Laurel Road Personal Loans: 2023 Review
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The bottom line:
Laurel Road’s personal loans are a strong fit for good-credit borrowers who qualify for a low rate or fair-credit borrowers who can add a co-signer.
Pros & Cons
- Co-sign and joint loan options.
- No origination fee.
- Rate discount for autopay.
- Direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
- Late fee.
- High minimum loan amount.
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Full Review of Laurel Road Personal Loan
Laurel Road provides online personal loans to good-credit borrowers for debt consolidation, major purchases, home improvements and other purposes. The lender offers special terms on personal loans for practicing and in-training physicians and dentists.
The maximum borrowing amount is $45,000 on loans for debt consolidation, major purchases and home improvements. For other purposes, like moving expenses, it’s $35,000.
Laurel Road’s annual percentage rates are competitive with other good-credit lenders, and there’s a rate discount for borrowers who use autopay. Funding time can take a few days, so borrowers looking for same- or next-day funding will want to look at other lenders.
» MORE: Fast personal loans
Table of Contents
Laurel Road at a glance
Minimum credit score
8.99% - 24.25%.
Late fee: 5% of payment or $28, whichever is less.
$5,000 to $45,000.
3 to 5 years.
Time to fund after approval
5 to 7 business days.
Loans available in all states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Where Laurel Road personal loans stand out
Option to add a co-signer or co-borrower: Borrowers can add a co-signer or co-borrower to their loan application, which could increase their chances of getting approved or getting a lower rate. Co-borrowers have access to loan proceeds, and both co-signers and co-borrowers are responsible for any missed payments or fees.
» MORE: Personal loans with a co-signer
Direct payments to creditors: Laurel Road can send your loan proceeds directly to creditors when you consolidate debts with its loan, so you don’t have to manage those repayments.
Autopay discount: Laurel Road offers a rate discount of 0.25 percentage points for setting up autopay before the final loan closure. This discount incentivizes borrowers to make payments on time.
Loans tailored to health care professionals: Practicing physicians and dentists, or those within one year of completing their training and with a signed employment contract, can borrow up to $80,000 on a personal loan. This is separate from Laurel Road's student loan refinancing option.
Full-time interns, residents, fellows or other postgraduate trainees are eligible to make reduced payments on their loans. Any unpaid interest will be added to the loan principal, and regular monthly payments resume once the borrower has finished training, or after 48 months.
» MORE: Best good-credit personal loans
Where Laurel Road personal loans fall short
Slow funding time: Upon approval of the loan application, funding can take up to seven business days, which is longer than other comparable lenders.
Limited flexibility on payment date: Laurel Road lets you choose your payment date before signing the loan agreement, but you can only change it once after signing. Other lenders allow you to change it multiple times, which is helpful if you get a new job or your payday shifts.
Limited loan terms: Borrowers can choose from three repayment options — three, four or five years. Though not uncommon, other lenders offer longer repayment terms, which could make your monthly loan payment more affordable.
A seven-year term is available for health professionals.
How to qualify for a Laurel Road personal loan
Most lenders have basic requirements to apply, and some have financial requirements or recommendations to qualify.
Laurel Road requires applicants to be either a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident with a valid I-551 card. Physicians or dentists applying for a loan will need to show evidence of a signed contract to practice or a residency program.
Borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 660. Although Laurel Road does not disclose a minimum income requirement, the lender will look at your overall credit history and financial profile to determine eligibility.
Before you apply
Check your credit. You can get your free credit report on NerdWallet or at AnnualCreditReport.com. Doing so will help you spot and fix any errors before you apply.
Calculate your monthly payments. Use a personal loan calculator to determine what APR and repayment term you’d need to get a loan with affordable monthly payments.
Make a plan to repay the loan. Review your budget to see how the loan’s monthly payments impact your cash flow. If you have to cut other expenses in order to repay the loan, it’s better to know that before you borrow.
Gather your documents. Laurel Road requires proof of income, which can be a W-2 or pay stub, as well as proof of address and a Social Security number. Having these documents handy can speed up the application process.
How to apply for a Laurel Road personal loan
Here are the steps to apply for a Laurel Road loan online.
Pre-qualify on Laurel Road’s website. You’ll be asked how much you want to borrow and what the funds are for, as well as some personal information like your name, birthdate, and address. Then, the lender will ask for information about your income, education and employment history before you can preview loan offers. There’s only a soft credit pull at this stage.
Preview loan offers and accept the one that fits your budget. Once you accept a loan offer, you’ll submit a formal personal loan application. This will require uploading documents, like W-2s, pay stubs and bank statements to confirm the information you gave during pre-qualification. Laurel Road will also do a hard credit check when you apply, so your credit score could temporarily dip.
Make a plan to repay the loan. Laurel Road reports payments to all three major credit bureaus, so on-time payments will help build your credit score, but missed payments will hurt it. Setting up automatic payments and keeping an eye on your budget are two ways to manage your loan payments.
Compare Laurel Road to other lenders
Personal loan lenders offer different rates, loan amounts and special features, so it pays to weigh other options. The best personal loan is usually the one with the lowest APR.
Like Laurel Road, LendingClub and SoFi are options for good to excellent credit borrowers. LendingClub has a lower minimum credit score requirement, and SoFi offers larger loans when compared to Laurel Road.
Laurel Road vs. LendingClub
Laurel Road and LendingClub offer online personal loans for good-credit borrowers. LendingClub has a lower minimum loan amount and a faster approval process on average. However, LendingClub charges an origination fee, while Laurel Road’s only fee is for late payments.
» MORE: Read our review of LendingClub
Laurel Road vs. SoFi
Like Laurel Road, Sofi does not charge origination fees, and it offers an autopay rate discount. SoFi offers a wider range of loan amounts and terms. but if you are looking for a joint loan, Laurel Road is the better option.
» MORE: Read our review of SoFi
How we rate Laurel Road personal loans
NerdWallet writers rate lenders against a rubric that changes each year based on how personal loan products evolve. Here’s what we prioritized this year:
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NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 financial institutions. We collect over 45 data points from each lender, interview company representatives and compare the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.
Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks to pre-qualify, competitive interest rates and no fees, transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus and financial education. We also consider regulatory actions filed by agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to consumers and how meaningfully they impact consumers’ experiences.
This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate most financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.