Mariner Finance Personal Loans: 2024 Review

Mariner Finance personal loans are an option for bad-credit borrowers, but high rates and fees — in addition to practices that aren't consumer-friendly — may not make it a first choice.
Annie Millerbernd
Last updated on August 21, 2023
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Kim Lowe
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take


NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

Bad-credit borrowers and those with a history of bankruptcy may qualify for a personal loan from Mariner, but these loans lack consumer-friendly features that are common with most bad-credit online lenders.

Jump to:Full Review
Mariner Finance

Est. APR
Loan amount
$1,000 - $25,000
Min. credit score
on NerdWallet


  • Option to pre-qualify with a soft credit check.
  • Secured, joint and co-signed loans.
  • Mobile app to manage loan.


  • Rates are high compared with other bad-credit lenders.
  • Available in a limited number of states.
  • May charge origination and one-time payment fees.
  • May require an in-person visit.
Compare best personal loans for bad credit
Est. APR
Loan amount
Min. credit score
Check Rateson NerdWallet
on NerdWallet
8.49- 35.99%
$1,000- $50,000
7.80- 35.99%
$1,000- $50,000
9.95- 35.99%
$2,000- $35,000
11.69- 35.99%
$1,000- $50,000
8.99- 35.99%
$2,000- $50,000
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Full Review

Mariner Finance personal loans are available to borrowers with bad credit scores (629 or lower) and those with a history of bankruptcy, but its high rates and fees make the lender a less-than-ideal option for most borrowers.

Mariner also engages in some practices that may not be consumer-friendly, like mailing checks to prospective borrowers to provide unsolicited loans and promoting credit insurance. Compare other bad-credit lenders before applying with Mariner.

» MORE: Best personal loans for bad credit

Table of Contents

Mariner personal loans at a glance

Minimum credit score

580 for online applicants. None for in-person applicants.


15.49% - 35.99%.


  • Origination fee.

  • Late fee.

  • Nonsufficient funds fee.

  • One-time online and phone payment fees.

Amounts vary by state.

Loan amount

  • $1,000 to $25,000 for in-person applications.

  • $1,500 to $15,000 for online applications.

Repayment terms

1 to 5 years.

Time to fund after approval

2 business days.

Loan availability

Loans not available in AK, AR, CO, CT, HI, ID, IA, KS, ME, MA, MI, MN, MT, NE, NV, NH, ND, RI, SD, VT, WV, WY and Washington, D.C., according to Mariner’s website.

Where Mariner personal loans stand out

Soft credit check to pre-qualify: Mariner lets borrowers pre-qualify online to see their potential loan amount and annual percentage rate (APR) without affecting their credit. Previewing loan offers helps you determine how the loan fits into your budget and whether you want to submit a formal application.

Secured loans: Applicants can secure a personal loan with a vehicle. Secured loans often have lower APRs because the lender has something valuable to take if you fail to repay the loan. Weigh the benefit of using your car as collateral against the risk of losing it.

Joint and co-signed loans: Mariner accepts co-borrowers and co-signers. With both loan types, the co-applicant’s credit and income are taken into account and can help you get approved or get a lower rate. A co-borrower on a joint loan has equal access to the loan funds and information about payments, but a co-signer doesn’t. In either case, your co-applicant must make payments if you fail to.

Mariner requires applicants seeking a secured, joint or co-signed loan to visit or call a local branch to apply.

Where Mariner personal loans fall short

High rates: Mariner’s starting APR is high compared to other bad-credit and online lenders. Though bad-credit borrowers are often quoted the highest personal loan rates, many other lenders have single-digit starting rates.

Fees: Depending on your state, Mariner may charge an origination fee and a fee for making a one-time payment online or by phone. Mariner adds the origination fee to the total loan amount, so it’s repaid over the loan term. Origination fees are common with bad-credit lenders, but you’d be hard-pressed to find another lender that charges you to make a payment.

May require an in-person visit: Borrowers can apply online for loans between $1,500 and $15,000, but you'll have to visit a branch for smaller or larger amounts. Few lenders require an in-person visit for any loan amount.

Limited payment date flexibility: Borrowers who get an online Mariner loan can’t choose their initial payment date, but they can change it shortly after closing. Those who visit a branch can choose a date within 45 days of signing the loan agreement. The lender says borrowers can change the payment date once during the life of the loan. Payment date flexibility is helpful if the initial payment due date becomes inconvenient due to a job change or new bill payments. Some lenders let you choose the initial due date and change it multiple times.

Live checks and credit insurance

Loan-by-mail product: To reach new customers, Mariner uses a loan-by-mail offer, or “live check,” that can be signed and cashed by the recipient. This loan requires no application; rather, Mariner says it solicits consumers who meet its underwriting criteria based on credit report information, including debt repayment history and credit utilization. These offers are made to customers in every state where Mariner operates except for Illinois, New Jersey and New York.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports several customer complaints against Mariner’s loan-by-mail product.

Optional insurance: Mariner offers borrowers the option of credit insurance, which covers your loan if you’re unable to pay due to unexpected life events including involuntary job loss, illness, accident or death. This is an added cost and may not be necessary if you already have a life or health insurance policy.

2022 lawsuits against Mariner

In 2022, attorneys general in several states filed a lawsuit against Mariner Finance, accusing the lender of deceptive and misleading practices that led to borrowers paying for add-on products they did not want or know about and refinancing their loans when they did not need to.

According to the lawsuit, Mariner sets sales goals and incentives that encourage employees to deceive and mislead consumers into adding products, like credit insurance, to their loan. The lawsuit also accuses Mariner of encouraging customers to refinance their loans in order to generate new loan fees and add-ons.

