As an observer of the payday loan industry, I frequently meet people who are current users of payday loans. I do not judge them nor do I encourage them to take more loans but I do ask for a review or sorts of the payday loan service that they use so as to understand what is the best service out there currently. Zack is one person I have met recently and he has agreed to share with me and the readers of this blog his story with LendUp.com.
Zack and His Story
I am Zack and recently I’d fallen into a bit of a monetary rut. I work as an assistant livestock veterinarian and my commute takes me on a 40 minute drive out of the city. With the daily to and fro, responding to outcall emergencies and the consultation trips to clients’ residences, you could say my trusty Ford is pretty much an essential tool for my job. But even the most stalwart of partners need a day off time to time, the intercooler gave out last Thursday and repairs were no small matter. My job is stable but modest which doesn’t enable me much savings and I was looking at a little under a cool two grand to get the whole matter sorted out.
I can’t afford to go without a personal vehicle even for a day but at the same time didn’t feel comfortable dipping so far into my savings, especially being so far from my next paycheck. It was a straightforward enough decision to make though, out of sheer necessity I paid the mechanic upfront but that left my savings balance in a precarious position. I was dangerously close to incurring overdraft fees should I have to make another significant payment within the next 3 weeks. I decided to seek out a short term loan from private lenders to soak up some of the damage until payday next rolled around. Plus, I needed the cash pretty quickly and most banks take upwards of a week to approve the paperwork.
My predicament sure sounds like a classic case for one of those oft-advertised payday loans that have been making their rounds on search engines banner displays lately. Thankfully I had the forethought to consult a knowledgeable friend for advice and he steered me away from the shady breeding ground that is the payday industry. Instead, he referred me to LendUp.com, a reputable online lender that offers the same expedited services but with the distinction of actually being able to deliver them.
First Impressions of LendUp.com
Still wary from my experiences with payday sites, I was pleasantly surprised to see clean, professional layouts lined with proper writing and grammar. This was a welcome break from the unintelligible drivel featured on payday sites that seem more reminiscent of an excerpt from an advertisement for “vitality enhancement pills”. Not to say that books should be judged from their cover, but taking due effort to design a proper site goes a long way in showing that one is running a proper and reputable business.
What I appreciated from the get-go was how smoothly and intuitively LendUp walked me through its loan process. Finance matters are never straightforward to the layman but their site went a long way in simplifying the process for me. Every relevant detail about the loan terms was spelt out clearly on the front page and left little room for doubt. Using the sliders, I was able to configure my loan preferences and could get an immediate outlook of what terms I could expect. This feature was very much appreciated and transparent disclosure of what I could expect myself to be getting into made me feel secure as a borrower.
So far so good, I was satisfied with the figures presented to me and felt confident enough to fill out their registration form.
Benefits of LendUp.com
I filled out an a 30-day loan for $500 and was pleasantly surprised to receive notification that the money had been deposited into my savings account a mere 23 minutes later. I repeat, the money was actually deposited into my account. Sameday payday loans often fail to deliver on their sameday promise and instead state that the loan was approved on the sameday, but the actual transfer of funds can take upwards of a week whilst they are busy conducting the very credit check they touted to skip. To this end, I have to commend LendUp’s promptness and reliability of service. I was indeed extremely impressed.
My loan came with an admittedly steep APR of 197% but this was literally twice as bearable as the starting figures of the 400% ballpark that standard payday lenders demand, with the occasional three-figure APRs not being unheard of in the industry. 197% is indeed a couple big steps larger than what a bank loan would’ve asked for, but in exchange I do get drastically accelerated service and funds with little questions asked. The APR was disclosed to me upfront and remained unchanged throughout the entire registration process so I can vouch for LendUp’s credibility (some lenders will present a smaller APR during initial discussions and covertly raise it by the end of the transaction).
Another perk of LendUp is it’s “loyalty program” of sorts. It sounds pretty counter-intuitive at first because loans aren’t something a person would like to have to deal with on a regular basis. But for those of us who do, at the very least there are benefits to reap. LendUp operates on a tier system, that they call the LendUp Ladder. It begins from Silver and as one borrows and makes regular, punctual repayments one gets rewarded with credits for their good behaviour and ascends the rungs accordingly. On higher rungs, you’ll be eligible for longer loan periods, larger caps on your loans and most importantly, lower interest fees. Essentially the system rewards you for proving your reliability as a borrower overtime. Given LendUp’s service, if I had to take out loans often they would likely remain my go-to lender, a loyalty program is a definitely appreciated perk.
Another subtle-till-you-realize-it perk of LendUp is that it gives those with poor credit scores a legit and reliable avenue to improve said scores. It’d otherwise be one of those Catch-22 situations: poor credit makes you ineligible for loans, being unable to take up loans means you cannot prove to banks that you’re capable of reliable payments which keeps the credit score low, this makes you ineligible for loans, and the cycle goes on. Most payday lenders capitalize on this by offering to skip the credit check, charge grotesquely high fees in exchange and just to rub salt into the wound, still conduct the check anyway. LendUp is perhaps the first service I’ve come across that actually delivers on its same-day, no check promise while still maintaining reasonable fees. And again, it gives those with poor scores an honest-to-goodness, legitimate way to improve their credit scores. This, considering the current state of the industry, is downright amazing.
Final Thoughts of LendUp.com
I’ve since picked up my dear Ford Explorer from the garage, continued with three and half (thankfully) uneventful weeks at work and cashed in my latest paycheck last Wednesday. I’m thankful that there were no new monetary surprises in the preceding month and having a buffer from loaned funds from LendUp did wonders to set my mind at ease.
LendUp does an excellent job of distancing itself from the rest of the industry and embodies what a reputable lender should be – reliable, efficient and simple. It really leaves me wondering why more lenders can’t emulate this. I do hope that I’ll never again be in the position where a loan is necessary, but should I wind up in such a place, at least now I know who I’m going to.