An online lender offering payday and installment loans with a system that rewards responsible borrowers

LendUp is a San Francisco-based company offering short-term financial solutions for consumers with less-than-perfect or bad credit, in the form of personal installment loans and short-term loans, also known as cash advance or payday loans. LendUp is focused on changing the payday loan system so that customers do not get trapped in a cycle of debt. 

LendUp offers the LendUp Ladder, which provides the opportunity for customers in many states to earn access to more money at lower rates over time (where available).

This company is currently only accepting new customers in California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. 

Keep reading for pros and cons, plus LendUp reviews from real users. 

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The Good

  • Easy-to-Use Loan Calculator
  • Fast Application & Fast Decision
  • LendUp Ladder Rewards Responsible Behavior
  • Fast Customer Service
  • Availability
  • Credit Card

Easy-to-Use Loan Calculator

LendUp values transparency and is upfront about what a loan with them will ultimately cost, providing consumers with a loan calculator directly on the main page of their website. 

With this calculator, customers can adjust the lending amount, which is typically from $100 to $250 for first-time borrowers, and the repayment term length, which is typically from 7 days to 30 days (varies by state).

Fast Application & Fast Decision

LendUp's application is free and takes as few as 5 minutes to fill out. The application requires: 

  • Address
  • Income
  • Social security number
  • Checking account that accepts ACH transfers
  • Income verification (in select states)

The application process doesn’t affect your credit score because it doesn’t require a hard credit check with the three main credit bureaus. 

Applicants are given an instant decision.

If your loan is submitted by 5 PM Pacific or 8 PM Eastern on a business day, your funds will be deposited into your checking account within one business day. 

LendUp Ladder Rewards Responsible Behavior

Uniquely, LendUp states that one of their goals is to move beyond a traditional payday loan format (where available), so they encourage responsible financial behavior. As they do so, customers in certain states can borrow larger maximum loan amounts, longer terms, and lower interest rates as they earn more points (where available). In states with installment loans, with successive loans, borrowers can progress all the way up to prime loan rates. 

As you repay your loan, eligible customers move up the LendUp Ladder by avoiding late payment and taking financial education courses, among other things.

With additional LendUp loans and progression up the Ladder, consumers in some states have the opportunity for repayment to be reported to the major credit bureaus to help build consumer credit history. 

Fast Customer Service

LendUp provides clients with an online email form and a physical mailing address for contacting the company. Emails are generally responded to right away with an automated message, and from someone on the LendUp team within an hour or so. No phone number is provided.

Most reviews of LendUp's customer service have been positive, and LendUp has even received positive notice and reviews from several reputable national news sources, including TIME, Fortune, and TechCrunch.


LendUp loan services are available in more than 20 states to existing customers, and in seven states for brand new customers: 

  • California
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Wisconsin 

The specific terms of the loans will vary from state to state; for example, some allow for longer repayment periods. 

The terms and conditions for each state are clearly outlined, and several states even include links to longer pamphlets officially issued by the states’ Consumer Protection departments. Borrowers should thoroughly review the details for their state before starting the application process or accepting a loan.

Credit Card

LendUp offers a credit card called Arrow Card aimed at helping people with to build credit. 

Additionally, the company is beta testing the Arrow secured credit card from Visa, a card for people with poor credit who have trouble getting a normal credit card. It is secured with a consumer deposit and helps users to establish credit history. 

Currently, both are only available if you get a direct offer, like a direct-mail invitation. Interested parties can join the waitlist on the Lendup.com site. 

The Bad

  • High Interest Rates
  • Possible Additional Fees

High Interest Rates

Although LendUp is interested in providing help and more transparent funding than traditional payday loan companies, interest rates are still very high. The annual percentage rate varies depending on the state of the applicant, ranging from 96.82 to 446.90 percent. 

LendUp breaks down that rate for each state as a percentage of the loan amount. While these rates are potentially much better than the rates offered by other payday loan companies, they are still quite high because they are meant for people with subprime credit. 

Possible Additional Fees

LendUp is a lender dedicated to remaining transparent about borrowers' responsibilities, and in accordance with that, state that there may be additional fees to pay. 

