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Find the Best Loan Companies

If you want to buy a car, house or business or consolidate debt, the right lender helps you achieve your financial goals. Use our guide to research the best loan company for you. We explain how to evaluate your 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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by Clark Kendall Personal Finance Expert

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Best Egg
Read 1,484 Reviews

Offers personal loans up to $35,000. Easy online application. Get money in your account in as little as one day upon approval and verification. Recommended minimum debt of $5,000 for debt consolidation.

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LoanMe
Read 524 Reviews

Offers personal loans up to $100,000. Processes approvals in as few as four hours. No prepayment penalties. Minimum loan amount of $600 required.

Avio Credit
Read 41 Reviews

Avío Credit offers personal loans. You'll have 30 days after you receive a lending decision to make sure the offer is right for you. If your loan is approved, you'll receive funds directly in your bank account.

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Westlake Financial
Read 922 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.

FreedomPlus
Read 506 Reviews

Offers personal loans up to $50,000. Underwrites consumer loans under Freedom Financial Network LLC. Recommended minimum debt of $10,000 for debt consolidation.

NetCredit
Read 957 Reviews

Offers personal loans up to $10,000. Can deliver funds same business day, Guarantees a 100% commitment to customer satisfaction. Provides eligibility verification by state.

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LendingTree
Read 1,537 Reviews

Specializes in home purchase loans, home refinance, home equity, reverse mortgages and auto loans. Compares rates and quotes from multiple lenders. Provides free mortgage and auto loan calculators. Terms and conditions apply.

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Currency
Read 565 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.

Santander Consumer USA
Read 1,474 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.

Cenlar Central Loan Administration
Read 724 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.

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.

Loan companies FAQ

How do I know if a loan company is legitimate?
A legitimate lender is easy to reach, has a solid online reputation and offers you complete loan terms before you sign anything. It will also check your credit history to ensure that you can pay back the loan.

There are a few warning signs of scams. You should avoid loan companies that:

  • Ask for advance payments
  • Rush you into making a decision
  • Have numerous consumer complaints
  • Don’t go over loan terms in detail
How do you get approved for a loan?
To get approved for a loan, you need to:
  • Apply with your lender in person, over the phone or online
  • Have a decent credit history
  • Have proof of a stable income
  • Have a reasonable debt-to-income ratio

Some lenders offer instant approval, while others may take several weeks to issue an approval. It's possible your lender might require collateral.

What is a loan registration fee?
A loan registration fee is a one-time fee that your lender charges to process your loan application. Loan registration fees are usually 1% to 8% of the loan amount. However, this varies depending on the type of loan and your chosen lender.
Do loan companies check your bank account?
Before issuing a loan, some lenders may want to see your bank statements to confirm your financial details, but this isn’t always the case. Ask your lender if it requires bank statements before it issues a loan.
Do loan companies ask for money upfront?
Legitimate lenders do not ask for money upfront. Any fees are automatically added to the loan amount, so you should never agree to make any payments upfront.
How do loan companies make money?
Loan companies make money on the interest charged on loans. Part of their profit is the difference between the money charged to borrowers and the money the loan company owes to depositors and investors.

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    Compare Top Loan Company Reviews

    Credit Acceptance Corp
    Read 751 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.

    Dell Finance
    Read 534 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.

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    Lendmark Financial
    Read 118 Reviews

    Provides personal loans, auto loans, debt consolidation and other financial services. Branches in 19 states. Offers fixed rates, terms and payments. Unsecured loans up to $8,000.

    Consumer Portfolio Services
    Read 160 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.

    Prestige Financial Services
    Read 217 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.

    Credit Direct
    Read 80 Reviews

    Offers personal loans up to $40,000. Online application available. Licensed in California, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia and Arkansas.

    Regional Acceptance
    Read 174 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.

    Tower Loan
    Read 198 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.

    Lobel Financial Corporation
    Read 108 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.

    Mepco
    Read 37 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.

    Monterey Financial Services
    Read 138 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.

    United Consumer Financial Services
    Read 44 Reviews

    United Consumer Financial Services has been offering financing solutions to companies and distributors for over 35 years. Its team of over 200 employees services the U.S.A., Puerto Rico, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom.

    AmOne
    Read 243 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.

    RoadLoans.com
    Read 180 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.

    Phoenix Financial LLC
    Read 42 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 98 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.

    CitiFinancial
    Read 109 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.

    GE Capital
    Read 1,397 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.

    Seterus
    Read 369 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.

    Beneficial
    Read 339 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.

    Mid-Atlantic Finance Company
    Read 69 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.

    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.

    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.

    Upgrade Personal Loans

    Offers personal loans up to $35,000. Options include debt consolidation, home improvement and major purchase loans. No prepayment penalties. Flexible payment options available.

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    by 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.