Discover is more than just credit cards. It also offers a few loan products — whether you need to pay for school, borrow against your home or cover a personal expense. But with quite a few negative reviews out there, you’ll want to consider its customer service before applying.
What types of loans does Discover offer?
Unlike some major banks, you won’t find mortgages and auto loans among the list of products Discover offers. Instead, it narrows its playing field down to three options:
You can borrow between $2,500 and $35,000 with fixed rates from 6.99% to 24.99% APR. Discover offers terms from three to seven years, and it even has a 30-day return policy in case you decide you don’t need the loan afterall. You can use it for just about anything, except to pay for a secured loan or for post-secondary education expenses. That’s what its student loans are for.
Discover offers a variety of student loan options, including loans for undergraduate and graduate school, MBA programs, law and medical school, bar exam costs and residency. And if you’re interested in refinancing your federal and private student debt, you can do that too.
Its standard undergraduate student loans start at $1,000 and go all the way up to 100% of your school-certified cost of attendance. You have the option of fixed rates or variable rates. However, it only offers one repayment term: 15 years for all its undergraduate student loans.
Home equity loans
You can borrow anywhere from $35,000 to $150,000 depending on the equity you own in your home. Rates are fixed and depend on whether you’ve paid off your mortgage or not. Loans in the first-lien position come with rates that vary from 4.99% to 8.99% APR. Meanwhile, loans in the second-lien position have the potential to go slightly higher, ranging from 4.99% to 11.99% APR. Discover offers a wide range of loan terms to choose from: 10, 12, 15, 20 or 30 years.
Why should I consider taking out a loan with Discover?
From its fast turnaround to its limited fees, there are a few perks of borrowing with Discover:
- Minimal fees. You won’t be on the hook for origination fees or prepayment penalties with any of Discover’s loan products. The only charges you need to worry about are if you miss a payment or pay late.
- Quick funding. Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for and whether you have all the documents on hand, you may be able to get your funds as soon as the following business day.
- Option to pay off creditors directly. If you’re looking to consolidate debt, you can have your personal loan funds sent straight to your creditors so you don’t have to worry about it.
- 30-day guarantee. You can return your personal loan funds within 30 days if you have second thoughts — and you won’t be charged any interest.
- Cosigners available. If you’re borrowing a student loan and don’t qualify on your own, you can apply with a creditworthy cosigner to help increase your chances of approval.
Where does Discover fall short?
Discover doesn’t fare well when it comes to customer reviews, and you don’t have as many loan options to choose from as other providers out there. Consider these potential drawbacks before applying:
- Limited loan options. Unlike other big-name providers out there, Discover doesn’t offer personal lines of credit, mortgages or auto loans.
- No autopay discount. Unlike many of its competitors, Discover doesn’t offer an autopay discount on its personal loans. Though, it does with its student loans.
- No cosigner release. If you apply for a student loan with a cosigner, you won’t be able to take them off your loan later on without refinancing.
- Lack of credit score transparency. Unless you’re applying for a home equity loan, you won’t know the exact credit score you or your cosigner need to meet until you apply for preapproval. You can, however, take advantage of its “check your rate” feature that allows you to apply and get more information without impacting your credit score.
- Negative reviews. Although most don’t center around its loan products specifically, many Discover customers aren’t happy with the company’s customer service team. Complaints about customer service are common with banks and major financial institutions in general. You may want to call Discover’s customer service line yourself to see if you have an experience you’d be satisfied with.
Compare loan options from other providers
Explore your options by personal loans or student loans.
How much will it cost me to borrow with Discover?
Discover doesn’t charge origination fees or prepayment penalties for its loan products. This means the APR will be the same as your interest rate. And since interest rates are fixed with its personal and home equity loans, you can expect to have the same monthly payment for the life of your loan.
If you do make a late payment, you’ll be assessed a fee of $39. Discover may charge other fees, such as a nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees, which should be listed on your loan contract.
What do borrowers say about Discover?
Discover is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and earns an A+ rating as of December 2018. However, this is based on factors like transparency and time in business — not customer reviews. Nearly 900 people have filed complaints against the company with the BBB, and it scores an average 1 out of 5 stars based on over 60 customer reviews.
It fares slightly better on Trustpilot, but only because less than 15 customers have left feedback. One person specifically mentioned troubles with a loan account, while others focused on Discover’s credit card options.
