Adoption is an emotional process and can come with a hefty price tag. Depending on the type of adoption, the total cost can range from less than $1,000 to $60,000 or more.
While some employers have family-building benefits that may include adoption assistance, such as reimbursements and paid leave, adoptive parents more commonly cover these expenses themselves.
Putting cash aside in savings is the most cost-effective way to pay for adoption, but loans can also help cover the costs. Learn more about how adoption loans work, how to compare financing options and other payment methods to consider.
Adoption loans are personal loans that you can use to pay for expenses such as agency costs, medical and travel expenses and court fees. An adoption loan is money you borrow and repay with interest over a set amount of time, typically two to seven years. Compare adoption loans from banks, credit unions and online lenders to find one with a low annual percentage rate and monthly payments that fit your budget.
Who it’s best for: Existing bank customers with good to excellent credit (a score of 690 or higher).
If you have a good relationship with your bank and strong credit, consider applying for a personal bank loan. Banks typically have low rates and perks for existing customers. In addition, most banks allow borrowers to apply in person at a branch location or online.
Credit union loan
Who it’s best for: Members of a credit union and those with thin credit profiles.
Credit unions can offer low rates and fees on personal loans. Applicants are typically assessed on their whole financial picture when qualifying for a loan, so those with fair or bad credit (scores of 689 and lower) may qualify more easily with a credit union. You must be a credit union member to apply.
Online personal loan
Who it’s best for: Prospective parents who need fast funding and prefer managing their finances online.
Online loans provide a complete online application and funding process. These lenders offer loans to borrowers across the credit score spectrum. However, a higher credit score typically means a lower interest rate. If you need funds quickly, some online personal loan lenders can approve and fund a loan within a few days.
Most online lenders let you prequalify to preview rates and terms on potential loans. It only requires a soft credit check, meaning there’s no harm to your credit score. In addition, prequalifying with multiple lenders lets you compare different loan options to find a low rate and monthly payments that fit your budget.
7.49% – 24.49%.
9.95% – 35.95%.
8.99% – 35.99%.
8.99% – 25.81%.
Who it’s best for: Families with a financial need or aligned interests with an organization’s mission.
Some nonprofit organizations or foundations offer loans to prospective parents of adoptees. These loans can cover all or a portion of the adoption cost and come with little or no interest. Organizations such as A Child Waits Foundation may require you to have a co-signer and show evidence of financial need when applying for a loan.
How to compare loan options
Here are factors to consider when deciding between loan options.
APR: The annual percentage rate is the loan’s interest rate plus fees. You can use the APR for an apples-to-apples comparison between loan options. The loan with the lowest APR is the least expensive option.
Monthly payment: A loan’s monthly payment is based on the loan amount, APR and loan term. Payments typically start 30 days after receiving the loan funds. Look for a loan with payments that fit comfortably into your monthly budget.
Fees: Some personal loan lenders charge origination fees from 1% to 10% of the loan amount. Some may also charge a late payment fee.
Loan term: Since the adoption wait time can range from a few months to several years, keep the repayment term in mind when deciding how long you want to repay it. A longer loan term can mean lower monthly payments but higher interest costs.
Other ways to pay for adoption
Family and friends
Family and friends can be a valuable lifeline when it comes to growing your family. Consider talking to family and friends who may offer a low- or no-interest loan or a portion of the money as a gift. Crowdfunding is another way friends and people in your community can help raise funds.
A home equity line of credit is a revolving line of credit based on the value of your home. With a HELOC, you can draw money as you need and pay it back monthly, usually at lower rates than a personal loan. It can be a good option if you aren’t sure how much you’ll need upfront. Your home is collateral on a HELOC, which means the lender can take it if you fail to make payments.
An adoption grant — funds that don’t need to be repaid — is another way to pay for adoption. Organizations such as WAT! (We Adopt Too) Black Family Adoption Assistance, Gift of Adoption Fund and Helpusadopt.org offer grants to cover adoption expenses. With organizations like these, you’ll need to check deadlines and eligibility requirements, like parental status and financial need. Upon applying, you may need to pay a fee, provide references and show proof of an approved home study.
A summer vacation can feel like a seasonal rite of passage — a sacred time to break away from the demands of everyday life in favor of fun and relaxation.
But summer can also be an expensive time to travel, which makes it hard to budget enough money for your vacation.
Though it’s best to pay in cash for nonessential travel, there are financing options available, including credit cards, “buy now, pay later” plans and vacation loans. Consider the interest rate and how long you’ll be in debt when deciding which to choose.
The challenges of budgeting for summer travel
Travel demand is in “near-record territory” with all indicators pointing to a “very robust summer leisure travel season,” the U.S. Travel Association, a nonprofit that monitors the U.S. travel industry, said in an email. According to the association, demand has driven up prices in sectors like airfare and lodging.
Even without higher prices, travel is tough to budget for, says Jake Northrup, a certified financial planner in Bristol, Rhode Island.
“Travel usually comes in big waves, and there’s just a lot of uncertainty as to what things will actually cost,” Northrup says.
Adrienne Davis, a certified financial planner in the Washington, D.C., area, says her clients often receive last-minute offers to go on trips with friends or family, which leads to a cash shortage.
“We don’t expect prices to be that high when it’s time to book,” Davis says. “And if your money is already allocated on a month-to-month basis, it’s like, ‘Wow, where am I going to get this extra $500 or $1,000?’”
Northrup and Davis emphasize it’s best to avoid taking on debt for a vacation. But because a trip can mean precious time with loved ones or an enriching personal experience, it’s reasonable to explore your options.
“I certainly understand sometimes the best decision that you can make is not the most financially optimal one, and that’s OK,” Northrup says.
Credit cards, ‘buy now, pay later’ and vacation loans
Davis prefers a credit card if you must finance a trip because you’ll likely earn points or cash back, which can offset costs. Some cards come with protections, she says, like travel insurance.
But interest rates on credit cards are high, which is why Davis recommends getting a card with a 0% annual percentage rate and paying off the balance during the initial promotional period — typically 15 to 21 months — before regular interest kicks in.
Companies like Affirm and Uplift offer buy now, pay later plans for travel. These plans divide your purchase into equal installments that you pay over time, and interest rates vary.
Uplift partners with airlines, resorts and other travel companies, including some that offer zero-interest financing and terms up to 24 months, depending on the partner and loan amount. Affirm offers no-interest options with terms up to 60 months.
Northrup prefers buy now, pay later if it’s zero interest, but like any debt, it’s important to prioritize repayment to avoid fees or hits to your credit.
A travel loan, or an unsecured personal loan from a bank, an online lender or a credit union, is another option. These loans are larger, and rates vary based on your credit score and debt-to-income ratio. Repayment is typically two to seven years, so consider how long you want to be in debt after your vacation.
Saving for your next trip
Unpacking your bags after a trip with zero debt to repay is a great feeling. Here are tips for saving for your next vacation:
Start now: Time is your most valuable resource when saving. Start putting aside money now for next summer, even if you don’t have a trip planned, Davis says. By saving $85 per month, you’d have over $1,000 saved in a year.
Open a high-yield savings account: Davis and Northrup advise their clients to put travel-specific funds in a separate high-yield savings account. You’ll earn interest, and you won’t accidentally dip into the funds to cover other expenses.
Pick the destination last: Many travelers pick their destination first, then try to come up with the money. But you can reverse that process, Northrup says, by “backing into” the trip you want. See what you have saved, then choose a destination based on that figure.
This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.
“He’s my little ball of sunshine,” Mallory Bartels says of her 13-year-old Boston terrier, Buddha. With his shiny black coat and white spots on his paws that look like socks, Bartels describes him as a sweet pup with a playful personality.
Buddha’s zest for life was apparent when he jumped off the couch in Bartels’ home near Seattle. The leap landed Buddha in urgent veterinary care with a ruptured disk and paralyzed legs that required spinal surgery.
On top of being “a bawling mess” at the vet, Bartels also received a vet bill for over $5,000. “I didn’t have savings or cash to pay for it,” she says.
According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent nearly $36 billion in veterinary care, surgical procedures, medication and other products through vet clinics in 2022. The APPA expects that number to increase by $1 billion in 2023.
How do pet owners pay for emergency pet care? Here are options plus tips to prepare when Fido or Fluffy takes a tumble and needs urgent help.
Ways to pay for emergency pet care
Savings is one of the best ways to pay for emergency vet care, says John Boyd, a certified financial planner and the founder of MDRN Wealth in Scottsdale, Arizona. He suggests clients have an emergency fund that totals three to six months of living expenses and includes money for pet care.
The type of pet can influence how much to put away. “If you’re like me and you have a Great Dane, and they’re prone to stomach issues that could cost up to $2,000, factor that into the equation when it comes to how much to save,” Boyd says.
Vet financing plans
Many vets and pet clinics offer financing plans, typically through a third party that partners with the vet. Some plans offer 0% interest financing and a quick approval process. Read the fine print to check the interest rate on the plan, and note that approval may require a hard credit check that will cause your score to dip a few points.
CareCredit is a financing option that specifically covers health care expenses for your family, including pets. You can apply online, and CareCredit typically offers 0% interest for six, 12, 18 or 24 months for expenses of $200 or more. However, if you don’t repay the full amount by the end of the promotional period, you’ll be charged interest retroactively from your original charge date.
Bartels used an existing CareCredit credit card to pay the vet bill for Buddha’s surgery. Because the account was already open, Bartels was outside the initial 0% interest period. She understood she’d be charged interest on the vet bill she put on CareCredit.
A credit card can be a convenient way to pay for emergency veterinary care if you have the available credit. However, credit card rates can be high, so paying off any accrued balance as soon as possible is important to avoid high-interest charges.
To save on interest, Bartels transferred her CareCredit balance to a credit card with a 0% annual percentage rate for 12 months. She paid a balance transfer fee, which was offset by the savings in interest. She had to add the monthly payments to her household budget, but the balance transfer card gave Bartels breathing room to pay it off.
Banks, credit unions and online lenders offer personal loans that can help pay for unexpected veterinary expenses. Personal loans typically have interest rates from 6% to 36% and two- to seven-year repayment periods. Depending on how much you qualify for, loans start at $1,000 and go up to $50,000 or more. For quick cash, such as in the case of a pet emergency, some lenders provide next-day funding.
For borrowers with strong credit, a personal loan may have a lower interest rate than a credit card to pay large vet bills. A shorter loan term can mean higher monthly payments but less total interest cost. Use a personal loan calculator to estimate monthly payments based on the rate and term.
Local animal welfare organizations
Animal welfare organizations in your local area can be another option for caring for your pet. These organizations typically provide services at a lower cost than a regular vet, thanks to private funding and donations.
Regarding pet care, “we understand that not everybody has the money all the time, and we try to meet people halfway,” says Erin Johnson, clinic manager for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
In addition to preventive care, vet assistants at the SPCA offer a minor-needs clinic for pets that are feeling unwell, have an infection, are in minor pain or need an X-ray.
While the SPCA can help with minor injuries, Johnson recommends knowing where your nearest urgent care vet is in case of a major accident. “Have a relationship with a full-service vet so that when something does go wrong, you have somebody to go to,” Johnson says.
What about pet insurance?
Signing up for new pet insurance won’t help if you’re uninsured in an emergency, but depending on the plan and provider, pet insurance can cover a future accident.
Boyd says pet insurance can make sense if you don’t have enough emergency funds or if you have cash flow but not savings. In that situation, monthly premium payments can help provide coverage and peace of mind if something happens to your pet.
On the other hand, if you have savings for pet emergencies, “I would ditch the pet insurance and just self-insure, essentially,” Boyd says.
Buddha back in action
“He’s just been like a little pillar in my life,” says Bartels, who was relieved to have Buddha home after his operation. Although his spinal surgery was successful, the costs didn’t end. Bartels bought an orthopedic bed for Buddha to recuperate more comfortably and stairs to make it easier for him to go up or down from furniture.
