You don’t have a lot of options if you need a loan while you’re still in school — but Kora is one of them. Formerly known as Boro and specializing in personal and car loans for both domestic and international students, this lender is willing to lend to students with little credit history — but rates can run high.
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| $5,000 || $3,000,000 || US citizen, permanent resident or F-1, OPT, H-1B, J-1, L, O-1, G, A5 or C8 visa holder, minimum GPA, dealer in eligible state |
| $50 || |
| College student or recent graduate, Live in an eligible state, 18+ years old || |
What types of loans does Kora offer?
Kora offers personal loans and new and used car loans for college students. A5, C8, F1 / OPT, G, H1B, J1, L1 and O1 visa holders are eligible, as well as US citizens and permanent residents. Here’s how they work in a nutshell.
Personal loans (KoraCash)
Use your personal loan for almost any legitimate use, including paying for extra classes, buying a new laptop or miscellaneous living expenses.
- Loan amounts. $50 to $2,000
- Loan terms. 12 months
- APR. Fixed rates from 15.99% to 35.99% APR
- State availability. Available in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
Auto loans (KoraDrive)
Kora offers one standard auto loan that you can use to either buy a new or used car from your dealership or to refinance an existing car loan.
- Loan amounts. Starting at $5,000 in most states with no limit to how much you can borrow
- Loan terms. From 12 to 60 months
- APR. Variable rates from 6% to 16.49% APR
- State availability. Available in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Must read: The Kora Scholarship Program
In addition to offering personal and auto loans, Kora offers $2,000 scholarships to international students. To be eligible you must:
- Study in the US on an F-1 visa.
- Be an undergraduate or master’s student.
- Have strong academic performance, extracurriculars or social leadership skills.
You can apply for a scholarship for next semester through Kora’s site. If applications are closed, fill out a form asking to be notified once they open again.
Why should I consider taking out a loan with Kora?
- Designed for students. Most lenders won’t work with you while you’re in school. Kora will.
- Credit not necessary. You don’t need to have a credit score to qualify — though good credit can boost your application.
- Nonresidents can qualify. Kora is willing to work with international students who don’t have a green card.
- No cosigner needed. This lender is one of the few options for international students that doesn’t require a creditworthy cosigner.
Where does Kora fall short?
- You have to be a student. You need to be enrolled in a US university or college to be eligible for a Kora loan.
- Limited availability. Kora personal loans and auto loans are only available in select states.
- Grades matter. If you don’t have a GPA of 2.0 as an undergrad or 3.0 as a graduate student, you aren’t eligible for a Kora loan.
- Down payment on auto loan. Kora only finances 65% to 75% of your vehicle’s value, depending on the loan amount. Most other car loan providers finance at least 80%.
- Low range of personal loans. With a maximum loan amount of $2,000, you probably won’t be able to use your personal loan to cover costs for next semester.
- No cosigners allowed. You’ll need to qualify on your own to be eligible for a Kora loan.
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How much will it cost me to borrow with Kora?
Costs depend on the loan you’re interested in. Kora personal loans start at a relatively high 15.99% APR and stop at 35.99% APR — the maximum personal loan rate of 36% in most states.
Its car loans are more competitively priced, with APRs starting at 6% APR and ending 16.49% APR — about average for fair to good credit borrowers. But with Kora’s auto loan, you also need to pay a 25% to 35% down payment on your new car.
If you’re more than 15 days late on either Kora loan, it charges a $15 late fee. While the provider doesn’t charge an origination fee on its personal loans, it might on its car loans, depending on which state you live in.
What do customers say about Kora?
Almost nothing. There are literally only a handful of customer reviews on sites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. Most of these reviews are negative and primarily mention a lack of response from Kora’s customer service.
Kora has been accredited with the BBB since 2016 and earns a B business rating for how it’s handled about 20 customer complaints over the past three years.
We could only find one mention of Kora auto loans in forums. The customer said that Kora was one of their only options when they were looking to get a car loan and that they were satisfied with the rates and terms.
Are Kora loans safe?
Generally, yes — though there’s no way to absolutely guarantee the safety of any information you submit online. It uses SSL encryption to protect data you send through Kora’s online application. And it uses Norton Security to regularly scan the site for malware and areas of vulnerability.
How do I apply for a loan with Kora?
To get an auto loan, you should visit your dealership first to find the model and make you’re interested in buying. But those interested in a personal loan can get started right away. Follow these steps to apply online:
- Go to the Kora site and choose Cash or Drive.
- You’ll be directed to download the Kora app to apply for a loan.
- Follow the steps in the app to create an account and fill out an application.
- If you’re preapproved, should get an instant response showing how much you qualify for.
- Choose your loan terms and upload additional documents as requested.
- Read your loan agreement carefully before signing it.
- Wait to receive your funds. Kora sends your funds directly to your personal bank account or to your car dealership, depending on your loan type.
After you sign your loan documents, you can get your personal loan as soon as the same business day. With a car loan, your dealership might receive the funds as soon as the next business day. Overall, the personal loan process takes less time from start to finish than the car loan.
To meet Kora’s general eligibility requirements, you must:
- Be over 18 years old.
- Be enrolled at a university or college in the US.
- Be a US citizen, Green Card holder or have a A5, C8, F1 / OPT, G, H1B, J1, L1 or O1 visa.
- Have a minimum GPA of 2.0 if you’re an undergraduate or 3.0 if you’re a graduate student.
More about Kora
Kora is a Chicago-based lender that specializes in providing financing to people who don’t have a Social Security number or credit history. Instead, it looks at factors like your educational background, earning potential and your banking history both in the US and abroad. In fact, about 86% of its customers have no credit history when they take out their first Kora loan.
Kora could be one of your only options as a college student looking for a personal or auto loan — especially if you’re not a US citizen or permanent resident. However, its limited state availability, relatively high rates, small personal loan amounts and high car loan down payments might make you want to consider other apps like Kora.
Check out our guide to student loans to learn about more of your borrowing options while in school, or visit our guide to getting a loan as a nonresident.
Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between a fixed and variable rate?
A fixed rate stays the same while you pay off your loan. A variable rate can go up or down over time, typically every one to three months. Read our guide to fixed- and variable-rate loans for more details on how they work.
What prepayment penalties does Kora charge?
It doesn’t. In other words, you can pay off your loan early to save on interest with no extra charge.