There aren’t many success stories out there like Lending Club’s. What started as a small app on Facebook has since drawn the attention of venture capital investors, becoming a big name in the world of online lending.
Today, many Lending Club reviews end with a hearty recommendation for this peer-to-peer lending platform. It really is a well-oiled financing machine.
APR range: 9.77% to 35.98%
- Relaxed borrower qualifications
- Quick application process
- Multiple loans in same term
- Past bankruptcies allowed
- Competitive loan rates
- Great customer support
- Not very strict credit requirements
- Affordable monthly payments
- Not a good choice for startups
- Origination fees can be high
Lending Club Overview
Established in 2006, this California-based lender has since become an industry leader in peer-to-peer lending. During its first several years, the company offered only personal and auto refinance loans, but has since expanded towards small business loans. Since its inception, Lending Club has provided more than $28 billion in loans, positioning itself among the top echelons of the alternative lending ecosystem.
The origins of this company stem from Facebook. Soon after seeing how well-received Lending Club rates and terms were, investors flocked towards the up-and-coming company, providing a much-needed boost. It has always been a platform for connecting lenders to borrowers – a highly automated system that processes financial data and churns out the best possible funding solution for a small business owner.
Over time, Lending Club began specializing in small business loans with shorter payment terms and fair credit requirements. The good old car loan option still remains, though, as do several other loan options for individuals. Most customers go for the business loan, however, citing that Lending Club’s credit score requirement is one of the main reasons they choose to go through this company.
This attitude that “anyone can get a loan” is indeed a key factor in why Lending Club has grown to be so popular among borrowers and, soon after, why even more companies have decided to become loan providers through this platform.
How does Lending Club compare to other lenders?
9.77% to 35.98%
24.83% - 49.94%
Types of Financing Available
Choosing a Lending Club loan couldn’t be simpler. It all boils down to whether you need it for personal or business finance. The site doesn’t overly complicate things with a bunch of tiers and packages, nor does it require you to provide a detailed reason for choosing that particular loan. Loan terms range from one to five years and, once you get approved, you’re free to use the funds however you like.
Small Business Loans
Getting a loan through this site’s network of lenders shouldn’t be hard for many small businesses. The highest amount you may request is $500,000, which is smaller than what SBA or direct lenders can offer. As such, Lending Club requirements are more lax, with the company claiming you don’t even need a good credit score to qualify.
In reality, there are some very specific terms under which you’ll be allowed to take out a business loan and, if you take more than $100,000 in total, you’ll need to provide a personal guarantee, too. The loan itself can be used for payroll, equipment funding, and even real estate.
In order to qualify for a small business loan, you must:
- Have a personal credit score of at least 620
- Be in business for at least one year
- Generate a minimum annual revenue of $50,000 through your business
- Own 20% or more of the company
- Have collateral for loans over $100,000
Small Personal Loans
Not everyone manages to qualify for Lending Club’s small business loans. But if your company is a young startup, doesn’t have a good credit score, or gets denied a classic small business loan for any other reason, not all is lost. You can re-apply, but this time for a personal loan.
The funds can be used at your discretion, meaning that you, the business owner, can use this loan for refinancing other loans, business expansion, payroll, or personal expenses.
Personal loans don’t have a set minimum credit score or other specific requirements since they get approved on a term-by-term basis, but it’s still recommended to build up your credit score to at least 540 before Lending Club reviews your application. The maximum repayment term and amount are exactly the same as with a business loan.
Find the best lender for your business needs
Applying for a small business loan at Lending Club is a fast and fully streamlined process. Just fill out a short questionnaire about you and your company, then the lender will create an offer based on the information you provide. The process is completely automated once you hit the button to send your application.
Lending Club will do a soft pull of your credit information so it can assess the risk and determine the maximum amount that can be lent to your business.
The application for Lending Club loans requires you to follow a few simple steps:
- On the homepage, enter the amount and type of loan you need, then click on Get a Quote
- Enter your contact information and business name
- Answer a short survey about your business and finances
- Upload any required documents
What Information Do I Need to Apply?
The questionnaire during the signup and pre-approval process doesn’t differ from many other loan request forms. This is the information you’ll need to provide:
- Business and DBA name
- Business phone number and address
- Business start date
- Legal structure
- Number of employees
- Gross and net annual revenue
- Average business bank balance
- Ongoing loans (if any)
- Social Security number
After Lending Club reviews this data, it will let you know whether your business has qualified for the selected loan. This is just a pre-qualification process, so it doesn’t affect your credit score. At the end of this short journey, an offer will be presented to you including payment terms, term length, and the origination fee you will need to pay on top of your loan.
Following your confirmation – that is if you agree to the presented loan terms, of course – Lending Club does a hard pull of your credit history and asks you to verify the information you’ve provided thus far. The documentation required for a business loan application includes bank statements from the previous three months, federal tax returns from the previous year, proof of identity, and a signed IRS form.
Only after that will the underwriter make a final decision to approve the loan. This is the point when an origination fee comes into consideration. That amount will be deducted from the total loan amount, so bear that in mind when calculating how much money you really need.
