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LendUp Review

LendUp offer a range of benefits that make them an attractive and ethical option above other companies

Our Verdict

As far as online lenders go, LendUp offers a range of basic benefits that elevate them slightly above most payday loan companies, offering some credit score-building tools that can result in lower future rates. They should, in common with those companies though, only be used when other alternatives have been fully explored.

For

  • Advertise themselves as a less predatory option to other payday loan lenders
  • Competitive rates
  • Single payment and instalment options
  • Cheaper rates for repeat customers

Against

  • Customer finances will be analyzed by a third party
  • Only available in seven states

LendUp: What you need to know

LendUp is an online loan company that specializes in making smaller loans - both single payment and instalment loans - for short periods of time. 

It markets itself to, and will appeal to, borrowers that do not necessarily have a good credit score or indeed any credit rating. It describes itself as a safer option to many of the more predatory payday loan companies as it offers customers a range of tools and pathways to better credit scores, which can result in lower interest rates if the customer continues to use the company’s products. 

LendUp was founded in 2012 in San Francisco, backed by, among other companies, Google and PayPal. If you'd like to learn more about payday loan lenders read our round up of the best payday loans.

Editor’s Note: Even the best online payday loans are a bad idea overall. If you are looking for a payday loan to pay bills or other expenses, we recommend exploring getting a personal loan instead. Before applying for a payday loan for an emergency expense, we recommend considering a cash advance on your credit card or an overdraft line of credit. 

LendUp: Cost of loans

  • Rates can vary depending on circumstances
  • Customer finances will be analyzed by a third party

Rates of interest are variable down to the individual’s specific financial circumstances and geographic location. For our purposes, we took a quote for a married, 45-year old man with two children and no credit rating. 

We sought to borrow $200 for a total period of 14 days, to be paid back in one instalment. The total repayment quoted was $235.20, equalling a total charge of $35.20, this being equivalent to an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 459%. For a $300 loan for the same period, the repayment quoted was $345, the charges being $45 and the equivalent APR being 391%. 

To qualify for a LendUp payday loan, customers must have a checking account that accepts Automatic Clearing House (ACH) transfers. They must also live in one of the states that LendUp currently deems eligible for loan payments. These currently are: California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

LendUp customers do not necessarily need to have a credit score in order to be approved, merely a checking account as described above, plus a valid telephone number and a confirmed physical address. Customers will agree to have their bank and financial transactions analyzed by a third party contracted by LendUp. 

LendUp: Loan Products

  • Loans categorised as silver, gold, platinum and prime
  • ‘Rollover’ loans not offered

LendUp offers three distinct tiers of loan products. These include single-payment loans, instalment loans with rates above 36% and instalment loans with rates below 36%. Loans with rates above 36% are classified into silver, gold and platinum, while loans below that rate are classified as prime loans. LendUp does not promote or explicitly sell ‘rollover’ loans, loans given out to pay existing loans that trap customers in a cycle of debt. 

LendUp : Payment times & credit building

  • Extendable on single-payment loans up to state limit
  • Credit points can be earned via financial education courses

LendUp say they circumvent the less ethical aspects of loan repayment, and state that they are opposed to interacting with customers in an unethical manner. Instead they incentivize customers to pay on time by working with them on grace periods rather than allowing them to borrow more money to pay off debts in a cycle of lending. Payment times can often be extended on single-payment loans, up to the limit in an individual’s state.  

Frequent or repeat customers with LendUp can build credit points with the company (these may not necessarily be reflected in an individual’s official credit rating), and these points can help result in lower interest rates for larger loans in the future. Points can be earned by simply paying on time or completing one of their free financial education courses. LendUp also work with non-profit credit counseling specialists such as Balance, who aim to educate and inform customers on the best ways to take control of their finances. 

LendUp: Usability and user reviews

  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
  • 4.8/5 from Trustpilot

LendUp is not accredited with the Better Business Bureau, but the organisation does award it an A+ rating. Trustpilot, an equally-respected business ethics analyst, awards LendUp an excellent rating of 4.8 off a possible 5. These scores are excellent for a payday loans lender or industry-adjacent company. 

LendUp: Verdict

As with all short-term loans, please only consider using them after exploring more affordable possibilities. 

LendUp is a relatively attractive option, with competitive rates compared to other short-term lending companies, rewards for regular customers who repay loans on time and take some of its free financial education courses, and who will work with customers on repayment grace periods. 

Its stated aim is to interact with customers ethically, and it does not promote ‘rollover’ loans to trap customers in a cycle of debt.