Calling themselves “the future of personal finance,” MoneyLion is a data-driven personal loan provider who also offers free credit monitoring, money and wealth management tools, along with a points and rewards program.
Because of this “360 degree approach” to financial health, MoneyLion tells us they’ve originated over 120,000 loans to date.
But can they really give you peace of mind and help you make smarter decisions? Are they a viable way of managing your finances, or are they just another personal loan provider?
To help you find answers to these (and other) questions, we performed some in-depth research of our own. We also had the opportunity to speak with MoneyLion’s Director of Marketing & Customer Engagement, Tony Ouyang.
To kick things off, let’s take a closer look at what MoneyLion has to offer.
What Products & Services Does MoneyLion Offer?
Overall, MoneyLion delivers five different products and services:
Loans & Other Credit Products
More than anything else, MoneyLion is a lender who provides unsecured (you won’t be required to have collateral) personal loans between $1,000 and $35,000, which can be used for whatever you want, without restrictions.
Whereas many other personal lenders might focus on prime customers (those with a 680+ credit score), Tony tells us that MoneyLion offers loans across the “entire credit spectrum.” These include:
- MoneyLion Loans – If you have an excellent (prime or near prime) credit history, you may qualify for these loans at low interest rates, which we’ll talk more about in a second.
- LionLoans – According to Tony, if you have a credit score lower than 580, or you need to take control of your finances with a starter loan, these smaller loans might be ideal. However, they’ll also come with higher interest rates.
If you’re interested in one of these loans, MoneyLion claims you can check rates and receive a prequalification in 5 minutes, which won’t affect your credit score. If you decide to apply, they’ll then pull a “hard” inquiry.
After approval, you’ll be able to sign your loan agreement electronically and the funds will generally be deposited into your checking account the next business day.
What Interest Rates will You Pay on Your MoneyLion Loan?
Tony tells us that the interest rates on their MoneyLion loan—the prime option we discussed above—start at 7% and go up to 29.99%. Loans with an APR above 29.99% are made by state licensed subsidiaries.
He also noted that—like most other personal lenders—your normal APR will be based on a combination of credit score (typically aggregated from all three bureaus), income, and employment.
Outside of this interest and a 2 – 6% origination fee, there are no other fees associated with MoneyLion loans. You’ll be able to pay it off at any time, without penalty.
In addition to their simple, low fee structure, one of the unique things about MoneyLion is their rewards program, which is what we’ll discuss next.
The MoneyLion Rewards Program
Every time you “display financial responsibility” and receive endorsements on your MoneyLion account, you’ll earn rewards, such as gift cards to popular stores like Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Starbucks, and more— and credits when you receive endorsements that can get you up to a 15% discount on your loan’s APR.
What, exactly, is meant by “financial responsibility”? Tony told us this involves a combination of five different elements:
- Connecting with MoneyLion – This is the “getting to know you” phase, which constitutes actions that can help verify your identity and reduce fraud, such as connecting social profiles and confirming your email/mobile number.
- Borrowing Habits – Making loan payments and paying off your balance on time.
- Financial Habits – Connecting credit cards and bank accounts, increasing your savings by 5%, viewing your net worth, avoiding late fees, etc. As Tony put it, “Just doing the right thing.”
- Credit Habits – Enrolling in their free credit monitoring service, increasing your credit score, keeping your credit utilization below 10%, and more.
- Helping the MoneyLion Community – Writing reviews, having other MoneyLion users upvote your reviews, etc.
From a social perspective, Tony mentioned that friends and family can provide endorsements on your account. From there, every 5 endorsements get you a 2.5% APR reduction, which caps out at 15%.
However, he emphasized that an endorsement does not carry any legal ramifications (such as cosigning for the loan holder). Only that these individuals are “supporting you in improving your financial situation and habits.”
Important note: The rate reductions above are percentages off the APR—not discounts off the APR itself. For example, if you qualify for an APR of 20% and have 30 or more Endorsements for a 15% discount, then your resulting APR will be 17%.
Personal Financial Management Tools
According to the company, MoneyLion’s iPhone and Android personal financial management apps can help you:
- Get personalized “Tips For You” based on your credit score and spending patterns to help you manage your credit and save money.
- View transactions across all your accounts
- Identify spending categories, track expenses, and stay on budget
- Track your savings and net worth over time, updated daily
- Receive mobile alerts if unusual spending is noted on your account, or if your bank balance drops too low (avoid bank fees!)