Having learned the hard way about sudden emergency bills, Bartels opened a separate checking account for Buddha’s expenses. She deposits money monthly and uses the checking account’s debit card to pay for vet trips, food and other Buddha-related purchases.
“It helps me feel more comfortable that if we were put in the situation again, we’d at least have a cash buffer to help us out,” Bartels says.
Top 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Co-Sign a Friend’s Loan – SmartAsset
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Co-signing your friend’s loan might seem like a nice thing to do. But it can put many things in your life at risk, including your finances, your credit score and even your friendship. While it’s possible to co-sign a friend’s loan and never face any negative consequences, it might not be worth it. Check out five reasons why you shouldn’t co-sign a friend’s loan.
1. You’ll Be Responsible for the Loan
No matter how trustworthy or wonderful your friend may be, he might end up defaulting on the loan he took out. Anything could happen. Your friend could lose his job or find out that a relative needs help paying for medical treatment.
If your friend can’t pay back the money he borrowed, you would have to pay for the loan if you co-signed it.
2. Your Credit Could Take a Hit
If you co-sign a friend’s loan and he misses a single loan payment deadline, your credit score could drop. If that happens, it might be harder for you to buy a house or get a low interest rate on a loan in the future.
If your friend fails to pay back whatever he owes, the lender might sue you first. In the lender’s eyes, you are far more likely to pay back the loan since your credit score is probably higher.
3. Your Property May Be at Risk
Sometimes a co-signer will secure a loan with his or her own property. If you (the co-signer) put up your car or house as collateral and your friend doesn’t pay back the loan, you could potentially lose your property.
4. You Could Destroy Your Friendship
If you’re forced to cover the cost of the loan you co-signed, you could end up resenting your friend. After all, it can be difficult to remain friends with someone who put you in a complicated financial situation.
5. It Could Be Harder to Get a Loan Later On
Co-signing your friend’s loan could make qualifying for another loan more difficult. For example, if you co-sign your friend’s car loan and then you try to take out a personal loan, a lender might reject your application. Co-signing your friend’s loan will affect your debt-to-income ratio (the amount of debt you’re paying off compared to your monthly gross income). A lender might not want to lend money to someone who already has a lot of debt to pay off.
Sarah Fisher has been researching and writing about business and finance for years. She has worked for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and her work has appeared on Business Insider and Yahoo Finance. Sarah has a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and is from New York City. When she isn’t writing finance articles, she dabbles in animation and graphic design.
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As of Jan. 6, 2023, Marcus by Goldman Sachs stopped offering personal loan products through Bankrate. It is also pulling back from unsecured personal loans on the whole, though existing loans will still be serviced by the bank.
Marcus — the online branch of Goldman Sachs Bank — also still offers savings products and credit cards. For those interested in an online personal loan like those Marcus provided, there are plenty of lenders to choose from that offer similar services and competitive rates.
Alternatives to Marcus by Goldman Sachs loans
While shopping around will help you find the best personal loan for your financial situation, here are a few online lenders that offer similar APR ranges and eligibility requirements to Marcus personal loans.
SoFi is a great option for borrowers who make a steady, decent income, have a good credit score and a positive repayment history. SoFi’s loan amounts range from $5,000 to $100,000 and it doesn’t charge any origination, prepayment or late payment fees. Plus, the lender offers prequalification which allows you to check your eligibility odds and predicted rates without impacting your credit.
LightStream offers a wide range of loan amounts and repayment terms, making it ideal for borrowers who need to consolidate high interest debt or take on large home improvement projects.
The lender boasts a low APR, but does require a good to excellent credit score. If you don’t meet the eligibility criteria, you can enlist the help of a co-borrower to boost your approval odds or to score a more competitive rate.
Formerly known as Freedom Plus, Achieve is an online lender that offers personal loans up to $50,000. It offers competitive rates for the most creditworthy borrowers, but has a relatively low credit requirement of 620.
Plus, the lender allows for joint loans and is known for its speedy application process and same-day approval. However, it does have a high minimum amount and depending on your loan amount and repayment term, you may be on the hook for an origination fee.
Why doesn’t Marcus by Goldman Sachs offer personal loans anymore?
