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Align Income Share Agreement Review

Align is a Chicago-based company that has offered income share agreements, or ISAs, to eligible borrowers since 2011. An ISA is different from a personal loan. Rather than relying on an APR model, as is common for personal loans, ISA payments are based on a predetermined percentage of the borrower’s earnings over the term. So a rise in income would result in a rise in the total payment amount, and vice versa.

According to Align, it is the only company that offers ISAs to consumers for general use. Much like personal loans, Align ISAs can be used to pay for such expenses as medical debt, car repairs and debt consolidation. And, in the same token, you’ll still have to qualify to get an ISA.

Align income share agreement highlights

  • Capped payments: Instead of relying on an APR to set your payments, the amount that you pay per month depends on your income. And payments are capped at 10% of your pretax earnings.
  • Generous terms for those who experience job loss: Because of Align’s unique payment system, if you were to lose your job or experience a drop in income, your payments would go to $0 or decrease in proportion to your new income during that time.
  • No origination fee: There is No origination fee or prepayment penalty associated with Align’s ISA.
  • Limited availability: The Align ISA is limited to those who live in the following states: Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Montana and Wisconsin.
  • No cosigner option: Align does not currently accept cosigners, nor does it have a joint application option for those with a spouse.

Align at a glance

Terms Fees and penalties
  • Terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Payment amount: Payments are based on a percentage of your pretax earnings, up to 10%.
  • Loan amounts: Up to $12,500
  • Time to funding: As fast as the next day.
  • Credit check: Soft Pull
  • Origination fee: No origination fee
  • Prepayment fee: None
  • Late payment fee: Not specified

Eligibility requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Varies.
  • Minimum credit history: Not specified.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified.

Align doesn’t clearly lay out eligibility requirements on its website. However, it does state that your ability to qualify depends on a mix of factors, like income, creditworthiness and occupation.

Align is only available to those who live in the following states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Montana
  • Wisconsin

What borrowers are saying about Align

Out of 40 borrower reviews listed on LendingTree’s consumer reviews section, the vast majority are not only positive but gave Align five stars out of five, giving it an overall score of 4.6 out of five. Common themes were the helpful and informative customer service, fast approval and funding times, as well as the borrower-friendly payment system.

“They really went out of their way to help me and I felt like they understood my needs for this loan. They come through on everything they promised in a timely manner. I would highly recommend them,” wrote Patricia from Chicago.

Amanda, another Chicago borrower, noted, “I am a first time borrower and was nervous because I am paying off debt and wanted to make sure the process wouldn’t hurt me financially. I had such a great experience and would recommend anyone looking to get some help to go with Align. They were amazing and, if I ever need another loan, I will definitely be contacting them.”

There were also a handful of negative reviews, however. Those cited things like rescinded offers based on account overdrafts, rejected applications due to low work hours and general unresponsiveness.

For those looking to find a personal loan or other financial product, it’s important to compare your options and consider reviews from other borrowers. You can get a better understanding of how each company stacks up and what your borrowing experience might look like.

Applying for an income share agreement from Align

For those who are interested, you can find out if you are likely to get an ISA from Align by going through the prequalification process, which will not impact your credit score. You’ll need to provide basic information, such as:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Contact information
  • Income and work details
  • Education
  • Credit score range

You’ll also have to specify the loan amount you’re seeking, and your intended use of those funds.

Unfortunately, the application process isn’t fully articulated on the Align site beyond the prequalification screening. But the company does say that those who fill out that application will be contacted by a personal ISA specialist who will advise you about next steps. You can expect to hear back about the company’s decision as soon as the same day that you apply for the ISA.

Keep in mind that you will have to provide some form of income and identification verification to get the funds deposited into your account. Assuming you have those ready, you’d receive the funds as quickly as the next business day.

Pros Cons
  • Borrower friendly repayment system: Payments are capped at a percentage of income, which is more forgiving in the event of a job loss.
  • Solid customer service: According to borrower reviews, the vast majority of those who interacted with Align’s representatives had a positive experience, noting that it was easy to work with, explained the process and addressed questions and concerns in detail.
  • No origination or prepayment penalty fees: You don’t have to worry about an origination fee eating into your loan amount, and you can pay off your loan ahead of schedule without penalty.
  • Limited availability: If you don’t live in one of the seven states where Align operates, you won’t be able to get its ISA.
  • Low maximum borrowing amount: You can’t borrow more than $12,500.
  • Unclear qualification requirements: Align uses a number of factors to determine eligibility but doesn’t state the minimums outright, which can lead to a higher number of rejections than you might find with lenders who are more transparent in that regard.

Who’s the best fit for an Align income share agreement?

