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Best Loan Companies

Profile picture of Clark Kendall
by Clark Kendall Personal Finance Expert

Whether you want to buy a car, house or business, or you need to consolidate debt, the right lender can help you achieve your financial goals. Evaluate several options before signing any paperwork to make sure the loan company you choose to work with will help you improve your financial situation.

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Santander Consumer USA
Read 1334 Reviews

Santander is a Spanish-based bank with a global presence. It operates as Santander Consumer USA Inc. in the United States with headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. The U.S. division focuses on auto loans.

Seterus
Read 367 Reviews

Seterus is a loan serving company that focuses on the mortgage industry. Seterus formerly operated under the name IBM Lender Business Process Services. The company started in 2006 and is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon.

LoanMe
Read 513 Reviews

LoanMe provides personal loans in as little as four hours. We strive to make the process quick and easy to yield needed funds for one-time purchases or debt consolidation.

toll freenumber (855) 464-0433
Credit Direct
Read 77 Reviews

Credit Direct offers unsecured loans up to $40,000 and an online application. They are licensed in California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia and Arkansas.

Currency
Read 520 Reviews

Currency's services include various business financing options including business loans, equipment financing, equipment leasing and working capital. They offer competitive interest rates and 100 percent financing services.

Westlake Financial
Read 603 Reviews

Westlake Financial was established in 1988 and is a part of the Hankey Group of Companies. It is headquartered in Los Angeles. Westlake offers auto financing through car dealerships across the United States.

LendingTree
Read 1357 Reviews

This online marketplace connects consumers with lenders. Credit score of 640-750 required. FHA, VA, USDA and Community Homebuyer loans require a minimum down payment of 0-10%; conventional loans require a 5-20% down payment.

Cenlar Central Loan Administration
Read 592 Reviews

Cenlar is a loan service provider headquartered in Ewing, New Jersey. The company works with credit unions, banks, mortgage companies and other lenders to manage loans made by those institutions. Cenlar was founded in 1958.

Credit Acceptance Corp
Read 649 Reviews

Credit Acceptance is a publicly-traded company that has been in business since 1972. It provides auto dealers with financing programs for traditional borrowers and those with poor credit. Dealers share in the company’s profits.

Prestige Financial Services
Read 191 Reviews

Prestige Financial Services, Inc. was established in 1994 and is headquartered in Salt Lake City. It offers subprime auto loans through car and truck dealerships across the United States. Loan applications are available online.

Types of loans

Car loans

Auto loans are available for both new and used cars, and consumers can obtain car loans from banks and credit unions as well as most auto dealers.

Home loans

Home loans, or mortgages, are available to help people finance their homes. Conventional mortgages usually require the borrower to have a down payment for 20 percent of the purchase price.

Home equity loans

If you own a home, you might be able to take cash out of your home with a home equity loan to finance a remodel or fund another major purchase.

FHA loans

Many private lenders work with the Federal Housing Authority to offer FHA mortgages. These loans require a much smaller down payment than conventional loans.

VA loans

Armed service veterans, current service members and their spouses may qualify for a Veterans Affairs (VA) mortgage. These home loans have a very low down payment, and borrowers aren’t required to purchase mortgage insurance.

Student loans

Those who want to attend college can take out a student loan to help cover the cost. The two types of student loans available are federal and private.

Debt consolidation loans

Debt consolidation loans are used to help people manage their debt. Multiple loans are combined into one loan with a single monthly payment, usually with a lower interest rate.

Business loans

Those wishing to open a business or expand their current business can take out loans to finance their ventures.

Secured vs. unsecured loans

Secured loans

Secured loans rely on an asset (such as a car, a home or a boat) that will be used as collateral for the loan.

Unsecured loans

Unsecured loans are more difficult to qualify for and have higher interest rates because an asset for collateral is not required. These are sometimes called personal loans.

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How to choose a loan company

Loan fees and costs

When you take out a loan, chances are you’re thinking more about the cost of the item you’ll purchase with the loan money than about the cost of the loan itself. If you don’t consider the loan cost, that item could end up costing much more than you expect. To ensure that you get the best deal on a loan, make sure you talk to your loan company and understand all fees associated with it and how interest will accumulate.

