LendUp is a leading online private lending company with its services available throughout the country. It is a relatively recent entrant in the financial lending marketplace – it was established in 2012.
Apart from the personal loan business, LendUp also offers “Arrow” credit cards with an innovative credit building concept.
In spite of being a late entrant, LendUp has left behind the peers in business volume and popularity rankings. Along with customer accounts, it has also won customer’s confidence and trust.
This has been possible because LendUp operates with a social conscience. According to the founder’s claim on its website, “LendUp was founded with one clear, straightforward purpose: to provide anyone with a path to better financial health.”
In a marketplace that operates on mutual mistrust rather than trust, LendUp has carved its niche based on deep empathy, genuine customer care, and fair practices that benchmark the ethical matrixes of the industry.
LendUp understands a basic fact that opting for a personal loan is mostly not out of choice. Rather, it is out of distress or desperation that an individual borrows commercially from a private lender.
They would have probably tried to get finance from other sources such as a bank or an insurance agency. But due to their below-average financial history and poor credit score, their request would have been turned down.
As such, the private lender would be their last resort to get a personal loan. LendUp is one such entity. Through a predominantly customer-oriented approach that can be characterized by the 3 E’s of Empathy, Education, and Eradication.
The 3 E’s of LendUp business philosophy
LendUp is in business to help people in need get fast and easy cash, and not to take advantage of their helplessness.
Hence, its approach toward borrowers throughout the lending lifecycle is based on sympathy, understanding and a genuine desire to offer them the most suitable and the least burdening loan.
Personal loans are like a good meal offered to a hungry person. They might tend to over-eat. Considering the pitfalls of commercial borrowing, LendUp has created an innovative education and awareness platform for borrowers that provides them invaluable insights into the personal finance universe.
These include diverse subjects such as prudent personal finance planning, credit score improvement, better management of loan lifecycles, securing a good financial future, budgeting, and more. The Education section of LendUp’s portal has dedicated course modules on the following subjects:
- Credit building unveiled
- Know your credit rights
- The true cost of credit
- Roadmap to your credit report
- Build your credit: Ladder to your success
- How to protect yourself online
- Pay yourself first
- Better budgeting
- Benefits of your credit card
- Your finances: a tool for life
Anybody can take these courses which are prepared with an interesting mix of text, audio and video.
As one can see, the thrust of LendUp education initiative is to help individuals build a good credit score and rise in the financial hierarchy. The company does not have a narrow business and profit-minded approach but is truly striving for a better life for the common American.
Through various surveys of the personal loan market, LendUp found some startling facts that prompted it to begin this ‘eradication drive.’ Some of them are:
- A majority of Americans – around 56 percent, suffer from the subprime credit malice, which means that most financial institutions will deny them financial assistance.
- Over 33 percent or one in 3 Americans have been actually denied loans on above criteria
- As many as 47 percent of marginal families could not cover even a modest emergency loan of $400
- People with low credit rating will end up paying a staggering $200,000 in interest and fees for availing personal loans
LendUp Ladder – The Tool to Uplift People’s Financial Standing
Sasha Orloff, the founder of LendUp, said in an interview to the Financial Revolutionist, “Over time, we hope that financial literacy, private sector innovation (which happens more when taxes are lower and the economy is doing well), and common sense regulation transform the environment for lower credit borrowers and lead to the extinction of predatory practices.”
As a manifestation of this aspiration, LendUp has designed a unique, proprietary financial tool named LendUp Ladder, to greatly improve distressed borrowers credit score and offer them loans at a relaxed rate.
How the LendUp Ladder works
The LendUp Ladder is a points-based program that progressively raises the bar of a LendUp customer’s financial status and credit rating.
As the customer’s rating and standing improve, they become eligible for larger loans at proportionately reducing interest rates. LendUp’s highly trained customer care executives can even design custom Ladder paths for borrowers in a way that maximizes their points-standing and thus help them qualify for larger loans.
The Ladder also keeps coming up with innovative new loan formats and structures, which registered users of the Ladder program can access on their dashboards.
The LendUp executives remain with the customers throughout their Ladder journey. They continuously review borrowers’ progress on the Ladder path and help them overcome problems along the way.
Customers can join the Ladder program and earn a point in these ways:
- Timely payment of interest and repayment of capital
- Taking the LendUp financial education courses
- Submitting a real customer testimonial to LendUp
Here are the various Ladder levels and their corresponding loan amounts that the member can qualify for:
- Silver level: $250 single payment loan
- Gold level: $250 single payment loan and $200 installment loan
- Platinum level: $250 single payment loan and $500 installment loan
- Prime level: $250 single payment loan, $500 installment loan, $1000 Prime loan
It must be noted that the Ladder offering is subject to state laws and regulations. It may not be available in some US states. Readers are advised to check the Ladder availability in their state from the LendUp website. Further, the loan structures under the Ladder concept are also subject to state laws and may vary from state to state.