Mariner called the complaint “meritless” in a public statement. The lender denied that it incentivizes employees to add optional products without the customer’s consent and that it hides loan product pricing information from consumers. The lender also said in the statement that the fact that so many of Mariner’s customers decline to purchase credit insurance and other products is evidence that customers understand the products.

Do you qualify for a Mariner personal loan?

Strong credit and income aren’t required to qualify for a loan with Mariner. The lender’s minimum borrowing requirements are soft compared to some other lenders, but borrower averages show the lender frequently approves those with fair credit.

In most states, to apply for a Mariner personal loan, you must be a U.S. citizen and at least 18 years old.

Here’s what you need to qualify for a Mariner Finance personal loan. (Meeting these requirements doesn’t guarantee approval.)

  • Minimum credit score: 580 for online applicants only. There is no minimum requirement for in-person applicants.

  • Minimum credit history: None. The lender requires a credit file, though.

  • Minimum income: None. Mariner looks for borrowers with enough income to repay the loan. This lender accepts income from employment, alimony, retirement, child support and Social Security payments.

  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 60%.

Here are details about Mariner’s average borrower, according to the lender.

  • Average credit score: 641.

  • Average monthly gross income: $5,154.

  • Average debt-to-income ratio: 60%.

  • Average loan amount: $4,000.

  • Average repayment term: 45 months.

  • Average APR: 27.39%.

Before you apply

  • Check your credit. You can get your free credit report on NerdWallet or at 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 to repay the loan, it’s better to know that before you borrow.

  • Gather your documents. Mariner may require proof of income, which can be W-2s, pay stubs, tax returns or bank statements. Having these documents before you apply can speed up the process.

How to apply for a Mariner personal loan

Here are the steps to apply for a Mariner loan, based on information from the lender.

  1. Pre-qualify on Mariner’s website. Select “Check My Offers” on the lender’s website and choose your loan amount. Then, enter personal information like your name, email, address, income, whether you rent or own your home, and your Social Security number. There is no hard credit pull at this stage.

  2. Preview loan offers and accept the one that fits your budget. Mariner will show you loans that you qualify for, including amounts, repayment terms and monthly payments. In some cases, the lender may refer you to a branch. Once you accept a loan offer, you’ll submit a formal personal loan application. This could require more documents, like W-2s, pay stubs and bank statements to confirm the information you gave during pre-qualification. Mariner will also do a hard credit check when you apply, so your credit score could temporarily dip.

  3. Make a plan to repay the loan. Because Mariner reports payments to all three major credit bureaus, on-time payments will help build your credit score and missed payments will hurt it. Setting up automatic payments and keeping an eye on your budget are two ways to manage your loan payments.

Check rates on NerdWallet

Compare Mariner with other lenders

Personal loan lenders offer different rates, loan amounts and special features, so it pays to weigh your options. The best personal loan is usually the one with the lowest APR.

Universal Credit and Avant are both lenders that accept bad-credit borrowers but may offer lower rates. Neither lender provides credit insurance or sends loan offers by live check.

Mariner vs. Universal Credit

Universal Credit personal loans are best for bad-credit borrowers who want to build credit. Because the lender is operated by online lender Upgrade, borrowers get access to all the features Upgrade offers, including credit-building tools and educational resources. Though rates are still high with Universal Credit, the lender offers multiple rate discounts.

Unlike Mariner, Universal Credit doesn't offer secured, joint or co-signed loans, which may be a difference-maker if you need help qualifying.

Mariner vs. Avant

Avant offers fair- and bad-credit personal loans. From application to funding, all of Avant’s loans are online, and starting APRs are lower than Mariner’s. Avant’s personal loans are missing some of the features Mariner offers — including co-signed and secured loans, direct payment to creditors on debt consolidation loans and rate discounts — but approval and funding may be slightly faster.

Avant is worth considering for the chance to get a lower rate alone.

How we rate Mariner 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.


Star rating



Loan flexibility


Customer experience


  • Affordability (30%) An affordable loan has low rates and fees compared to other similar loans and may offer rate discounts.

    Underwriting and eligibility (25%) The lender reviews borrowers credit reports and credit history, and tries to understand their ability to repay a loan, before making a final application decision.

    Loan flexibility (20%) A flexible loan is one that lets users customize terms and payments. That means offering a wide range of repayment term options, allowing the borrower to change their payment date, offering loans in most states and funding it quickly.

    Customer experience (15%) A good customer experience can include a fully online application process, financial education on the lender’s website and a customer service team that’s available most of the time and can be reached multiple ways.

    Transparency (10%) A transparent lender makes information about the loan easy to find on its website, including rates, terms and loan amounts. Transparency also means allowing users to pre-qualify online to preview potential loan offers and reporting payment information with the major credit bureaus.

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NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 35 technology companies and financial institutions. We collect over 50 data points from each lender and cross-check company websites, earnings reports and other public documents to confirm product details. We may also go through a lender’s pre-qualification flow and follow up with company representatives. 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. Our ratings award fewer points to lenders with practices that may make a loan difficult to repay on time, such as charging high annual percentage rates (above 36%), underwriting that does not adequately assess consumers’ ability to repay and lack of credit-building help. 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.

NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodologies for personal loans and our editorial guidelines.

Frequently asked questions

  • Mariner Finance is a legitimate company that offers personal loans. However, it engages in some practices that aren't consumer-friendly, including mailing “live checks” with personal loan offers to potential customers and offering credit insurance.

  • Mariner Finance says it approves online loan applications within one or two days. The lender typically sends funds to approved borrowers within two business days.

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