other Borrowize articles you might be interested in: </h2> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Could Lawmakers be Doing More to Protect you From Online Predatory Lenders?</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Our Go-To Checklist When Applying for an Online Loan</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="" target="_blank">Does Being Young Make You a Risky Borrower</a></strong></p> <p><strong><a href="">Four Tips that Will Help You Find the Right Personal Loan</a></strong></p> Alternative Loans Mon, 02 Nov 2015 00:00:00 -0800 Our Go-To Checklist When Applying for an Online Loan <p>Key things to keep in mind when evaluating online loans and lenders...</p> <p>One thing I’ve been surprised to learn since starting Borrowize is how skeptical most people are about online lenders.  <u>I don’t blame them!</u> </p> <p>For over ten years, online lending was run by unscrupulous companies looking to make quick money off desperate borrowers.  Their deceptive practices tainted the industry, and now responsible lenders are having to re-gain the trust of the consumers. </p> <p>This is why I started Borrowize.  A lot of people need quality loans but are either too busy, too skeptical, or don’t have the financial knowledge to tell apart the good lenders from the predatory ones. </p> <h2>Our Online Lending Primer:</h2> <p>At Borrowize, we follow a strict set of guidelines when screening our <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>lending partners</strong></a>.  We do the research so you don’t have to. </p> <p>In the next few weeks, we will be unveiling our <strong>WizeScore</strong>, which rates each lender based on several criteria. </p> <p>Until then, I wanted to walk you through the main things to keep in mind when evaluating a loan.  For a complete list of our trusted lending partners, <strong><a href="" target="_blank">check out our personal loan search</a>.</strong></p> <h2>1. There's a Difference Between Interest Rates and APR:</h2> <p>It’s pretty straightforward to understand – the lower the interest rate the better.  However, a lot of lenders are deceptive in how they present interest rate vs. APR (annual percentage rate).  By charging fees up front, lenders can hike the APR quite a bit. </p> <p>For example, a 1-year loan with a 10% interest rate and a 5% origination fee has an APR of 19.8%.  That’s because they only lend you 95% of the amount you request yet you're required to pay interest on and repay 100% of the loan amount.  To see how origination fees affect APR, check out our <a href="">personal loan tool</a>.</p> <h2>2. Hidden Fees Will Bite You:</h2> <p>Everyone knows the trick – you get sold a product for one price only to be hit with hidden fees and additional charges.  </p> <p>While some fees are standard, there are some companies that make their money by charging excessive and sometimes hidden fees.  These fees include origination fees greater than 10%, loan payment processing fees, and payment by check fees.    Origination fees should ideally be zero, but anything in the low single digits is tolerable.  </p> <p>Before agreeing to the terms of a loan, make sure you understand all of the costs and fees associated with the offer.  If they are not clearly outlined on the website (bad sign!), ask your loan provider for a full list of fees and penalties.  </p> <h2>3. Prepayment Penalties (The Worst):</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <p>Prepayment fees make absolutely no sense.  Think about it, why should lenders penalize you for being a responsible borrower?  Lenders should be ecstatic that a lender is able to pay back a loan in full, plus interest, prior to its maturity. </p> <p>People’s financial stability can change quickly, and a paying borrower can become delinquent in a hurry.  Prepayment should be rewarded!  It allows lenders to lend that money again and make more money. </p> <p>For those wondering why lenders do this, it’s so that they can lock in a certain amount of profit for each loan.  If a borrower pays back a 1-year loan after just 2 months, they only collect 1/6<sup>th</sup> of the interest. </p> <p>You should avoid lenders that charge prepayment penalties at all costs.  There are plenty of quality lenders out there that are flexible and reward smart financial decisions. </p> <h2>4. People Love Options:</h2> <p>Not every borrower should get the same loan product.  The purpose of a lender is to understand a person’s situation and be able to provide a financial solution to their needs.  That’s why it’s so important for a lender to offer multiple products to people of different credit backgrounds.  A one-size-fits all approach doesn't make sense.  Your lender should provide flexibility when it comes to loan duration, interest rates, types of borrowers they lend to, payment options, etc.  </p> <p>For example, if your main priority is to have a low monthly payment, some lenders are willing to extend the term of the loan from 3-years to 5-years in exchange for a slightly higher interest rate.  You will pay a bit more over the course of the loan, but the monthly payments will be lower.  </p> <h2>5. Get Rewarded for Paying on Time:</h2> <p>If you are new to borrowing or are looking to improve your credit, it’s very important that the lender reports to the major credit bureaus.  You want to be rewarded for good behavior so that you can build your credit history, improve your credit score, and graduate to low-cost, mainstream financial products down the road such as mortgages, car loans, and small business loans.</p> <p>-------------</p> <p>For related articles and tips, check out: </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Four Tips That Will Help You Find the Right Loan</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Does Being Young Make You a Risky Borrower</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Our Redesigned Tools Are Here!</a></p> Uncategorized Wed, 14 Oct 2015 00:00:00 -0700 Our Redesigned Tools Are Here! <p>The goal is to give people access to better financial information and tools that can help them compare options . . .</p> <p>Part of the Borrowize mission is to promote financial literacy and give people access to better information and tools that can help them compare options and untimately choose the best alternative. </p> <p>We worked hard on creating two tools, in particular, that can help you managing and understand debt and your options. </p> <h2>Personal Loan Calculator</h2> <p>Our simple personal loan calculator helps you look at the pros and cons of taking out a personal loan versus a credit card or installment loan. </p> <p>Did you know that personal loans may offer lower interest rates than credit cards, can help you cut down the number of payments and save you thousands of dollars in interest? Check out our <a href="">calculator</a> to see how a personal loan might compare!</p> <p><u>Please note</u> that the cost of credit card debt assumes an interest rate of 15.75%, roughly the national average credit card interest rate, and that only the minimum payments are being made each month. Also, the cost of installment loans are based off publicly available terms and filings of exchange-traded companies that offer similar products. </p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <h2>Credit Card Calculator</h2> <p>Our credit card calculator helps you understand how to manage credit card debt. The calculator will help show you how long it will be until you become debt free based on what you owe, your APR, and the payments you're curently making.</p> <p>It goes without saying that just paying a little bit more each month will helps you become debt free faster and save you money. However, sometimes we need to see it to believe it. Take a look at your credit debt and how you could save <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"> </p> <p> </p> <p><u>Other Related Articles</u>:</p> <p><a href="">Does Being Young Make You a Risky Borrower?</a></p> <p><a href="">Four Tips that Will Help You Find the Right Personal Loan</a></p> <p><a href="">3 Scenarios Where It Makes Sense to Refinance </a></p> Announcements Tue, 29 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0700 Do You Trust Your Federal Student Loan Service Provider? <p>The penalty to loan servicers when borrowers fall behind isn’t significant enough to incentivize them to work with struggling borrowers . . .</p> <p>Do you find peace in knowing that your loans are being serviced by a company contracted by the federal government?</p> <p>I mean the government is fairly responsible, right, so they must pick good companies to service the nation’s $1.3 trillion in student debt? Unfortunately, I’m not so sure that’s the case.</p> <h2>More Options, More Problems</h2> <p>The Obama Administration has supported major initiatives to give students more options for repaying loans. The hope was that with more options, less borrowers would default on their loans. In fact, borrowers are now offered three different income driven repayment plans.