In particular, there is a fee for receiving an instant deposit and an insufficient funds fee (NSF) if the money is not in a bank account when payment is due, although the amount of the NSF varies by state.

The Bottom Line

Although LendUp is a short-term direct lender and therefore charges higher interest rates and fees, the company has set out to change the payday loan system to encourage smart financial decisions and reward responsible borrowing.

A first-time borrower is offered loans of $100 to $250, although that amount may go up depending on the state. Services are available in more than 20 states for existing customers and in seven states for new customers, and the specific terms and rates vary from state to state. 

A reward system called the LendUp Ladder lets customers can earn points when they pay off loans, in addition to other things like completing online courses about credit and money management. 

LendUp has received positive reviews and feedback in the news, with most of the attention focused on its unique approach to the payday lending system.

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User Reviews


15 Reviews

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Corey Silva
July 17th, 2017 Palmetto, FL

Straight forward payday loan. Good customer service.

winsome williams
July 5th, 2017

This company is a money hungry and selfish institution othet loan companies will give u a discount if u pay the loan off ahead of time but Big Picture loan added $68.00 to my statement.

June 2nd, 2017

Up front with fees and no hassle application. Just what you need for quick cash and payback

May 22nd, 2017

I've been doing business with this company for 6 months and they were a life savior. The rates are perfect, and as long as you conduct timely payments, or even able to sooner, the rewards are even greater in amount requests. I haven't yet seen an APR reduction, but still, I am satisfied with the 10%.

Jennifer R.
December 20th, 2016

I have had a great experience with this company. I have worked with them for about a year. Very flexible. Offers payday and installment loans. They don't seem to approve more than what they feel you can handle. You have to earn higher loan amounts with consistent on time payments and responsible borrowing. Customer is in control of what they borrow and the dates of repayment. Good payment history gets you better loan offers. After a while, offers choice to report positive payment history to credit bureaus. Provides financial education. Reasonable payment plans that don't invade your bank account multiple times per month. Everything is done online but customer service reps are readily available by phone call. They are very nice and if you get a message saying someone will call you back, they actually do. Interest rates are high but you can pay extra on your loan anytime you want, and when you do, it actually decreases the amount of interest you pay, unlike other "loan shark" companies. Everything is clear cut. No surprises. I recommend this company above all others if you find yourself in need of a quick loan. When I pay off my loan, I will actually miss this company. LOL

Allison Gentry
November 28th, 2016

No hidden interest fees, allows you to borrow again 24 hrs after paying loan back for those times when things are really tight. Interest is reasonable and although the starting amount of $250 is not much it is easy to move up the lending ladder to higher amounts fairly quickly.

October 6th, 2016 La Junta, CO

This review gave me what information I needed in getting a simple loan to pay off some of my existing bills.

Laura Cortez
September 19th, 2016 Los Angeles, CA

They have helped me out in the time of need. I cannot thank them enough. It's like having an angel . Thanks guys.

Janice Nelson
September 10th, 2016 Meridian, ID

I personally have never had any regret's and I have never been displeased ,

Judy Johnson
September 10th, 2016 PA

This will be very helpful and when it is approved it will go a long way to alleviate some of my problems. Thanks in advance

Octavia Taylor
September 2nd, 2016 GA

It is awesome and it's very helpful thank

August 26th, 2016 Fayetteville, AR

Sending to much mail and I've tryed alot and neaver got a loan. I ask them to stop sending me mail and still do

Brenda Miller
June 13th, 2016

Fair and honest lending and offers education and coaching on how to lend and credit information.

May 18th, 2016 Los Angeles, CA

great loans love it much...

Jonathan Sandi
March 21st, 2016 Chicago, IL

I have never had an issue with them. I'm from Illinois, and live in Chicago. The process is pretty easy and you definitely get your money deposited in your account. I've so far have done about 5 loans with them. I've never been late on my payments so I really don't know what happens if you're ever late. But I've heard they're flexible with your situations. I found hem thru credit karma. I'd totally recommend it.