Pros & Cons
- Reports payments to all three major credit bureaus.
- Soft credit check with pre-qualification.
- Offers secured and co-signed loans.
- Available in a limited number of states.
- May charge origination fee.
- May require in-person visit.
- Rates, fees and terms aren’t easily discoverable on website.
- APRs are high compared to other online and bad-credit lenders.
Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox
Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.
Full Review of Mariner
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. Repayment terms range from one to five years.
The lender 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: See your bad-credit loan options
Mariner is best for borrowers who:
Have a low credit score.
Want to secure the loan or add a co-signer.
Can’t qualify for a loan with a lower APR.
Mariner at a glance
Key terms to know about personal loans
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.
» MORE: Personal loans with a co-signer
Soft credit check to pre-qualify: Mariner lets borrowers pre-qualify online to see their potential 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 among lenders.
Where Mariner falls short
Fees: Depending on your state, you may be charged a loan origination fee and fees for non-sufficient 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 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 for amounts outside of that range you'll have to visit a branch. Most online lenders do not require this.
» MORE: Best online loans
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. Other online loans are more widely available.
No option to change 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.
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 25.3% APR would have monthly payments of $321. You’d pay $1,707 in total interest on that loan.
How to get a Mariner loan
Apply on Mariner
You can apply on Mariner’s website by selecting “Check My Offers.” From there, you’ll be asked to choose a loan amount and taken to an application 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 it will not impact your credit.
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.