LendUp review 2021

Start with small loans and work toward rebuilding your credit with this provider.

finder.com’s rating: 3.6 / 5.0

★★★★★

Bottom line: LendUp is unique among its competitors because it helps borrowers to build your credit over time. Although you’ll be limited to a small amount at first, consistent payments and financial courses could lead to you getting access to better terms, lower rates and higher loan amounts. Read our full review.

$100

Min. Amount

$250

Max. Amount

As soon as the next business day

Turnaround time

Details

Product NameLendUp Payday Loans
Min. Amount$100
Max. Amount$250
Loan Term7-30 days
Loan SecurityUnsecured
Turnaround TimeAs soon as the next business day
CostsDepends on your state, loan product, loan amount and the term of the loan.
RequirementsChecking account with ACH, proof of income, Social Security number, ages 18+

Pros

  • Good credit isn’t required
  • Instant decision on loan
  • Credit education resources
  • Online personal dashboard

Cons

  • Potentially high APR of over 1,000%
  • Credit reporting only on installment loans
  • Failed to report borrowers’ payments to credit bureaus
  • Only available in seven states
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Review by


Kellye Guinan is a seasoned financial writer with over 500 articles under her belt spanning all things loans from auto to personal to business and everything in between. With four years in the field and five years of research experience, she's able to make complex personal finance decisions easier for anyone to tackle. When she's not up to her knees learning about the latest trends in lending, she spends her time improving her own financial literacy and expertise — and maintaining a Duolingo streak of over 1,300 days.

Expert review

LendUp uses a ladder system that lets borrowers earn points and potentially improve their credit by paying back short-term loans. First-time borrowers may be limited in how much they can borrow. But repeat borrowers are rewarded with larger loans and lower interest rates.

However, it’s still an expensive form of credit: Interest rates can be above 1,000% in some states. Your options will also be limited depending on where you live. Mississippi, Tennessee and Wisconsin don’t offer the ability to build your credit.

And LendUp has recently faced lawsuits from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for violating the Military Lending Act (MLA) and failing to report borrowers’ payments.

While it may be a better choice for some, compare more payday loan and installment loan options before you borrow.

LendUp rates, fees and terms

The amount you can borrow — and the cost of your loan — will depend on your state and your previous history with LendUp. Most first-time borrowers will likely only qualify for payday loans between $100 to $300.

The financing fee also depends on your state. It can range from 15% to 25% of the amount you borrow. But if you choose to borrow from LendUp again, you may qualify for lower interest rates and more financing options.

Late fees and nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees also depend on your state, but expect to pay $10 to $15. Texas residents may also have to pay a Credit Access Business (CAB) fee in addition to other fees LendUp charges.

LendUp’s loan amounts and terms by state:

StateLoan amountLoan term
California
  • Payday loans: $100 to $255
  • Installment loans: $100 to $400
  • Payday loans: 7 to 30 days
  • Installment loans: Up to 4 months
Louisiana
  • Payday loans: $100 to $300
  • Installment loans: $100 to $400
  • Payday loans: 7 to 30 days
  • Installment loans: Up to 4 months
Mississippi
  • Payday loans: $100 to $300
  • Payday loans: Up to 30 days
Missouri
  • Payday loans: $100 to $300
  • Installment loans: $100 to $400
  • Payday loans: 14 to 30 days
  • Installment loans: Up to 4 months
Tennessee
  • Payday loans: $100 to $300
  • Payday loans: 7 to 31 days
Texas
  • Payday loans: $100 to $250
  • Installment loans: $100 to $300
  • Payday and installment loans: Not stated
Wisconsin
  • Payday loans: $100 to $300
  • Payday loans: 7 to 30 days

How the LendUp ladder works

The ladder system allows repeat borrowers to access more money at lower rates by paying back a loan on time or completing free financial education courses. Your earn points to get into one of four rungs: Silver, gold, platinum or prime. When you reach LendUp’s platinum and prime loan rungs, you can choose to have your credit reported to boost your score.

  • Silver: Borrow a single-payment loan.
  • Gold: Take out a single-payment or installment loan.
  • Platinum: Qualify for a single-payment loan or larger installment loan, with the option to have your repayments reported to credit bureaus to boost your score.
  • Prime: Get a single-payment, installment or “prime loan” with a more competitive rate. The installment loan comes with optional credit reporting. The prime loan comes with automatic credit reporting.

LendUp provides new service: Ahead Money

LendUp has recently introduced a new service, Ahead Money. While you’ll only be able to join the waitlist for now, you’ll have access to quick direct deposit of your paychecks, financial resources, credit-building opportunities and fee-free ATMs once it goes live. However, there is no information on what bank Ahead will work with — or when the app will go live.