  • Interest rate: The interest rate is the money a lender charges you when you borrow money and is a percentage of the total amount borrowed. Your credit score will influence the interest rate a lender charges, because they will charge people deemed higher risk a higher rate. If your loan doesn’t have pre-payment penalties or precomputed interest, you’ll save money on interest by paying your loan off early.
  • APR: The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is often confused with the interest rate; however, the APR actually accounts for the total cost of the loan, including any one-time fees. When comparing loan offers, look at the APR to get the best price comparison.
  • Origination fee: The origination, or processing, fee, is a one-time charge that covers the cost of processing a loan. This fee is typically included in the overall loan amount, so you aren’t required to pay it up front.
  • Pre-payment penalties: Some loan companies charge a fee if you pay off your loan early. These fees help the lender make up the money they lose in interest, but they also prevent people from getting out of debt early when they’re able to.
  • Precomputed interest: Loans with a precomputed interest rate use the original amount instead of the outstanding balance to determine the amount of interest a consumer will pay each billing cycle. This method means your payments may get smaller as time passes. However, if you pay the loan off early, you won’t save any money on interest.
  • Late payment fees: Most lenders will charge a fee if you pay your bill late. Avoid that fee by setting up autopay from your bank account or just put a reminder on your calendar to keep you on track.
  • Payment processing fees: Some lenders charge a fee to pay your bill in a certain way. For example, some lenders may charge a small fee if you pay your bill by phone or using a check instead of setting up automatic electronic withdrawals. Make sure you understand these fees and choose a lender that allows you to make your payment in the way you want for free.

Trustworthiness of the lender

When working with a lender, you should choose someone you feel comfortable with and who is trustworthy. In general, if you’re taking out a mortgage or auto loan from a well-established bank or credit union, you can feel confident in the lender’s credibility. If you’re working with an online loan company or new business, make sure to fully research the company to avoid being scammed. Scams may be most likely to occur with unsecured, personal loans.

  • Hold loans vs. flip loans: Determine whether the lender you’re working with will hold the loan after you close or if they’ll flip, or sell, it to another party. While lenders who flip loans aren’t more or less trustworthy than those who don’t, you’ll have to simply accept that the company they sell your loan to will be trustworthy and offer good customer service.
  • Customer service: Consider how easy it is to get in touch with your lender now to determine if they’ll be easy to reach later if you have any problems. Also consider how patient they are in answering your questions. They should be willing to address all your concerns and explain anything you’re confused about.
  • Registered: Lenders must be registered to do business with the appropriate authority, usually the department of banking or consumer credit, in every state in which they do business. You can find a list of state licensing authorities on the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry website.

Mortgage broker vs. loan officer

When taking out a loan, you’ll have the choice to work with either a mortgage broker or a loan officer. There are perks to each one, so it is important to know the difference.

  • Loan officer: Loan officers work for the bank or lender, so getting a loan through them may be faster than working with a mortgage broker. These individuals are primarily accountable to their employer, so they may not always make recommendations that are best for you.
  • Mortgage broker: Mortgage brokers are a kind of middle-man between those seeking loans and multiple lenders. If you’re worried that your credit may make it difficult to get a loan, consider working with a broker because they can help you decide which lender is most likely to approve you. These individuals may also be able to help you find a better interest rate because they’ll be comparing multiple lenders.

Other considerations

There are a variety of other factors to consider when borrowing money. If at any point during the process you’re confused, make sure to discuss the matter with your lender.

  • Expertise: Look for a loan company that specializes in the type of loans you’re considering. If you’re working with a big bank, ask whether they have loan officers who specialize in certain types of loans.
  • Credit report: All consumers are entitled to get one free report from each credit reporting company every year. If you’re considering taking out a loan, request one of your credit reports as far in advance as possible to make sure no inaccurate information appears on it. Many credit cards show you your credit score for free; knowing your credit score may help you decide whether to work with a loan officer or mortgage broker.
  • Down payment: If you’re taking out a mortgage or car loan, consider how much of a down payment you’re able to make. The larger your down payment, the less money you’ll need to borrow. Saving a little longer to have a larger down payment could save you a significant amount of interest later.
  • Special programs: Many homebuyers qualify for special program loans, like FHA or VA loans, for example. Research these options to determine whether you qualify for any special programs before taking out a loan.
  • Private mortgage insurance: Individuals who qualify for a mortgage but do not have a down payment that accounts for 20 percent of the home’s value may be required to purchase private mortgage insurance (PMI), which will allow the lender to recover money if the borrower defaults on the loan. This insurance does not offer any protection to borrowers. PMI is usually between .5 and 1 percent of the total amount of the loan.
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Compare Top Loan Company Reviews

Regional Acceptance
Read 155 Reviews

Regional Acceptance is a subsidiary of BB&T with headquarters in North Carolina. It offers vehicle financing options through more than 10,000 U.S. auto dealerships. The Regional website has information for borrowers and dealers.

