Comparison shopping covers virtually every product and service imaginable. Whether its cars, insurance, electronics, or hotels – we as everyday consumers can now access the very best deals at the click of a button.
As such, it comes as no surprise to learn that the comparison website phenomenon has very quickly made its way to the traditional lending arena.
This is where the likes of LendingTree are looking to capitalize. Among a number of other financing products, LendingTree seeks to find you the best deal possible on home and personal loans.
However, as with any third-party comparison platform, you need to understand whether or not they have your best interests at heart. As such, if you’re thinking about using LendingTree to help find you a loan, be sure to read our comprehensive guide first.
Let’s start by finding out what LendingTree actually is.
What is LendingTree?
- 1 What is LendingTree?
- 2 LendingTree: Personal Loans
- 3 Do I Qualify for a LendingTree Personal Loan?
- 4 Will Applying for a Personal Loan Through LendingTree Affect my Credit Score?
- 5 LendingTree Home Loans
- 6 Home Loan Lenders at LendingTree
- 7 LendingTree Customer Service
- 8 Customer Reviews of LendingTree
- 9 LendingTree Home and Personal Loans: The Verdict?
- 10 LendingTree
- 11 Pros
- 12 Cons
LendingTree is a Charlotte-based online marketplace for all-things loans. While the platform’s two hallmark offerings are personal and home loans, it also covers a number of other financial products. This includes credit cards, insurance, home equity loans, student loans, and debt relief.
Although comparison lending platforms are a relatively new phenomenon, LendingTree was actually first launched way back in 1997. By gaining a huge headstart over its competitors, LendingTree now claims to be the largest lending marketplace in the US, subsequently saving Americans billions of dollars along the way.
As is standard practice in the comparison financing space, it’s a win-win situation for both the consumer and the platform alike.
From the perspective of the consumer, not only do you get to view the most competitively priced lending products via a single search, but the process also motivates institutions to keep their prices low as a means to compete for your business. From the perspective of LendingTree themselves, the platform is paid a fee by lenders for adding them to its network.
In terms of the types of lenders that LendingTree partners with, this can vary quite considerably. For example, the platform’s network can include anything from large-scale financial institutions to alternative lenders, such as those based on a peer-to-peer model.
So now that you have a better idea of what LendingTree is, in the next section of our review we are going to explore its personal loan offering.
LendingTree: Personal Loans
Otherwise referred to as a ‘Signature Loan’ personal loans allow you to borrow money to fund virtually anything. As you are not required to provide lenders with equity, personal loans are a form of unsecured debt.
In the case of LendingTree, there doesn’t appear to be any restrictions on the reason you need to obtain a personal loan. Whether it’s home improvements, credit card consolidation, medical expenses, car repairs or to fund a wedding, LendingTree has you covered.
The comparison platform allows you to apply for a personal loan at an amount between $1,000 to $50,000. There are no limits per-say on the specific length of the loan agreement, although this typically starts from 1 year.
In terms of the rates on offer, this will of course depend on the lenders that you are matched with. According to the platform themselves, this starts at 5.32% for those in possession of good credit, all the way up to a whopping 36%.
Do I Qualify for a LendingTree Personal Loan?
As LendingTree is not a lender, they themselves do not stipulate the terms of who can and cannot apply for a personal loan. In fact, the platform is suitable for all financial circumstances.
If you have good credit, then you’ll have no problems finding a cost-effective lender. On the other hand, LendingTree has also formed partnerships with lenders that consider loans from individuals with less than perfect credit.
LendingTree also makes the point that even if you have poor credit, or simply no credit history at all, you might still be able to qualify for a loan if you are able to use a cosigner. This is where a third-party individual (usually a friend or family member) cosigns the loan with you, and agrees to pay the loan on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so.
Will Applying for a Personal Loan Through LendingTree Affect my Credit Score?
Assessing whether or not a personal loan application will be marked on your credit report is absolutely crucial. The reason for this is that if credit bureau agencies like Experian see that you are applying for too much credit, it can actually have a detrimental impact on your FICO score.
In the case of LendingTree, the terminology used by the platform is somewhat confusing at first glance. Nevertheless, here’s how it works.
When you first go through the comparison process, you will initially be asked a range of questions by LendingTree. This will of course include the amount of money you want to borrow, and for how long.
However, you will also need to provide some personal information so that the platform can assess whether or not you are eligible, and if you are, what financing costs you will pay. This will include a questionnaire about your employment status, income, and current debt levels, and you will also be asked for your credit score.
Once you’ve answered the required questions, LendingTree will send your application out to its network of lenders. At this point of the application, lenders will use a soft credit check to assess your estimated rates. However, take note that these rates will be based on the information you provide. If you then decide to proceed with one of the deals that LendingTree finds you, the lender in question will perform a hard credit check.