What is LendUp and is it legit?

LendUp is a legitimate company that allows you to borrow short-term loans and work on rebuilding your credit score. It is licensed in every state it services and keeps its rates transparent so you can see exactly what you’ll be spending. Like all short-term loan providers, the exact regulations LendUp abides by depend on your state. It was also recognized at the Lend360 conference in 2018 for its innovation in helping borrowers build savings.

Is LendUp safe?

Yes. LendUp has a secure website that keeps your information encrypted when you apply and when you log in to your account. It also has an industry-standard privacy policy that covers what type of information it collects and how that information is used. Review it carefully, and if you would like to opt out of some of your information being shared with third party lenders, you can call LendUp at 855-253-6387.

How do LendUp payday loans compare?

Name Product Filter Values Loan amount Turnaround time Requirements
OppLoans Installment Loans
$500 to $5,000
1 business day
Direct deposit, meet minimum income requirements, live in eligible state
Comes with the option to change your due date so you won’t fall behind on repayments.
CashNetUSA Loan
Varies by state
As fast as same business day
Regular source of income, bank account, US citizen or permanent resident, age of majority in your state
Sign up for its discount program to get access to coupons and deals on everything from dining out to tax services.
Stilt
$1,000 to $25,000
2 to 3 business days
Be employed, have a US bank account, live in a state where Stilt operates, hold one of the following visas: F-1 and OPT, H-1B, H4, O-1, L-1, TN, J-1, DACA or be a US citizen.
No green card? You could still qualify for a personal loan.
Fast5kLoans Short-term Loans Connection Service
$100 to $35,000
As soon as the next business day
Regular source of income, verifiable bank account, US citizen, ages 18+
Get connected with multiple lenders you might qualify with — even if you have bad credit.
LendYou Short-term Loans
$100 to $2,500
Same business day to 1 business day
$1,000+ monthly income, direct deposit, US citizen or permanent resident, ages 18+
Get offers from potential lenders in minutes by filling out just one online form.
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LendUp reviews and complaints

BBB accreditedNo
BBB ratingA+
BBB customer reviews1.83 out of 5 stars, based on 29 customer reviews
BBB customer complaints39
Trustpilot score4.7 out of 5, based on 2,470 customer reviews
Customer reviews verified as of16 October 2020

LendUp receives mixed reviews on its BBB and Trustpilot pages. Some borrowers were happy with the speed and customer service, while others had difficulties with having their payments processed early and the high interest rate charged by LendUp. And LendUp has a good track record of responding to negative comments — but frequently uses the same form response for each.

The CFPB filed a lawsuit against LendUp

In December 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) filed a lawsuit against LendUp. It states that LendUp allegedly violated the Military Lending Act (MLA) by charging active-duty service members and their dependents APRs over the legal limit of 36%. It also states that LendUp allegedly included an arbitration clause – which is against the MLA – in its contracts and failed to make required disclosures.

This isn’t the first time LendUp has faced legal action from the CFPB. In 2016, LendUp was found guilty of violating consumer finance laws because it failed to report borrowers’ payments to credit bureaus. It also failed to disclose its APR, changed its pricing for some borrowers and blocked borrowers from accessing the higher rungs in its ladder system. LendUp paid around $1.83 million to its borrowers and another $1.8 million to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund.

While this new lawsuit won’t affect most borrowers, it’s important to read your loan contract carefully and ensure LendUp meets all the legal requirements of your state. You can view payday loan laws in by state and learn more about the MLA if you’re currently serving in the military.

What information do I need to apply?

LendUp’s application requires you to provide some important information about yourself, including:

  • Date of birth
  • Monthly housing payment
  • Social Security number
  • Annual income
  • Bank account information

How to apply

You will need to create an account to complete an application with LendUp. Read its disclosures carefully — although LendUp can improve credit for repeat borrowers, this option isn’t available for your first loan and may not be provided in your state.

Provide basic information about yourself and submit your application. If you’re approved, LendUp will provide more instructions on how to finalize your application and what you’ll need to do to receive your loan funds.

I got a LendUp loan. Now what?

Once you agree to borrow from LendUp, you can choose from one of three options to receive your loan funds:

  • Standard delivery. LendUp processes and funds approved loans through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) weekdays by 5 p.m. PT. While many banks post funds the next day, it could take a day or two for you to see your money.
  • 15-Minute Transfer — not currently available. Available in select states, this optional service allows you to choose a third-party service that can transfer funds to your bank within 15 minutes of your application’s approval. LendUp does not guarantee 15-minute delivery. Actual deposit times vary by bank. You’ll also pay a fee for this service that depends on your specific loan.
  • Same-day transfers for Wells Fargo customers only — not currently available. If you have a Wells Fargo checking account, you can pay a fee for a same-day deposit as long as you complete an application by 11 a.m. PT on business days only. Your funds should appear in your bank account by 2 p.m. PT the same day.

