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MoneyLion Personal Loan Review

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MoneyLion loans at a glance

lenderAPRAmountsTermCTA
APR:
5.99%-29.99%
Loan Terms:
Up to 12 months
Loan Amounts:
$500 to $1,000
Origination Fee:
No origination fees

MoneyLion offers a unique lending product intended to help consumers build credit from scratch. Its Credit Builder Plus+ Loan requires a monthly membership fee of $19.99, but it lets consumers stow away money that earns interest until the loan is paid off.

MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Plus+ Loan is best for consumers who have poor credit — or no credit at all — and can’t get approved for a traditional loan. Here are some highlights:

  • Pay a monthly fee for a low APR: MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Plus+ Loan requires a $19.99 monthly membership fee, but the APR on your credit builder loan is only 5.99%.
  • No other hidden fees: MoneyLion loans don’t carry origination or prepayment fees.
  • Can help you build credit: One major perk of this loan product is that your payments are reported to all three major credit bureaus. MoneyLion claims that more than half of its customers increase their credit score by 42-plus points within two months of borrowing.
  • Access free credit monitoring: MoneyLion’s Credit Builder Plus+ Loan comes with free credit monitoring and reporting that comes out on a weekly basis.
  • Get zero-interest cash advances: This loan product lets you access cash advances without interest in some cases. With direct deposit set up, you can get a cash advance of up to $300 per pay period.
  • Access some of your cash upfront: You can also qualify for cash upfront when you sign up, although how much you receive will depend on your creditworthiness and other factors.
  • Earn rewards with the Lion’s Share Loyalty program: You can earn rewards that can help cancel out your monthly membership fee if you sign up for a MoneyLion Visa Debit Card and use it regularly. If you log into the MoneyLion app at least 20 days per month and make at least 20 transactions of $10 or more with a MoneyLion Visa Debit Card on a monthly basis, you can recoup your monthly fee each month.

 

Pros and cons of MoneyLion loans
Pros Cons
  • Easy to qualify for: With no hard credit check required, MoneyLion loans can work for someone with bad credit who cannot get approved elsewhere.
  • Can be used to build credit: MoneyLion allows you to build your credit history and score with its service. That makes this loan ideal for someone who needs help building credit from scratch.
  • Get your money back once your loan is paid off: Once your loan is paid off, you’ll get the money you paid into the loan back.
  • Do it all on the app: MoneyLion’s mobile app is a one-stop shop for maintaining your account or taking advantage of other products and services.
  • Defer a payment if necessary: MoneyLion allows you to defer a payment once over the life of the loan if you make monthly payments, twice if you make bimonthly payments and three times if you make weekly payments.
  • Hefty monthly fee required: You’ll pay $19.99 per month for a membership unless you’re able to log into the MoneyLion app every day and make at least 20 purchases of $10 or more per month with a MoneyLion Visa debit card.
  • You may only qualify to borrow less upfront: Depending on your creditworthiness, you may be restricted to only borrowing a limited amount well below the $1,000 maximum.
  • Your monthly payments could be “trapped” for a year: The payments you make toward your loan may be kept in a Credit Reserve Account until the full loan amount is paid off. This means you cannot access the money you paid in until your loan is paid in full.
  • Not available nationally: If you reside in Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada or Vermont, you’re ineligible to borrow.

MoneyLion loan requirements

  • Minimum credit score: Not specified
  • Minimum credit history: Soft Pull
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified

In addition to signing up for MoneyLion membership (which costs $19.99 per month), the main eligibility requirements for a MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus+ Loan includes linking a checking account that:

  • Is in good standing
  • Has been open for at least 60 days
  • Has an acceptable ratio of deposits and debits

Your linked checking account also needs to have been open for at least 60 days to get started.

Other MoneyLion loan criteria include:

  • Being 18 or older
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residency
  • Social Security number

Which borrowers are the best fit for a MoneyLion loan

The MoneyLion Credit Builder Plus Loan is best for consumers who can’t get approved for a loan or credit card due to poor or nonexistent credit. Since MoneyLion reports all your credit payments to the three major credit bureaus, its loan products can help you build credit history, as well as your credit score, over time.

This personal loan product also comes with a low APR. However, its monthly membership charge can be high, depending on how much you’re borrowing. If you can sign up for MoneyLion’s debit card and make enough charges to avoid the membership fee, then MoneyLion’s loan could be a competitive product when you’re trying to build a healthy payment history on your credit.