Consumer Portfolio Services
Read 133 Reviews

Consumer Portfolio Services, Inc. (CPS) offers subprime vehicle financing options through auto dealers across the United States. The company was founded in 1991. CPS’s website has resources for consumers and dealers.

Lendmark Financial
Read 86 Reviews

Lendmark Financial Services is a consumer finance company that provides a variety of personal loans, automobile loans and retail merchant financial services. It was founded in 1996 and has over 130 branches in 11 states.


AmOne
Read 241 Reviews

Since 1999, AmOne has matched consumers and business owners with lenders to provide immediate access to loans. Our Loan Matching Specialists provide personalized guidance in finding and securing reliable funds.

Tower Loan
Read 180 Reviews

Tower Loan was founded in 1936 and now has over 200 locations in Alabama, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi and Missouri. The lender offers both unsecured and secured loans. Consumers can find locations on the company’s website.

RoadLoans.com
Read 176 Reviews

RoadLoans.com offers car loans and auto refinancing loans for customers within a wide range of credit scores. Instant online decisions allow customers to get pre-approved before shopping for a new or used vehicle.

Lobel Financial Corporation
Read 95 Reviews

Lobel Financial offers auto financing to vehicle dealers for subprime customers. The company’s DealWRITER program lets dealers offer instant approval to those applying for financing, and customers can make payments online.

Pioneer Services
Read 24 Reviews

Pioneer Services is a financial services company dedicated to serving members of the military and their families. The company is the military division of MidCountry Bank, and it is headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.

Monterey Financial Services
Read 125 Reviews

Monterey Financial Services offers loan servicing, financing and debt recovery to businesses. The company also offers investment opportunities. Monterey Financial was established in 1989 and is headquartered in California.

CitiFinancial
Read 106 Reviews

CitiFinancial is a part of Citigroup Inc. In 2010, CitiFinancial began operating as OneMain Financial, which was later purchased by SpringLeaf. Services offered by CitiFinancial may still be serviced by Citigroup.

Challenge Financial Services
Read 35 Reviews

Challenge Financial Services buys and manages auto loans from dealerships. It specializes in subprime loans. The company’s headquarters are in California, with other offices in Arizona, Utah and Texas.

Mid-Atlantic Finance Company
Read 66 Reviews

Mid-Atlantic Finance Company (MAF) allows auto dealers to offer in-direct financing to their customers. MAF specializes in subprime auto loans and purchasing loan pools. The company has been in business since 1989.

Dell Finance
Read 520 Reviews

Dell offers financing for Dell products. Interested consumers can apply for financing online, and some borrowers or purchases may qualify for an interest-free period. Borrowers can also earn 10 percent back in rewards.

Phoenix Financial LLC
Read 34 Reviews

Phoenix Financial LLC is located in Spokane, Washington. The company offers financing to consumers who purchase a vehicle from one of the five Auto Credit Stores located in the Northwestern United States.

Credit Central
Read 96 Reviews

Credit Central offers installment loans with branches in Tennessee. Interested consumers can apply online, by phone or at a branch location. Decisions are made within minutes, and borrowers pick up their loan at any branch.

Mepco Finance Corporation
Read 23 Reviews

Mepco Finance Corporation is a subsidiary of Independent Bank Corporation. It is headquartered in Chicago and has been in business since 1964. Mepco offers consumer financing to pay for auto warranties.

GE Capital
Read 1395 Reviews

GE Capital, a subsidiary of General Electric, offers corporate financing to businesses in the aviation, industrial and energy industries. Beginning in 2014, Synchrony Bank took over all services offered to non-corporate customers.

Beneficial
Read 338 Reviews

Beneficial was part of HSBC that operated in most U.S. states. HSBC stopped operating under the Beneficial name in 2009, but the parent company continues to service loans issued by Beneficial.

Business Finance Advance
Read 70 Reviews

Business Finance Advance has a free, quick quote option via their website that gives business owners an instant approval decision. They have a 95 percent approval rating, and their loans go as high as $2.5 million per location.

Carolina Title Loans
Read Reviews

Carolina Title Loans offers loans to those with clear car titles. Consumers can borrow up to $15,000 depending on their vehicle. Applications are available online and approved customers can get money in as little as 30 minutes.

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Profile picture of Clark Kendall
Clark Kendall Personal Finance Expert

Clark Kendall has over 30 years of domestic and international investment and wealth management experience, focused on serving Middle-Class Millionaires. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Accredited Estate Planner (AEP) and Certified Financial Planner (CFP). He is the president and CEO of Kendall Capital in Washington, D.C., and a member of the Washington Society of Chartered Financial Analysts.