LIVE LOCAL, LIVE SMALL: Technology and debt merge to dictate a user’s …

by Shelton on December 3rd, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Cucalorus added Connect to its 2015 film festival, which took place last week. The tech innovation conference featured many panels of business leaders to help build stronger connections between film and entrepreneurship. Friday morning “Data: It’s Hyper Personal” featured Galen Buckwalter, the mastermind behind the metrics of eHarmony. 

I feel I am constantly bombarded by people telling me that tech innovation and information is the future and that as a business owner I must get on board. So in search of some understanding of this brave new world, I grabbed a life-sustaining cup of coffee and sallied forth to the balcony of Thalian Hall to find enlightenment. It was much more conference-y and much less presentation-oriented than I expected. Nonetheless, it was interesting in a terrifying way. 

Joining Dr. Buckwalter onstage were Juddy Arnold (founder/CEO of Insight Profiling, who’s introduction was described as “The Diviner”), and George Taylor III (founder/CEO of the Likeli). Apparently, Buckwalter and Arnold are involved in Taylor’s dating app startup, Likeli, based in Wilmington on Sir Tyler Drive at Tek Mountain. Now, I say “interesting” in a terrifying way, because Taylor was prepared to admit that they can (and do) measure just how long you look at a picture online, how often you read a profile, if you use the same response to multiple messages, etc.

I have to be honest: I have never tried online dating, having been in a committed relationship for almost two decades. But it is interesting listening to three men explain the complexities of using computers to create happiness and deeper meaning for couples. Clearly, it is an engineering problem that can be massaged with the right wording to not be a scary control game at all. The deference paid to Buckwalter by the other two was palpable, and understandably so as the real mastermind behind this human metrics pairing, it is his work which is key to what the other two want to do.

If anything, by watching and listening to Buckwalter, I came to suspect that to him this all seemed to be just the latest, interesting theoretical question he had to answer. Does he have a burning desire to be an online matchmaker? No. But solving a problem in front of him and watching a great human experiment play out fascinates him.

I spent some time looking around at Buckwalter’s other projects, which of course include Tide Pool–a program for building harmonious and productive office work environments. The one I found most interesting is called “Payoff” –basically a credit-card payoff program that claims to use personality profiles to help reduce debt and change a user’s relationship with money. Essentially, it is a debt consolidation service offering a short-term loan to pay off $5,000 to $25,000 of credit card debt. However, they have an online personality profile users must fill out as part of the process, so they can provide a tailored counselor for specific financial behavior. In the name of journalistic research, I decided to try the personality profile questionnaire.

It opens with a question: “What’s your dream? Writing down your dream is the first step to financial success.”

Then a suggestion appears: something similar to take my family to Disney World. 

OK, so for this one, I decided to be honest. I put down the hope to one day have a NY Times Bestseller. That’s not really something a credit score impacts all that much, but it is true. 

Next came five hourglass shapes that are continuums about how I see myself: Am I warm and loving or reserved? I had to click wherever I thought I was on the hourglass. 

From those six exercises, Payoff generates a profile. The first time I was told I was a storyteller. Really? Payoff figured that out? Well done. Maybe the answer to the question tipped them off. Financial advice to the storyteller personality included a discussion about the problem of getting sucked into appearances and buying designer things because of their perceived value.

I read this aloud to Jock who looked at me in confusion. I mean, I dress like a homeless person. I don’t currently own a single shirt that doesn’t have paint stains on it.

“Yes, but there is a pattern to your paint stains,” Jock commented.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes, ‘renovation chic,'” he quipped. “It’s the new thing. Soon, all the hipsters will be doing it.”

I laughed and cracked a joke about the seemingly endless renovations that consume our world. 

“Well, it is honest,” I conceded. “But Versace it’s not.”

Jock commented about how crushed we all were by Versace’s death. When I looked at him clearly confused he explained (rather patiently) that apparently Versace is not only dead but was shot by his lover, and that it was a big deal in the tabs.

