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How to Find Your Best Personal Loan (APR starting as low as 4.25%)

Updated on January 29, 2015

Have you been struggling looking for low-interest personal loan (for example, ranging fro $500 - $20k and APR starting at 4.25%) but only found that no one would give you an affordable loan (like student loan) without a co-signer? Are you a financially-responsible and hard-working person even if your credit score may not be decent or just not build enough credit history? Are you young professional looking for a brighter future and try to avoid having long-term debt problem?

If you answered “yes” to all or most of the questions above, then this might be the right place that you should give it a try. The company’s name is called “Earnest,” a high tech lending Startup Company based in San Francisco that provides individuals with small personal loans, and its key difference from other lending companies or banks is that its underwriting process depends more on your earning potential rather than simply looking at your credit history or scores. Before you go and check it out, here are a few details that you might want to learn more about the company and its products.

Approved Loan Application
Approved Loan Application | Source

1. How does it work?

The application process went super-fast, smooth and convenient, based on experience from its existing customers. It takes you about 10 to 15 minutes to complete the process. By looking at your LinkedIn profile (this is very unique feature compared to other loan companies) and your bank account via a securely encrypted data processing technology, they would have an in-depth review about your financial responsibility (if you have any balance in a savings or retirement account), your current job, and salary and education history. Then their advanced predictive analytics team armed with sophisticated computer algorithm will determine if an applicant will have the ability to pay back a loan. Before making final decision, each applicant will be reviewed by at least five people, real human, not just computer.

You might think it takes long before you receives final decision about your loan application, but in fact it only takes on average about 2 to 3 business days. Because the company has really a strong energetic team of hard-working people who work day and night to take care of each client like their own friend, and answer your questions patiently and friendly.

You might ask whether Earnest offer loans in every state. Initially, it only offers loans to residents in California, but it expanded quickly in one year to 19 additional states now. Check out the following list or the map attached, if you lives in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin, the company would love to receive your application. But if you don’t see your states in the list, you could always create a user profile and because the company is growing and expanding rapidly nationwide, you will be at the top list when they come to your state soon.

States Where Earnest Loans Are Currently Available
States Where Earnest Loans Are Currently Available | Source

2. Why could the company afford such low interest?

A loan with APR staring at 4.25%? Are you joking? No, seriously, this is what the company actually offers, and you can find it nowhere. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? So why could they do it? Well, because they are “Unicorns!” You may have heard that term in recent days which refers to startup companies successfully raising million dollars for their initial funding. Earnest is one of them, which just raised $15 million in funding from venture capital investors in early 2014. This is one of the reasons.

But what’s more important, it is one of the very few Analytics Competitors in this big data age. Wondering what is “Analytical Competitor?” Here’s the definition from the besting selling book published by Harvard Business School Press “Competing on Analytics – The New Science of Winning:”

“We define an analytical competitor as an organization that uses analytics extensively and systematically to outthink and outexecute the competition.” Examples are like Netflix, Google, Wal-Mart, Marriott International, BestBuy, Dell, Samsung … those big names that you are familiar with. And by the way, this is an invaluable book that you should consider adding to your 2015 reading list.

Now back to Earnest, because of their competitive analytics capability to analyze and predict potential risk, it has greatly lowered down the risk of defaults. So far, according to the company’s CEO Louis Beryl, there hasn’t been any one case of loan that’s at risk of default. (To learn more details, read this original blog from Wall Street Journal: Lending Startup Earnest Raises $15 Million to Replace FICO Scores)

3. Am I qualified?

Now, you may think, “Well, it looks good, but is it for me? What eligibility do they look for?” Great question. There are a couple of guidelines, but on the top list, there is only one question for yourself, and answer it honestly, “Are you financially responsible person?” Do you make payments on time? It doesn’t have to be 100% perfect. One of the company’s underwriting guideline is “understanding.” “People make mistakes. We understand this happens even to the best people. Our task is to identify and forgive the occasional oversight.” It is ok that you forget once or twice, and the key thing is if you keep doing things responsibly and consistently over time so that you have the potential to pay off your loan responsibly.

4. What other people say about it?

This is the best part. If you look at Credit Karma, which is a trustful source for financial advice, and look for reviews about Earnest Personal Loans, you will be amazed at its high ratings (4.7 out of 5.0 stars on average) and high percentage of customer satisfaction. If you have time, read through each of these customer reviews from real human and you will find yourself more motivated and encouraged to trust the company. Here’s the link to the reviews on Credit Karma.

Meet Earnest on Vimeo

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