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Oportun review

Oportun is a lender that is trying to make a difference through ethical payday lending and education.

Oportun review
(Image: © Oportun)

Our Verdict

Oportun is a short-term loan company actively distancing itself from the predatory practices of many payday loan companies. It does this via various free financial education courses and some basic elements in place to make sure that loans are affordable to customers at the outset.

For

  • Ethically better than the average ‘payday’ loan company
  • Competitive rates
  • Access to free financial education services

Against

  • Only operates in 12 states

Oportun is an online loan company that offers smaller, short-term loans to people who have been excluded from the financial mainstream and who do not have a credit score, or perhaps have a limited credit history. Their customers typically have low to moderate incomes and the company has issued over 3 million loans since it began trading in 2005. 

Oportun states that it only lends responsibly, meaning that the customers’ ability to make repayments is strongly considered before a loan is made. They claim to offer affordable repayment plans, and accept payments in multiple forms, as well as promoting civilized customer service and not hiding any fees. They also offer pathways to improved credit scores via on-time payments and the like. Oportun operate in twelve states: Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin. If you'd like to learn more about payday loan lenders read our round up of the best payday loans online.

Oportun review: Cost of loans

  • Rates of interest are variable
  • Rates much lower than average

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 $500 for a total period of six months, to be paid back in monthly instalments. The total repayment quoted was $603, equaling a total charge of $103, this being equivalent to an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 59%. 

To qualify for an Oportun short-term loan, customers must have proof of identity and of regular income as well as some references, a verified address and phone number in one of the states where Oportun operates. Customers do not necessarily need a checking account. 

Opportun review: Products

  • Repayment plans stretching from six months to 46 months
  • Oportun does not charge fees

Oportun offers one short-term loan product, with repayment plans stretching from six months to 46 months. If approved, customers can receive your funds either as a check, loaded onto a prepaid debit card, or via direct deposit. Oportun loans does not charge fees or penalties for prepayments. 

Oportun review: How is it different?

  • Does not require a credit score or checking account
  • Website has a good amount of resources that's free to use

Unlike many loan companies, Oportun does not require customers to have a credit score or even a checking account. It does ask for references, proof of address and income, but these are mainly to ensure that the loan repayments are going to be affordable for the customer.

Oportun reports that it works with nationwide credit bureaus so that on-time instalment payments and successful total loan repayments can be shared and used to help customers establish a better credit rating for future loan applications. 

The Oportun website has a good amount of resources, free to use for customers and potential customers. These resources explain loan procedures, go into more detail about establishing credit, and give links to community partners and financial coaching organizations such as Unidos US and Springfour

Oportun: Usability and user reviews

  • Accredited with the Better Business Bureau
  • Generally positive reviews on many of the financial service sites

Oportun has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2016 and has an excellent A+ rating. It receives generally positive reviews on many of the financial service sites. 

It does not have an online calculator like many payday loan companies have, and so the quote process does require customers to enter some personal details. The application process can take as short a time as ten minutes, and funds can in theory be released that same day. 

Should you choose Oportun?

In terms of interest rates and customer service, Oportun is relatively straightforward and easy to deal with, and as a company it espouses only giving loans to those that can afford the repayments, and it looks to have policies in place (such as proof of income) to help make this a reality. 

Its financial education and management resources are free and available to all potential customers, and it works with nationwide credit bureaus to help customers with no or very low credit ratings to establish a more advantageous position for the future. 

A note on PayDay loans

You should only take out a payday loan as a last resort. Typically, payday loans have very high rates of interest, meaning you pay back much more than you borrow, and they can often lead to financial difficulties and debt. While Oportun is a more ethical lender, you should consider the following guides before taking out a loan from any payday lender: