Connect with us

Bad Credit

Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Published

on

We want to help you make more informed decisions. Some links on this page — clearly marked — may take you to a partner website and may result in us earning a referral commission. For more information, see How We Make Money.

Advertised & Editorial Rates: This table includes two types of listings: ads that we may be paid for (“advertiser listing”); and listings that we research and publish to provide a more holistic view of market rates (“editorial listings”). Here’s how to tell the difference: if you see a clickable button, such as a green “Next” button, that is an advertiser listing, and if you do not see a clickable button, it’s an editorial listing. For more information, see our Advertising Disclosure

Accuracy of Advertised Terms: Each advertiser is responsible for the accuracy and availability of its ad offer details. However, we attempt to verify those details through our quality control program. For more information, see our Quality Control Program.

Editorial Content: We include editorial content below the rate table to educate consumers about financial products and services. Some of that content may also contain ads, including links to advertisers’ sites, and we may be paid on those ads or links. For more information, see How We Make Money.

Personal loans can be used for everything from debt consolidation to major life expenses. 

The best rates and terms will only be available to people with the best credit, especially in a year that’s seen lenders tighten lending standards and requirements across the board. So if your credit score is on the lower end, it’ll be more difficult to qualify for the best rates, if you qualify at all. 

Still, it isn’t impossible to qualify for a personal loan if you don’t have a great credit score.

Many lenders still offer personal loans to people with “fair” or “poor” credit — and some even specialize in offering loans and other financial products to those types of customers. But if you have debt, bad credit, or both, and you’re thinking about a personal loan, you should consider whether or not taking on new debt makes sense. 

You might be better off considering alternatives like credit cards with promotional rates or even a home equity line of credit (HELOC) if you own a home. Consider what it takes to make long-term financial improvements as well, such as rebuilding your credit or starting a debt management plan.

If you think a personal loan is your best option despite having a lower credit score, here’s what you should know:

Best Bad-Credit Loan Rates in December 2020

Institution Min. Credit Score Current APR Loan Term Range Min. Loan Amt. Max Loan Amt.
Payoff 640 5.99% to 24.99% 2 to 5 years $5,000 $40,000
Best Egg 640 5.99% to 29.99% 3 to 5 years $2,000 $35,000
Upstart 580 8.41% to 35.99% 3 to 5 years $1,000 $50,000
Rocket Loans 540 7.161% to 29.99% 3 to 5 years $2,000 $45,000
Prosper 640 7.95% to 35.99% 3 to 5 years $2,000 $40,000
Upgrade 620 7.99% to 35.97% 3 to 5 years $1,000 $50,000
Avant 580 9.95% to 35.99% 2 to 5 years $2,000 $35,000
LendingPoint 590 9.99% to 35.99% 2 to 5 years $2,000 $25,000
LendingClub 600 10.68% to 35.89% 3 to 5 years $1,000 $40,000
*All information current as of Dec. 22, 2020.

How we chose these lenders

This list does not represent the entire market. To rank the personal loan rates you’re most likely considering, we began by analyzing the 16 most commonly reviewed and searched-for personal loans that met NextAdvisor’s standards, as outlined in our Personal Loan Rates Guide. Each lender had to meet the following criteria to appear in this review:

We eliminated lenders that make it difficult to find the above essential loan information on their websites without entering an email or other personal information. Many lenders prominently display this information on their sites, making it easy to compare to other lenders. If you’re in the market for a personal loan, we recommend a lender that’s transparent with its rates and approval requirements, and doesn’t require personal information for a rate comparison.

We ruled out any lenders whose max APR exceeds 40%, which is well above the average APR you can find even if you have bad credit. A high APR will result in you paying more over the course of the loan.

Our list features only direct lenders, rather than intermediaries or loan marketplaces. We also ruled out credit unions, which have unique membership requirements and limit the number of people who could easily consider them for a loan. Credit unions can offer competitive rates to those who qualify; check your local area or use a credit union locator to compare rates.

None of these banks charge any fees or penalties for early payments or otherwise paying off your loan early. We don’t think you should ever have to pay a fee to get out of debt faster, so will never recommend a personal loan that includes such a fee or penalty.

Each lender has a minimum FICO credit score that includes people in the “fair” credit score range, which includes scores between 580-669.

The above rates and loan information is accurate as of Dec. 22, 2020. The NextAdvisor editorial team updates this information regularly, though it is possible APRs and other information has changed since it was last updated. Some of the lowest advertised rates might be for secured loans, which require collateral such as your home, car, or other asset. Also, some loan offerings may be specific to where you live.

Lender Overview

Avant

Overview: Avant is an online lender that serves customers with fair-to-excellent credit. It’s one of the only two lenders on this list that offers both secured and unsecured loans.

Pros: Avant’s bread-and-butter is unsecured loans, but it also provides secured loans for which you’d use your car as collateral. Avant doesn’t specify a minimum income, and the minimum credit score starts at 580, which FICO considers “fair” credit.

Cons: If you have a “fair” credit score, you won’t be eligible for the lowest APR available; you may get a rate as high as 35.99% so make sure to always make your monthly payments. You also can’t add a cosigner or co-borrower to your application to improve your chances of approval for a more favorable rate.

Avant
Current APR 9.95% to 35.99%
Loan Term Range 2 to 5 years
Loan Amount $2,000 to $35,000
Prepayment Penalty None
Origination Fee Up to 4.75% 
Minimum Credit Score 580
Minimum Annual Income None specified
Co-Borrower Allowed? No
Cosigner Allowed? No
Unsecured Personal Loans Yes
Secured Personal Loans Yes

Best Egg

Overview: The online lender Best Egg offers unsecured personal loans for everything from debt consolidation and home improvement to moving, child care expenses, and adoption.