</p> <p>However, with each new initiative, came more questions and confusion. The problem is that the major loan servicing companies like Navient, Great Lakes, and American Education Services are not properly bridging the education gap.</p> <p>These loan servicing companies get paid to do more than handles payments. They are also paid to answer questions and help borrowers avoid default, ie. educate them about their options. And maybe they would actually do so if they were properly incentivized to do so.</p> <h2>Poor Incentives = Poor Service</h2> <p>The penalty to loan servicers when borrowers fall behind isn’t significant enough to incentivize them to work with struggling borrowers. The DOE pays loan servicers $2.85 each month for current accounts. </p> <p>Despite the fact that there are now slightly <a href="">steeper cuts </a>for deliquency, its not clear whether these cuts actually make it financially worth their while to get the borrower back to current. </p> <p>If a loan is 6-30 days delinquent, the loan provider will see a $0.74 reduction in what they are paid, compared to what they receive for loans that are current. If the loan is 31 days delinquent, the rate drops $1.39. And when the loan is seriously delinquent, they may lose as much as $2.40. </p> <p>However, getting a borrower out of default requires time, energy, staff, education and consistency. So really what’s the point in helping that borrower, when they aren’t really getting paid to properly manage or assist that borrower. I guess it was too lofty an idea for us to think that these companies really had our backs, regardless of what they get paid.</p> <p>Additionally, although servicers' perforamnce is based on several factors, including percentage of borrowers current on their payments, as well as percentage of borrowers who have fallen behind, a low score does not mean that they won't be awarded any loans. It just means that they will receive less than they would have otherwise. </p> <h2>Loan Servicers Falling Short</h2> <p>The loan servicing companies have also had their fair share of legal troubles, largely due to mismanagement.</p> <p>In June, $60 million worth of settlement checks were mailed out to active service members who federal officials claimed Navient had cheated out of interest-rate benefits. This was part of a settlement they reached with the Department of Justice (DOJ) last year.</p> <p>How does that even happen?! I guess you better check your account, and frequently, to ensure you’re getting all the perks you are entitled to.</p> <p>I had my own experience with mismanagement when I was having my loans serviced by one of the major loan servicers. They failed to adjust my payment schedule after I made a large lump sum payment towards my loan balance. !!!!</p> <p>Just when I thought they couldn’t shock me anymore, I called to complain and get the situation remedied, and to my surprise, the customer service agent didn’t even understand what I was talking about.</p> <p>I mean shouldn’t the people answering the phones for a loan servicing company be able to understand the basics?…<em>You significantly pay down a loan. You don’t pay the same monthly fees as you did before</em>.</p> <p>Navient has also been the center of a multistate probe led by attorneys general in Illinois and Washington. Another watchdog is also threatening to go after the company</p> <p>Navient, recently, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, acknowledged that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is considering suing them following an investigation into how Navient administered late fees and “other matters.”</p> <p>You think all of this would have been enough to make the government reconsider their contract with Navient.</p> <p><u>Nope</u>. The government renewed their contract.</p> <h2>Cut Them Loose</h2> <p>Despite the fact that in March, the White House released a “Student Loan Bill of Rights,” which includes a new student feedback system, the system fails to address borrowers’ main concern.</p> <p>When a loan servicer messes up big time, like Navient did, they should get the boot! That’s great if borrowers now have a new sounding board for their grievances, but where are the assurances that the government is listening?</p> <p><a href="">Tired of your loan service provider</a>?</p> <p><u>Other Related Articles:</u></p> <p>- <a href="">Need Extra Money to Pay Off Your Debt?</a></p> <p>- <a href="">10 Ways to Pay Your Student Debt Off Quicker</a></p> Student Loans & Debt Thu, 17 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0700 Does Being Young Make You a Risky Borrower? <p>Many banks and credit card companies reject young borrowers based on age, or only offer them bad credit alternatives . . .</p> <p><big>Why do people automatically assume that if you are young you must be financially irresponsible? </big></p> <p>Banks and credit card companies make the overgeneralization that if you're between the age of 18-21 you must isolated from the real world, unable to manage daily struggles and handle major responsibilities. </p> <p>Not only are young people disproportionately underserved by mainstream financial products, but the ones that do qualify for credit are typically left with costly products, such as high-interest credit cards.  </p> <p>These products often set up young borrowers for failure, perpetuating the notion that they are too risky and should not be trusted with credit. </p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <h2>Age is Just a Number</h2> <p>Most young people are inherently cash-strapped given that they are new to the work force and have been in a prolonged period of heavy spending on education. </p> <p>The train of thought goes as such: </p> <p>Give an 18 year old access to credit and watch him spend the “free money” carelessly, defaulting on his payments and doing irreparable damage to his credit score. </p> <p>While that’s an easy generalization to make, <u>it is actually wrong</u>. </p> <p><strong><span style="color:#FF8C00"><em>A recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond points out that individuals under 21 are less likely to experience serious defaults than older borrowers. </em></span></strong></p> <p>One main reason for this is that people that apply for credit at an early age do so with the sole purpose of establishing a credit profile, making them more likely to stay on top of payments.  On the other hand, people who apply for credit for the first time later in life are more likely to do so out of necessity.  </p> <h2>Time to Change the Lending Model</h2> <p><big><strong><em>Let me make one thing very clear – we are NOT advocating blindly giving all young people credit.  </em></strong></big></p> <p>Managing debt responsibly takes work, guidance, experience, and commitment.  These habits take time to develop and are not always common among college students and early 20-somethings. </p> <p>That being said, the answer is not to restrict credit to all young people, as the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) of 2009 tried to do. </p> <p>Instead, the solution is to provide smart, long-term financial products that help young borrowers take the right steps to establishing financial stability.  It is important for the lenders to provide information, promote financial literacy, and reward borrowers that exhibit wise spending habits.</p> <p>Some companies that are actually offering innovative financial solutions to new borrowers are <a href=";utm_medium=cpfl&amp;partner_id=18&amp;partner_sub_id=17">Upstart</a>, <a href=";utm_source=borrowize&amp;utm_medium=Affiliate">Pave</a>, Earnest and ModernLend.  These companies are able to provide loans and prepaid cards to a younger demographic by developing unique technology and taking into account factors other than credit history.</p> <p>These companies understand that participating in the mainstream financial system at an early age is essential for an individual’s long-term financial stability.  </p> <p>The same Federal Reserve study, above, found that early entrants into the credit market are also more likely to be homeowners earlier in life and have better credit scores than late entrants – then wouldn’t it make sense for companies to establish trust with borrowers at an early age, making them loyal, long-term customers? </p> Personal Loans Mon, 14 Sep 2015 00:00:00 -0700 We've Reached Our First Milestone! <p>Proud to announce that we've reached the $100k loan milestone during our first month...</p> <p>Borrowize is proud to announce that we helped our customers qualify for more than $100,000 in loans during our first month of business!</p> <p>More importantly, we were able to save our costumers <u>thousands of dollars</u> in interest payments by helping them qualify for cheaper and more-flexible loans than they previously had.