LendingTree is a leading organized retail lending company operating countrywide. It has an integrated product portfolio that caters to diverse borrowing requirements of Americans. Product offerings include personal loans, home mortgage and mortgage refinance, auto loans, small business loans, and more.
In this review, we cover the personal loan segment of LendingTree’s loan basket.
LendingTree was founded in 1996 by Doug Lebda, a young accountant then. He needed finance to purchase his first home and had to approach several lending companies. At that time, country’s loan industry was not so mature or professional. There was no organized or integrated approach to lending.
People in need of personal loans had to knock on the doors of various lenders, wait for weeks for their proposals, prepare a comparative dossier, analyze the different proposals, and zero in on the most suitable lender for their need. Then began the lengthy and often frustrating process of actually obtaining a personal loan.
Having undergone all these troubles, Doug hit upon the idea of forming a professional financial lending company that offers all these services under one roof.
Thus, LendingTree was born with a unique business model that was unheard of in the market. It ultimately morphed as a professional online lender that acts as an aggregator and facilitator of loans from different sources.
Therefore, the borrower could eliminate the need to approach various companies and deal with a centralized source with ease and convenience.
Since then, the company has come a long way; and after a series of business transformations and mergers and acquisitions, it has evolved as a front-ranking financing brand – LendingTree.
LendingTree’s founding mission is to create win-win scenarios that can mutually benefit the lender and the borrower on a level playing field. The company caters to both the stakeholders of the personal loan sector – the lender and the borrower. It matches the needs of the borrower with the services of the lenders and then acts as a facilitator of the loan process.
The founder, Doug Lebda articulates this mission on the company’s website, “When we launched the site in 1998, we were able to empower consumers with choice, convenience and value, and lenders could target consumers whose needs they were best prepared to meet.”
LendingTree’s unique business model
The company operates with a unique business model which is also its USP – Unique Selling Proposal. It has one of the country’s finest and well-blended consortium of lenders affiliated to it.
These lending companies are experienced, ethical entities with years of sound business practices behind them. They either offer a host of services or specialize in a dedicated lending segment. The integrated service basket under the LendingTree brand is well-spread to cover all the segments of individual and small business loans.
These include purchase mortgages, refinance loans, home equity loans and lines of credit, auto loans, personal loans, business loans, credit cards, student loans, as well as commercial lending products.
When a borrower approaches LendingTree for a loan, it accepts their application and circulates it among its affiliates. They submit their quotes and LendingTree responds to the applicant with that file of quotes.
The applicant can review the collection and decide the lender from whom he or she wishes to borrow. The company then executes necessary steps which is a complete end-to-end loan process.
The LendingTree marketplace that has evolved over the decades in the intensely competitive arena of diverse loan products. Since its inception, the company has processed 4 million loans and disbursed $4 billion in loans.
Fully online, fully loaded
The company is fully digitized and operates through a sophisticated function rich website. The well-designed consumer dashboard offers one of the most user-friendly experiences in the industry.
The My LendingTree account is a multi-tasking assistant that offers various one-click services. With its credit tracking facility, it alerts the account holder about their credit status. The monthly insights caution the account holder about the negative factors impacting their credit rating.
It also maintains all active loans and credit card accounts. Best of all, it acts as a financial advisor, sharing with the account holder latest investment opportunities. All this, as a free LendingTree service! And you thought tax cuts were amazing!
The consumer dashboard is also a goldmine of general knowledge and information on the BFSI or the Banking and Financial Sector Industries.
Through its monthly newsletter and other online channels, LendingTree keeps its consumers informed and ahead of the others. This knowledge-sharing platform imparts up-to-date information on diverse subjects – be it financial current affairs, financial calculators, interactive loan coaching tools, or lender ratings and reviews.
With such an enriched experience, the My LendingTree account traverses the mere lending function and offers a broad understanding of the financial world.
How to apply for a LendingTree personal loan
As everything else on the LendingTree portal, the loan application procedure is simple and friendly, so much so that even a digitally limited person can handle it well. It consists of 3 steps:
- Fill out a simple and short application form
- The LendingTree portal connects the applicant with its several affiliates who forward their customized loan offers. Applicants who qualify for the loan are eligible to receive up to five offers in as many minutes!
- The applicant chooses their lender and a real, live LendingTree executive guides the applicant through the finalization of the loan process.
The borrower needs to provide the following details along with the loan application:
- Full name, contact information and date of birth
- Proposed borrowing amount and its purpose of use
- Latest credit score
- Individual average annual income
The below details further clarify the LendingTree personal loan process and criteria:
- Minimum loan amount: $1,000
- Maximum loan amount: $35,000
- APR: Depends on the lender chosen
- Interest rate type: Fixed
- Requirements: Be an American citizen or a permanent resident, at least 18 years of age, and have a regular income
LendingTree personal loan – why it is a good option for borrowers
The best reasons to choose LendingTree for a personal loan is of course, the company’s unique business model, its professionalism, its ethical base, and its safe and convenient online platform.
However, the following features also leverage a consumer’s decision to borrow using LendingTree:
- LendingTree is a 100% free service. Yes, that’s right. It does not charge anything from the borrower. Its revenue model is based on charging the lenders for each finalized loan proposal.
- The borrower gets multiple offers to study, compare, and evaluate. This is indeed a standalone feature of the company.