Marcus hasn’t publicly disclosed why it shut its doors on personal loan products. However, a 2022 Bloomberg report asserts that the online branch of Goldman Sachs Bank has been scaling back its consumer lending division. “Consumer lending is being reigned in,” the report read. “While the bank will keep credit-card partnerships, it will be very selective about adding to the list.”
As of now, Marcus will continue to offer saving accounts and credit cards through its online portal. Current Marcus personal loan borrowers need to look out for communication from the lender for up-to-date information and next steps.
Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further
In the past, there was one place to go when you wanted a loan: the local bank. In 2015, you have many more options, and peer-to-peer lending is proving to be an attractive choice for many borrowers looking for a good deal – plus individual lenders looking for an investment option. In fact, peer-to-peer lending companies, including Lending Club, Prosper and SoFi, are exploding so fast in popularity they are doubling their lending every nine months or so!
So what’s peer-to-peer lending all about? We have the scoop for you.
What is peer-to-peer lending?
Peer-to-peer (P2P) lending marketplaces offer loans outside of traditional banks by using algorithms that match borrowers with investors according to each party’s requirements. These companies face fewer regulations because they aren’t banks – they are simply acting as intermediaries between the borrower lender(s), meaning fees and rates are lower. Americans borrowed $6.6 billion in loans last year from P2P lenders.
What are the advantages to borrowing from a peer-to-peer lender?
For borrowers with good or excellent credit, you can expect to receive a more competitive interest rate than from a bank. This is especially helpful for consolidating debt: Lending Club recently revealed that borrowers who used a personal loan to consolidate debt or pay off high interest credit cards reported the interest rate on their loan was an average of 7 percentage points lower than they were paying on their outstanding debt. But don’t forget: when consolidating credit card debt you are moving it, not necessarily dealing it with it. Have a plan to make lifestyle changes so you can effectively pay the loan each month – Mint can help you make your plan!
Other advantages? Some lending marketplace create a loan-worthiness profile from credentials in addition to your credit score, including job history, education and social media activity. Plus, the entire application process is much more streamlined: you’ll fill out much less paperwork and can get approval in a day or two.
Who are the lenders on peer-to-peer marketplaces?
In short: anyone! Facing continued stagnation in savings interest rates, investors are looking for new options to grow their money or diversify their investment strategy. Most P2P loan terms are only a few years, so lending to peers creates a return on investment returns without locking up funds for long periods of time.
But a word of caution, there is more risk involved, so potential lenders should do their research – luckily, most marketplaces allow you to diversify investments across hundreds of loans taken by borrowers.
Save more, spend smarter, and make your money go further
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Interest, $25 Fixed, or Deferred Repayment Options
Rates: Lowest rates shown include the auto debit discount. Fixed – 4.50% APR-14.83% APR and Variable – 5.87%-16.20% APR. Additional information regarding the auto discount:
Advertised APRs for undergraduate students assume a $10,000 loan to a student who attends school for 4 years and has no prior Sallie Mae-serviced loans. Interest rates for variable rate loans may increase or decrease over the life of the loan based on changes to the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent. Advertised variable rates are the starting range of rates and may vary outside of that range over the life of the loan. Interest is charged starting when funds are sent to the school. With the Fixed and Deferred Repayment Options, the interest rate is higher than with the Interest Repayment Option and Unpaid Interest is added to the loan’s Current Principal at the end of the grace/separation period. To receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate discount, the borrower or cosigner must enroll in auto debit through Sallie Mae. The discount applies only during active repayment for as long as the Current Amount Due or Designated Amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. It may be suspended during forbearance or deferment. Advertised APRs are valid as of 4/25/2023. No payment penalty: Although we do not charge a penalty or fee if you prepay your loan; any prepayment will be applied as outlined in your promissory note- first Unpaid Fees and costs, then to Unpaid interest, then to Current Principal.