Pros: Best Egg personal loans can range from $2,000 to $35,000, with repayment terms between three to five years. The minimum credit is 640, and you won’t be penalized if you want to pay off your loan early or make additional off-schedule payments.

Cons: You need a minimum 700 FICO score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to get the lowest APR available. And if you have “fair” credit, you can’t boost your chances of approval through a co-borrower, cosigner, or collateral.

Best Egg
Current APR 5.99% to 29.99%
Loan Term Range 3 to 5 years
Loan Amount $2,000 to $35,000
Prepayment Penalty None
Origination Fee 0.99% to 5.99%; 4.99% for loan terms longer than four years
Minimum Credit Score 640; 700+ for the lowest APR
Minimum Annual Income $100,000 minimum individual annual income for the lowest APR
Co-Borrower Allowed? No
Cosigner Allowed? No
Unsecured Personal Loans Yes
Secured Personal Loans No

LendingClub

Overview: LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lender that offers unsecured personal loans through an online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors.

Pros: Personal loans range from $1,000 to $40,000, with repayment periods between three to five years. You can get a joint loan through LendingClub by adding a co-borrower to your application — something not all lenders offer.

Cons: You may have to undergo a more stringent verification process (i.e., providing more documentation to prove income, assets, and debt) due to pullbacks from the COVID-19 recession. If you have excellent credit, you may find better rates elsewhere as the lowest APR is higher than others on the list.

LendingClub
Current APR 10.68% to 35.89%
Loan Term Range 3 to 5 years
Loan Amount $1,000 to $40,000
Prepayment Penalty None
Origination Fee 2% to 6%
Minimum Credit Score 600
Minimum Annual Income None specified
Co-Borrower Allowed? Yes
Cosigner Allowed? No
Unsecured Personal Loans Yes
Secured Personal Loans No

LendingPoint

Overview: LendingPoint is an online-only lender that offers unsecured personal loans to borrowers with “fair” credit” and steady income or employment.

Pros: The minimum credit score is 590, and the loans range from $2,000 to $25,000 with repayment terms between two to five years. You won’t have to pay a prepayment penalty if you decide to pay off your personal loan earlier than scheduled.

Cons: LendingPoint would prefer you be at your job for at least 12 months before applying to a loan, though it’s not a requirement. You need to make at least $35,000 per year, and you can’t add a co-borrower, a cosigner, or collateral to your loan to improve your chances of approval.

LendingPoint
Current APR 9.99% to 35.99%
Loan Term Range 2 to 5 years
Loan Amount $2,000 to $25,000
Prepayment Penalty None
Origination Fee 0% to 6%, depending on your state
Minimum Credit Score 590
Minimum Annual Income $35,000 
Co-Borrower Allowed? No
Cosigner Allowed? No
Unsecured Personal Loans Yes
Secured Personal Loans No

Payoff

Overview: Payoff is an online lender that works only with borrowers who want to consolidate high-interest credit balances.

Pros: The APR range is lower than many of its competitors, you don’t get charged late fees if you’re accidentally late making a payment, and you can receive free FICO score updates. 

Cons: To qualify for a Payoff loan, you need at least three years of established credit and a 640+ credit score. You also wouldn’t qualify if you live in Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, or Nevada, or want to take out a personal loan for anything other than debt consolidation. 

Payoff
Current APR 5.99% to 24.99%
Loan Term Range 2 to 5 years
Loan Amount $5,000 to $40,000
Prepayment Penalty None
Origination Fee 0% to 5%, included in APR
Minimum Credit Score 640, and three years of established credit
Minimum Annual Income None specified
Co-Borrower Allowed? No
Cosigner Allowed? No
Unsecured Personal Loans Yes
Secured Personal Loans No

Prosper

Overview: Prosper, a peer-to-peer lender, lends to borrowers with fair-to-excellent credit scores who want to consolidate debt and take on home improvement projects.

Pros: Co-borrowers and cosigners are allowed and might help boost your chances of getting approved for a personal loan with a better rate. Prosper’s loans range from $2,000 to $40,000 with repayment terms of three or five years.

Cons: If you don’t have solid credit, you may be stuck with an interest rate at the high end of the spectrum (35.99% APR). Prosper also doesn’t offer secured loans.

Prosper
Current APR 7.95% to 35.99%
Loan Term Range 3 to 5 years
Loan Amount $2,000 to $40,000
Prepayment Penalty None
Origination Fee 2.41% to 5%
Minimum Credit Score 640
Minimum Annual Income None specified
Co-Borrower Allowed? Yes
Cosigner Allowed? Yes
Unsecured Personal Loans Yes
Secured Personal Loans No

Rocket Loans

Overview: Rocket Loans, a subsidiary of Quicken Loans, is a personal loan lender that serves borrowers looking to consolidate debt or finance home improvement projects or auto expenses.

Pros: Rocket offers the lowest minimum credit score (540) of any lenders we reviewed, so you may qualify for a personal loan with a “poor” credit score. You can also get instant decisions and same-day funding through Rocket.

Cons: You can’t boost your approval odds by applying with a co-borrower or cosigner, or by using an asset as collateral for a secured loan (Rocket doesn’t offer secured loans).

Rocket Loans
Current APR 7.161% to 29.99% with AutoPay (0.3% higher if invoiced)
Loan Term Range 3 to 5 years
Loan Amount $2,000 to $45,000
Prepayment Penalty None
Origination Fee 1% to 6%
Minimum Credit Score 540
Minimum Annual Income $24,000
Co-Borrower Allowed? No
Cosigner Allowed? No
Unsecured Personal Loans Yes
Secured Personal Loans No

Upgrade

Overview: Upgrade, an online-only lender, offers personal loans for debt consolidation and financing home improvement projects and major purchases.

