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Put the Power of Internet Lending in Your Hands

Since 1996, First Financial has provided personal loans for individuals and families of all incomes and assets. We’re proud to offer the most competitive rates for high-credit-score borrowers and high approval rates for those with fair, poor and bad credit. 

In over two decades of providing personal loans, we’ve learned that nearly all borrowers—including our fair, poor and bad credit borrowers—pay back their loans in full and on time. We’re most gratified when we learn that the personal loan, with an interest rate often half that of credit card rates, has helped our clients raise their credit scores and become more financially stable. 

Borrowing a reasonable amount helps our clients with all kinds of unexpected expenses. “Financial fragility” still plagues many Americans. Wages have not grown to keep pace with soaring housing and education costs. Research from credit bureau Experian reveals that 60% of Americans carry an average of four credit cards. Balances they carry run from $3,000 for high school educated borrowers to over $8,000 for those with college degrees. While credit scores vary widely by age group and education level, today about 40% of Americans have “subprime” credit or scores under 680. 

Given the excellent job our “subprime” borrowers have done making their payments on time and closing out their personal loans with no issues, we are happy to serve this clientele. 

Key Details of the Online Personal Loan

  • No credit-check application
  • Loan amounts up to $2,500
  • Approval within minutes
  • Funds arrive in your account within 48 hours
  • Fixed rates of 7.99-29.99% APR
  • A lump sum payout of your loan
  • Repayment period options of 12, 24, 36, 48 or 60 months
  • No pre-payment penalties
  • Banking-level online security

When the Personal Loan Is Better than the Credit Card

The credit card offers that come in the mail make solving short-term financial issues seem easy, but the personal loan is nearly always the better option. 

Categorized as “revolving debt,” credit cards’ flexibility create convenience that justifies higher interest rates. People are willing to accept up to 29.99% interest rates because, often, they plan their purchases off by the end of the month, generating no interest charge. If the borrower doesn’t pay off the purchase—and most don’t; see above statistics—they pay a big chunk more for the purchase. 

The personal loan is a “fixed” and “unsecured” loan. There is just one amount that must be paid off in the same amount month after month. This certainty means lenders feel safe enough to charge far less in interest. It’s “unsecured” because there is no collateral involved. Because car and home loans are “secured” by the assets they purchased, these loans have the lowest interest rates. If you were to default on your car or home payments, the bank can legally seize these assets, recouping their money. The personal loan, often used to pay for an event, usually doesn’t involve assets. 

Paying the personal loan’s lower interest rates is a relief, but raising your credit score —the personal loan’s other big advantage—also boosts your financial stability. Credit bureaus like to see personal loans on your credit history for four reasons:

  • The personal loan signals the credit bureaus that you are serious about paying your debt. 
  • They know that with lower interest rates, you’ll have more money to make your monthly payments, keeping your score high. 
  • Different types of loans in your “credit mix” indicate you are a conscientious consumer who seeks the best borrowing opportunities. 
  • The money in your personal loan doesn’t figure into your “credit utilization ratio.” The credit bureaus like to see that you’re using less than half of the credit you’re approved for. If you have low or no balances on your credit cards, credit bureaus raise your score. 

Personal Loan Eligibility Criteria May Surprise You

The days of gathering reams of financial statements to take to a bank and ask for a loan are long gone. Today’s lenders simply confirm your information online. The money appears in your bank account within 48 hours. Like all participants in the banking and lending industries, First Financial protects all applicant information and funds with 256-bit, banking level encryption, the most rigorous security permitted by the U.S. Treasury Department. 

You Probably Qualify for a Loan

700 and Above – Very good to excellent. We will have no problems giving you a loan with a credit score of 700 or above.

680 to 699 – This credit score puts you in the ” Good / Fair” category. That one point between good and very good to excellent credit generally makes little difference to lenders.

620 to 679 – If your credit score falls into this range, you fall into the “Okay”or “fair” category. The closer your score is to 679, the better. 620 is considered to be a “par” credit rating.

580 to 619 – While you aren’t in the “Bad” category yet, you are teetering on the edge if your credit score falls in this range. You are officially in the “poor” credit category.

500 to 580– You can still get credit in this scoring range. More information may be required.

499 and below – Yes, even with as score of 499 or below you may still be extended credit. More information may be required.

Loan on the Go: The Advantages of Online Borrowing

Dealing in person with a banker in a physical location no longer serves the typical busy borrower. First Financial’s internet-only structure and automation keeps your loan information at your fingertips and always available. With banking-level security protecting borrowers, every step from the initial application to the loan termination is secure. 

Better yet, lower marketing and overhead costs keep loan rates the lowest they can possibly be. 

Throughout the life of your loan, you’ll use your lender’s app to:

  • Make monthly payments from your mobile device or laptop
  • Update your address and logins at any time
  • Make an additional payment or set up and change monthly payments
  • Review loan statements
  • Check your loan balances as often as you like. 