Yes, clearly my closet is full of designer clothing, as is my McMansion with furniture out of a catalog, and a car with payments left on it–it’s all about impressing other people. Oh, no, wait–they must mean the crazy rabbit-warn Appalachian shack, decorated by a mad scientist and a book hoarder, with a paid-for ’65 VW bug parked in front? Yes, the one that needs a paint job and an engine lid; that’s what the Payoff financial questionnaire got so right. Yep.

I tried the questionnaire again, and answered the questions with the same dream and clicking in roughly the same places. The next time it told me I was a Free Spirit. The third time I was a Spark.

It was starting to feel like roulette.

The tools, tips and advice are all basically sound financial advice: pay yourself first, pay down your debts, don’t accrue more debt, etc. Sure, they’re good reminders, no matter the form of the message.

And, no,  I am not applying for a payoff loan through them or anyone else at this moment.  I have succeeded in paying down a tremendous amount of debt this year. One of my Live Local resolutions was to finish work on the second floor of the bookstore, thereby putting local tradesmen to work. I am pleased to say that has been a major focus–all paid for as it goes.

So, in spite of Buckwalter saying I’m a “Free Spirit” (among other things), I would say I’ve made a pretty conservative financial move. Actually, aside from the bills of daily life and running a business, I am at zero. I’m not going to borrow money any time soon, and I am just going to keep chipping away at my financial goals of finishing the second floor, keeping the house on Market Street from falling over, and eventually getting things sorted out so that I have time to stay at home and write more.

In about 10 years I’ll probably start saving for old age–if I live that long. I haven’t quite made up my mind about that yet. I guess I need to start learning about fashion designers and name brand clothing though, right?

Cucalorus CONNECTDr. BuckwaltereHarmonyencore magazineGeorge Taylor IIIGwenyfar RohlerInsight ProfilingJock BrandisJuddy ArnoldLikeliLive Local Live SmallPayoffTek MountainTide PoolWilmington NC

Is a refi for you? Low rates make refinancing mortgages popular

by Shelton on December 1st, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Attractive rates and residential mortgage financing promotions helped to drive refinancing activity upward in 2015, but it might taper off in 2016 as fewer homeowners will want to take that financial option.

While Wisconsin mortgage lending officials have yet to tally the results, local lenders say activity has been up this year.

They attribute some of the activity to lower mortgage rates that have remained below 4 percent much of the year.

For much of the year, the conventional 30-year, fixed mortgage rate has ranged from 3.65 percent in January to 3.75 percent. For qualified Veterans Affairs and Federal Housing Administration borrowers, rates can be even more attractive, say lenders.

All of 2015 has been a strong year for refinancing, said Dee Dee Palmer, sales manager with Wintrust Mortgage.

The advantages

Who is most likely to refinance?

Mostly the customers with higher interest rates or who have the opportunity to refinance for debt consolidation purposes, Palmer said.

Many customers are taking this opportunity to combine a first and second mortgage into a new first mortgage with a lower rate and/or lower term. Some also take this opportunity to pay off credit card debt, pay off student loans, or home improvement.

Homeowners are taking this opportunity to lower the rate and or term, convert an adjustable rate mortgage into fixed financing and take cash out of the equity in the property for debt consolidation, home improvement and education expenses.

Refinancing activity at North Shore Bank represents 47 percent of the banks lending portfolio, according to Michael Kellman, senior vice president of consumer lending.

Attractive packages

While mortgage rates have been low, some lenders have taken an extra step to design special packages that may be even more appealing. In some cases, lenders are designing packages that may include several different term options.

Homeowners are refinancing for a variety of reasons, said Kellman. A homeowner may have gotten a raise and think they can pay a little more, so they may want to reduce the term of their mortgage and save some of the interest.

He noted that others may make adjustments because they plan to start a family. Then there are those who want to take some of their equity to pay for renovations such as a new bathroom or kitchen.