Pros: Personal loans with Upgrade range from $1,000 to $50,000, with repayment terms between three to five years. You can apply for a joint loan if you want to better your chances of getting approved for a low rate.

Cons: If you have “fair” credit, you may end up with an APR as high as 35.97% and an origination fee as high as 8%. People who live in Hawaii and Washington, D.C., aren’t eligible for Upgrade personal loans.

Upgrade
Current APR 7.99% to 35.97%
Loan Term Range 3 to 5 years
Loan Amount $1,000 to $50,000
Prepayment Penalty None
Origination Fee 2.9% to 8%
Minimum Credit Score 620
Minimum Annual Income None specified
Co-Borrower Allowed? Yes
Cosigner Allowed? No
Unsecured Personal Loans Yes
Secured Personal Loans No

Upstart

Overview: Upstart is an online lender that uses AI technology to evaluate and approve borrowers with non-traditional financial backgrounds, which includes those who may not have strong credit scores but are considered creditworthy in other respects (e.g., having a steady income and employment history).

Pros: Upstart’s AI technology factors employment and education history into your application, so if you have a limited credit history or are self-employed, your odds of getting a personal loan may be higher with Upstart than other lenders. The minimum credit score is 580 (considered “fair”), and you may receive funds as soon as the day after approval.

Cons: Even if you get approved for a personal loan with a “fair” credit score, you may be paying a very high APR. And if you live in Iowa or West Virginia, you won’t be eligible for an Upstart personal loan.

Upstart
Current APR 8.41% to 35.99%
Loan Term Range 3 to 5 years
Loan Amount $1,000 to $50,000
Prepayment Penalty None
Origination Fee None
Minimum Credit Score 580
Minimum Annual Income None specified
Co-Borrower Allowed? Yes
Cosigner Allowed? No
Unsecured Personal Loans Yes
Secured Personal Loans No

What Are Bad-Credit Loans?

Bad-credit loans are for borrowers with low credit scores or a limited credit history. Oftentimes, people end up with low credit scores because of missed payments, bankruptcies, or heavy debt loads — or because they haven’t had enough time yet to establish a credit history. Personal loans are more difficult to get when you have bad credit. But many lenders do offer them — and some even specialize in bad-credit borrowing. 

What is a bad credit score?

Each credit scoring agency defines a bad credit score differently. But for our purposes, we’ll refer to FICO credit scores here. FICO scores are between 300 and 850; the better your credit, the higher your score.

A bad credit score falls within FICO’s “fair” or “poor” credit tiers:

  • Fair credit: 580 to 669
  • Poor credit: 300 to 579

What makes a bad credit score?

There are five factors that make up your FICO score. The percentages reflect how important each of them are:

  • Payment history (35%)
  • Amounts owed (30%)
  • Length of credit history (15%)
  • New credit (10%)
  • Credit mix (10%)

If your credit score is low, it’s likely because you haven’t consistently made payments or because you have substantial debt from multiple loans. Your credit score can also get dinged if you have a short credit history, if you have only had access to one type of loan or credit, and if you have recently gotten a new credit card or loan.

How to Get a Bad-Credit Loan

The process of getting a personal loan with bad credit may be more difficult than if you had excellent credit — but you can find one that’s flexible or affordable. You’ll just have to do a little more digging and consider how a loan payment may fit into your budget.

1. Figure out what your needs are

First, consider why you need a personal loan. Are you looking to consolidate credit card debt? Fund a wedding or vacation? Taking out a loan is a big responsibility and can damage your financial health if you’re not careful. We recommend taking out a loan only if it’s going to improve your financial health. Otherwise, you could be sinking yourself into unnecessary debt with unfavorable terms.

2. Shop around

Find out what banks, credit unions, and online lenders offer personal loans for people with “fair” or “poor” credit. With the COVID-19 pandemic, many lenders have tightened their qualification standards and limited lending to people with good-to-excellent credit, but there are still options out there for you. Just make sure the interest rates and fees aren’t too high and that the lender is reputable.

3. Get prequalified

Many lenders offer the option to apply for pre-qualfication, where you can enter a limited amount of information about yourself on the website and see what type of APR and loan terms you’d potentially qualify for. It’s not an official offer, but it does give you a sense of your eligibility for the loan without the lender running a hard credit inquiry on you. A hard credit check (one or multiple) can lead to a temporary decrease in your credit score.

4. Apply

Qualifications and required information will differ between lenders, but you’ll likely need to provide the following details:

  • Permanent address
  • Social Security number
  • Employment history
  • Source(s) of income
  • Existing debts and assets
  • Purpose of the loan
  • Co-borrower or cosigner information

Lenders will also run a hard credit check to understand what your credit score and debt-to-income ratio are. 

5. Gather documentation, once approved

If you’re approved for a personal loan, the lender will need to verify the information you provided during the application process. So it’s helpful to keep the following documents on hand:

  • Driver’s license or other type of photo ID
  • Proof of Social Security number
  • Tax returns
  • Paystubs
  • W-2 forms
  • If paying off debt: account numbers and balances of loans, credit cards, or other debt

6. Withdraw funds 

Once the lender has verified your documentation, you’re ready to receive the loan amount — if you’re approved. Lenders will either mail you the check, direct deposit the cash, or send a wire transfer. And it can take anywhere from one day to a week to receive it. To mitigate any potential problems in the future, we recommend setting up autopay with your lender so you never miss a bill payment.

How to Avoid Scams

Scams are abundant in the world of bad-credit lending. Many predatory lenders will entice people with promises of quick cash, only to charge extremely high fees and interest rates. As a result, those who have low income or low credit scores can find themselves in a cycle of debt. Here are some ways you can avoid getting scammed by a predatory lender.