- Low APR: No matter which lender the borrower chooses for getting a personal loan, the APR is low.
- Flexible and well-spread loan amount range: It begins from just $100 and goes up to $35,000. This is a feature that helps the company to meet almost any need in the personal loan vertical.
- Freedom to use money for any purpose: LendingTree does not impose any restriction on the use of loan amount. The reason can be as varied as going on a vacation, to meeting a medical need.
The aggregate cost of borrowing at LendingTree
Since the company is an aggregator and it provides multiple choices of lenders to the borrower, there may be concerns regarding the actual cost of borrowing through this company. It is advisable to consider these points while evaluating each lender’s offer obtained through LendingTree:
- Compare the total fee structure of lenders, not just the interest rates.
- Compare the terms and repayment text carefully.
- Check if there are fine points such as prepayment fees, late payment charges, default charges, and other such add-ons.
- Also check whether there are charges like origination fees.
- Do not hesitate to raise queries and concerns with the LendingTree customer support executive who is guiding you through the loan processing procedure. They are there to help you.
What about portal security, consumer rights, and data privacy?
Digital transaction is a great convenience for consumers in any retail vertical. It offers unmatched efficiency, ease and choice, all from the comfort of one’s home.
However, the downside is that online retail is subject to data theft, phishing scams, portal attacks, and various other forms of security threats. These are potentially hazardous for both the retailer and the retail buyer.
From the consumer perspective, it becomes absolutely necessary that they get a safe, secure, and hassle-free deal while making an online purchase.
LendingTree seems to have got it all right under its e-commerce policy.
Firstly, it is important to note that the company has an online business model right from its restructuring in 1998. As such, it enjoys an early-entrant advantage in financial retail e-commerce. As a pioneer, it is natural to expect the latest and the best security protocol from LendingTree. And it does not disappoint its consumers. Besides, the company continuously upgrades its security architecture to remain ahead of scammers and cyber crooks.
In addition, LendingTree has also deployed robust capabilities to make its portal a ‘heavyweight.’ It can handle heavy traffic and process their online requests without giving the consumers the nightmares of portal hang-up or sluggish speed. Such events can prove to be potential security threats for customers while they are engaged in sharing confidential data on the portal or making a transaction.
The websites payment gateway is also reliable, so consumers can transact confidently on LendingTree.com
As a result, consumers are assured of the safety of their personal and confidential data – be it their SS number, bank details, financial documents, income proof, phone number, email address, age, occupation, or any other data that they share with LendingTree.
LendingTree – the darling of reviewers and consumers
For a business as sensitive and service-oriented as personal loans, it is difficult to gain the critical acclaim of professional reviewers and consumers. Once achieved, it is even more difficult to sustain it for decades.
LendingTree has managed both. It proudly displays the reviewers’ ratings on its website, wearing them like badges of excellence. And why not? It is an impressive line-up.
5-Star, maximum-acclaim ratings from TrustPilot, Nikolay Lysyuk, Rodney Jackson, Robert Byrum, and Angela Isbel.
Lending Tree is one of the biggest names in the personal loan business today. That means it’s important to get as much information about them as possible. We’ve put together summaries of the reviews on some of the best sites on the net. Use this information to help you make a decision about if Lending Tree is the best option for your personal loan.
Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau gives LendingTree an A- rating. This rating is affected by the fact that they haven’t responded to two complaints filed against the business. That’s out of a total of 381 customer complaints.
This doesn’t speak well for LendingTree. But it doesn’t mean that they’re a bad lender. The company issues hundreds or even thousands of loans per day. That means 381 customer complaints is actually a very low total of people that had issues with the company.
Moreover, there are 198 reviews of LendingTree with the BBB. 100 of those reviews are positive. There are 16 neutral reviews and 82 negative reviews. That means LendingTree breaks the mold, it’s rare for a lending company to have more positive reviews than negative reviews online. The composite score for all reviews is a 3.95 out of 5.
Consumer Affairs gives LendingTree a 2.88 stars out of 5. That score is based on 137 ratings over the past 365 days. Most of the complaints regarding LendingTree have to do with the nature of the business. LendingTree doesn’t actually provide loans. Instead, they connect borrowers with lenders.
Most of the complaints focus on the fact that the customer received unwanted sales and solicitations calls once they created an account on LendingTree. The company has replied to many of these reviews. They offer to put these customers on the Do Not Call registry for their marketing partners.
LendingTree – at the helm of personal finance business
Americans continue to borrow since the days of recession. The trend has not changed for any segment of personal borrowing since then. The following data demonstrates how personal loans continue to proliferate the various segments.
- Auto loans: 31% of personal loan borrowers
- Overdue bills: 26% of personal loan borrowers
- Emergency and unexpected expenses: 21% of personal loan borrowers
- Students: 19% of personal loan borrowers
- Debt consolidation: 15% of personal loan borrowers
With encouraging market conditions and projections of sustained market growth, the tail winds are strong for LendingTree. The company’s pioneering as well as leadership positions help it to consolidate its position in the market. And its unique business model makes it difficult for competitors to catch up with it.
It is said that money does not grow on trees. But at LendingTree, the experience is quite to the contrary.
Robert is our in-house expert on personal loans and finance. He got an MBA, specializing in Finance, before joining the workforce. After working for multiple Fortune 500 companies in the past decade, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table.