10-year, 2.99 percent

Some of North Shores attraction has come from refinancing tools such as a 2.99 percent 10-year mortgage product. While not a new product, it has drawn the attention of homeowners. Kellman said well over 1,000 customers have taken it.

Its been a hot property lately, he said.

Kenoshas Gateway Mortgage, for example, has a refinancing option that offers a homeowner choices of a 10-year mortgage at a 2.875 percent rate, a 15-year mortgage at a 3.0 percent rate, as well as 20- and 25-year mortgage products at slightly higher rates.

Nationally, lenders expect to report residential refinancing activity totaled more than $630 billion in 2015, $128 billion more than a year ago, reports the Washington-based Mortgage Bankers Association.

Refinance agreements represented 37 percent of mortgage banking activity, according to the MBA.

Many variables in decision

Is refinancing right for every homeowner?

While online financing companies such as Quicken Loans and Lending Tree have streamlined the application process, refinancing is not an easy decision because there can be so many variables, say financial experts.

Even the most savvy person might need the advice of a professional financial planner or lending officer.

Refinancing is not a one-size-fits-all, said Kevin Deaton, a vice president with Gateway Mortgage, 1202 60th St. Homeowners have to assess their situations and determine whether it really makes sense for them to refinance.

Although a homeowner may be able to refinance at a lower mortgage rate, the difference between the current rate and the new lower rate may not be great enough to make a difference.

Time is a consideration, say financing experts. A homeowner who only plans to stay in a house for a few more years may not want to refinance.

They must ask themselves how many years do they plan to stay in the home? Thats important because there are costs associated with refinancing, Deaton said.

Someone who plans to sell within a few years may find that it might not be cost effective to refinance because they may not be in the home long enough to recoup the closing cost. They may want to put off refinancing and and save the money to spend on their new home.

The closing costs can vary depending upon the borrowers credit score and credit profile. Homeowners with a good payment record are more likely to pay less than those who have a record of late payments.

Other considerations:

You may not be able to significantly lower your payment unless you move into an adjustable rate mortgage. An adjustable rate mortgage may initially have a low rate, but even with a yearly rate increase cap, it can rise significantly over the years.

Moving from a 5 percent, 30-year fixed rate to a 4.5 percent, 30-year-fixed rate mortgage would not be substantial enough.

The long-term costs may be too high. A homeowner, several years into a 30-year mortgage, has already paid a lot of interest and little of the principal. Refinancing into a 15-year mortgage could increase the monthly payment to a level he may not be able to afford.

Refinancing: Two scenarios

Lower mortgage rates and increased advertising by online lenders have brought refinancing to top of mind for some homeowners.

While some homeowners are enticed by the mortgage rates that have dipped below 4 percent, others are considering refinancing to reduce the terms, lower the number of payments or the number of years they will have to pay their mortgages.

Refinancing can allow a homeowner to use some of the accumulated equity to finance a college education, make home repairs, or even reduce household debt. It also can allow a homeowner to save tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments.

Local mortgage lenders have been busy helping homeowners refinance for a variety of reasons.

Here are two examples of homeowners who have refinanced their mortgages over the past three weeks.

Scenario No. 1

A homeowner has just refinanced a $341,508, 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage that will have him paying $1,886.46 monthly $149.46 more than he had been paying.

However, he will save $104,086.63 during the life of the new 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage, according to Kevin Deaton, a vice president with Gateway Mortgage, 1202 60th St.

The homeowner lowered the mortgage rate from 4.875 percent to 3 percent and lowered the number of payments from 292 to 180.

Scenario No. 2

A young seasonal worker knew the winter months brought fewer hours and smaller paychecks than during the peak periods of the year. In addition to his monthly $1,163 payment on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, he paid $775 monthly on car and motorcycle loans.