1. Avoid lenders that don’t ask for your credit

Even if they’re accepting of bad credit, a reputable lender should still ask for your credit history and sources of income. It’s a bad sign if a lender seems like it would accept anyone; it could mean its more interested in extracting fees from people than lending responsibly.

2. Check if the business is licensed and has good reviews

Any lender you work with should be licensed by the Federal Trade Commission in your state. You can find out this information through your state regulator or attorney general. We also recommend checking the lender’s letter-grade with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which rates companies based on consumer complaints. If a prospective lender has been sued by a state attorney general, for example, you’ll be able to see those details on its BBB page.

3. Don’t pay cash upfront

It’s normal for origination, application, or appraisal fees to come out of the loan amount. But if a lender is charging you cash upfront, that is a major red flag.

4. Ignore the hard sell

Reputable lenders typically aren’t advertising to you over the phone or at your front door. If an ad or sales pitch seems like a scam, it probably is. Similarly, you shouldn’t work with any lender that tries to pressure you into applying or signing a contract.

5. Look for signs the lender is real

Your lender should have a robust and secure website (starting with “https” in the url in your browser and a padlock symbol), as well as a physical address. Online lenders may not have physical storefronts you can walk into, but they should still have an address that signifies an office staffed by employees.

Types of Bad Credit Loans

1. Secured and unsecured personal loans

Personal loans are either secured or unsecured. To get a secured loan, you need to put up an asset (such as your home or vehicle) as collateral for the loan. When you do this, the bank gets extra reassurance about your application and is more likely to approve you or give you a lower APR — but the risk is you could lose that asset if you fall behind on payments. Unsecured loans don’t require collateral and may come with higher interest rates and lower loan amounts, but they’re less risky for you as the borrower.

2. Payday loans

Payday loans are short-term, high-cost loans — often for $500 or less. You can get these loans quickly, but the fees and interest rates are exorbitantly high. Payday loans frequently land people in cycles of debt due to often-predatory lending terms. We recommend avoiding payday loans at all costs.

Pro Tip

If you’re in need of a specialized debt payoff plan, we recommend looking at nonprofit credit counseling agencies. A credit counselor can help you create a budget and improve your credit score so that you won’t need to take out a personal loan designed for bad-credit borrowers.

3. Cash advances

Cash advances are short-term cash loans borrowed from the available balance on your credit card. They can be an easy method for fast cash, but the interest rates are often much higher than a credit card’s standard purchase APR or a personal loan APR.

4. Bank agreements

Bank agreements are small loans given out by banks who have existing relationships with customers. If you’re in a bind, your bank may be able to loan you some cash — but keep in mind these policies are not official and the terms and requirements will differ depending on the lender and the applicant’s financial profile.

5. Home equity loans for bad credit

Home equity loans are fixed-term, fixed-rate loans taken out from the value of your home. These loans are secured by your home equity and may be available to you as a homeowner, even if you have “fair” or “poor” credit. But know that you are taking on additional risk — if you fall behind on payments, your home could go into foreclosure.

6. HELOCs for bad credit

Similar to home equity loans, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is secured by the value of your home. But with HELOCs,  you’re borrowing from a revolving credit line (not unlike a credit card) and can withdraw cash any time you want within the draw period of the line of credit. After the draw period, you’ll enter a repayment period in which you cannot withdraw more cash and must pay back what was borrowed in a certain amount of time. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, HELOCs have become extremely difficult to get for anyone with less than “good” credit.

7. Student loans for bad credit

Student loans are available to borrowers with “fair” or “poor” credit who are looking to pay for tuition, student living expenses, textbooks, and other learning essentials. You likely won’t be able to take out a personal loan for student expenses, so instead, you’ll need to shop around among specialized student loan lenders.

How to Improve Your Credit

If you want to increase your credit score to better your chances of getting a loan, here are some ways to do it:

Pay your bills on time every month

Payment history accounts for as much as 35% of your FICO credit score. By reliably paying your bills over time, you can reap the benefits of an improved credit score. Just keep in mind this takes time — change doesn’t happen overnight.

Check your credit reports for errors

You may have a low credit score for reasons beyond your control. Check your credit reports from the three major credit reporting agencies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — for any errors or discrepancies. Through April 2021, the three agencies are offering free weekly credit reports through AnnualCreditReport.com since many are still facing financial instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Don’t close your credit cards, even if you’ve paid them off

After you’ve finished paying off a credit card, you may want nothing more than to close it and never think about it again. But not so fast — the length of your credit history accounts for 15% of your FICO credit score. Even if you don’t intend on using that card regularly, it’s best to keep it open to show credit agencies that you can be trusted to not use all of the credit available to you.

Avoid opening too many credit cards at once

On the flipside, you don’t want to open so many credit cards. The FICO credit scoring model dings your score if you open — or even apply for — too many credit cards and loans at once. New credit accounts for 10% of your credit score, so make sure you’re being judicious about pushing the “Apply” button.

Source link

Continue Reading

Bad Credit

Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders

Published

on

Illustration by Sarah Maxwell, Folio Art

When Bridget Davis got started in the family’s payday lending business in 1996, there was just one Check ’n Go store in Cincinnati. She says she did it all: customer service, banking duties, even painting walls.

The company had been established two years earlier by her husband, Jared Davis, and was growing rapidly. There were 100 Check ’n Go locations by 1997, when Jared and Bridget (née Byrne) married and traveled the country together looking for more locations to open storefront outlets. They launched another 400 stores in 1998, mostly in strip malls and abandoned gas stations in low-income minority neighborhoods where the payday lending target market abounds. Bridget drove the supply truck and helped select locations and design the store layouts.