*</p> <p>Check out our website and find out how we can help you save thousands in interest by connecting you to <u><strong>responsible</strong></u>, <u><strong>affordable</strong></u>, and <u><strong>consumer-friendly lenders</strong></u>. </p> <h2>Personal Loans</h2> <p><strong>⇒ <a href="" target="_blank">Start your search here</a></strong></p> <p>Whether you're looking to consolidate high-cost credit cards into a low fixed payment, need money for an unexpected expense, or want to finance a large purchase or vacation, our lenders may have a product for you!<sup>(1)</sup></p> <h2>Student Loans</h2> <p><strong>⇒ <a href="" target="_blank">Start your search here</a></strong></p> <p>We would love to help you lower the interest on your existing student loans and save thousands of dollars.  Our network of lenders offer recent-graduates and other professionals with student debt low-cost alternatives to non-subsidized and private student loans.<sup>(1)</sup></p> <h2>Small Business Loans</h2> <p><strong>⇒ <a href="" target="_blank">Start your search here</a></strong></p> <p>We work with small business lenders that offer flexible products for your growing business.  Whether you need short-term financing, or would like a long-term loan to fund your growth strategy, our network of responsible lenders can help!<sup>(1)</sup></p> <p><span style="font-size:11px">*Savings estimates based on consumer feedback on a large personal loan used to refinance an existing loan.  </span><br><span style="font-size:11px">(1) Terms and conditions apply.  All loans are subject to review and credit approval by the lenders.  </span></p> Announcements Tue, 08 Sep 2015 01:45:00 -0700 Four Tips that Will Help You Find the Right Personal Loan <p>These tips will help you make the right decision if you're in the market for an online loan.</p> <p>Before applying for an online loan, you’ll want to have a very well-thought out plan for what you’ll use it for and how you’ll pay it back.  Once you have that, treat your online loan search and application like any other online shopping experience. </p> <p>Internet shopping is great because it gives shoppers a tremendous amount of leverage.  The same goes for online borrowers.   Ask yourself this – would you buy an airline ticket without doing some online comparison shopping?  If your answer is no, then online lending could be right for you. </p> <h2>Figure Out How Much You Need:</h2> <p>Most people that apply for loans have a very specific use for the money.  If you need to finance a large purchase, try to see if you can cover 10% or 20% of the cost with cash.  </p> <p>If you need the loan to cover daily expenses during difficult times, it’ll be tough to pinpoint an exact amount, but establishing a budget and making sure you can pay it back will be paramount. </p> <p style="text-align:center"><span style="color:#FF8C00"><span style="font-size:26px"><strong><u>The key is to not take out more than you need or can pay back.</u> </strong></span></span></p> <p>Taking on too much debt can significantly restrict your ability to save.  Not to mention predatory lenders will happily give you as much money as you qualify for, since most of they make most of their money by charging people late fees and extension fees. </p> <h2>Do Some Basic Research: </h2> <p>Until recently, taking out an online loan was like walking through a minefield.  You may make it through unharmed, but chances are your personal finances would get seriously wounded. </p> <p>Predatory lenders spent lots of money on direct-to-consumer advertising, pushing expensive “bait-and-switch” loans to people with little financial experience and bad credit.  They present themselves as do-gooders to the financially underserved, only to gouge them with hidden fees and 500%+ APRs.     </p> <p>Now for the good news!  Online lending is finally starting to gain popularity as a mainstream financial alternative.  <strong>As a result</strong>, <strong>there are now some great online lenders offering quality credit products – <a href="" target="_blank">you just have to know where to look!</a></strong></p> <p><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></strong></p> <p><u><strong>FIRST</strong></u>, make sure you look beyond the first couple of results on your Google search.  The first links are generally paid advertisements, strategically positioned at the top to get people to click and act on a whim. </p> <p><u><strong>NEXT</strong></u>, do a basic background check on the lender, its website, parent company and headquarters.  You’d be surprised at how many lenders don’t provide contact, company, or headquarter information. </p> <p>What does this tell you?  It means they want to make it extremely hard for you to reach them if you have any issues or complaints.  Being deceptive is no way to gain a borrower’s trust. </p> <p><u><strong>FINALLY</strong></u>, look into the pros and cons of the different online products to find one that works best for your situation. </p> <p>For example, if you expect to pay the loan back quickly, find a short-term product with no prepayment penalties.  If you want to finance a large expense, such as a car repair or a home improvement project, take out a longer-term loan with a fixed rate and confirm the lender reports to the major credit bureaus. </p> <h2>See What Other People Have to Say About a Lender:</h2> <p>Treat your loan search as if you were interviewing the lender for a job opening.  While good references can help, negative ones act as obvious red flags that they should not proceed with a candidate. </p> <p>The same should apply for lenders.  The Internet makes it extremely easy to find reviews on most online products.  Just keep an eye out for sponsored reviews, which are basically paid advertisements.    </p> <p>When reading reviews, identify what part of the customer experience is most important to you, and see how the lender stacks up against its competitors.  If you want a quick and painless application process but the general feedback is that the lender requires lots of paperwork, you should move on.</p> <h2>Take Advantage of Free Tools: </h2> <p>Once you’ve narrowed your options down to between one and three loans, all that’s left is to understand how much each will cost you in the long run. Borrowers can lose sight of the total cost when they only focus on the finer details of a loan offer, such as the monthly payment, or APR. </p> <p>There are some great <a href="" target="_blank">loan calculators</a> out there that are both easy-to-use and free.  You can try to optimize your loan by playing around with the terms and finding the structure and offer that works for you.</p> <p>The Borrowize simple loan calculator breaks down the costs in a straightforward and easy-to-understand manner, and shows you how much it costs compared to other credit products such as credit cards and high-cost installment loans. </p> <p>------------</p> <p>If you're in the market for a personal loan, Borrowize can help.  We'll connect you to our network of <a href="" target="_blank">consumer-friendly lenders</a>, give you <a href="">tools</a> to calculate the costs, and provide all of the info and tips to help you make the right decision.  </p> Personal Loans Fri, 28 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0700 Women-Owned Businesses Soaring, Despite Obstacles <p>Women-owned businesses grew 27.5% between 2007-2012, while seeking ways to overcome major obstacles...</p> <p>Last week, the National Women's Business Council released an analysis of preliminary Census data, which showed a 27.5% increase in women-owned small businesses in the U.S. from 2007 to 2012.  That's 2.1 million more women-owned businesses in 2012 than 2007 and almost 1.5 million more jobs.</p> <p>This places the growth rate of women-owned businesses at almost four times the rate of businesses owned by men. A woman-owned business can be defined as one where a woman owns 51% or more of the business equity or stock.</p> <p>The report also highlighted the fact that there were major increases in small business ownership among women of color, particularly African-American and Hispanic women. The number of businesses owned by Hispanic women rose 87%, while the number of businesses owned by African-American women increased 68%. </p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <p>Some people attribute the increase in women-owned businesses among women of color to necessity, after losing jobs during the financial crisis. The growth may also be attributed to women seeking ways to simply supplement their income or find a new primary source of income.</p> <p>Additionally, women seem to have a bigger appetite for a better work-life balance, with hopes that owning their own business can provide them more flexibility for raising families and pursing other interests.</p> <p>On the flip side, the report shows a worrisome decline in business formation generally. New businesses and small businesses have struggled to recover since the financial crisis, rising only 2%, as compared to the increase in women-owned business at a rate of 27.5%.