Terms: Examples of typical costs for a $10,000 Smart Option Student Loan with the most common fixed rate, fixed repayment option, 6-month separation period, and two disbursements: For a borrower with no prior loans and a 4-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.28% fixed APR, 51 payments of $25.00, 119 payments of $182.67 and one payment of $121.71, for a Total Loan Cost of $23,134.44. For a borrower with $20,000 in prior loans and a 2-year in-school period, it works out to a 10.78% fixed APR, 27 payments of $25.00, 179 payments of $132.53 and one payment of $40.35 for a total loan cost of $24,438.22. Loans that are subject to a $50 minimum principal and interest payment amount may receive a loan term that is less than 10 years.
Variable Rate: 5.87% to 16.20% APR (with autopay)
Fixed Rate: 4.50% to 14.83% APR (with autopay)
Effective Date: 4/25/2023
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Fixed APR From
Term: 5-15 yr
Easy online application!
No origination fees, late fees, and no insufficient fund fees. Period
Flexible repayment options to help you find the right loan for you
0.25% discount when you set up autopay*
0.125% discount for returning borrowers and families with multiple children in college
UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.49% to 13.80% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 5.16% to 13.07% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 5.25% to 13.60% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 5.79% to 13.07% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 6.50% to 13.98% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 6.32% to 13.13% APR (with autopay). For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 04/28/2023.
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Variable rates will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Your actual rate may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown above and will be based on factors such as the term of your loan, your financial history (including your cosigner’s (if any) financial history) and the degree you are in the process of achieving or have achieved. While not always the case, lower rates typically require creditworthy applicants with creditworthy co-signers, graduate degrees, and shorter repayment terms (terms vary by lender and can range from 5-20 years) and include loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts, where applicable. Loyalty and Automatic Payment discount requirements as well as Lender terms and conditions will vary by lender and therefore, reading each lender’s disclosures is important. Additionally, lenders may have loan minimum and maximum requirements, degree requirements, educational institution requirements, citizenship and residency requirements as well as other lender-specific requirements.
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Competitive fixed and variable rates starting at 4.49%*
Four different repayment options
Choice of loan terms (5, 8, 10, and 15 years)*
No application, origination or disbursement fees
Borrow up to 100% of your school’s cost of attendance*
*College Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community Bank, member FDIC, or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC.. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. If a payment is returned, you will lose this benefit. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.
Information advertised valid as of 05/01/2023. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
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Edly Student IBR Loans are unsecured personal student loans originated by FinWise Bank, a Utah chartered commercial bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to eligibility criteria and review of creditworthiness and history. Terms and conditions apply.
Loans from $5,000 – $20,000 Example: $10,000 IBR Loan with a 7% gross income payment percentage for a Senior student making $65,000 annually throughout the life of the loan.
Payments deferred for the first 12 months during final year of education.
After which, $270 Monthly payment for 12 months.
Then $379 Monthly payment for 44 months.
Followed by one final payment of $137 for a total of $20,610 paid over the life of the loan.
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The initial payment schedule is set upon receiving final terms and upon confirmation by your school of the loan amount. You may repay this loan at any time by paying an effective APR of 23%. The maximum amount you will pay is $22,500 (not including Late Fees and Returned Check Fees, if any). The maximum number of regularly scheduled payments you will make is 60. You will not pay more than 23% APR. No payment is required if your gross earned income is below $30,000 annually or if you lose your job and cannot find employment.
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Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 4.70% APR to 15.15% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 5.40% APR to 16.67% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan origination loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada. Our lowest rates are only available for our most credit qualified borrowers and contain our .25% auto pay discount from a checking or savings account. It is important to note that the 0.25% Auto Pay discount is not available while loan payments are deferred.
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Network of 300+ community lenders means higher chances for approval and lower rates
Available for private and federal, undergraduate and grad school student loans
0.25% Interest Rate Reduction with automatic payments
One of the largest unemployment protection offers in the market; up to 18 months
Cosigner release available after 12 monthly payments
Loan products, terms, and benefits may be modified or discontinued by participating lenders at any time without notice. Rates displayed are reserved for the most creditworthy consumers who enroll to make automatic monthly payments. Your initial rate will be determined after a review of your application and credit profile. Variable rates may increase after consummation. You must be either a U.S. citizen or Permanent Resident in an eligible state and from an eligible school, and meet the lender’s credit and income requirements to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account, a minimum share account deposit, and the payment of any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to apply with, and accept a loan offered from, a credit union lender. If you are not a member of the credit union lender, you may apply and become a member during the loan application process if you meet the lender’s eligibility criteria. Applying with a creditworthy cosigner may result in a better chance of loan approval and/or lower interest rate. Loans for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not available via LendKey.com.
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With the most options of any lender, we’ll help you find a great way to pay for college
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Multi-year approval provides a simple way to secure funding for additional years in school†
Interest rate discounts available.
Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates are based on the 30-day average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) index, as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As of May 1, 2023, the 30-day average SOFR index is 4.82%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the SOFR index, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable interest rate is the greater of 21.00% or the prime rate plus 9.00%.
Fixed Rate Disclosure: Fixed rate ranges are based on applicable terms, level of degree, and presence of a co-signer.
Lowest Rate Disclosure: Lowest rates are only available for the most creditworthy applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate or medical degree (where applicable), and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
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The interest rate and monthly payment for variable rate loans may increase after closing. Your actual interest rate may be different from the rates shown above and will be based on the term of your loan, your financial history, and other factors, including your cosigner’s (if any) financial history. For example, a 10 year loan with a fixed rate of 6% would have 120 payments of $11.00 per $1,000 borrowed. Education Loan Finance Parent Loans are limited to a maximum of the 10-year term.
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Updated disclosure: Ascent’s undergraduate and graduate student loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs. Rates are effective as of 5/1/2023 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs require interest-only payments, the shortest loan term, and a cosigner, and are only available to our most creditworthy applicants and cosigners with the highest average credit scores.
Founded in 1863 as the First National Bank of Cincinnati, today, U.S. Bank is the fifth-largest commercial bank in the country. Based in Minnesota, it has 2,000 branch locations in 26 states. In addition to mortgages and refinances, U.S. Bank offers home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans.
To create our Bankrate Scores, we evaluated lenders based on availability, affordability and customer experience. Availability was assessed based on the minimum loan amount required, time to approval, days to close, minimum draw requirements, minimum credit score requirements and loan types offered. Affordability was assessed based on minimum APR, discounts and promotions offered and associated fees. Customer experience was assessed based on online application and account availability, customer support, auto payment availability and mobile app availability and ratings.
U.S. Bank covers all closing costs for borrowers of home equity loans or HELOCs, and you could be eligible for discounts if you set up auto-payment or are a banking customer.
You can convert all or any part of your HELOC to a fixed-rate loan and have up to three fixed-rate loans at any time.
If you pay off your HELOC within 30 months, you’ll pay a fee equaling 1 percent of your original line amount (up to $500). You might also be charged a $90 annual fee after the first year.
With most HELOCs, you pay only interest during the draw period. With U.S. Bank, you might be required to pay 1 percent or 2 percent of the balance amount with each payment. (You might be able to pay only the interest if you have a qualifying credit score.)
Types of fees charged
There are no closing costs on U.S. Bank’s home equity products. However, there is an early termination fee of 1 percent (up to $500) on HELOCs if the account is closed within 30 months.
After the first year, there is an annual fee of $90 on all HELOCs, though you can waive this if you have a U.S. Bank Platinum Checking Package.
Home equity loan products offered
U.S. Bank offers two home equity products: a line of credit and a loan. The HELOC has a 10-year draw period and a variable rate, but the bank also offers a fixed-rate option so you can convert any or all of your line into a loan with fixed monthly payments. You can have up to three fixed-rate plans in place at any given time.
With a U.S. Bank HELOC, you’ll choose to pay a minimum of either 1 percent or 2 percent of the balance each month, applied to interest and principal, during the draw period. You might be able to make interest-only payments, but that will depend on your credit score.
If you’re looking to borrow one lump sum and want predictable monthly payments, you might want to consider U.S. Bank’s fixed-rate home equity loan instead. You can borrow between $15,000 and $750,000 (or up to $1 million in California) depending on your credit history, available equity and current DTI ratio. Loan terms can go up to 30 years.
How to qualify for a home equity loan with U.S. Bank
All loans are subject to approval, and your APR will depend on credit history, loan amount, property value and property location. U.S. Bank does not disclose credit score requirements, but in order to get the best rate, you’ll have to have a credit score of at least 730.
How to get started
You can apply for any of the U.S. Bank home equity products online, by phone or at a branch. You can also apply through the mobile app. After an initial review, a U.S. Bank branch officer will contact you for any additional documentation necessary to underwrite your loan.
Next, you will have your property appraised, and then your application will go through a final approval. Depending on the product, you might have to visit a branch to close. Funding will be available three days after closing.
For more information about U.S. Bank’s HELOC, visit the bank’s website or call 800-642-3547. You can also schedule a phone call or chat online with a personal banker.
One popular way people pay off debt is to use the equity in their homes. Home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) let borrowers use their homes as collateral in exchange for financing. Just be sure to factor in the risks if you’re considering this option. The lender can seize your home if you can’t make the payments.
Who this is best for: Borrowers who have built up equity in their homes.
Who this is not good for: Those unsure of their ability to maintain the monthly payments.
Home equity loan versus debt consolidation loan: Home equity loans and HELOCs may offer lower rates than debt consolidation loans, though they come with more risks, since your home is used as collateral.
Debt relief services
Debt relief services, including debt settlement companies, offer another way to deal with your debt if you can’t qualify for a consolidation loan. These companies reach out to creditors and debt collectors on your behalf and try to settle the debt for a lesser amount.
If you decide to pursue debt relief services (perhaps as an alternative to bankruptcy), be aware that the fees these companies charge can be steep. Take your time to fully research fees, reviews and other details before applying. It’s also wise to compare multiple debt relief companies before you commit.
Who this is best for: Borrowers who are experiencing financial hardship and cannot pay their debt.
Who this is not good for: Those with a thin credit history or less-than-stellar credit score.
Debt relief services versus debt consolidation loan: Unlike debt consolidation loans, debt relief services aim to eliminate some of your debt without you having to pay it. With that said, pursuing debt relief is a risky move, and it can damage your credit score.
Another option that can help you get debt under control is credit counseling. Credit counseling companies are often (though not always) nonprofit organizations. In addition to debt counseling, these companies may offer a service known as a debt management plan, or DMP.
With a DMP, you make a single payment to a credit counseling company, which then divides that payment among your creditors. The company negotiates lower interest rates and fees on your behalf to lower your monthly debt obligation and help you pay the debts off faster.
DMPs are rarely free, though, even if they’re done by a nonprofit credit counseling service. You may have to pay a setup fee of $30 to $50, plus a monthly fee (often $20 to $75) to the credit counseling company for managing your DMP over a three- to five-year term.
Who this is best for: Borrowers who need help structuring their debt payments.
Who this is not good for: Those with little wiggle room in the budget.
Credit counseling versus debt consolidation loan:With a debt consolidation loan, you’re in control of your payoff plan, and you can often apply with few fees. With credit counseling, a third party manages your payments while charging setup fees.
Balance transfer credit card
With a balance transfer card, you shift your credit card debt to a new credit card with a 0 percent introductory rate. The goal with a balance transfer card is to pay off the balance before the introductory rate expires so that you save money on interest. When you calculate potential savings, make sure you factor in balance transfer fees.
Keep in mind that paying off existing credit card debt with a balance transfer to another credit card isn’t likely to lower your credit utilization ratio like a debt consolidation loan would.
A debt consolidation loan is also going to offer higher borrowing limits, enabling you to pay off more debt, as well as fixed monthly payments, which make it easier to budget and stay disciplined with paying off debt.
Who this is best for: Borrowers who can pay off existing debt quickly.
Who this is not good for: People with a young credit history or a less-than-average score.
Balance transfer credit card versus debt consolidation loan: Balance transfer cards are often the best choice for borrowers who have the means to pay off their debt within 18 months, which is a standard 0 percent APR period. If you need longer to pay off your debt, or if you have a lot of debt, a debt consolidation loan is a better choice.