But Jared soon fired his wife for committing what may be the ultimate sin in the payday lending business: She forgave a customer’s debt. “A young woman came to pay her $20 interest payment,” Bridget wrote in court documents last year during divorce proceedings from Jared. “I pulled her file, calculated that she had already paid $320 to date on a principle [sic] loan of $100. I told her she was paid in full. [Jared] fired me, stating, ‘We are here to make money, not help customers manage theirs. If you can’t do that, you can’t work here.’ ”

Photograph by Brittany Dexter

It’s a business philosophy that pays well, especially if you’re charging fees and interest rates of 400 percent that can more than triple the amount of the loan in just five months—the typical time most payday borrowers need to repay their debt, says the Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit organization focused on public policy. Cincinnati-based Check ’n Go now operates more than 1,100 locations in 25 states as well as an internet lending service with 24/7 access from the comfort of your own home, according to its website. Since its founding, the company has conducted more than 50 million transactions.

What the website doesn’t say is that many, if not most, of those transactions were for small loans of $50 to $500 to working people trying to scrape by and pay their bills. In most states—including Ohio, until it reformed its payday lending laws in 2019—borrowers typically fork over more than one-third of their paycheck to meet the deadline for repayment, usually in two weeks. To help guarantee repayment, borrowers turn over access to their checking account or deposit a check with the lender. In states that don’t offer protection, customers go back again and again to borrow more money from the same payday lender, typically up to 10 times, driving themselves into a debt trap that can lead to bankruptcy.

Jared and Bridget Davis are embroiled in a nasty court battle related to his 2019 divorce filing in Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court. Thousands of pages of filings and 433 docket entries by April 26 offer the public a rare glimpse into the business operations of Check ’n Go, one of Cincinnati’s largest privately-owned companies, as well as personal lifestyles funded by payday lending.

The company cleared $77 million in profit in 2018, a figure that dipped the following year to $55 million, according to an audit by Deloitte. That drop in revenue may have something to do with the payday lending reform laws and interest rate caps passed recently in Ohio as well as a growing number of other states.


The day-to-day business transactions that provide such profit are a depressing window into how those who live on the edge of financial security are often stuck with few options for improving their situations. If a borrower doesn’t repay or refinance his or her original loan, a lender like Check ’n Go deposits the guarantee check and lets it bounce, causing the borrower to incur charges for the bounced check and eventually lose his or her checking account, says Nick DiNardo, an attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati. After two missed payments, payday lenders usually turn over the debt to a collection agency. If the collection agency fails to collect the full amount of the original loan as well as all fees and interest, it goes to court to garnish the borrower’s wages.

That devastating experience is all too familiar to Anthony Smith, a 60-year-old Wyoming resident who says he was laid off from several management positions over a 20-year period. He turned to payday lenders as his credit rating dropped and soon found himself caught in a debt trap that took him years to escape.

Two things happened in 2019, Smith says, that turned around his financial fortunes. First, he found a stable manufacturing job with the Formica Company locally, and then he took his mother’s advice and opened a credit union account. GE Credit Union not only gave him a reasonable loan to pay off his $2,500 debt but also issued him his first credit card in a decade. “I had been a member [of the credit union] for just two months, and I had a credit rating of 520. Can you imagine?” he says. Smith says he is now debt-free for the first time in 10 years.

Consumer advocates say Check ’n Go is one of the biggest payday lending operations in the nation. But knowing its exact ranking is difficult because most payday lending companies, including Check ’n Go and its parent company CNG Holdings, are privately held and reluctant to disclose their finances.

Brothers Jared and David Davis own the majority of the company’s privately held stock. David bought into the company in 1995, but CNG got its game-changing infusion of capital from the brothers’ father, Allen Davis, who retired as CEO of then-Provident Bank in 1998. Allen sold off $37 million in stock options and essentially became CNG’s bank and consultant.

By 2005, however, the sons were part of a public court battle against their father. Allen accused Jared and David of treating his millions in CNG stock as compensation instead of a transfer from his ex-wife (and the brothers’ mother), sticking him with a $13 million tax bill. In turn, the brothers accused Allen of putting his mistress and his yacht captain on the company payroll, taking $1.2 million in fees without board approval, and leading the company into ventures that lost Check ’n Go a lot of money. Several years of legal fighting later, the IRS was still demanding its $13 million. CNG officials did not respond to requests for comment for this story.

Jared and David split $22 million in profit from CNG in 2018 and, according to the Deloitte audit, CNG’s balance sheet showed another $42 million that could be split between the two brothers in 2019. Jared, however, elected not to receive his $21 million distribution “in order to create this artificial financial crisis and shelter millions of dollars from an equitable split between us,” according to Bridget’s divorce filing.

Worse, she claims, Jared said they would be responsible for paying taxes out of their personal accounts rather than from CNG’s company earnings, making her personally responsible for half of the $5.5 million in taxes for 2019. She believes it wasn’t happenstance that $5.5 million was wired to Jared’s private bank account in December of that same year. Bridget has refused to sign the joint tax return, and Jared filed a complaint with the court saying a late tax filing would cost them $1 million in penalties and missed tax opportunities.

“For the duration of our marriage and to the present, Jared has full and complete control of all money paid to us from various investments we have made in addition to our main source of income, CNG,” Bridget wrote in her motion. She suspects that Jared, without her knowledge or consent, plowed the money for their taxes and from other sources of income into Black Diamond Group, the fund that invests in the Agave & Rye restaurant chain. Beyond the original restaurant opened in Covington in 2018, “they have opened four other locations in one year,” she wrote, including Louisville and Lexington. (The ninth location opened in Hamilton this spring.) Agave & Rye’s website touts its Mexican fare as “a chef-inspired take on the standard taco, elevating this simple food into something epic!”