</p> <p>Despite the momentum and growth in women-owned businesses, women continue to lack access to some of the most important things they need to launch and scale their businesses, specifically in the area of raising venture capital, the National Women's Business Council report said.</p> <p>According to the report, women start their businesses with half as much money as men do and are also more likely to use personal savings to ramp up. They are also less likely to access bank loans than their male counterparts, partly because their approval rates are 15-20 percent lower than men’s, according to the online lending marketplace, Biz2Credit.</p> <blockquote>"Women bank loan approval rates are 15-20 percent lower than men"</blockquote> <p>The lack of adequate capital dilemma may be attributable to the fact that only 4% of women work in the upper levels of venture capital firms, according to a study out of Stanford. The presumption is fairly straightforward, the more women in leadership positions at venture capital firms, the more likely investments will be made in women-owned businesses.</p> <p>Another obstacle women-owned businesses experience is with regards to competing for government contracts, under the Small Business Administration program (SBA). Government contracting provides a huge opportunity for small businesses in general, since the federal government has a goal to sell 23 percent of its contracts to small businesses.</p> <p>However, the SBA has been falling short of its goal of increasing opportunities for women who own small businesses. The government has a goal of awarding 5 percent of its contracts, of the total 23 percent, to women-owned small businesses.</p> <p>In an effort to remedy this, last week, in New Hampshire, ChallengeHER Campaign hosted a training and networking event for women who own small business. ChallenegeHER is a national initiative designed specifically to promote the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program. The goal of the event was to help educate the women-owned small businesses on the certification process for government contracting, which can be confusing.</p> <p>So while women-owned business growth is soaring, they must face and learn to overcome some major obstacles. If you are a small business in need of fair and responsible financing, we are here to help simply the search process. Please see our <a href="" target="_blank">Small Business page</a> for more information on our network of lenders.   </p> <p> </p> Small Business Tue, 25 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0700 Super Tips to Make Extra Money & Pay Off Debt <p>There are multiple options for those who want to make a extra money, save, and pay off debts quicker . . .</p> <p>It’s simple, the only way to pay off your debt faster is to make larger payments.  You can do this one of two ways, either make more money, or find ways to save on other expenses.</p> <p>For student loans, in particular, making payments while still in school and paying more than the minimum can cut years and save you thousands in interest.  As a former law student, most of my time was spent at school or on schoolwork, so finding a job or jobs that provided me flexibility was crucial.  </p> <p>Luckily, there are multiple options for current students, recent grads, and others that want to supplement their income that provide flexible ways to make some extra $$$, save, and pay off debts quicker.</p> <p><span style="font-size:18px"><strong>How Much You Can Save By Paying A Little More Each Month:</strong></span></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <p>Below I have compiled a list of part-time or contract jobs that are great for busy students or recent grads.  I’ve actually done a few of these myself, had great experiences, made good money, and met some very interesting people.</p> <h2>BORROWIZE TOP CHOICES:</h2> <p><em>Based on a combination of flexibility, earning potential, lack of barrier to entry, and personal experience</em></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <h3>1.  <u>Personal Shopper</u></h3> <p>Companies like <a href="">Envoy</a> or <a href="">Instacart</a> can pay you $25 an hour to grocery shop for people.  Envoy will also pay you to run other personal errands or even to assist with tasks around the house. </p> <h3>2.  <u>Ride Sharing</u></h3> <p>I’m sure this one has already crossed your mind if you use Uber or Lyft.  It’s easy and you can meet some very interesting people! The hourly pay depends on the number and length of rides, but you can conservatively expect to make $10-$25 an hour. </p> <h3>3.  <u>Babysitting</u></h3> <p>If you’re good with kids and are responsible, why not make an extra $10-$20 an hour hanging out with some kiddos!  Sign up with a company like <a href="">sittercity</a> or just reach out to family or friends.</p> <h3>4.  <u>Rent out a Room</u></h3> <p>If you have an extra bedroom or spend a lot of time away from home, <a href="">Airbnb</a> offers you the ability to make some money &amp; meet new people, all on your own schedule. This could net a few thousand dollars a month, depending on your living arrangement.</p> <h3>5.  <u>Dog sitter/walker </u></h3> <p>A dog lovers dream! <a href="">Dogvacay</a> allows you to hang out with some fury friends without having to worry about actually having the responsibility of owning one. Sitters can earn up to $1000/month!</p> <h2>RESUME BOOSTERS:  </h2> <p>These jobs may be more difficult to get, but are worth investigating, since they can also help your career. </p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <h3>1.  <u>Teaching Assistant</u></h3> <p>Ask one of your favorite professors they are looking to hire a teaching assistant. I made roughly $10/hour for helping one of my professor. I also felt like it gave me a little more leeway when it came time for grades ;)</p> <h3>2.  <u>Tutor (On Campus)</u></h3> <p>On a similar note, investigate whether your school hires any tutors. Again, I got paid about $10/hour to give feedback on writing samples and other non-school related works.</p> <h3>3.  <u>Side Business and/or Freelance Work </u></h3> <p>Have any special talents? You can monetize them! Writer, designer, web developer, SEO specialist? Here are the <a href="">top 15 freelance websites</a> to get you started.  Working on a business or honing your skills will only make you more marketable to potential employers.</p> <h3>4.  <u>Etsy Store</u></h3> <p>If you have a creative bone in your body, or are a good salesperson, starting an Etsy store can be a great option for you.  You can sell anything! Jewelry, signs, art, and everything in between.  May require some up-front costs but the upside is a lot higher.</p> <h2>MAXIMIZE CASH FROM WHAT YOU ALREADY OWN:</h2> <p><strong><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></strong></p> <h3>1.  <u>Sell Your Unwanted Goods </u></h3> <p>Anything you own that can sell worth value?  Sell it on <a href="">Craigslist</a>, <a href="">Amazon</a> or <a href="">Ebay</a>. Take stock of anything you don’t need - appliances, books, kitchenware, books from school, etc. Even lightly worn clothes, shoes and handbags can be sold – <a href="">Tradesy</a> and <a href="">Vinted</a> are great starting places!</p> <h3>2.  <u>Redeem Gift Cards</u></h3> <p>Do you forget about just about every gift card you ever received, like the majority of the population? Guess what?! You can <a href="">sell your gift cards</a> for $$$! They’ll take a small cut, but at least you know you will use it this way.</p> <h3>3.  <u>Leverage a Cash Gift or Bonus</u></h3> <p>Though I guess it’s technically “the thought that counts,” I personal don’t want any other gifts that I can’t use or don’t really want. If you have debt or loans to pay off, it might be worth it to kindly ask, around birthdays and holidays, for $ instead to help get rid of your debt.</p> <h2>WORTH A TRY, BUT POSSIBLY LESS PAYOUT:</h2> <h3>1.  <u>Get Rewarded </u></h3> <p>This one is kind of fun! Some websites will reward you for paying your loans or for completing small tasks like watching a video or playing game. They also have drawings where you could win big buck$! Take a look at <a href="">SmarterBucks</a> &amp; <a href=""></a>.</p> <h3>2.  <u>Mock jury</u></h3> <p>Trial is serious business and lawyers and law firms will actually pay you decent $ to tell them how they are doing and how they might fair in court. Get started on <a href="">Craigslist</a> or from a variety of other websites. You can even do this one from comfort of your own home at <a href=""></a>.</p> <h3>3.  <u>Focus Groups </u></h3> <p>Who would have thought you could make up to a couple hundred dollar$ by just filling out an online survey or by giving live commentary about a company, business, product, or design! <a href="">Craigslist</a> is a great tool. Or take a look at <a href=""></a></p> <h3>4.  <u>Secret Shopper</u></h3> <p>It’s as simple as it sounds, companies will pay you to visit their stores, pretend to be an average customer and report back on the service and overall experience. Easy! Can you squeeze it in on your lunch hour or day off from school? The answer is &amp; should be, yes! Check out <a href=""></a> to start.