While both First Tech and LendingClub offer personal loans, the products are very different. First Tech has lower rates and a wider range of loan amounts. That being said, you won’t need to be a credit union member to qualify for a loan from LendingClub.
First Tech vs. LendingClub at a glance
First Tech is a federal credit union with low rates on its personal loans. It has the more competitive offer — but LendingClub may be a better choice if you don’t want to join a credit union just to borrow a loan.
|Better for||Low rates||Joint loans|
|Loan amounts||$500 to $50,000||$1,000 to $40,000|
|APRs||As low as 8.99%||9.57% to 35.99%|
|Loan term lengths||24 to 84 months||36 to 60 months|
|Fees||Optional fees||3% to 8% origination fee|
|Minimum credit score||695||600|
|Time to funding||As soon as the same business day||Within four days|
First Tech personal loans
First Tech is a federal credit union based in Oregon. While you don’t need to live or work in Oregon to qualify for membership, you will still need to open an account to borrow a personal loan.
And it may be worth it if you have good to excellent credit. First Tech’s starting APR is 8.99 percent — which is on the lower end of the market. It only charges late fees after a 10-day grace period, and you can borrow as little as $500 with same-day turnaround.
Aside from requiring membership, there are only a few downsides to a personal loan from First Tech. You can’t add a co-borrower to your application, and you will need credit on the higher end of the spectrum to get the lowest rates.
- Low starting loan amount.
- Competitive rates.
- Quick funding timeline.
- Membership required.
- Good to excellent credit required.
- No joint applications.
LendingClub personal loans
LendingClub is an online lender that offers personal loans up to $40,000. It doesn’t offer the best rates, but it is a good choice if you haven’t been able to qualify with other lenders. It is also a great choice if you want to apply with a co-borrower since it offers joint applications.
However, you will need to be prepared to pay extra in fees. LendingClub charges an origination fee between 3 percent to 8 percent of your loan amount, which can really cut into how much you borrow. Combined with a high maximum APR and a slow funding timeline, LendingClub may be better for checking your rates after you’ve applied with other lenders.
- Joint applications accepted.
- May accept fair credit.
- Option to change payment due date.
- 3% to 8% origination fee.
- High potential APR.
- Slow loan funding timeline.
How to choose between First Tech and LendingClub
First Tech is likely the better option if you are willing to join the credit union. It has lower overall rates, better loan terms and no fees. But if you want to avoid opening a new account or don’t qualify with First Tech, LendingClub may be a solid option, especially if you want to add a co-borrower.
First Tech has low rates
First Tech wins out over LendingClub in a few categories. Namely, its low rates. Not only does its APR start at a relatively competitive 8.99 percent, but it is capped at 18 percent. First Tech also offers a quick turnaround, a wide range of loan amounts and minimal fees. All told, it is a solid option for almost any borrower.
However, you will need to have good to excellent credit to qualify. If you don’t, there is no co-borrower option that lets you boost your application. You will also need to open an account. And while being eligible for membership isn’t difficult, it is an added step you won’t need to take if you choose an online lender like LendingClub.
LendingClub has joint loans
LendingClub is one of the few online lenders that accepts joint applications. This allows you to borrow with another person.
However, you should keep an eye on its fees. An origination fee may not seem like a large burden at first, but it subtracts from the total amount you are able to borrow. And LendingClub’s long turnaround might make it a poor choice if you’re facing an emergency.
Compare lenders before applying
While First Tech has significantly lower rates and no origination fee, LendingClub may be a good option if you don’t qualify for First Tech — or don’t want to become a member. You should still check your rate with other lenders to ensure you are getting the best deal on your next personal loan.