In his response, Jared wrote, “We have very limited regular sources of income.” He says he isn’t receiving any additional distributions from CNG, the couple’s primary source of income, “and this is not within my control. The company has declared that we would not make any further distributions in 2020 given economic circumstances. This decision is based on a formula and is not discretionary.” Agave & Rye helped produce $645,000 in income for Black Diamond in 2020 but has paid out $890,000 in loans, he says. Through August 31, 2020, he wrote, the couple’s “expenses have exceeded income from all sources.”


The divorce case filings start slinging mud when the couple accuses each other of breaking up their 22-year marriage and finding new partners. Jared claims Bridget began an affair during their marriage with Brian Duncan, a contractor she employed through her house flipping business. Bridget, he says, paid Duncan’s company $75,000 in 2018 as well as giving him a personal gift of $70,000 that same year. Jared says she also bought Duncan at least one car and purchased a house for him near hers on Shawnee Run Road for $289,000, then loaned money to Duncan. Jared says Duncan has been late in repaying the note.

While Bridget says Duncan has been drug-free for several years, he has a rap sheet with Hamilton County courts from 2000 to 2017 that runs five pages long. It lists a half-dozen counts of drug abuse and drug possession, including heroin and possession of illegal drug paraphernalia; assaulting a police officer; stealing a Taser from a police officer; criminal damaging while being treated at UC Health; more than a dozen speeding and traffic violations; a half-dozen counts of driving with a suspended license; receiving stolen property; twice fleeing and resisting arrest; three counts of theft; two counts of forgery; and one count for passing bad checks.

Bridget has fired back that Jared not only is hiding his money from her but spending it lavishly on vacations, resorts, and high-end restaurants with his new girlfriend, Susanne Warner. Bridget says Jared gifted Warner with $40,000 without Bridget’s knowledge, then declared it on their joint tax return as a “contribution.” Bridget’s court filings include photocopies of social media posts of Jared and Warner globetrotting from summer 2019 to summer 2020: vacation at Beaver Creek Village in Avon, Colorado; cocktails at High Cotton in Charleston, South Carolina, and dinner at Melvyn’s Restaurant and Lounge in Palm Springs, California; getaways at resorts in Nashville and at a lakefront rental on Norris Lake ($600 per night); in the Bahamas at a Musha Cay private residence ($57,000 per night), at South Beach in Miami, and at a private beach at Fisher Island; in Mexico at Cabo San Lucas; in the U.S. Virgin Islands at Magen’s Bay and on a private yacht ($4,500 per night); in California at Desert Hot Springs, the Ritz-Carlton in Rancho Mirage, and Montage at Laguna Beach; and in the Bahamas at South Cottage ($2,175 per night).

For her part, Bridget has gone through some of the top lawyers in town faster than President Trump during an impeachment—six in all, two of whom she’s sued for malpractice. She sent four binders of evidence to the Ohio Supreme Court, asking for the recusal of Hamilton County Judge Amy Searcy and claiming Searcy was biased because of campaign donations from Jared and his companies. Rather than deal with the list of questions sent to her by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, Searcy stepped down. Two other judges have since stepped into the fray, and in March Bridget filed for a change of venue outside of Hamilton County, arguing she can’t get a fair trial in her hometown. At press time, a trial date had been set for June 28 in Hamilton County.

The poor-mouthing in the divorce case has reached heights of comic absurdity. Jared claims he’s “illiquid” because he didn’t get his distribution from CNG in 2019. Bridget has received debt collection notices for the nearly $21,000 owed on her American Express card and a $735 bill from Jewish Hospital. There’s no sign yet that anyone is coming to repossess her Porsche, which according to her filings has a $5,000 monthly payment. Each party has received $25,000 a month in living expenses, an amount later reduced to $15,000 under a temporary legal agreement while the divorce case is being sorted out. Court filings show that Jared’s net worth is almost $206 million and Bridget’s is $22.5 million.


In the early 1990s, Allen Davis was raising eyebrows at Provident Bank (later bought by National City), and not only because of his very unbanker-like look of beard, ponytail, and casual golf wear. He was leading the company into questionable subprime home loans for people with bad credit and a frequent-shopper program for merchants, though the bank’s charter barred him from getting involved in full-blown predatory lending practices. With guidance and funding from his father, Jared, at age 26, launched Check ’n Go in 1994 and became a pioneer in the payday lending industry. Jared and his family saw there were millions of Americans who didn’t have checking or savings accounts (“unbanked”) or an adequate credit rating (“underbanked”) but still needed loans to meet their everyday expenses. What those potential customers did have was a steady paycheck.

Conventional banks share a big part of the blame for the nation’s army of unbanked borrowers by imposing checking account fees and onerous penalties for bounced checks. In 2019, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation estimated there were 7.1 million U.S. households without a checking or savings account.

The Davises launched Check ’n Go on the pretext that it would “fill the gap” for people who occasionally needed to borrow money in a hurry—a service for those who couldn’t get a loan any other way. But consumer advocates say the real business model for payday lending isn’t a service at all. The majority of the industry’s revenue comes from repeat business by customers trapped in debt, not from borrowers looking for a quick, one-time fix for their financial troubles.

Ohio’s payday lending lobbyists got a strong hold on the state legislature in the late 1990s, and by 2018 Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray could rightfully claim in a campaign ad that “Ohio’s [payday lending] laws are now the worst in the nation. Things have gotten so bad that it is legal to charge 594 percent interest on loans.” His statement was based on a 2014 study by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The frustration for consumer advocates was that Ohioans had been trying to reform those laws since 2008, when voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative placing a 28 percent cap on the interest of payday loans. But—surprise!—lenders simply registered as mortgage brokers, which enabled them to charge unlimited fees.