What are my repayment options?

Your repayment will be deducted from the bank account you provided when you applied. LendUp also accepts payment by MoneyGram and personal checks. If you’re unable to make your repayment, contact LendUp as soon as possible. Otherwise, you may be charged a late fee — and if you’ve borrowed a prime loan, it’s critical that you make your payments on time since these may be reported to all three credit bureaus.

If you need to borrow more money than LendUp offers, you can explore other short-term loan providers or compare loans similar to LendUp see if there’s a better option for you.

Frequently asked questions

Our answers to more common questions about LendUp.

What kind of bank account do I need to apply?

You will need to have a checking account that accepts ACH transfers. Unfortunately, prepaid debit cards and savings accounts cannot be used.

I received an offer by mail. Is this legit?

Yes. LendUp does send both credit card and loan offers by mail. To accept, you simply need to visit LendUp’s website, click Respond to Mail Offer, select the type you received and follow the application instructions LendUp provides.

How quickly can I apply for another loan?

Once you pay your first LendUp loan completely, there is usually a waiting period of three to four days before you can apply for another loan. There may be other restrictions depending on your state.

Short-term loan ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze short-term loan providers and similar services to help you weed out predatory lenders and find a company you can trust. We rate providers on a scale of one to five stars. Our ratings are based on factors that are most important to you, which include: loan amount, application process, fees, customer reviews and borrower experience.

Read the full methodology of how we rate short-term loan providers and similar services.

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22 Comments

    Default Gravatar
    Virginia
    March 19, 2019

    Trying to apply for a loan.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      Joshua
      March 20, 2019

      Hi Virginia,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      I understand you want to apply for a loan. If LendUp is a provider that you believe could help you, please click on the “Go to site” green button to be redirected to their website and start your online loan application.

      Alternatively, you can also check other payday loan options. On that page, you will see a table that allows you to conveniently compare your options. You first need to specify which state you reside and the table personalize the list. You can then compare your options based on the term of the loan, turnaround time, and max loan amount. Once you found the right one for you, click on the “Go to site” green button to learn more or initiate your application.

      Please make sure that you’ve read the relevant T&Cs or PDS of the loan products before making a decision. Moreover, check the eligibility requirements as well and consider whether the product is right for you.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    Smith82457
    February 25, 2019

    I applied for a loan on sunday. How long will it be to I can access my fund?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      Joshua
      February 26, 2019

      Hi Smith82457,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      After you are approved, you should be able to access your money the next business day.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    carrie330
    January 13, 2019

    uncomfortable giving social security number…
    how safe?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      johnbasanes
      January 16, 2019

      Hi Carrie330,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      You may want to check the reviews provided for this specific lender to know how secure they are or have your application done personally. LendUp currently offers loans in these states:

      California
      Louisiana
      Mississippi
      Missouri
      Tennessee
      Texas
      Wisconsin

      If you don’t live in one of these states you can visit our payday loan guide to see what loans are available where you live. Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

    Default Gravatar
    amy.anderson94
    September 29, 2018

    I had a loan with Lend Up years ago, and I have not paid it yet….Is it possible to get the balance onto a LendUp credit card so I can attempt to build my credit as I pay it back, and then han=ve a credit card also, when it is paid off….I have had other creditors do this in the past and I think it is a great way to take care of debt, and get some credit in return….

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      Joshua
      October 2, 2018

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      LendUp does provide a credit card. However, you need to confirm with LendUp if they allow you to transfer your loan to their LendUp credit card. Generally, not all credit card providers allow this type of transaction. For this reason, it would be a good idea to directly ask LendUp.

      It is true that using your credit card responsibly can improve your credit history and score. You can learn more about that in this article, “Build your credit history with 4 different types of credit cards.”

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

    Default Gravatar
    Solomon
    June 26, 2018

    I would like to apply for another loan. Is there a waiting period before I can do so?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangco
      June 26, 2018

      Hi Solomon!

      Thanks for leaving a question on our page.

      Once you pay your first LendUp loan completely, there is usually a waiting period of three to four days before you can apply for another loan. There may be other restrictions as well depending on your state.

      You may refer to the map above and hover through to the state you’re in, click that state to see regulations.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Nikki

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