In-Depth Presentation of Features
Ever since venture capital investors saw the potential in Lending Club, the company has been on the rise. It has become a significant small business loan marketplace, with billions of dollars in funding provided to businesses across the country. Since this is not an SBA lender, the conditions under which the borrowers can get their funding are less strict and, therefore, more and more businesses are choosing this type of funding.
There are benefits that come with getting a loan from Lending Club. For example, this lender doesn’t restrict the ways you can use the loan once it’s approved. Businesses with fair or bad credit are not automatically declined. Previous bankruptcies don’t affect your chance of getting a loan. And you can also opt for a personal loan if you hit any obstacles.
Lending Club’s approval odds rise significantly if your business has a great credit history. It offers only short-term loans, with payment terms no longer than five years, although the exact terms are established once your application is approved. Half a million dollars is the highest amount you can request. You will need to provide collateral and a personal guarantee when you borrow $100,000 or more.
While borrowing and investing are both an option here, we need to note that this site isn’t a perfect fit for startups. You need a solid, stable income, and some past experience in the industry to get Lending Club business loans. For some businesses, alternative personal loans or even car loans just won’t cut it.
Loan Amount and APR Details
Speaking of cold, hard cash, the offers at Lending Club don’t really stand out from the crowd. They’re not bad – far from it – but they also aren’t out of this world.
You’ll get a pretty solid offer that varies according to the length of the payment term and factors in your company’s financial situation. Here’s what you can expect:
- Loan amount: $5,000 to $500,000
- Total interest rate: 9.77% to 35.98%
- Fees: origination fee
- Loan term: one to five years
- Payment options: monthly
Lending Club interest rates, as we’ve already mentioned, aren’t anything to write home about, but they typically aren’t too high for small businesses to handle. The exact rate is calculated after the site processes your application and pairs you with a company that’s willing to lend you the requested amount of money.
Be sure to have all your documents – particularly your previous tax returns and IRS forms – ready before applying so you don’t end up spending more time than needed on your application.
Unfortunately, extra fees are unavoidable. Specifically, an origination fee is applied to every loan you accept from this lender – a fixed percentage that the platform will automatically deduct from the approved amount. In many reviews of Lending Club, experienced customers recommend that borrowers ask for a bit more cash than they actually need, so the fee is mitigated. That’s our recommendation, too.
Some have criticized the site for applying this fee “all of a sudden,” but the conditions under which you get the loan and the FAQ section clearly note the fee.
If anything else is unclear, customer service representatives are available to answer any questions about loans, fees, or how Lending Club works.
Eligible and Non-Eligible Businesses
It comes as no surprise that a big company like Lending Club won’t approve loans for certain industries. Risky businesses and organizations with irregular income intervals are not likely to get approved.
Some other businesses that are likely to be rejected:
- Lending companies
- Gambling-related businesses
- Life insurance companies
- Religious organizations
- Political and lobbying organizations
- Adult entertainment companies
Lending Club personal loans and business loans can only be paid off on a monthly basis. Repayments are automated and start 30 days after you take out the loan, which is a nice pro-customer move we don’t see that often. You can also choose to pay by check, though be aware there is a minor fee for processing those payments.
Lending Club also sends an email a few days before the next payment is due, leaving borrowers just enough time to prepare their bank accounts in advance.
As we’ve previously discussed, these loans are short-term solutions, ranging from 12 to 60 months. Unfortunately, there was no Lending Club calculator to be found on the website at the time of writing this review, so you can’t really calculate your monthly payments beforehand. But, on the plus side, there are no fees or principal payments required for your loan. Lending Club also won’t penalize you for paying off your loan early. In fact, early payments are encouraged.
The Bottom Line
The competition has become rather fierce in the world of peer-to-peer loans, but this company is still managing to stay ahead of the pack. While writing this Lending Club review, we discovered that the application process is smooth and the customer service is reliable. Whether you’re interested in car loans, patient solutions, or classic business loans, you need to keep this company on your radar.
Lending Club Q&A
How does Lending Club affect your credit?
Applying for or inquiring about a loan will not affect your credit. While Lending Club will do a soft check of your account, this process has no impact on your credit score. That is, until you get a confirmation that you can take out a loan and proceed with it.
Is Lending Club a direct lender?
No, Lending Club is what’s called a peer-to-peer company. Individuals seeking loans are connected to businesses and banks that provide funding. This site works like a bridge between the two and dramatically speeds up the process by automating most of the steps required to get a loan.
How can I contact Lending Club’s customer service?
Depending on the type of loan you’re inquiring about, Lending Club has several contact options. Small business owners can send an email to [email protected] or call the toll-free number: 855-846-0153. Customer service is available Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. Other contact options include a web form or simply sending the company a message via Facebook or Twitter.
How long does it date for Lending Club to approve a loan?
The application process is split into several stages, during which the site will do a soft pull and then a hard pull of your credit data. Since this, along with verifying documentation, can take some time, you can expect this process to last around seven business days. Many Lending Club reviews written by satisfied customers confirm this. The longest you’ll have to wait is two weeks.