The Davis family and five other payday lending companies controlled 90 percent of the market back then, an express gravy train ripping through the poorest communities in Ohio. The predatory feeding frenzy, especially in Ohio’s hard-hit Rust Belt communities, prompted a 2017 column at The Daily Beast titled, “America’s Worst Subprime Lender: Jared Davis vs. Allan Jones?” (Jones is founder and CEO of Tennessee-based Check Into Cash.) In 2016 and 2017, consumer advocates mustered their forces again, and this time they weren’t allowing for loopholes. The Pew Charitable Trusts joined efforts with bipartisan lawmakers and Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform, a statewide coalition of faith, business, local government, and nonprofit organizations. Consumer advocates found a legislative champion in State Rep. Kyle Koehler, a Republican from Springfield.

It no doubt helped reform efforts that former Ohio Speaker of the House Cliff Rosenberger resigned in spring 2018 amid an FBI investigation into his cozy relationship with payday lenders. Rosenberger had taken frequent overseas trips—to destinations including France, Italy, Israel, and China—in the company of payday lending lobbyists. In April 2019, Ohio’s new lending law took effect and, since then, has been called a national model for payday lending reform that balances protections for borrowers, profits for lenders, and access to credit for the poor, according to the Pew Charitable Trusts. New prices in Ohio are three to four times lower for payday loans than before the law. Borrowers now have up to three months to repay their loans with no more than 6 percent of their paycheck. Pew estimates that the cost of borrowing $400 for three months dropped from $450 to $109, saving Ohioans at least $75 million a year. And despite claims that the reforms would eliminate access to credit, lenders currently operate in communities across the state and online. “The bipartisan success shows that if you set fair rules and enforce them, lenders play by them and there’s widespread access to credit,” says Gabe Kravitz, a consumer finance officer at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Other states like Virginia, Kansas, and Michigan are following Ohio’s lead, Kravitz says. Some states, such as Nebraska, have even capped annual interest on payday loans. As a result, Pew researchers have seen a reduction in the number of storefront lending op­erations across the country. Even better, Kravitz says, there’s no evidence that borrowers are turning instead to online payday lending operations.

Cincinnati is one of five cities chosen for a grant to replicate the success of Boston Builds Credit, an ambitious effort that city launched in 2017 to provide credit counseling in poor and minority communities by training specialists at existing social service agencies. The program also encourages consumer partnerships with credit unions, banks, and insurance companies to offer small, manageable loans that can help the unbanked and underbanked improve their credit ratings. “Right now, local organizations are all kind of working in silos on the problem in Cincinnati,” says Todd Moore of the nonprofit credit counseling agency Trinity Debt Relief. Moore, who applied for the Boston grant, says he’s looking for an agency like United Way or Strive Cincinnati to lead the effort here.

Anthony Smith is thankful that he’s escaped the downward spiral of his payday loans, especially during the pandemic’s economic turmoil. “I’m blessed for every day I can get paid and have a job during these difficult times, just to be able to pay my bills and meet my responsibilities,” he says. “I’ve always kept a job, but until now I’ve had crappy credit. That doesn’t mean I’m a bad guy.”

Can others worth millions of dollars say the same?

Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders Source link Inside the Highly Profitable and Secretive World of Payday Lenders



Source link

Continue Reading

Bad Credit

What’s Questionable Credit and Can I Get a Car Loan With It?

Published

on

Questionable’s definition means that something’s quality is up for debate. If a lender says that your credit score is questionable, it’s likely that they mean it’s poor, or at the very least, they’re hesitant to approve you for vehicle financing. Here’s what most lenders consider questionable credit, and what auto loan options you may have.

Questionable Credit and Auto Lenders

Many auto lenders may consider questionable credit as a borrower with a credit score below 660. The credit score tiers as sorted by Experian the national credit bureau, are:

  • Super prime: 850 to 781
  • Prime: 780 to 661
  • Nonprime: 660 to 601
  • Subprime: 600 to 501
  • Deep subprime: 500 to 300

The nonprime credit tiers and below is when you start to get into bad credit territory and may struggle to meet the credit score requirements of traditional auto lenders.

This is because lenders are looking at your creditworthiness – your perceived ability to repay loans based on the information in your credit reports. Besides your actual credit score, there may be situations where the items in your credit reports are what’s making a lender question whether you’re a good candidate for an auto loan. These can include:

  • A past or active bankruptcy
  • A past or recent vehicle repossession
  • Recent missed/late payments
  • High credit card balances
  • No credit history

There are ways to get into an auto loan with questionable credit. Your options can change depending on what’s making your credit history questionable, though.

Questionable Credit Auto Loans

If your credit score is less than stellar, it may be time to look at these two lending options:

  • What Is Questionable Credit and Can I Get a Car Loan With It?Subprime financing – Done through special finance dealerships by third-party subprime lenders. These lenders can often assist with many unique credit situations, provided you can meet their requirements. A great option for new borrowers with thin files, situational bad credit, or consumers with older negative marks.
  • In-house financing – May not require a credit check, and is done through buy here pay here (BHPH) dealers. Typically, your income and down payment amount are the most important parts of eligibility. Auto loans without a credit check may not allow for credit repair and may come with a higher-than-average interest rate.

Both of these car loan options are typically available to borrowers with credit challenges. However, if you have more recent, serious delinquencies on your credit reports, a BHPH dealer may be for you. Most traditional and subprime lenders typically don’t approve financing for borrowers with a dismissed bankruptcy, a repossession less than a year old, or borrowers with multiple, recent missed/late payments.

Requirements of Bad Credit Car Loans

In many cases, your income and down payment size are the biggest factors in your overall eligibility for bad credit auto loans. Expect to need:

  • 30 days of recent computer-generated check stubs to prove you have around $1,500 to $2,500 of monthly gross income. Borrowers without W-2 income may need two to three years of professionally prepared tax returns.
  • A down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle’s selling price. BHPH dealers may require up to 20% of the car’s selling price.
  • Proof of residency in the form of a recent utility bill in your name.
  • Proof of a working phone (no prepaid phones), proven with a recent phone bill in your name.
  • A list of five to eight personal references with name, phone number, and address.
  • Valid driver’s license with the correct address, can’t be revoked, expired, or suspended.