</p> <h3>5.   <u>Side work and One-Time Gigs</u></h3> <p><a href="">Craigslist</a> or other apps can help you find one-off jobs for quick and easy money. Field Agent and Gig will also pay you for completing small jobs.</p> <p>------------------</p> <p>Of course there are other ways to make extra cash, but we wanted to give you a fairly comprehensive list to work with. Please share your other ideas or things that have worked for you! </p> Student Loans & Debt Mon, 17 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0700 Borrowize Signs the Small Business Borrowers' Bill of Rights <p>Borrowize is now a signatory of the Small Business Borrowers' Bill of Rights, pledging to put Borrowers first...</p> <h2>Borrowize is excited to announce that we are now a signatory of the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights (SBBOR)!</h2> <p>This means that we have publicly committed to ensure small business owners have access to funding that is both transparent and fair. By signing, Borrowize joins a coalition of industry leaders committed to eliminating predatory lending to small businesses.</p> <p><strong>The six main governing Rights behind the SBBOR are</strong>:</p> <ul><li><em>The Right to Transparent Pricing and Terms</em></li> <li><em>The Right to Non-Abusive Products</em></li> <li><em>The Right to Responsible Underwriting</em></li> <li><em>The Right to Fair Treatment from Brokers</em></li> <li><em>The Right to Inclusive Credit Access</em></li> <li><em>The Right to Fair Collection Practices</em></li> </ul> <p>The ideas behind the SBBOR really encompass many of the reasons we started Borrowize. Oftentimes it can be confusing and difficult to find a lender that has your best interest in mind, essentially forcing Borrowers into alternatives with hidden costs and predatory features.</p> <p>Borrowize decided to only partner and build relationships with the best in the business. Access to quality loan products shouldn’t be as difficult as it has become. That’s why we are dedicated to giving the power back to the borrower, by providing access to some of the best lenders in the business, all in one place.</p> <p>You will only find transparent, fair, non-predatory and responsible lenders on our online network. We invite you to visit our website and search our <a href="" style="color: rgb(7, 130, 193);">student</a>, <a href="" style="color: rgb(7, 130, 193);">personal</a>, and <a href="" style="color: rgb(7, 130, 193);">small business</a> lender network. Also, check back in for new lenders we will be adding shortly!</p> <p>For more information on the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights and the other signatories visit: <a href="" style="color: rgb(7, 130, 193);"></a>.</p> Announcements Thu, 13 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0700 5 Personal Finance Takeaways from Venezuela's Failing Economy <p>Venezuela's financial crisis can teach us all what NOT to do with our personal finances.</p> <p>When people find out that I’m from Venezuela, they generally bring up one of three things: <strong>oil</strong>, <strong>beauty pageant winners</strong>, and <strong>baseball</strong>. </p> <p>Venezuela is a country in South America with a population of 30 million people and a land mass roughly the size of Texas, and for the past 40 years, baseball, oil and beautiful women were in fact what put it on the map. </p> <p>Recently, however, Venezuela has only been making headlines because of the absolute financial mess it has gotten itself into.  Everything is going wrong, from experiencing a shortage of toilet paper, to the constant currency devaluation, to talks of default, to (gasp!) RUNNING OUT OF BEER! </p> <p>In fact, a recent <a href="">Bloomberg Business survey</a> listed Venezuela as the most miserable place to live and work in the world. </p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <p>The failing Venezuelan economy has taught us a lot about what <u><strong>NOT</strong></u> to do.  In fact, I though <u>Venezuela’s financial mishaps can provide us all with <strong>5 easy to understand personal finance takeaways to live by</strong></u>:</p> <h2>1.  Save more during the good years.</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <h3><u>Venezuela’s Mistake:</u>  </h3> <p>From January 2002 to June 2014, the price of oil went from $25 to $105 per barrel.  As one of the world’s top oil producers, this resulted in a financial windfall for the relatively small nation.</p> <p>Instead of boosting its cash reserves, Venezuela gave away free oil to its neighbors for political influence, spent heavily on social projects that had minimal benefits, and squandered away the oil boom money because of rampant corruption and incompetence. </p> <h3><u>Borrowize Takeaway:</u> </h3> <p>Your annual income can fluctuate from year to year, oftentimes due to factors outside your control, such as a bad economy, down stock market, smaller bonus, or unexpected layoff. </p> <p>To be better prepared, save a little bit more during the good years.  It’s tempting to get carried away when you’re making a bit more money and splurge on non-essential expenses. </p> <p>Instead, stick to the prior year’s budget and put the additional earnings into paying down debt, maximizing your 401k, or starting a college education fund for your kids.</p> <h2>2.  Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. </h2> <h3><u>Venezuela’s Mistake:</u> </h3> <p>Venezuela suffers from the “resource curse,” an ironic situation in which countries with an abundance of non-renewable resources experience stagnant growth or economic contraction.  In Venezuela’s case, the money making resource is oil, accounting for 95% of its export revenue. </p> <p>Over the years, Venezuela has neglected its manufacturing, agricultural, tourism, chemicals, and other industries that were once very promising, making it a one-trick pony and leaving its economy extremely vulnerable to downturns in the oil market. </p> <h3><u>Borrowize Takeaway:</u> </h3> <p>Don’t get me wrong, you should focus most of your time and energy on what you do well, and what makes you the most money. </p> <p>That being said, being too exposed to one revenue source, one stock, or one type of investment can leave you vulnerable to unexpected downturns. Diversify your earning streams.</p> <h2>3.  Seek out expert advice.</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <h3><u>Venezuela’s Mistake:</u> </h3> <p>If you study a list of high ranking Venezuelan government officials, you will notice that a lot of them are family members or ex-military officers, with personal ties to the late President Hugo Chavez.</p> <p>The administration essentially replaced industry experts and senior government officials with “yes men” and cronies with little-to-no experience in the job they inherited.  This has resulted in widespread mismanagement of major government programs and a deteriorating economy.</p> <h3><u>Borrowize Takeaway:</u> </h3> <p>Not everyone has the time to learn the ins and outs of budgeting and money management, though most financial decisions can be complicated and have long-lasting impacts.</p> <p>Before making your next big money decision, reach out to an expert, experienced family member, or a friend you trust.  It may cost a bit at the outset, but it will likely save you in the long run.   </p> <h2>4.  Your credit score and reputation matter! </h2> <h3><u>Venezuela’s Mistake</u>: </h3> <p>The government’s total mishandling of the economy has led to a rating of “junk” on the debt markets, making it nearly impossible for them to borrow money from traditional sources, and hampering their ability to get out of this mess.</p> <p>Not only that, but the government’s hostility towards free enterprise and propensity to nationalize companies, the second worst homicide rate in the world, and the widespread corruption in day-to-day life makes Venezuela extremely unattractive to foreign investors. </p> <h3><u>Borrowize Takeaway:</u> </h3> <p>Having a bad credit score can impair your ability to get a personal loan or credit card, apply for a mortgage, or even get a job. </p> <p>In addition to performing credit and background checks, employers and creditors are increasingly running Google searches and looking into social media activity when considering applicants. </p> <p>In today’s Internet age, everything is saved and available for future scrutiny, so maintaining a positive and trustworthy image is very important to your earning potential.  When posting on social media, ask yourself this:  Would I want my grandma, a room full of 1st graders, or my boss to see this?</p> <h2>5.  Careful who you borrow money from.</h2> <h3><u>Venezuela’s Mistake:</u> </h3> <p>Since 2007, Venezuela has borrowed over $50 billion from China, plus billions more from Russia in the form of bonds.  