A+ Better Business Bureau rated First Financial was one of the first to champion online lending. We continue to research and add any innovations that will save our borrowers money and time and keep their funds and personal information protected. 

Online lending also means you never have to explain to a banker what you need the funds for. Our algorithms don’t care whether you need the personal loan for these typical reasons: 

  • A wedding, honeymoon or funeral
  • Home renovations
  • Car or computer repair 
  • Car, RV or boat purchase
  • Debt consolidation
  • Moving expenses

Even if your reason for needing the personal loan isn’t on this list, no other person will know what it is! 

Personal Loans for Fair and Bad Credit: How We Do It

For too long, personal loan approvals depended on one metric: the credit score. We’ve found that one-dimensional measurement falls far short when determining trustworthiness. We asked our financial analysts to add many more details to give us a deeper picture of each borrower’s financial habits. When we review an application, we take into account “alternative” borrower data like consistent payment of rent, utilities and cell phones, as well as asset ownership. Our comprehensive application has allowed us to approve loans to many more Americans than traditional banks. 

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve covered a lot above, but if you have more questions, make sure to review the answers here. 

Which personal loans use Experian?

Most lenders rely on some data from Experian to determine your credit-worthiness. This said, as mentioned above, our lenders use more criteria than the credit score to determine approval.  

Do personal loans build credit?

Yes. As mentioned above, the credit bureaus raise your score when they see you are making responsible steps to pay off your credit card debts. They also reward borrowers with several types of loans and those who utilize less than half of their credit card limits. 

Are personal loans secured or unsecured debt?

With secured loans like auto and home loans, lenders can take the car or house should the borrower stop making payments. The personal loan often doesn’t involve a valuable asset for the lender to recoup, therefore, it is “unsecured” debt. 

Do personal loans affect credit?

When used for debt consolidation, the personal loan improves credit. When used to make a purchase, the personal loan does not affect your credit score. 

How does a personal loan affect a mortgage application?

The loan itself doesn’t affect a mortgage application. Rather, your habits in making your payments do. Consistent late payments reduce your credit score which could disqualify you from getting a mortgage. On the other hand, responsible, on-time payments raise your credit score, increasing your odds for mortgage approval. 

When are personal loans a good idea?

Personal loans have the best impact on your finances when you use them to consolidate credit card debt at a lower interest rate. You not only save money, you impress the credit bureaus which raise your credit score. 

What are the top reasons personal loan applications rejected?

  • Insufficient income
  • Late payments
  • Recent bankruptcy
  • Missing information – the lender may call your employer to verify employment
  • Unstable employment
  • Too much debt

What parts of personal loans are tax-deductible?

Personal loan interest is not deductible unless you used a portion of the funds for legitimate business use. 

Are personal loans taxed?

Personal loans are not considered income unless the lender grants the borrower “loan forgiveness,” a rare occurrence in the lending world. 

Can personal loans be paid off early?

All of First Financial’s lenders allow borrowers to pre-pay loan balances with no penalty. 

Can personal loans be in joint names?

Yes. The lender then examines the financial history of each applicant. Borrowers can use either a joint loan or a co-signer. In both cases, two or more borrowers are responsible for payments. 

Can personal loans be deferred?

No. 

Can personal loans be discharged in bankruptcy?

Yes. 

What’s the maximum personal loan amount?

Lenders in the First Financial network cap personal loan limits at $2,500.* If you pay off your loan on time, your chances of securing a second loan in the future are excellent.

Will the lender ask what I’ll use the funds for?

No. You can use personal loan funds for any reason. 

I have bad credit. Can I still qualify for a personal loan?

Yes. Because technology has reduced overhead and labor costs, online lenders can take more risks on borrowers with less-than-perfect credit. More, First Financial uses more data than the credit score to determine eligibility. Today, we lend to more applicants at better rates.  

The lender you work with could have more requirements, but most lend to bad credit applicants regularly.

How does First Financial protect my information and privacy?

Both online lenders and traditional banks must use 256-bit encryption from Norton Secured powered by Symantec as well as McAfee Secure to scan our site daily for malicious software.

I’m paid via my job and pension benefits. Which should I enter on my application?

The bottom line is showing at least $800 each month in income. If one source isn’t sufficient, you will need to include both. Lenders accept income from pensions, social security, disability, and more. 

You’ve asked for my employer’s phone number. Will my lender contact my employer?

Most lenders must verify your employment. They are prohibited from discussing your financial situation. Always include your employer’s main number and how long you’ve been employed there.

 

 

 

 

First Financial

First Financial® Corporate Headquarters: 2850 Womble Road Suite 100-604 San Diego, CA 92106

Client Service Center:  Main: 1-800-315-7791 Fax: 1-800-215-0217 (Monday–Friday 5:00am–6:00pm Pacific or 8:00am–9:00pm Eastern)

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