LAST UPDATED: January 15th, 2020
Intro to Lending Club
The Lending Club is a business devoted to financial assistance, whether that’s through personal loans, business loans, or investments. In terms of medical loans, it claims a network of about 10,000 providers. Forbes named them one of America’s Most Promising Companies for three years in a row.
Together with what used to be Springstone Financial, the Lending Club dedicates part of its mission to providing financial assistance for medical bills through personal loans. Their partner banks, Comenity and NBT Bank, administer these loans.
- Time in business
- Interest-free period available
- Free application process
- A tool to find your provider
Time in Business
If you count the years of operation that the former Springstone Financial had, the Lending Club has about 15 years of combined business experience. This company does several things right, including making it easy to understand their payment plans. Essentially, there are two options for patients:
1. A plan with an interest-free period of 6, 12, 18, or 24 months, after which you begin paying a 22.98% APR. For this plan, you can borrow between $499 and $32,000 and the money can be used for treatments in dental, fertility, hair restoration, and weight loss surgery.
2. An extended payment plan in which you can borrow between $2,000 and $50,000 and your APR is somewhere between 3.99% and 19.99%. This loan can extend for up to 84 months and covers only procedures for dental and hair restoration.
Interest-free period available
It's really nice whenever a company offers a financial option that includes an interest-free period. With loans and credit, interest is a great burden and can lead you to pay way more than your original medical bill. The good news here is that you can potentially enjoy up to two years interest-free.
Free application process
Applying for a loan here is free! What's more is that they do pull your credit report to determine loan eligibility, but they only do a soft pull, which means your credit won't be affected by the application process. These two factors combined greatly reduce your risk of inquiring about a loan. Conveniently, you'll hear back about approval pretty quickly, and either you or your doctor can apply for it on your behalf.
A tool to find your provider
With thousands of providers in the network, it can be confusing trying to find out whether your own provider is enrolled in this program. Unlike some competitors, the Lending Club provides an intuitive search engine to look up your provider in the system. You can also ask your doctor directly whether they accept a loan here, but a tool to find your provider adds convenience and reassurance.
Also to the company's credit, they provide lots of resources for potential and current customers. Not only is their website informative and detailed; they offer phone numbers and a live chat feature to contact them during the day. Getting answers to your questions about this loan will likely be easy and largely hassle-free.
- No credit
- Participating facilities only
- Loan administration
These two companies might have 15 years of combined experience, but that doesn't change the fact that respectively each of them has only been around since about 2007. Furthermore, the Lending Club only acquired Springstone in 2014, which gives the two only a year of experience together. They may still need time to gel together and work out any kinks that come with the territory of combining companies.
More specifically, however, there are a few limitations to a loan from the Lending Club. First and foremost, you may have noticed that you can only borrow up to $50,000, which might just not be enough depending on the medical treatment you need. Furthermore, their interest rates are pretty high. Even with a payment plan that offers an interest-free period, you begin paying a 22.98% rate once that period is over. Otherwise, you pay a lower rate for the entire loan-the two sort of equal out, don't you think?
You can only get a loan for medical expenses here, so no credit card or line of credit is available. Depending on your situation, a loan might not be the right path, but the Lending Club has limited its provisions to just this type of financing.
Participating Facilities only
You can only use this loan at a participating provider's facility, which means your provider must be enrolled in the program in order for you to get treatment there with the loan. This isn't an uncommon condition for a medical loan, but it places limitations on your use of the loan nonetheless.
The Lending Club has partnered with two banks-Comenity and NBT Bank-and these banks are actually the ones who administer the loan you get approved for. This isn't an outright red flag, but it potentially leaves room for inconsistencies in customer service and policies. Once you get a loan, you can only log in to your patient portal online through the bank's website, not through the Lending Club. In small ways, it may feel like you're working with someone other than the company you signed up with.
Another limitation overall is that loans here cover only a handful of industries (dental, fertility, hair restoration, and weight loss surgery). These aren't uncommon treatments, but there are lots of other fields that patients need coverage for. If that's you, then the Lending Club simply isn't an option.
The Bottom Line
Overall, the Lending Club is a recommended company to get a loan through. Why? Because they're good at what they do do. Let's review.
This company tells you up front that they'll consider your credit history for loan approval. Also at the start, you know that your provider must be a participant in the program, that your loan can't exceed $50,000, what your interest rate will look like, and of course that you can only get a loan and not a line of credit here.
For many patients, these conditions are just right and there are no setbacks for the type of financial assistance they need. If this is you, then the Lending Club will do a great job-they'll provide optimal customer service, provide plenty of resources to establish a clear understanding of your loan, and customize the terms of your loan (like your interest rate) to the type you qualify for.
The main reason that the Lending Club wouldn't be a good company for you doesn't pertain to the way they do business; it more pertains to what type of loan they provide. If you need credit, for example, the Lending Club can't provide. And if you need a higher loan amount, a lower interest rate, a longer loan term, or, of course, a different industry to be covered, then again, the Lending Club can't deliver. Perhaps the biggest limitation here is the industries they cover, in that case.
So overall, this company is great at what it does, which means they're a great option if your medical needs fit their financial boundaries. If your needs differ, then, of course, the Lending Club is not the match for you.
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