Align’s ISA are a solid alternative to a personal loan for those who live within the states that the company operates and who need fast access to funds. Because the company isn’t entirely upfront about its qualification requirements, however, it’s difficult to say who is likely to qualify for an ISA.

The overall forgiving nature of its payment structure, however, provides a level of financial security to those who may be worried about the future of their finances, making it an ideal choice for those borrowers. If you were to experience a drop in income, or even a job loss, for example, your payments would be adjusted accordingly. That isn’t something you’ll find with a traditional personal loan.

Alternative personal loan options

LightStream

  • APR: 4.99% to 16.79%*
  • Minimum credit score: Not specified
  • Terms: 24 to 144 months
  • Origination fee: No origination fee

LightStream offers competitive APRs and wide loan term options to qualified borrowers. Keep in mind, however, that rates will be half a percentage point higher if you don’t opt to use auto-pay. These loans are also fee-free, so you don’t have to worry about origination, late payment or prepayment fees adding to your borrowing costs.

If you can find a lower rate offer, the company says it will beat it by 0.1 percentage points. LightStream also offers a $100 best loan-experience guarantee, so if you aren’t happy with your experience after receiving your funds, you can let them know about your issue and take advantage of that offer as well. Terms may apply.

*Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay may be higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 4.99% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $299.66.

Payoff

  • APR: 5.99% to 24.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 640
  • Terms: 24 to 60 months
  • Origination fee:up to 5.00%

Compared to Align’s ISA, Payoff’s personal loan is a better option for those who need to borrow more money — qualified applicants can borrow between $5,000 and $35,000. However, it’s worth noting that the terms are identical to that of Align, meaning you’d have the same amount of time to pay off that larger loan than if you went with Payoff.

On the plus side, excluding the potential origination fee, this loan does not have any other fees, including a late payment fee. The requirements are clearly spelled out on its site: You need to have a FICO score of at least 640 and a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less to get the Payoff loan, plus a minimum of three years of good credit history. And it’s more widely available, with only five states that don’t have access to the loan: Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada and West Virginia.

All loans are subject to credit review and approval. Your actual rate depends upon credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. Currently loans are not offered in: MA, MS, NE, NV, OH, and WV.

Best Egg

  • APR: 5.99% to 29.99%
  • Minimum credit score: 700
  • Terms: 36 or 60 months
  • Origination fee: 0.99% - 5.99%

Although Best Egg’s personal loan can range up to 29.99% APR , which is comparable to some credit cards, this lender gives those who qualify the chance to borrow more money than they could with Align, though with similar terms. Best Egg generally allows borrowers to take out between $2,000 and $35,000 — though qualified applicants may be approved for up to $50,000. To get a loan of that amount, however, you’d need to have an annual income of at least $130,000.

And, in order to get the lowest rate from this lender, you’d have to earn at least $100,000 and have a credit score of at least 700. Unlike other lenders, however, you’d have the option to take out a second loan, provided that you’ve had your first loan for at least six months and the combined balance doesn’t top $50,000.

The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and ranges from 5.99% to 29.99%, which may include an origination fee from 0.99% - 5.99% that is deducted from loan proceeds. Any origination fee on a loan term 4-years or longer will be at least 4.99%. The loan term and the APR offered will depend on your credit score, income, debt payment obligations, loan amount, credit usage history and other factors. Additionally, the APR offered is impacted by your loan term and may be higher than our lowest advertised rate. Requests for the highest loan amount may result in an APR higher than our lowest advertised rate. You need a minimum 700 FICO® score and a minimum individual annual income of $100,000 to qualify for our lowest rate.

Best Egg loans are unsecured personal loans made by Cross River Bank, a New Jersey State Chartered Commercial Bank, Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. "Best Egg" is a trademark of Marlette Funding, LLC. All uses of "Best Egg" on this site mean and shall refer to "the Best Egg personal loan" and/or "Best Egg on behalf of Cross River Bank, as originator of the Best Egg personal loan," as applicable. Loan amounts generally range from [ps name='personalloan.35.min_loan']-[ps name='personalloan.35.max_loan']. Offers up to $50,000 may be available for qualified customers who receive offer codes in the mail. The minimum individual annual income needed to qualify for a loan of $50,000 is $130,000. Borrowers may hold no more than two open Best Egg loans at any given time. In order to be eligible for a second Best Egg loan, your existing Best Egg loan must have been open for at least four months. Total existing Best Egg loan balances must not exceed $50,000. All loans in MA must exceed $6,000; in NM, OH must exceed $5,000; in GA must exceed $3,000. Borrowers should refer to their loan agreement for specific terms and conditions. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Upon loan funding, the timing of available funds may vary depending upon your bank's policies.

To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you.

 

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