In other words, these features might be able to help you manage your day-to-day spending and savings while on the go.
An Example of MoneyLion’s main dashboard, which displays rewards, Tips For You, endorsements, active loans, credit information, financial tracking, and more. Image credit: MoneyLion
An example of MoneyLion’s mobile app dashboard. Image credit: MoneyLion
TransUnion Credit Monitoring
MoneyLion’s credit monitoring service is provided free of charge through TransUnion, and is available whether you’re a MoneyLion loan customer or not. To enroll, simply enter some basic information and confirm your identity.
Then, MoneyLion promises to deliver your credit score “in seconds” and provide a comprehensive analysis of important factors related to your credit. On top of this, you’ll be able to keep track of your credit, simulate how different financial decisions affect it (e.g. taking out a new loan, transferring a balance to a new card, paying off all your cards, etc.), and get real time alerts whenever changes occur to your account.
Tony let us know that MoneyLion also recently rolled out a feature where they’ll run different financial simulations on your behalf and provide “Credit Monitoring Tips” on how you can better manage your credit score.
Credit Card Reviews
Here, you’ll find dozens of different credit cards available for review; everything from balance transfer cards to ones with low APRs.
What Are MoneyLion’s Customers Reviews Saying?
MoneyLion, Inc. based out of New York, NY (with offices in San Francisco and Kuala Lumpur), has been in business since 2013.
On TrustPilot. MoneyLion had 66 individual reviews at the time of our research, with an average rating of 9.1 stars. There, common compliments referenced ease of use, excellent customer service, and fast turnaround times.
In fact, the only two negative complaints referenced high rates and lack of communication. In both instances, a representative reached out to the customer in an attempt to rectify the situation.
There were also 13 MoneyLion reviews on SuperMoney.com, where the company had a 4-star average rating.
Percentage-wise, there were more complaints here than on TrustPilot, many of which referenced unexpected denials and long funding times. Note: Many of these complaints were listed as ‘not recommended’ on SuperMoney.
As far as their apps, the iOS version of the MoneyLion app had an average rating of 4 stars based on a total of 43 reviews.
Most compliments seemed to reference ease of use (it appears to display much of the same information found in your personal dashboard) and solid design.
However, most complaints seemed related to technical issues, such as difficulty adding accounts. Most of the complaints appear to reference older versions of the app.
MoneyLion’s Android version had a similar 3.5-star average rating on Google Play, based on compliments that it’s a great tool for quick access to information and ease of use.
Many also complained, however, of technical issues like difficulty adding accounts, linking banking information, problems signing up, etc. Here again though, the company seemed to quickly respond to these complaints.
Are Personal Loans a Good Idea?
As positive as MoneyLion’s features might be in helping you improve your financial situation, in general, most financial professionals recommend avoiding personal loans. Why?
Unlike mortgages, which use your home as collateral, or auto loans that use your car, personal loans are often unsecured. As a result, they tend to come with higher interest rates that can add thousands to your repayment amount, and even keep you trapped in a cycle of debt in some instances.
Sure, they come with few stipulations, but you’ll pay (often greatly) for the convenience.
However, if you’re looking to consolidate credit cards, refinance student loans, improve your credit, or pay for a large expense like a wedding, (as long as the interest rate is lower than your credit cards), personal loans might not be a bad idea. Just make sure you only take out exactly what you need and pay it off as quickly as possible.
Is MoneyLion Just Another Personal Loan Provider?
MoneyLion tells us that they “use machine learning based algorithms and big data analytics to understand the financial needs of our clients and offer better rates than traditional lenders.”
But as you’ll learn during your research, there are dozens of lenders hopping on this new “algorithm” bandwagon, aimed at streamlining the application and approval process and getting customers their money faster.
Compared to other personal lending options, MoneyLion seems to focus on helping their customers maintain good credit and make smarter financial decisions, and their rewards program can help customers score lower interest rates on future loans.
And based on what Tony Ouyang, MoneyLion’s Director of Marketing told us during our conversation, this seems to set them apart from much of the competition and move them closer to their goal of “creating a holistic experience that enables you to reach financial wellness.”
Given this, as well as the general concerns surrounding personal loans and lack of online customer feedback, we might recommend applying for a MoneyLion loan—but only after you have all the important details in front of you, and you’re sure you can quickly pay it off.
Instead of leaving other potential customers in the dark, tell us about your experience with MoneyLion by writing a review below!