Depending on your individual situation, you may need fewer or more items to apply for a bad credit auto loan. However, preparing these documents before you head to a dealership can speed up the process!

Ready to Get on the Road?

With questionable credit, finding a dealership that’s able to assist you with an auto loan is easier said than done. Here at Auto Credit Express, we want to get that done for you with our coast-to-coast network of special finance dealerships.

Complete our free auto loan request form and we’ll get right to work looking for a dealer in your local area that can assist with many tough credit situations.

(function(d, s, id){ var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) {return;} js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk/debug.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));

Source link

Continue Reading

Bad Credit

Entrepreneur Tae Lee Finds Her Fortune

Published

on

By Jasmine Shaw
For The Birmingham Times

Birmingham native Tae Lee had plans last year to visit the continent of Africa, the South American country of Columbia, and the U.S. state of Texas.

“I was going to stay in each place for like four to six weeks, and then COVID-19 happened,” she said. “So, I just was like, ‘You know what, I’m just gonna go to Mexico and stay for six months.’”

Once home from Playa Del Carmen, located on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, the 33-year-old entrepreneur put the final touches on “Game of Fortune: Win in Wealth or Lose in Debt,” a financial literacy card game for ages 10 and up.

“We created ‘Game of Fortune’ because we realized there was a gap in learning the fundamentals of money,” said Lee. “We go through life not knowing anything about money and then—‘Bam!’—real life hits. Credit, debt, and bills come at us quick!”

Lee believes the game “gives players a glimpse of real life” by using everyday scenarios to teach them how to make wiser financial decisions without having to waste their own money.

“I feel like [financial literacy] can be learned in ways other than somebody standing up and preaching it to you over and over again,” she said. “You can learn it in ways that are considered fun, as well.”

Which is why “we want the schools to buy it, so we can give students a fun way to learn about financial literacy,” she added.

Lee, also called the “Money Maximizer,” is an international best-selling financial author, speaker, coach, and trainer who is known for her financial literacy books, including “Never Go Broke (NGB): An Entrepreneur’s Guide to Money and Freedom” and the “NGB Money Success Planner High School Edition.” The Birmingham-based financial guru focuses on creating diverse streams of income in the tax, real estate, insurance, and finance industries.

For Lee, it’s about building generational wealth, not debt.

Indispensable Lessons

Lee got her first glance at entrepreneurial life as a child watching her mother, Valeria Robinson, run her commercial cleaning company, V’s Cleaning. Robinson retired in 2019.

“My grandmother had a cleaning service, too,” said Lee. “So, even though I didn’t start out as an entrepreneur, watching my mom and grandma do it taught me a lot.”

Lee grew up in Birmingham and attended Riley Elementary School, Midfield Middle School, and Huffman High School. She then went on to Jacksonville State University, in Jacksonville, Alabama, where she earned bachelor’s degree in physical education. She struggled to find a career in her field and became overwhelmed by student loans.

“My credit and stuff didn’t get bad until after college,” she said. “I was going through school and taking money, but nobody told me, ‘Oh, you’re gonna have to pay all of this back.’”

Before embarking on her extensive career in money management, Lee had not learned the indispensable lessons that she now shares with clients.

“‘Don’t have bad credit.’ That’s all I learned,” she remembers. “Financial literacy just wasn’t taught much. I learned the majority of my lessons as I aged.”

In an effort to ward off collection calls and raise her credit score, Lee researched tactics to strategically eliminate her debt.

“I knew I had to pay bills on time, and I couldn’t be late with payments,” she said.

Lee eventually began helping friends revamp their finances and opened NGB Inc. in 2017 to share fun, educational methods to help her clients build solid financial foundations.

“People were always coming to me like, ‘How do I invest in this?’ and ‘How do I do that?’ So, I said to myself, ‘You know what, people should be paying to pick your brain.’”

Legacy Building

While Lee enjoyed watching her clients reach milestones, like buying a new car with cash or making their first stock market investment, she was also designing “Game of Fortune” to teach the value of legacy building.

“The game gives players the knowledge to build generational wealth, not generational debt,” she said. “It gives you a glimpse of life, money, and what can truly happen if you mismanage your coins.”

Using index cards to create her first “Game of Fortune” sample deck, Lee filled each card with pertinent terms related to debt elimination and credit and wealth building. She then called on a few friends to help her work through the kinks.

Three of her good friends—Barbara Bratton, Daña Brown, and Sha Cannon—were just a few of the people that gave feedback on the sample deck.

“From there I met with Brandon Brooks, [owner of the Birmingham-based Brooks Realty Investments LLC], and four other financial advisors to fine-tune the definitions and game logistics,” Lee said.

Though Lee was unable to land a job in physical education after graduating from college, she now sees her career with NGB Inc. as life’s unexpected opportunity to teach on her own terms.

“Bartending and waitressing taught me that working for someone else was not for me,” she replied. “In order to get the life I always wanted, I had to create my own business.”

In her entrepreneurial pursuits, Lee strives to be an open-minded leader who embraces the need for flexibility.

“COVID-19 has shown me that in entrepreneurship you have to maneuver,” she said. “When life changes, sometimes your business will, too. You may have to change the path, but your ending goal can be the same.”

“Game of Fortune: Win in Wealth or Lose in Debt” is available and sold only on the “Game of Fortune” website: gameoffortune.money. To learn more about Tae Lee and Never Go Broke Inc., visit taelee.money and nevergobroke.money or email tae@taelee.money; you also can follow her on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nevergobrokeinc) and Instagram (@nevergobrokeinc).

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending