Mariner Finance Personal Loans: 2021 Review

Mariner Finance personal loans target bad-credit borrowers. Because of the lender’s high rates and fees and potentially deceptive practices, it may not be a good first choice.

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Our Take

2.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Bad-credit borrowers may qualify for a Mariner personal loan but could find lower rates and more consumer-friendly options with other lenders.

Mariner

Min. Credit Score

600

Est. APR

24.00 - 36.00%

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $25,000

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.

  • Soft credit check with pre-qualification.

  • Option to choose your payment date.

Cons

  • Rates are high compared to other bad-credit lenders.

  • Available in a limited number of states.

  • May charge origination fee.

  • May require in-person visit.

Compare to Other Lenders

Oportun
Avant
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

19.90 - 35.99%

Est. APR

9.95 - 35.99%

Loan Term

6 to 46 months

Loan Term

2 to 5 years

Loan Amount

$300 - $10,000

Loan Amount

$2,000 - $35,000

Min. Credit Score

None

Min. Credit Score

550

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

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Full Review

To review Mariner Finance’s personal loans, NerdWallet collected data from the lender’s website, confirmed details with several customer service representatives 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 personal loans are available to borrowers with low credit scores, but they come with high rates and fees that make them a less-than-ideal option for most borrowers.

This lender considers information like credit history and debt-to-income ratio when reviewing an application.

Mariner's unsecured loan has a minimum annual percentage rate of 24%, which is higher than most lenders’, and its secured loan has a minimum APR of 18.99%, according to customer service representatives. Repayment terms range from one to five years.

The lender also engages in some practices that may not be consumer-friendly, like mailing unsolicited loan offers to prospective borrowers and promoting credit insurance.

Mariner is best for borrowers who:

  • Have a low credit score.

  • Want to secure the loan or add a co-signer.

Mariner at a glance

Credit building

  • Soft credit check to pre-qualify.

  • Reports payments to three credit bureaus.

Affordability

  • APRs are high among lenders targeting similar borrowers.

  • May charge origination and other fees.

  • No rate discount for autopayments.

Loan flexibility

  • Offers multiple loan types.

  • Option to choose your payment date.

  • Funds loans within one week.

  • Not available in: AK, AR, CO, CT, HI, ID, IA, KS, ME, MA, MI, MN, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, VT, WV, WY, Washington D.C.

Transparency

  • Rates, fees, terms aren’t easily discoverable on website.

  • FAQ answers some borrower questions.

Customer service

  • Offers limited customer contact channels and hours.

  • Does not offer mobile app to manage loan.

Where Mariner stands out

Secured and co-signed loan options: Applicants can secure a personal loan with a vehicle or add a co-signer to their application to get a lower rate or larger loan amount. Both options have consequences if you fail to repay the loan. With a secured loan, the lender could take your vehicle, and a co-signer is on the hook for missed payments.

Soft credit check to pre-qualify: Mariner lets borrowers pre-qualify online to see their potential loan rate and amount without affecting their credit. Some applicants may be referred to a branch without seeing an offer.

Money-back guarantee: Borrowers can return their loan within 15 days of receipt without paying any fees or interest. This option is rare for a personal loan product.

Choose your payment date: When you sign the loan agreement, you can choose a first payment date within 30 to 45 days of the date you sign a loan agreement, but that will be the date for the lifetime of the loan, according to customer service representatives. Lenders’ policies around payment date vary, but others may let you choose the date and change it later on.

Where Mariner falls short

High rates: Borrowers with low credit scores should expect a higher rate from most lenders. However, Mariner’s starting rate of 24% is especially high, even for a lender that caters to bad-credit borrowers. Some of its competitors offer minimum rates below 10%.

Fees: Depending on your state, you may be charged a loan origination fee, and fees for nonsufficient funds or making a one-time payment by phone or online, according to customer service representatives. Late fees are common features of personal loans, and origination fees are typical of bad-credit lenders, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a lender that charges you to make a payment.

May require an in-person visit: Borrowers can apply online for loans between $1,500 and $7,000, but for amounts outside of that range you'll have to visit a branch. Most online lenders do not require this.

Transparency: Mariner doesn’t clearly disclose its rates, terms or fees on its website, which makes it difficult for borrowers to compare its loans with another lender’s.

Available in a limited number of states: The lender does not operate in 25 states or Washington, D.C. Many online lenders are more widely available.

What to know about Mariner Finance

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.

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.

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

How to qualify for a Mariner loan

Mariner Finance doesn’t disclose many of its borrower requirements publicly. However, because the lender targets bad-credit borrowers, those with a FICO of 629 or lower may qualify. Typically the higher your credit score and income, the lower your rate will be.

Loan example: A two-year, $6,000 loan with a 28.7% APR would have monthly payments of $331. You’d pay $1,944 in total interest on that loan.

How to get a Mariner loan

Apply on Mariner

You can apply on Mariner’s website by clicking “Check My Offers.” From there, you’ll be asked to choose a loan amount and be taken to an application form to pre-qualify.

Pre-qualify on NerdWallet

NerdWallet recommends comparing loans to find the best rate for you. Pre-qualifying may get you personalized rates from multiple lenders that partner with us, but will not impact your credit.

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.