Loan application process at LendUp
Since LendUp is an online lender, the loan application and processing process is done virtually. It is a simple and fast process that takes just a few minutes:
- The applicant fills out a simple application form
- The LendUp loan assistant forwards the application to the deciding authorities who evaluate the applicant’s financial status, credit score, and other matters, and take an instant decision on his application
- If the loan is approved, the loan amount is deposited into the applicant’s bank account within 24 hours or one working day
The applicant has to provide some details while applying:
- Name and contact information
- Date and place of birth
- Borrowing amount and for what purpose
- Credit score
- Annual income details and proof
The applicant needs to be an American citizen or a permanent resident to qualify for a LendUp loan.
LendUp lending terms and interest rates
LendUp claims to be one of the most fairly priced personal loan providers in the country. While its interest rates are rationalized, the lending amounts are dynamic, as shown above in the LendUp Ladder system. A combination of these two factors avails cheaper loans of the higher denomination to borrowers.
LendUp prides itself in having a clear, transparent, and fine print-free lending term. It is aimed at providing a fair-priced loan to persons needing them the most. The terms are not too harsh. Hence they are very accommodating and ensure that excepting the extreme cases, everybody gets a loan from LendUp.
An additional LendUp advantage is that being a direct lender; people don’t have to deal with multiple agencies to get a personal loan, as is the case with some multi-tiered lenders.
LendUp APRs are dynamically positioned. For LendUp Ladder users, they can be far below the industry averages. For example, against a flat industry average of 339 percent, the LendUp Ladder rates for various levels could be:
- Silver: 300 percent
- Gold: 230 percent
- Platinum: 75 percent
- Prime: 36 percent
LendUp claims that with their innovative Ladder concept and dynamic interest rates, they have helped borrowers to save $200 million in interest.
LendUp ratings and testimonials
Over a period of just five years, LendUp has carved a credible position for itself in the US personal loan market.
The leading rating agency TrustPilot has given the company a 5-star rating, implying industry-leading business practices, customer-friendly approach and ethical conduct.
The company on its part actively supports the CBA (Credit Business Associate) designation offered to individual professionals by the National Association of Credit Management (NACM).
LendUp is flush with authentic endorsements and testimonials that reiterate its good-will among multiple stakeholders. These include the company’s customers, online reviewing agencies, and media opinions. A few representative endorsements are reproduced below to demonstrate LendUp’s good work that is being appreciated by so many.
LendUP is one of the newer options for online personal loans. They get a lot of attention, so we want to make sure you get a complete picture of the company. That’s why we’ve included summaries of authoritative reviews. Use these reviews to help determine if LendUP is the best option for your personal loan needs.
Better Business Bureau
The BBB gives LendUP a C+ rating. This rating is partially affected by a government action against the company. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau alleged that the company did not live up on its promises. This included some products not being available when they were advertised.
The company also did not provide proper information to credit reporting agencies. That means their customers weren’t able to get their credit score improved. As a result of these allegations, LendUP paid a $1.8 million civil penalty to the CFPB.
The company has 40 total customer reviews on the BBB website. 31 of those reviews are negative. There are only 9 positive reviews. That leads to a composite review score of 2.64 out of 5 stars. This is better than some personal loan companies, but certainly not among the best. As a result, customers should be wary when they’re considering a personal loan from LendUP. Make sure to read all the fine print and understand the terms of the loan you’re being offered.
Yelp doesn’t have many reviews for LendUP. The reviews they do have focus on specific locations. However, there are some great reviews on the site. Some users like the option that LendUP offers which allows them to borrow more money at a lower rate after you repay your initial loans. That shows that the company has flexibility, which could make them a good option if you frequently use personal loans to cover cash shortfalls.
LendUp uplifts borrowers do not drag them down the loan spiral
Statistics on the US’ personal loan borrowings reveal a paradoxical pattern. The country has come out of the long recessionary period that began in 2008 after the Barney Frank and Alan Greenspan fiasco and is now on a steady GDP growth path. GDP this quarter could be over 4%. Tax cuts and less regulations will do the trick.
However, Americans have not reduced their personal borrowing habits. The trend is reflected in the following data from top-5 borrowing categories:
- 31 percent of Americans borrow for auto purposes
- 26 percent resort to a personal loan to pay due or overdue bills
- 21 percent seek fast cash for emergency and unexpected situations
- 19 percent of borrowers are students
- 15 percent want to consolidate debt through loans
From the market point of view, this is good news for the lenders in this sector. It draws a sustainable growth chart for them.
However, lenders like LendUp would not be satisfied with top-line growth alone. It genuinely wants to help the needy people and ultimately lead them to a future where they will not need distress borrowing. This appears like shooting oneself in their own foot by killing the cash cow.
But LendUp’s stated mission is not profits. They are committed to the betterment of the financially marginalized Americans through knowledge and awareness, and planning and management of personal finances. This will ultimately help them obtain better credit scores, the master key to rising above predatory personal finance economics.
As for company growth, LendUp is confident that that will happen along the way.