While both of these countries are okay trade partners, the majority of the loans have unfavorable terms for Venezuela, in the form of providing free oil in return for the debt. </p> <p>Given that Venezuela relies on oil for 95% of its export revenue, giving away so much free oil in the form of debt payments makes it near impossible to earn their way out of their debt mess.</p> <h3><u>Borrowize Takeaway:</u> </h3> <p>Though taking on debt can provide certain benefits, it should be reserved for very limited circumstances.</p> <p>If you have to borrow money, make sure you only deal with reputable lenders and avoid predatory loans at all costs.  Getting stuck with unfavorable terms will cost you dearly in the long-term, significantly limiting your ability to save or improve your financial wellbeing.</p> <p>Learning and applying these rules will go a long way in keeping your bank account from ending up like Venezuela's, and more importantly, it will keep you from running out toilet paper and beer! </p> <p>For more personal finance tips, loan product information, and expert commentary visit our <a href="">blog</a> and check out our network of responsible <a href="">personal lenders.</a> </p> <p> </p> Miscellaneous Wed, 12 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0700 This Fun Numbers Trick Will Turn You Into a Mind Reader <p>Try out this fun numbers trick at your next dinner party. You won't be disappointed with people's reactions...</p> <p>Staying sharp on your numbers can really help you in making wise day-to-day money decisions.  Problem is, a lot of people tend to get intimidated by math.</p> <p> </p> <p><strong>This quick numbers trick will sharpen your math skills.  You may be shocked with the results!</strong></p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:rgb(139, 69, 19)"><strong>Step 1:</strong></span>  <strong>Think of a number between 1 and 9</strong></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:160px; width:143px"></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:rgb(139, 69, 19)"><strong>Step 2:</strong></span>  <strong>Multiply your number by 2</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:rgb(139, 69, 19)"><strong>Step 3:</strong></span>  <strong>Add 8 to your new number</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:rgb(139, 69, 19)"><strong>Step 4:</strong></span>  <strong>Divide your new number by 2</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:rgb(139, 69, 19)"><strong>Step 5:</strong></span>  <strong>Subtract that number by your <u>original number</u> from step 1</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:rgb(139, 69, 19)"><strong>Step 6:</strong></span>  <strong>Okay, you should now have a number between 1 and 26...  Take that number and match it to its equivalent letter. </strong></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:rgb(139, 69, 19)"><strong>Step 7:</strong></span>  <strong>Pick a country anywhere in the world that <u>starts with that letter.</u></strong></p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:rgb(139, 69, 19)"><strong>Step 8:</strong></span>  <strong>Take the letter that comes next in the alphabet (for example, if your country starts with an A, you would choose B), and think of an animal that begins with that letter. </strong></p> <p><em>For example…</em></p> <p> </p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="width:100%"></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:#8B4513"><strong>Step 9:</strong></span>  <strong>Last step… think of the color of that animal</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><span style="color:#8B4513"><strong>Congratulations!</strong></span>  You are now done with the math!  You should now have a <strong><u>country</u></strong>, an <strong><u>animal</u></strong>, and a <strong><u>color</u></strong>.</p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p>I’m pretty sure I know what you’re thinking.  The problem is…</p> <p>...</p> <p>...</p> <p><span style="font-size:26px"><big><strong><em>...There are no <u>Grey Elephants</u> in <u>Denmark!</u></em></strong></big></span></p> <p> </p> <p>If this this is the answer you got to, then great!  If the country started with a D but you did not choose Denmark, then you still did the math right.  Share this trick with your friends and share your answers with us!</p> Miscellaneous Mon, 10 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0700 3 Scenarios Where It Makes Sense to Refinance <p>Find out whether refinancing an existing loan or credit card can save you thousands of dollars in interest...</p> <p><big>Chances are that you’ve seen the commercials telling you to <strong>“refinance now and save thousands of dollars!” </strong></big></p> <p>Refinancing is when you pay off an existing loan with a new loan, typically with better terms than the original, resulting in interest savings. </p> <p>If you currently have a personal loan or credit card debt, taking advantage of today’s low interest rates could save you thousands in the long-term.  You’d be surprised at how simple the process has become. </p> <p>Before deciding whether to refinance, you should consider your options. Below are three situations where refinancing would make economic sense.</p> <h2>1.  Your Credit Score and/or Salary Has Gone Up:</h2> <p>If your financial situation has improved at all, chances are you can graduate to a loan or credit card with better terms.  Why continue to pay a 24% APR on a credit card if you can qualify for a short-term loan at 15% or less? </p> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:200px; width:300px"></p> <p>This is a very common predicament among millennials and recent graduates.  Due to their limited credit history and lower earning potential, they tend to get locked into higher interest rates on credit cards and personal loans.  </p> <p>Taking out a new loan to pay off credit cards can benefit you in <u>two ways</u>:</p> <ul><li> <strong>First</strong>, you will save hundreds, possibly thousands, in interest if you can secure a lower fixed rate.  Most credit cards have variable APRs, meaning that as interest rates rise so does your APR.  Lock in today’s low rates – they can only go up from here.</li> <li> <strong>Second</strong>, most people with credit cards pay the minimum monthly payment or close to it.  This is a recipe for life-long debt servitude.  Swapping a credit card with a short-term loan will force you to pay it off quicker, saving you years of payments and thousands of dollars. </li> </ul> <h2>2.  You’ve Already Paid Down a Large Portion of What You’re Financing:</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:215px; width:300px"></p> <p>This option only applies if your loan was used to finance a large purchase, such as your home, car, or a piece of equipment.   These loans are called asset-backed loans, because they use the valuable that you are buying as collateral. </p> <p>A key metric that lenders look at when deciding on your interest rate is called loan-to-value, or LTV.  Put simply, this is the percentage of the total cost that they will lend to you. </p> <p>For example, if you want to buy a car worth $10,000 and the lender offers you $7,500, your loan-to-value is 75%.  As you pay down the loan principal, the LTV is reduced. </p> <p>Using the same car example as above, let’s say you now have $3,500 remaining on your loan and your car is now worth $7,000.  That means that your LTV went from 75% to 50%. </p> <p>A lower LTV generally results in a lower interest rate, so refinancing your remaining balance could result in major savings.  Keep in mind that some refinancing options will extend the length of the loan, so be careful as the extended duration may cut into some of your savings. </p> <h2>3.  You Simply Want to Take Advantage of Lower Interest Rates:</h2> <p><img alt="" src="" style="height:250px; width:300px"></p> <p>This option is popular for people with mortgages.  Not only can you lower your APR, but you can also opt for a more favorable mortgage product (Adjustable Rate Mortgage to Fixed, 15 year to 30 year, etc.)</p> <p>Keep in mind that some lenders may hit you with fees when you refinance, so make sure that you either find a company that doesn’t charge, or that your potential savings from refinancing are greater than the fees you pay. </p> <p>Monitoring your debt and keeping an eye out for better offers is extremely important.  If you are paying too much on a credit card or need to find a loan, visit our <a href="">personal loan</a> and credit card search to find reputable lenders that offer great alternatives to high-cost loans. </p> Personal Loans Mon, 03 Aug 2015 00:00:00 -0700 Could Your Lawmakers Be Doing More to Protect You From Predatory Online Lenders? <p>Lawmakers are dropping the ball and have not made much progress on holding predatory lenders accountable...</p> <p>There is a lot of work to be done with regards to online lending laws. Not only do we need to find ways to get laws already in existence functioning, but we need to enact new laws that will help protect borrowers from predatory and inequitable loans.</p> <p>Earlier this month a group of Democratic lawmakers in the Senate and House sent letters to the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), urging the agency to begin collecting data from creditors on small-business lending and fulfill part of its duties under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.</p> <p>The provision specifically at issue is known as Section 1071. This little-known rule empowers CFPB to collect data from lenders on loans to small businesses, including rejections, type and purpose of credit sought, and demographic and geographic breakdowns of loans made. Most importantly, CFPB is authorized to collect “any additional data” necessary to fulfill 1071's intent.</p> <h2>The problem, you ask?</h2> <p><span style="color:#008080"><em>The Dodd-Frank law was enacted over 5 years ago and collection has yet to begin.</em></span></p> <p>Let’s reiterate that, <strong>5 years ago!</strong></p> <p>Section 1071 could play a critical role in publicly differentiating good players from bad players, and offer some transparency in his rapidly emerging market.</p> <p>Despite the immense growth in the online lending sector, the laws surrounding it actually remain quite scant. There is little oversight by states and virtually none by federal regulators.</p> <p>Morgan Stanley estimated that online lending to small businesses will grow roughly 50% annually until 2020. The way people are borrowing money is changing because many people have lost trust in big banks, or simply cannot qualify for traditional bank loans.</p> <p>Online lending is truly in the wild-west of its time, where shady practices run rampant, alongside massive exploration and new development. Though there are good lenders out there, it shouldn’t be this difficult for borrowers to find good and trustworthy lenders.</p> <p>It’s time to do away with the triple-digit interest rates, and inadequate or nonexistent disclosure of loan costs to borrowers, many of whom lack the financial savvy to understand the weight of such financial decisions.</p> <p>Logic would dictate that borrowers and responsible lenders would be better served if there were rules and laws that could be properly enforced. Something that could be done immediately is that CFPB could use 1071 to expose predatory practices by mandating that online lenders publicly disclose product outcomes including: Annual Percentage Rates (APRs), default rates, as well as demographic and geographic characteristics.</p> <p>Such public disclosure of such data would help name and shame the worst offenders. It may also force lawmakers to take action. One such measure that Congress could and should enact is S. 673, which amends the Truth in Lending Act to cap APRs at 36% for credit transactions. </p> <p>States that have enacted a 36% cap have already netted total savings of $1.5 billion. A few states are already taking the lead by using various restrictions, such as limits on loan amounts, interest rates, loan terms, and the number of loans.</p> <p>The use of 1071 will also incentivize lenders to improve product quality and more vigorously compete on customer service, while also helping borrowers make informed borrowing decisions.</p> <p>Don’t fall victim to wide array of online predatory lenders. We know we at <a href="">Borrowize</a> can help, by only offering some of most responsible lenders in the business. Please check out our <a href="">personal loans</a> and <a href="">small business loans</a> pages for a better idea of the lender options we provide. </p> Lending Regulations Thu, 30 Jul 2015 00:00:00 -0700 Misconceptions of the Financially Underserved <p>Who are the &quot;underbanked&quot;? Simply put, they are people who do not qualify for mainstream financial products and services...</p> <p>To start, what does being underbanked mean? The underbanked can be defined as the people who are not adequately served by the mainstream financial services offered by traditional banks.</p> <p>So, what’s the issue? The makeup of this group has changed dramatically leaving an even larger component of today’s society without proper access to retail banking services.</p> <p>Historically the group of people that compromised the underbanked were those with lower income, poor credit, either unemployed, uneducated, or immigrants. The financial crisis that occurred over the last several years is clearing up, but has now left a new set of individuals who no longer have access to traditional retail banking services.</p> <p>This new group is comprised of Millennials, who are seemingly educated, employed and well-connected. Good or bad, the unbanked or underbanked consumers are a large component of today's society. As a result, understanding who this group actually is and what is being done to change the financial landscape for these consumers is crucial.</p> <h2>Underbanked Statistics at a Glance</h2> <p>According to the <a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(51, 122, 183); text-decoration: none; border: 0px; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important; background-color: transparent;">2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked or Underbanked Households</a>, 20% of U.S. households, or 24.8 million Americans were underbanked, which means they had access to some retail banking products, but still sought after and used alternative funding services. This is an incredible number of people using outside or non-traditional financial services.</p> <h2>The New Face of the Underbanked</h2> <p>A key reason for being unable to access financial options from traditional banks was because the consumer experienced a major life event in the past year that stressed their finances. However, the survey above indicates that this is no longer the case and very few people have had such a triggering event.</p> <p>Here's a closer look at today’s underbanked consumers.</p> <ul><li>According to <a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(51, 122, 183); text-decoration: none; border: 0px; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important; background-color: transparent;">American Banker</a>, 36 percent of the underbanked or unbanked are 18 to 24 years old. They are Millennials and students from all walks of life.</li> <li>They are educated, with 75% having at least a college education.</li> <li>Many of them are tech savvy with easy access to smartphones, the Internet, and various new technologies, making them less likely to be drop-outs.</li> <li>Many are employed. A survey conducted in 2011 indicates that underbanked consumers have an average income of $52,000, with 75% earning more than $35,000.</li> </ul> <h2>Why Are Young People Disproportionately Underbanked?</h2> <p>There are a variety of reasons for the shift in underbanked consumers. First, the financial crisis had a tremendous and long-lasting impact on young people. Even if they may have jobs now, many did not initially.</p> <p>To make matters worse, many of the college graduates have high-cost student loans and jobs with salaries that don’t match this added cost of living. Traditional banks tend to focus their lending efforts on consumers with strong employment, solid credit scores, and some form of liquid assets. As a result, because most of today's Millennials can't meet those standards, banks overlook their needs.</p> <p>Additionally, Millennials are simply less trusting of big banks following the financial crisis. It doesn’t help that banks have also been slow to adapt to new technologies, resulting in cumbersome and time-intensive loan application processes and other banking activities.</p> <p>This negative perception of banks has led Millennials to search for innovative, tech-savvy, mobile and consumer-friendly funding sources. What they have found are new alternative online lenders that provide the technology and user-friendly mobile processes that they were seeking and are accustomed to in other parts of their lives.</p> <h2>Where the Underbanked Can Go Wrong When Seeking Credit Alternatives</h2> <p>The 2014 "Treading Water in the Deep End" report estimates that 44% of U.S. households live paycheck-to-paycheck. These individuals have less than 3 months worth of savings, and have a hard time making ends meet, let alone plan for something unexpected.</p> <p>According to the Center for Financial Services Innovation, the four main reasons why consumers seek alternative lenders are unexpected expenses, misaligned cash flow, expenses exceeding income, and large planned purchases.</p> <p>The limited credit options available to the underbanked has often led them to high-cost predatory loans such as payday, installment and title loans, leaving even well-intentioned, hard-working consumers victim to the wrong loan.</p> <p>Because these high-cost lenders have fewer qualification requirements, they are easy to get. However, they push consumers into a deeper hole with debt that is harder to repay.