LendUp Review: Just Another Payday Loan?

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Lendup ReviewLendUp is an interesting story. Where most of the short-term lenders started as storefronts and later adapted to also operate online, Lendup did not. They are a product of the startup tech boom, a site that was set to “disrupt” the payday industry. Here’s a video of the founders, Sasha Orloff and Jacob Rosenberg, presenting at the financial startup incubator Finovate. It’s interesting but it doesn’t really speak to the current state of the company. Our LendUp review investigates what Lendup really is.

LendUp is well-marketed, well designed, and they were very careful to distance themselves from the payday industry. The title of their site is even Payday Loan Alternative. It was pretty suspicious that they had a bunch of pages targeting payday keywords and they advertised on payday keywords though.

This is not to say LendUp is a bad company, but they were very dishonest about what they were. You can be a payday loan company but don’t try to hide what you are. It was slick marketing nonetheless.

What States Does LendUp Lend To?

They currently lend in the following states: Ohio, New Mexico, Washington, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, Wyoming, Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Mississippi, Oregon, Kansas, California, Missouri, Tennessee, and Minnesota.

LendUp in Hot Water

Research for this review turned up some not so surprising revelations about LendUp. The short version is Lendup did not deliver on many of their promises to consumers.

In September of 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), found many issues with LendUp. The CFPB is the main governmental agency that oversees the payday industry. Their findings were pretty damning.

Before we get into specifics here are a couple of things that LendUp said made their product different. Repeat customer would earn lower interest rates. The big one was that they said you could build your credit with their product, as they would report on-time payments to the credit bureaus. Payday lenders typically did not do this for short-term loans. If you want to really work on fixing your credit you can start right on our homepage.

So here’s what the CFPB found:

  • Misled consumers about graduating to lower-priced loans
  • Hid the true cost of credit
  • Reversed pricing without consumer knowledge
  • Understated the annual percentage rate
  • Failed to report credit information

So basically everything that set them apart from traditional lenders was not true. As a result, they were ordered to reimburse customers 1.8 million dollars, pay a 1.8 million dollar fine and end all deceptive practices. Not that you want to read all 25 pages of the judgment, but if you do here they are.

Now I don’t know about you but we’re wary of any company that based its entire premise on lies. They seemed like slick technology and fast talking from the beginning. So now that it’s all stripped away are they any good? Let’s see what others are saying about the company.

LendUp Reviews From Around the Web

BBB Reviews

Of all the places to find reviews for a company, we feel the BBB is the least likely to be a bunch of biased fluff. The LendUp page is not good, that’s actually where we found the details for the CFPB judgment. They currently have 6 positive, 0 neutral, and 19 negative reviews. They also have 70 complaints. You can read them all here.

BBB Lendup RevokedLendUp has something we’ve never seen before on a BBB page. Plenty of businesses are not accredited and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A business is under no obligation to seek accreditation with BBB. Some even have accreditation and later do not. But LendUp is the first case we’ve seen where it was revoked. The image is just as damning as it sounds.

We assume this is a result of the copious amount of bad things the CFPB found them doing (or not doing).

Other LendUp Reviews

Credit Karma has 108 user reviews with an average score of 3.5 out of 5. Not too bad.

Trustpilot has them at a 9.5 out of 10 based on 688 reviews. We’re a bit skeptical of Trustpilot scores as we’ve seen firsthand how easy it is for companies to solicit customers that they know are likely to leave good feedback. The LendUp page says that they do not believe they are asking for reviews on Trustpilot but who knows really.

We couldn’t find any Google reviews or Facebook reviews.

LendUp Review: Bottomline

We had our doubts about LendUp when they first came out. It sounded great, almost too good. Well turns out it was. Even still they seem to have a good amount of happy customers. If they hadn’t promised so much in the beginning and then fraudulently fumbled through those promises they could be a top payday lender. Yes, we said payday. It’s semantics, call a spade a spade. It’s a high-interest, short-term loan.

You can get up to $250 from LendUp initially. They have a tiered system and over time you can work your way up to $1,000. This seems to be their current max loan amount.

Anyway, it’s up to you. Now that they’ve been regulated into the ground they seem a lot more like a regular short-term lender. This isn’t a bad thing but it’s what they are.


Business Contact and Profile for Lendup

Name:Lendup
Phone:(855) 253-6387
Address:237 Kearny St Ste 372
San Francisco, CA 94108-4502
Website:Lendup.com
Business Started:2011
Type of Business:Financial Services
Principal:Mr. Sasha Orloff, CEO
BBB Accreditation:This business has a F rating with the BBB and their accreditation has been revoked.

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