Otherwise, it may not make sense to borrow small amounts from MoneyLion and pay its $19.99 monthly fee. Say you borrow $300 and repay it in six months: You’d end up paying nearly $120 in fees just for the right to borrow.

What borrowers are saying about MoneyLion loans

MoneyLion, which was founded in 2013, has received 3.7 out of 5 stars over its first 20 reviews on the LendingTree platform. Borrower reviews commonly cited solid customer service and the fact that MoneyLion accepts bad credit borrowers.

Kyle from Prescott Valley, Ariz., noted in his January 2018 review that “they offer great perks for signing up with them and as you continue to be a customer.” He also added that “I personally don’t have the best credit and was being denied left and right, but MoneyLion accepted me and gave me a shot and some stress relief at the same time!”

More recently, however, one-star reviews in 2021 complained of poor customer service and  unclear or changing terms on their account.

Applying for a personal loan from MoneyLion

Applying for a personal loan from MoneyLion only requires a few simple steps. You’ll start by hitting the “join now” button on the home page, and from there, you’ll enter your information: full name, birthdate, email, phone number, home address and Social Security number.

Once you’re done registering for an account, you’ll move onto the next steps of linking your account with a third party checking account that’s in good standing. Once the system has a chance to review your details, accounts can be approved almost instantly.

MoneyLion reviews compared to competing lenders

Comparing NetCredit to competitors
MoneyLion Personify Financial OneMain Financial LendingPoint
APR:
5.99%–29.99%Loan length:
Up to 12 monthsLoan amount:
$500 to $1,000

Origination fee:
No origination fees

Min. credit score:
Not specified

APR:
35.00%–179.99%Loan length:
6 to 48 monthsLoan amount:
$500 to $15,000

Origination fee:
0.00% - 5.00%

Min. credit score:
Not specified

APR:
18.00%–35.99%Loan length:
24 to 60 monthsLoan amount:
$1,500 to $20,000

Origination fee:
1.00% - 10.00%

Min. credit score:
Not specified

APR:
9.99%–35.99%Loan length:
24 to 60 monthsLoan amount:
$2,000 to $36,500

Origination fee:
0.00% - 6.00%

Min. credit score:
585

Personify Financial

Subprime borrowers may qualify for an installment loan through Personify Financial. Although you can avoid paying a monthly membership for your loan (as is the case with MoneyLion), Personify Financial does have significantly higher rates. Depending on how much you borrow and for how long, that may make this bad credit lender a more expensive option.

OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial offers loan products aimed at consumers with imperfect credit. You can borrow between $1,500 – $20,000 depending on your income, creditworthiness and other factors, although some individual states have minimum or maximum loan amounts. That makes this lender a viable option if you don’t have perfect credit but need to borrow more money than is offered by MoneyLion.

While OneMain Financial loan products can be helpful, they aren’t “credit building” per se, nor are they secured. Instead, OneMain Financial will loan you the full loan amount you qualify for.

LendingPoint

LendingPoint offers loans in amounts up to $36,500  for consumers with credit scores as low as 585. These loans are unsecured, and you can borrow with terms from 24 to 60 months . Since LendingPoint loans are available to consumers with imperfect credit, however, interest rates tend to be higher than you’ll find with MoneyLion.

However, LendingPoint loans aren’t “credit builder” or secured loans, so you’ll get the full amount of the loan you apply for. That makes them different from MoneyLion loan products, which only grant you part of your loan amount upfront.

MoneyLion loan FAQs

Is MoneyLion a legitimate lender?

Yes, MoneyLion is a legitimate lender with a variety of products and services.

Does MoneyLion check credit?

Yes, MoneyLion performs a soft credit inquiry when you apply for funding. This inquiry won’t damage your credit score as you shop around for funding.

Do I need good credit to qualify for a MoneyLion loan?

No, you don’t need good credit to be eligible, though your overall creditworthiness does determine how much you can borrow. Other factors that affect your application include the transaction history of your primary checking account.

How much can I borrow from MoneyLion?

You can borrow up to $1,000 from MoneyLion, though you might only be eligible for a lower amount if your application underwhelms the lender’s underwriting criteria.

What if I can’t afford my MoneyLion monthly payment?

MoneyLion allows you to defer payments, if necessary. If you usually make monthly payments on your balance, you can defer one payment over the life of your loan. Borrowers who make payments bimonthly (two deferrals) or weekly (three) can postpone payments more often. Deferring payment can help you avoid a missed or late payment that can harm your credit report and score.

 

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