</p> <h2>The Solution – A New Wave of Online Consumer Lenders</h2> <p>Luckily, new technology has brought more options to consumers. There is a new group of consumer-friendly and responsible online alternative lenders gaining market share by leveraging the use of social media, big data analytics, and complex underwriting models.</p> <p>These lenders are offering:</p> <ul><li>Easy to understand loan terms with no hidden fees and flexible payment schedules.</li> <li>Simple application processes that meet the needs of this tech-savvy generation.</li> <li>Quick decision-making, ensuring loans get funded within hours or days.</li> <li>Transparent solutions that consumers can trust.</li> </ul> <p>These new companies provide great alternatives to high-cost, predatory payday and title loans.</p> <p>For additional information on these loans, as well as a list of lenders, check out the <a href="" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; color: rgb(51, 122, 183); text-decoration: none; border: 0px; font-size: inherit; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; outline: none !important; background-color: transparent;">Borrowize loan search feature</a>. We work with a diverse network of responsible and transparent lenders, and our site matches you with the right product to fit your needs.</p> Alternative Loans Fri, 19 Jun 2015 00:00:00 -0700 Have Student Debt? 10 Ways to Pay it Off and Save Money <p>As a recent law school graduate with roughly $85,000 in student loans, I share a similar burden as more than 40 million Americans...</p> <p>As a recent law school graduate with roughly $85,000 in student loans, I share a similar burden as more than 40 million Americans. Estimates show Americans collectively owe more than $1.2 trillion in student debt. This means there are a lot of people asking themselves: <em>“how in the world will I pay my student loans?”</em></p> <p>Tackling your student debt can be a daunting task, particularly in today’s job market. The good news is that you have options! Whether you’re looking to lower your current interest or have monthly payments you can’t meet, you’ve come to the right place. </p> <h2>1. Chip Away While You’re Still in School</h2> <p>If you are currently in school, you may want to start making interest payments before you graduate. Unsubsidized loans like the Stafford loan begin accruing interest immediately. To make matters worse, the accrued interest is then capitalized after the six-month grace period following graduation, meaning that it is added to the principal balance and interest then starts to accrue on the new, larger balance.</p> <p>First, do you have some savings that you could use? Could you take on a part-time job in the school year or during breaks? There are jobs that can pay well while providing the flexibility needed for a full-time class schedule. Paying off debt may seem like a low priority at this point in your life, but doing so will have significant long-term benefits. </p> <h2>2. Set up Auto Pay</h2> <p>Chances are you’re already enrolled in auto pay for your credit card, utilities, and other bills, so why not your student loans? Not only is it much more convenient, but you can also save money every month by having your payments automatically debited from your account. </p> <p>It took me 10 minutes to sign up and I could end up saving about $1,500 over 10 years. Where else can you make that kind of money in less than 5 minutes? The most common loan discount is an interest rate reduction of 0.25%. I encourage you to <a href="">contact</a> your provider and ask if they offer it too. </p> <h2>3. Standard Repayment</h2> <p>Seems simple, but it can be very tempting to kick the can down the road. Making the minimum payment should be a top priority. Set that as a goal and find ways to cut expenses in other parts of your daily life. Making the minimum payment over the term of your loan will save you money, build your credit, and help you become debt free sooner.</p> <h2>4. Refinancing</h2> <p>Refinancing your loan with a private lender can result in a reduced interest rate, lower monthly payments, and shorter time to pay off your student loan. Borrowers with especially high-interest rate Federal loans, like PLUS loans, may benefit the most from this alternative. </p> <p>Consider this, for every $50,000 of debt, a 1% reduction in interest rate will save you roughly $3,000 in interest over the life of your loan. Depending on how much debt you have and how low you can get your rate, you can be looking at big bucks! Visit our <a href="">student loan search</a> to see if you qualify for a low cost loan from one of our various lending partners </p> <p>When evaluating whether to refinance, keep in mind that some private lenders don’t provide the same borrower protections such as <a href="">Public Loan Forgiveness</a> or the <a href="">Deferment</a> and <a href="">Forbearance</a> options. </p> <h2>5. Income Driven Repayment</h2> <p>This is a great alternative for those who do not have the ability to make the minimum monthly payments in full each month. This option reduces your monthly payments based on your income, ultimately extending the life of the loan beyond the original 10-year term. </p> <p>The result is that you may end up paying more for your loan over time. That being said, this option frees up cash each month, and if you make your qualifying monthly payments, the balance on your loan will be forgiven if you have not repaid your loan in 25-years. </p> <h2>6. Deferment/Forbearance</h2> <p>These two options are similar, but have some key differences.</p> <p><em><strong>Deferment</strong></em> = a period during which repayment of the principal and interest of your loan is temporarily delayed.</p> <ul><li>You must <a href="">qualify</a> &amp; submit a request.</li> <li>The government does not pay the interest on your unsubsidized loans (or on any PLUS loans), but may on <a href="">other loans</a>.</li> <li>You will pay more over the life of your loan.</li> </ul> <p><em><strong>Forbearance</strong></em> = a period of time when your loan servicer allows you to stop making payments or reduce your monthly payment for up to 12 months. </p> <ul><li>Oftentimes the decision by the loan servicer is <a href="">discretionary</a>. There are a few times when it is <a href="">mandatory</a>.</li> <li>Interest will continue to accrue on your subsidized and unsubsidized loans.</li> <li>You will pay more over the life of your loan.</li> </ul> <h2>7. Forgiveness</h2> <p>I’m sure this option is the one that gets you most excited – an easy way to get rid of your student debt does sound nice. Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet, because the circumstances are particularly limited. </p> <p>The most common programs are the <a href="">public student loan forgiveness </a> and <a href="">teacher student loan forgiveness</a> programs. Both programs have their own set of rules and strict guidelines, but if either of those descriptions sounds like you, it may be worth looking into. It should be noted that there are other limited <a href="">exceptions</a> for forgiveness, as well.</p> <h2>8. Consolidation</h2> <p>The government will allow you to <a href="">consolidate</a> your student loans without paying a fee, which may reduce your monthly loan payment and simplify the repayment process. </p> <p>The interest rate on the new consolidated loan is a fixed interest based on the weighted average of the interest rates on the loans being consolidated. The catch is that even if you end up with a lower interest rate after consolidation and more manageable payments, the longer payment term may result in you owing more over the lifetime of your loan. </p> <h2>9. Ask Your Employer to Help</h2> <p>As part of a broader workplace trend, employers have started to offer unique perks aimed at recruiting and retaining new employees. One of the new benefits is student loan repayment assistance…fancy that! </p> <p>Ask your HR representative whether they have an existing program or if they are willing to adopt one. Companies like allow employers to provide these benefits to select individuals, sparing them the hassle of implementing a firm-wide plan. Instead of a cash bonus, opt for the loan repayment. May sound boring now, but you will thank yourself later. </p> <h2>10. Invest Instead of Pre-Pay</h2> <p>The idea behind this is simpler than most people think… Will the return on an investment be greater than the interest you are paying on your debt? Let’s say you have $10,000 to put towards your loan balance, and let’s assume you are paying 5% annually. If you apply that towards your loans, you will save $500 a year in interest. However, if you can get a 7% return or higher elsewhere, you can make $700 or more a year, allowing you to apply the extra cash towards your payments. </p> <p><strong>Important:</strong> This option should only be considered if you have the ability to pay above and beyond the minimum monthly payment. Even then, I recommend you weight the benefits, as alternative investments such as the stock market and real estate are inherently risky.</p> Student Loans & Debt Mon, 11 May 2015 21:56:00 -0700