LendingTree Home Loans
On top of the platform’s personal loan offering, LendingTree also has a strong presence in the home loan space. In terms of the actual process itself, this is very similar to applying for a personal loan. You simply need to answer a few questions about the type of home loan you are looking for, alongside information about your personal and financial circumstances. LendingTree will then do the rest.
However, you should remember that due to the sheer size and commitment of a home loan, the requirements are going to be a lot more stringent in comparison to a personal loan.
- First and foremost, you will need to have a FICO score of at least 620. If you’re making a joint application with your partner, there might be a bit of leeway on this.
- Moreover, you also need to make some considerations regarding down payments. Each home loan lender that LendingTree matches you up with will ultimately have their own requirements on this. However, it is likely that you will need to have a downpayment of at least 3.5% in order to qualify.
In this respect, you might be able to get assistance with a downpayment with a Federal-backed first-time or low-income buyer program.
In terms of how much you can borrow, the maximum home loan amount that you can apply for is $424,100. This is based on limits implemented by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, not LendingTree themselves. However, and once again, each lender that LendingTree has in its network will have its own limits, which could be less than this figure.
Home Loan Lenders at LendingTree
The network of lenders that have since partnered by LendingTree now stands at well over 1,500. As we noted earlier, this could be anything from a large, multinational financial institution, to a small, localized lender that specialize purely in mortgages. Either way, you have the chance to evaluate the fine points of each lender independently before proceeding with a home loan.
When you make a soft credit check application on the LendingTree website, it is important to note that the platform will forward your contact details onto the lenders within its network. This means that you might get inundated with both telephone calls and emails. Taking into account the number of lenders in the LendingTree network, this could very quickly become an annoyance.
Nevertheless, this vast network of partnered providers means that you will be presented with a number of options to choose from. For example, some lenders will even offer you the chance to obtain a home loan on an interest-only basis, while others will offer higher loan-to-value ratios.
As an additional pointer, you can also set-up home loan alerts with LendingTree. This means that should a new lender join the LendingTree network with a more competitive offer than you have already received, then LendingTree will send you an email notification.
LendingTree Customer Service
If you take out a home or personal loan via the LendingTree platform, it is important to remember that the loan is not with LendingTree. On the contrary, your agreement is with the lender that the comparison platform matched you with. As such, if you have any questions or concerns about your loan agreement, you will need to contact the lender directly.
Nevertheless, if you do have a requirement to speak with a member of the LendingTree team, you have a number of options.
You can either fill out an online form via the main website, or call them directly on 800-813-4620. Take note, the telephone support team work Monday-Thursday (8am-9pm EST), Friday (8am-8pm EST) and Saturday (10am-7pm EST).
Customer Reviews of LendingTree
In terms of customer reviews available in the public domain, LendingTree is very well received on TrustPilot. Across more than 6,839 individual reviews, the comparison platform has a TrustPilot score of 8.8/10.
On the other hand, there are a number of complaints about the LendingTree website that we should also make note of. Firstly, a lot of users have noted that although they have an excellent credit rating, they were still unable to get a loan offer of less than 14% APR.
Moreover, some customers have complained that LendingTree does not do enough to make hidden fees clearer when they present you with offers. For example, one user complained that they did not discover a $720 loan fee until the funds were deposited into their account. This should act as a further reminder that while LendingTree is often useful for finding the best deals in the market, you still need to your own homework on the loan before signing the agreement.
Finally, there have also been reports about malicious lenders that have managed to join the LendingTree network. Once these so-called lenders have your personal information, they will then contact you with ‘industry-leading’ loan rates.
However, this is just a ploy to get you to pay an advance fee. As such, always research the lender prior to proceeding with your application, especially if they are not a well-established institution that you know of.
LendingTree Home and Personal Loans: The Verdict?
In summary, LendingTree is a really useful platform in finding the best home and personal loans in the market. Ordinarily, you would be required to visit the website of each lender individually, which can be a highly time consuming process. Instead, you simply enter your requirements alongside some personal information, and LendingTree will present you with the best deals on offer.
We also like the fact that searching via the LendingTree comparison tool will not affect your credit report. As a soft credit check, the application will only appear on your report if you decide to proceed with one of the offers that LendingTree finds for you.
With that being said, it is important to remember that LendingTree is just a comparison website. Once you proceed with a loan, you will then need to deal directly with the lender in question. As such, you should always perform your own independent research on the lender prior to finalizing your application. This is especially important with respect to fees, as some lenders are more upfront on their charges than others.