EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated for 2018.
When it comes to online personal loans, Lending Club is among the more well-known and trusted names in the business. Through the peer-to-peer, or social, lending model that the company helped establish, Lending Club has successfully issued more than $35 billion in personal loans since its founding in 2007. If you’re in the market for a personal loan and are considering Lending Club, it helps to know all your options and to compare personal loan lenders that offer alternatives that may work better for your needs.
Because borrowers receive funds from individual or groups of investors, the application process through Lending Club is unique. The process goes like this:
- Fill out a simple online form that identifies:
- Loan amount
- Intended use
- Credit score range
- Fill out a longer form with additional information such as your name, address, date of birth, and income.
- Lending Club provides an instant rate quote (supplemented by a soft credit pull) and allows you to view different loan options with various terms, principal amounts and fixed APRs (Annual Percentage Rates).
- Make a selection and provide additional information to prepare for a hard credit pull.
- After gathering more information, such as proof of salary or tax returns, Lending Club generates an internal “score” for you and places it along with the agreed terms of the loan onto the company’s online investor market – no other personal details are disclosed to investors.
- The loan may receive near-immediate funding, or it may take a few days or weeks. After 30 days, if your loan is not funded at least 60%, it expires.
Are They Different?
Lending Club’s model is unlike many other online lenders and even different from other peer-to-peer lenders such as Prosper because it disperses funds through WebBank, a fully FDIC-insured online lender. This provides you with all the protections and other features you would receive with a traditional bank loan.
Lending Club also offers special loans for highly qualified borrowers and allows joint applications for personal loans, but you must call Lending Club directly for this route.
Lending Terms & Credit Standards
Lending Club is known as a lender focused on well-qualified borrowers with excellent or very good credit, high income and long credit history (16+ years on average). Although the company uses more than your credit score to determine your eligibility, the company requires a minimum credit score of 600 to apply for a personal loan.
Lending Club Terms
- Principal Amount: up to $40,000
- Interest Rate: 6.95%–35.89%
- Terms: 36 or 60 months
- Time to Receive Funding: in as few as 3 days once investors have funded the loan
Fees & Penalties
There’s a number of fees and penalties associated with using a Lending Club personal loan, as outlined below.
- Origination fee: 1%–6%, depending on creditworthiness, deducted from the total amount of the loan itself. For example, borrowers taking a $10,000 loan with a 5% origination fee only receive $9,500.
- Late Fee: 5% of the unpaid payment amount or $15, whichever is greater
- Personal Check Processing Fee: $7
- Application Fee: $0
- Early Payment Fee: $0
Lending Club Loan Comparison: Better Solutions for Top-Rated Borrowers
Lending Club specifically looks for highly qualified borrowers with good-to-excellent credit, high incomes and rich credit histories. In that niche, there are several other options. Borrowers should always compare rates and lenders, especially if borrowers are focusing on on debt-consolidation loans. This is because other lenders may offer more principal money, lower interest rates, fewer fees and/or better terms.
Like Lending Club, people who qualify for a SoFi personal loan are often some of the most creditworthy borrowers. Known for its very high lending standards and very high principal rates, SoFi may be a better choice for well-qualified borrowers looking for higher amounts of money and/or those who are able to take advantage of the company’s loans’ variable interest rates.
SoFi Personal Loan Details
- Principal Amount: $5,000–$100,000
- Interest Rates: fixed rates from 6.99 – 14.99% APR with auto-pay or variable rates from 6.26% – 13.99% APR with auto-pay
- Terms: 3 – 7 years
Like Lending Club, Prosper funds its loans through a peer-to-peer model. Also, like Lending Club, getting a good deal on a Prosper personal loan requires above-average credit and income. Unlike Lending Club, which generates its own listing for investors based on minimal criteria, Prosper borrowers are able to create personalized listings that reveal whatever details they’re comfortable disclosing and write a personal plea to investors. In some cases, this may help less-qualified borrowers find funding.
Prosper Personal Loan Details
- Principal Amount: $2,000–$40,000
- Interest Rates: 6.95%–35.99% fixed APR
- Terms: 36 or 60 months
Earnest personal loans are more on par with loans from SoFi and are available at higher principal amounts. Thus, they require a higher caliber of borrower with excellent credit and a high income. Earnest is also known as a good option for well-qualified borrowers with short credit histories, also known as a thin portfolio, who may want to use personal loans as vehicles for supplementing their credit.
Earnest Personal Loan Details
- Interest Rate: 6.99–18.24% fixed APR
- Principal Amount: $5,000–$75,000
- Loan Terms: 3-5 years
In addition to the lenders outlined above, well-qualified borrowers may be able to find better terms with 0% interest credit cards, especially if they plan to pay their loans quickly. Borrowers who own homes, land or other real property may similarly be able to find better terms through secured personal loans rather than unsecured loans.
Lending Club, with its rich history and billions of dollars of successful loans over the years, clearly offers some of the more obtainable personal loans for good credit on the market. How well it works for you and your situation may be different. With so many other options out there and a number of fees attached to its product, Lending Club, regardless of its reputation and reliability, may not be the right deal available over other lenders or lending products due to the associated costs.