With 51 payments remaining on the car and 30 payments left on the motorcycle for more than $29,300, he wanted to stabilize his budget and reduce the number of bills he had to make during the lean months.

Three years after buying the house for $115,000, the value increased to $184,000 through a combination of a market increase and renovations he made on the house. The homeowner, according to Mark Kuyawa, a mortgage banker with Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp., 7520 39th Ave., had significantly improved the value of his house.

He wanted to use some of the equity to reduce his overall debt. Therefore, he elected to refinance to another 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage at 4.37 percent, slightly higher than his previous 4 percent rate. The monthly payment increased to $1,423. However he was able to reduce the number of bills and save $515 monthly, or $6,180 yearly. The new loan is now $147,000.

It was his idea. He borrowed a percentage of the value and was able to reduce his overall debt. We sent the checks to pay off the vehicles and then we walked off with $5,300, a little money he can use as a cushion for later, Kuyawa said.

Tips on refinancing your mortgage

Record low interest rates are pushing people to consider refinancing their home mortgages. There are several reasons to consider refinancing your home:

Lower monthly payment. With decreasing interest rates, you can lower your monthly payment and the amount you pay in interest over time on the amount of your mortgage. Once you refinance, its easy to want to refinance every time the interest rates drop. However, by doing so, in the long run you will end up paying more in closing costs. Consider only financing when you can save 2 percent or more in interest.

Get a different type of loan. Your current mortgage may no longer be suitable or financially viable. For instance, if you have an adjustable rate mortgage, or ARM, you may want to switch to a fixed rate mortgage to lock in low interest rates.

Rid yourself of a balloon payment. If your current mortgage requires payment of a large balloon payment at the end of a specified period of time, you may want to refinance and negotiate a different type of loan so youre no longer required to pay a balloon payment.

Consolidate debt. Refinancing can help you consolidate some of your other debt into a home loan with a lower interest. Other types of debt such as car loans, credit card bills and school tuitions, typically have higher interest rates than home mortgages. These, as well as other types of debt, can be rolled into your home mortgage, allowing you to take advantage of the lower interest rates than what these loans have.

Cash in on home equity. You may want to refinance in order to get cash out of your home equity for large expenditures such as a childs college tuition, home remodeling projects or a new car purchase.

Source:, an independent research and review organization

Debt Consolidation USA Shares Financial Tips For Newlyweds

by Shelton on December 1st, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation USA shared in an article published recently on how newly married couples can manage their finances together. The article titled “6 Financial Tips For Newlyweds” takes a look at the new stage in a two people’s lives and dishes out handy tips to help them handle their finances as a couple.

Debt Consolidation USA Talks About Risks And Investments

by Shelton on November 27th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation USA shared in a recently published article some of the ways consumers can handle investment risks. The article titled “How To Manage Financial Risk As You Make Investments” looks at some tips people can use to help manage potential risks when investing and preparing for their future.

Covington’s Lendmark Financial Services to acquire 127 branches

by Shelton on November 27th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Lendmark Financial Services, LLC, based at 2118 Usher Street in Covington, has reached an agreement to acquire 127 branch offices and related loan assets from Springleaf Financial.

The move will extend Lendmarks presence into Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Ohio, Texas, Washington and California, while also expanding its presence in a number of the 13 states it already operates in.

With the acquisition Lendmark is set to become a leader in the consumer finance industry.

Since Lendmark started in 1996, weve built the company by employing both organic and acquisition growth strategies. This acquisition will expand our customer base and allow us to broaden our commitment to providing quality lending products and personal customer service to our customers and retail partners, said Bobby Aiken, Lendmark CEO.

Lendmark strives every day to be the lender, employer, and partner of choice.

In order to best support the new geographic footprint, Lendmark plans to create various centralized facilities and operations centers that will enable the company to effectively and efficiently serve branches, customers and merchants.

Completion of the transaction is subject to satisfaction of a number of customary closing conditions, including approval of the state licensing authorities in the states where the acquired branches are located. The parties have agreed that Lendmarks acquisition of the branches can be completed through multiple closings as the various state approvals are received. It is expected that the initial closing will occur in the spring of 2016. Barclays and Stephens acted as financial advisors to Lendmark in this transaction and fully committed financing is provided by Barclays and Goldman Sachs.

The Covington-based financial institution was founded in 1996, and offers personal loans, automobile loans, debt consolidation loans and merchant retail sales financing services.

Landmark has been great partners with the city of Covington, Covington Mayor Ronnie Johnston said. Were very, very happy about their success and continued growth. Were a willing and able partner, and we wish them the best.


by Shelton on November 26th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Orange, CA – November 19, 2015 – Credit card debt is a major concern for millions of Americans. According to government statistics, the average American owes over $15,000 in credit card debt. This leaves thousands of people wondering how to correct their financial problem. A debt settlement law firm based in Orange County, California, Brownstone Law Group, recently announced their expansion to offer debt relief solutions to thousands of people throughout California.

Based in Orange County, Brownstone Law Group also offers services in San Diego and Los Angeles. The skilled and dedicated debt settlement lawyers at each branch offer several debt relief services to the area, including Debt Negotiation, Debt Consolidation, Debt Settlement, and can also fileyour Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. A company representative meets with each client at any location outside the office to provide convenient, one-to-one counselling.

Debt Negotiation

Debt negotiation is a structured savings plan, specifically designed to help people reduce unsecured debt. This savings plan allows consumers to set aside a certain amount of money each month to pay off creditors.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation services help consumers, particularly those with credit card debt, by bundling all of their unsecured debt. Bundling multiple overdue bills into one monthly payment makes it easier for consumers to pay off their debt over time.

Debt Settlement

In a debt settlement case, debt settlement companies will represent the consumer to their creditors in order to negotiate a reduced settlement. With this service, the debt settlement attorneys at Brownstone Law Group can contact a clients creditors on their behalf to negotiate a settlement amount – potentially lowering the total overdue amount, making it easier for clients to make manageable payments. Results vary and are not guaranteed.


There are two primary bankruptcy chapters available to California residents: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Each of these chapters includes specific qualifications and offer certain advantages and disadvantages to borrowers. The knowledgeable attorneys at Brownstone Law Group will discuss bankruptcy options and help clients determine which option would be best for their situation.

Too often, families endure financial hardships – loss of jobs, layoffs, etc. These hardships often require families to borrow money or place transactions on their credit card in order to lsquo;stay afloat. However, what often happens is that this credit accumulates over time, eventually becoming a financial catastrophe. The skilled debt settlement lawyers at Brownstone Law Group offer debt relief and consolidation to help families all over the state of California get out of debt, for some, in as little as 48 months.

Brownstone Law Group is a respected member of the legal community offering personalized, custom tailored debt settlement programs to the residents of California. They are pleased to expand their service to all of California beginning immediately.

If you would like more information, please contact Thomas A. Moore at 323-443-7136 or visit

Attorney Advertisement: This article has been reviewed and approved by Thomas A. Moore, managing attorney Brownstone Law Group, PC. California Bar #148698. This article is for informational purposes only, does not provide legal or tax advice of any kind or form any type of attorney/client relationship. This article was published on November 19, 2015.

Media Contact
Company Name: Brownstone Law Group
Contact Person: Thomas A. Moore
Phone: 323-443-7136
Address:333 City Blvd W. #1700
City: Orange
State: CA
Country: United States

Financial Planning Tips: 4 Easy Ways to Save More Money

by Shelton on November 25th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

In todays world, with costs rising and your paycheck not drastically increasing each few months, it can be tough to save money. Pinching your pennies may go so far, but there are some simple changes that you can make in the meanwhile that can help you save even more. Be prepared to save more money. Well deliver some simple, helpful financial planning tips and saving tips that can allow you to get back on the track to being ahead with your budget.

Dine In; Save More

Eating out is one of the greatest, most wasteful expenses that anyone can incur. You are paying a lot more for the food than you really need to be. Take a quick look at your bank statements. Pour through them and highlight every time that youve dined out – whether thats a cup of coffee or a three-course dinner – over the past year. You will quickly see that this is how much money that you could have saved instead.

Erase Bad Debt

Bad debt is toxic. The interest fees really hold you back and prevent you from getting it paid off in a timely manner. Credit card debt, for example, can hound you for decades if you just pay the minimum payment due. Consider taking out a debt consolidation loan to wrap all these debts up into one lower interest debt that you pay off sooner.

Avoid Financing Anything

A good rule of thumb to stay ahead with your finances is this. If you do not have the cash to afford to buy something, then do not buy it. Only finance if you are in an emergency situation. Doing so will prevent from accruing too much debt, which is the very reason you are likely reading this article to begin with.

Downsize Your Lifestyle

Take things down a notch. What bills can you extricate from your budget that will enable you to get ahead with your finances? Do you really need that cable bill, four cell phone lines and a few online premium accounts that you rarely use? Assess your budget from top to bottom and you will quickly realize that there are many areas that you can curb cost and save more money. In no time, you can find yourself comfortably back on top, right where you should be.

Visit, The Destination for Americans 50+ for stories that matter to you covering financial, health, beauty, style, travel, news, lifestyle, food, entertainment and sports.

Don’t Ignore Boomers: Raddon

by Shelton on November 25th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

While millennials receive widespread attention, financial institutions must not neglect the needs of baby boomers, a demographic nearly as large, according to results of the Lombard, Ill.-based Raddon Financial Groups study.

The report, which focused on consumers with an annual income of $125,000, found baby boomers considered saving money for retirement, having extra funds for emergency purposes and reducing taxes on savings and investments their top three financial priorities.

Servicing their diverse financial needs, such as asset growth, wealth/estate planning, debt reduction and retirement preparedness, will contribute to the relationships financial institutions cultivate with this demographic, Raddon said.

The report also said high-income consumers may be more willing to take on higher debt levels, due to higher paying jobs or more financial resources. However, financial institutions may want to consider offering streamlined solutions in debt consolidation and payment methods, particularly for baby boomers. Looking at current loan balances, including mortgages, consumer loans, and credit card balances, approximately four in 10 high-income baby boomers have debt levels greater than $100K.

High-income consumers are not a homogeneous group; they exhibit unique financial behaviors, Raddon research professional Lynne Cornelison wrote in a blog post.

Although categorized as affluent, boomer channel preferences, saving and investing habits, and debt levels varied widely, she added.

The conventional wisdom is that higher earners are more prepared than other retiree classes for retirement, having saved more and dwindled down debt. This is true for some, but not for all, Cornelison wrote.

When asked about their comfort level in making investment decisions, 32% of baby boomers said they prefer to receive advice on where to invest the majority of their money, and an additional 28% indicated they would be open to advice on where to invest some of their money.

In addition, findings show 67% of baby boomers were extremely or very concerned with knowing how much money theyll need to retire and maintain their quality of life in retirement, and 58% were concerned about reducing debt levels prior to entering their retirement years.

Prosper Review: Personal Loans from Your Peers

by Shelton on November 24th, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

  • Someone with poor credit
  • Someone who can pay off a 0% balance transfer before the interest-free period is up
  • Someone who lives in Maine, Iowa, or North Dakota

Compare best personal loans

In this article:

What is P2P lending?
Personal loans via Prosper: The basics
Where personal loans via Prosper shine
For a Prosperous tomorrow, click here
Where personal loans via Prosper fall short
Personal loans via Prosper versus other options
Should you consider a personal loan via Prosper?

What is P2P lending?

P2P lending is a relatively new option in the financial marketplace, so you might not be totally familiar with the ins and outs of it. Let’s go over the essentials before diving into the features of personal loans via Prosper.

In short, P2P lending connects investors with borrowers. The investor puts up a chunk of change to fund borrowers’ loans, which are then paid back over time. The investor makes a return based on how much risk she’s willing to take on; the borrower benefits from being able to obtain a loan quickly and at a better rate than she would likely get with another lender.

Usually, many different investors will fund each loan. But as the borrower, you won’t have contact with the investors; you’ll simply make one monthly payment to the P2P company (in this case, Prosper), and it will take care of the rest.

Personal loans via Prosper: The basics

Before diving into some of the really special features Prosper offers, let’s go over the basics of the personal loans they facilitate:

  • You can borrow between $2,000 and $35,000.
  • You’ll pay an origination fee of 1%-5%, depending on your Prosper loan rating, the length of your loan’s term, and whether you’ve used a personal loan via Prosper in the past.
  • As of Sept. 4, 2015, APRs range from 5.99%-35.97%. Your APR will depend on your Prosper loan rating, the length of your loan’s term, and whether you’ve used a personal loan via Prosper in the past.
  • Prosper loan ratings range from AA (the highest) to HR (the lowest).
  • Prosper assigns your loan rating based on a variety of personal financial factors, including your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio, and your employment history.
  • Loans are facilitated on a 36 or 60-month terms.
  • The minimum credit score needed to obtain a personal loan via Prosper is 640.

The steps to applying for a personal loan via Prosper are quick and easy:

  • Visit Prosper’s personal loan application page and fill out a very brief online form.
  • When you submit it, Prosper will perform a soft credit check – this allows them to provide an accurate series of loan options without impacting your credit score. Your credit score won’t be impacted.
  • After reviewing your loan offers, you can pick the one that’s best suited to your needs.
  • Now you’ll provide a little more information about yourself (Social Security number, employer information, etc.) and a hard credit check is performed. Prosper will also verify the other personal information you provided on the initial form.
  • Next, you’ll review the loan’s disclosure statements and electronically agree to its terms.
  • At this point, Prosper will put your loan up on its site and investors will fund it (don’t worry, investors won’t see any of your personal information).
  • When the loan is fully funded, Prosper will conduct a verification check that may require you to provide additional documents.
  • Once you’re verified, the money will be transferred to your linked account and the origination fee will be deducted before the deposit is made. You’re now free to move forward with using your funds for their designated purpose.

Where personal loans via Prosper shine

When it comes to personal lending, there are lots of benefits to choosing P2P lenders in general. But there are some really good reasons to opt for Prosper in particular, including:

Easy application process – One of the best things about the personal loan application Prosper uses to vet potential borrowers is its simplicity. You probably won’t spend more than five minutes filling out the initial form (it only took this Nerd three minutes to complete it), and your loan options are generated in a matter of seconds. This makes the process of getting your loan fast and easy.

Funds are available fast – According to Itzik Cohen, vice president of business development at Prosper, the time between application and origination for most borrowers is only about two and a half days. That’s incredibly fast, especially compared to working with a conventional bank or credit union to obtain a personal loan. This is something to consider if you need funds fast.

Low rates – Most P2P facilitators are able to offer significantly lower rates to borrowers than brick-and-mortar lenders, and Prosper is no exception. With APRs as low as 5.99% (as of October 2015), you could score a killer deal on your personal loan if you choose to work with Prosper.

Focus on customer service – According to Cohen, Prosper has invested a lot of resources in creating an outstanding customer service experience. For instance, staff members are available by phone to answer questions during the loan application or funding process. Plus, the company’s website is easy to navigate, chock full of information, and highly transparent. All this means that even though the steps to obtaining a loan through Prosper’s online platform are simple, plenty of help is available if an unexpected issue arises.

For a Prosperous tomorrow, click here

Aside from the features discussed above, another great reason to consider getting a personal loan on Prosper’s platform is the flexibility you’ll be afforded in terms of how to use the funds. If you’re savvy, you could leverage that low-cost chunk of change to create a brighter financial future. In fact, an overwhelming majority of borrowers use the personal loan they’ve obtained via Prosper to do just that.

For instance, Cohen emphasized in a call that the most popular reason people opt for a personal loan via Prosper is to refinance or consolidate high interest credit card debt. Not only will these borrowers save money on interest, but it’s likely that converting revolving credit card debt into an installment loan will help their credit scores, too. In the long run, this will allow them to qualify for loans or credit cards on good terms.

Besides debt consolidation, Cohen stated that two other common reasons borrowers work with Prosper is to obtain funds for a home renovation project or finance a purchase for their small business. Again, these types of purchases will add to the long-term value of the borrower’s home or business. Talk about working towards a prosperous tomorrow!

Where personal loans via Prosper fall short

Although there are a lot of perks to using Prosper’s platform to obtain a personal loan, there are also a few shortcomings to be aware of. For example:

Need excellent credit to get the best rates – If you’re looking for a personal loan at a decent rate and don’t have excellent credit, you might be having a tough time. Most lenders require good credit just to qualify and excellent credit to get a good rate. Prosper is no exception you’ll need at least a 640 credit score to be considered, and Cohen stated that Prosper isn’t working with borrowers with poor credit as of October 2014.  And remember, excellent credit is required if you want to land a really low rate. If this doesn’t sound like you, a personal loan via Prosper might not be a good fit.

Only traditional lending criteria are considered – Although getting a personal loan can be a challenge, there are a few innovative P2P platforms out there today that use nontraditional factors to make lending decisions. This can be helpful to people with poor credit. Unfortunately, Prosper isn’t one of them. You’ll need to have pretty traditional financial credentials on your side in order to qualify for a loan, including a good credit (see above), a solid employment history, a low debt-to-income ratio. If you don’t have those factors working in your favor, you might be better off with one of the less conventional P2P lenders.

Not available in all states – As of October 2014, Prosper cannot facilitate loans in Maine, Iowa, or North Dakota, due to state regulations. If you live in one of those states, a personal loan via Prosper isn’t available – you’ll have to look elsewhere for your personal lending needs.

Personal loans via Prosper versus other options

A personal loan via Prosper certainly isn’t the only choice out there if you’re looking to refinance debt or come up with some extra funds. Let’s see how this product stacks up to the competition:

Personal loans via Prosper vs. a credit card balance transfer

If you’re interested in refinancing high interest credit card debt, one way to do so is with a credit card balance transfer. You’ll need excellent credit to qualify for a 0% deal, but if you do, you’ll usually have between 6 and 12 months of interest-free payments. If you think you can get your debt paid off in this period of time, a balance transfer might make sense – after all, it’s better to pay no interest than even the low rate you’d get on a personal loan via Prosper.

But be sure to watch out for the balance transfer fee, which is usually 3% of the total amount you’re moving onto the new card. This could be higher than the origination fee you’d pay with a personal loan via Prosper, depending on your creditworthiness. However, there is a card on the market that will give you a long 0% period (see below) and waive the balance transfer fee if you complete your transfer within 60 days of opening the account: the Chase Slate®. This is the best of both worlds, so it’s an option worth considering.

One more word of warning about balance transfers: Be sure to make your payments on time. If you don’t, your deal could be canceled and you might have to start paying interest right away. Making this mistake could cost you more than you’d pay with a personal loan via Prosper, so think carefully before pulling the trigger.

Debt Consolidation USA Talks About Learning From Financial Challenges

by Shelton on November 23rd, 2015

filed under Debt Consolidation

Debt Consolidation USA shared in a recently published article some of the ways consumers can benefit from financial challenges in their life. The article titled, “Benefits Of Experiencing Financial Challenges,” looks at some of the lessons to be learned when a consumer goes broke and has nothing left financially.