Editorial Review

Mariner Finance Personal Loans: 2019 Review

An option if your credit is bad, but starting annual percentage rates are high and may include an origination fee.

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Our Take

2.5

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: Mariner provides fast loans for bad credit borrowers, but charges high rates and fees.

Mariner

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

24.00-36.00%

Loan Amount

$1,000-$25,000

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Fast funding.

  • Co-sign option.

  • No prepayment fee.

Cons
  • High rates.

  • May charge origination fee.

Compare to Other Lenders

OneMain
Avant
Est. APR

18.00-35.99%

Est. APR

9.95-35.99%

Loan Term

2 to 5 years

Loan Term

2 to 5 years

Loan Amount

$1,500-$20,000

Loan Amount

$2,000-$35,000

Min. Credit Score

None

Min. Credit Score

580

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

Full Review

To review Mariner Finance, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives, and compared the lender with others that seek the same customer or offer a similar personal loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.

Mariner Finance offers personal loans online and at physical branches where loan officers assess and approve applications. This gives people in tough financial situations a chance to explain their circumstances, says Joshua Johnson, the company’s president and CEO.

How to qualify:

  • Minimum credit score: 600.

  • Minimum income: None specified; average is $35,000 - $45,000.

  • Debt-to-income ratio: Not specified.

High rates: Mariner’s rates start at 24%, which is one of the highest among online lenders. Costs for fees, for loan origination and late payments, vary by state. Mariner considers many underwriting factors for its direct loans — including credit history, income and other debts — that each loan officer weighs differently.

Co-sign and secured loan options: You can add a co-signer to strengthen your application, and the co-signer does not need to be a family member.

For loans above $10,000, Mariner requires borrowers secure the loan with a car or other asset as collateral. Before you choose this option, learn about the pros and cons of a secured personal loan.

Optional insurance: Mariner offers borrowers the option of credit insurance, which covers your loan if you become unable to pay due to unexpected life events including involuntary job loss, illness, accident or death.

However, this insurance adds to your loan costs and may not be necessary if you already have a life or health insurance policy that covers you.

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.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows several customer complaints against Mariner’s loan-by-mail product, including some claims of predatory practices. According to Mariner, the majority of its loan-by-mail customers are satisfied.

Loan example: For a borrowers with bad credit, a $10,000 loan with a 24-month repayment term at 27.2% APR would carry monthly payments of $545, according to NerdWallet’s personal loan calculator.

How Mariner compares

OneMain and Avant also cater to borrowers with bad credit and offer similar time to funding. But they have lower starting annual percentage rates.

OneMain doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement, but its borrowers’ average score ranges from 600 to 650. Like Mariner, OneMain also offers loans that can be secured by a car title.

Avant requires a 580 credit score or higher, although its borrowers’ average score is between 600 to 700. Avant also requires at least $20,000 in gross annual income to qualify.

How to apply for a Mariner Finance loan

Mariner’s online application takes a few minutes to complete. Select your requested loan amount, then input your state and personal information such as your Social Security number and birthdate.

Mariner does a soft credit check, which does not affect your credit score, and a hard credit pull if you continue with a loan offer. Most applications require a branch visit to complete. Applicants can visit a branch, call customer support or send a message on the Mariner website for assistance.

Check rates from other lenders

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Click the button below to pre-qualify and receive a personalized rate from multiple lenders that partner with NerdWallet.

Before you shop for a personal loan

Personal Loans Rating Methodology

NerdWallet's ratings for personal loans award points to lenders that offer consumer-friendly features, including: soft credit checks, no fees, transparency of loan rates and terms, flexible payment options, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to credit bureaus, and financial education. We also consider the number of complaints filed with agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This methodology applies only to lenders that cap interest rates at 36%, the maximum rate financial experts and consumer advocates agree is the acceptable limit for a loan to be affordable. NerdWallet does not receive compensation of any sort for our reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.