Most of the negative reviews had a similar theme: Discover didn’t send notifications about issues with an account and refused to fix mistakes, even when it caused them. Before applying for a loan, you might want to take the time to call customer service and see what kind of response you get. This can be an indication of how the company will treat you if you were to borrow from them.
In J.D. Power’s 2018 credit card satisfaction study, Discover was ranked highest among credit card issuers. Although this study didn’t include its loan products, it demonstrates that customers like Discover’s perks overall.
Are Discover loans safe?
Depending on what type of loan you’re applying for, you can call Discover at one of the numbers listed below to limit what details are shared:
- Personal loans: 1-877-256-2632
- Student loans: 1-800-788-3368
- Home equity loans: 1-888-347-1137
How to apply for a loan with Discover
Decide a Discover loan is right for you? You have the option of applying online or by phone.
To get started on the online application, follow these steps:
- Visit Discover’s website and click Personal Loans, Home Equity Loans or Student Loans depending on what you’re interested in.
- Click Apply Now or Check My Rate to begin the process.
- Complete the application with information about yourself, employment and income.
- Review the details you entered and submit the application.
If approved, read through the terms and conditions of the loan, and then sign your loan documents. Your funds will either be transferred to you, your college or your creditors — depending on the type of loan you applied for.
Make sure you have this information on hand to speed up the process:
- Your name, contact information and date of birth.
- How much you want to borrow and the purpose of the loan.
- Your annual individual or household income.
Depending on the type of loan you’re applying for, you may need to provide additional documentation — like proof of identity, address or income.
Unlike its other loan options, Discover doesn’t have any set guidelines beyond having a minimum household income of $25,000. It bases its loan decision on your income, credit history, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and a variety of other factors.
You can apply for preapproval to see if you qualify without impacting your credit score.
For a loan that covers the cost of your college expenses, you must be:
- Enrolled at least half time at an eligible school.
- Seeking a degree and making satisfactory academic progress.
- A US citizen or permanent resident.
- At least 16 years old.
If you don’t meet Discover’s minimum requirements, you can also apply with a creditworthy cosigner who’s at least 18 years old and a US citizen or permanent resident.
If you’re looking for a residency or bar exam loan, Discover requires that you graduated in the past six to 12 months or are currently in your final year of study.
Home equity loans
Although approval is based on a variety of factors, Discover offers a few criteria for potential applicants. You must have:
- A credit score of at least 620.
- A strong credit history.
- A regular source of income from employment.
- Sufficient equity in your home.
More about Discover
Founded in 1985 by Sears, Discover isn’t the oldest financial institution in the world, but that hasn’t stopped it from becoming a big name in the industry. It got its start by offering credit cards to consumers. In 2013, it was the first major credit card issuer to provide cardmembers free access to their FICO scores directly on their monthly statements. Over the years, the company has grown to offer a slew of banking and loan products to customers as well. It also has an informative financial education center on its website, which provides tips and tools to help customers plan for the future and become financially fit.
Whether you’re looking to pay for college or a major personal expense, Discover offers a few loan products to help. They all come with minimal fees and a relatively fast turnaround, which makes it a competitive option when comparing providers. However, you’ll need to look elsewhere if you’re interested in applying for a mortgage, personal line of credit or auto loan.
Frequently asked questions
What can I use a personal loan for?
Personal loans can be used for just about any legitimate purpose, including vacations, weddings, home improvements or debt consolidation. The only two exceptions Discover makes for its personal loan products are they cant be used to pay back a secured loan or for post-secondary education expenses — that’s what its student loans are for.
Does Discover offer automatic repayments?
Yes. You can enroll in Discover’s automatic payment program online. But unlike some lenders, Discover doesn’t list an APR discount for taking advantage of this option.
Can I deduct my loan interest from my taxes?
It depends on the loan. You can’t deduct interest for a personal loan. But for student loans and home equity loans, you may be able to deduct a portion of your interest payments from your taxable income. Consult a tax advisor to learn more about what might qualify for deductions.
Will I have to provide collateral?
It depends. Personal loans and student loans don’t require collateral. Home equity loans will put a lien against your house. If you default, Discover may be able to take it as an asset to pay back what you borrowed.
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