Oportun Installment Loans: 2020 Review

Oportun offers small installment loans for borrowers with limited or no credit history. On-time payments help you establish credit.

Annie MillerberndSeptember 1, 2020

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Our Take

The bottom line: Oportun loans are for borrowers who need fast cash and want to establish credit.

Oportun

on Oportun 's website

on Oportun 's website

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

19.90 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$300 - $10,000

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Financial education and counseling available.

  • Option to add a co-signer.

  • Can fund a loan within one business day.

Cons

  • Available in a limited number of states.

  • Starting rates are high compared to other lenders.

Compare to Other Lenders

Oportun
OneMain
Upgrade
Est. APR

19.90 - 35.99%

Est. APR

18.00 - 35.99%

Est. APR

7.99 - 35.97%

Loan Term

6 months to 4 years

Loan Term

2 to 5 years

Loan Term

3 to 5 years

Loan Amount

$300 - $10,000

Loan Amount

$1,500 - $20,000

Loan Amount

$1,000 - $35,000

Min. Credit Score

None

Min. Credit Score

None

Min. Credit Score

580

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

Compare Rates

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Full Review

To review Oportun, 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 loan product. Loan terms and fees may vary by state.

Oportun is an online and storefront lender that makes installment loans to low- and moderate-income consumers whose credit has been impacted by credit reporting errors or who have limited or no credit history. The lender prioritizes borrowers’ income, expenses and payments toward things like utility and cell phone bills in a loan decision.

Oportun’s annual percentage rates are high, but they’re below the 36% maximum that many financial experts and consumer advocates consider affordable. Loan terms are between six months and four years.

Common reasons for getting a loan include paying for auto repairs, covering temporary cash shortages and paying off higher-interest debt.

Though Oportun helps borrowers establish and build credit, a personal loan may not be the best way to go about it. If your only goal is to build credit, consider other options first.

Fast funding: The company says it can fund a loan on an in-person application the same day someone applies for it, with the proper documentation. An online application takes about as long.

Community focus: Oportun is a federally certified Community Development Financial Institution, which means its primary mission must be promoting community development. It must also provide financial education, among other requirements.

Free financial coaching and resources: Some borrowers can get free financial coaching through Oportun's partnership with UnidosUS, an advocacy organization focused on serving Latino communities. The lender also displays a partner database of nonprofit and government resources on its website. Anyone can use the database to find help with things like child care, financial emergencies and job hunting.

Credit reporting: Oportun reports payments to credit bureaus Experian and TransUnion, but not Equifax. Reported on-time payments can help your credit, while late and missed payments can hurt it. Oportun says it has helped more than 830,000 customers establish a credit history.

Transparency: Oportun's rates and fees amounts aren't immediately available on its personal loan page. The company discloses that it has an origination fee, late fee and returned check fee on a FAQ page, but it doesn't say how much they are.

Measuring payments: Pew Charitable Trusts, a nonprofit policy research organization, recommends that small-dollar loan payments not exceed 5% of a borrower’s monthly income. Oportun says it adheres to that standard.

The company also says some part of every full payment a borrower makes goes toward the loan’s principal, unlike with many payday lenders. In addition, it allows borrowers to choose a payment date.

How to qualify: Oportun does not require you to have a bank account when you apply, and nearly half of its customers have no credit score. You can choose to receive your loan funds by check or prepaid debit card, or have them transferred to a bank account.

Oportun says it requires proof of income in the form of bank statements or pay stubs, and it checks databases that collect information on consumers with low credit scores. If you have a credit profile, the company factors in data from your credit report as well. If you cannot qualify for a loan based on your own income, you can apply with a co-signer.

Here are Oportun's hard requirements:

  • Proof of identity.

  • Proof of regular income.

  • Have a verified address and phone number.

  • Live in one of 12 states where Oportun operates.

Loan example: The average Oportun borrower makes $43,000 a year and has been in his or her job for seven years. Half of Oportun’s borrowers have a family, the lender says, and the average borrower takes a loan of $3,885 with a 32-month repayment term.

A loan of that amount and term with a 30% APR would carry:

  • Monthly payments: $178.

  • Total interest and fees: $1,805.

  • Total repayment: $5,690.

What to know about Oportun

In July 2020, multiple news outlets reported that Oportun filed tens of thousands of small claims lawsuits in California in 2019 against borrowers who fell 60 days behind in their payments. According to one report, cases mounted in the first half of 2020, even as the COVID-19 pandemic forced many Americans to file for unemployment.

The company said in a blog post that it used small claims lawsuits to reengage customers who had fallen behind on their payments and weren't responding to calls, letters, texts or emails. Oportun subsequently announced that it would dismiss all pending cases and reduce its future filings against borrowers by more than 60%.

In an emailed statement, a company spokesman said in part, "Across our entire loan portfolio over the past 5 years, only about 2% of accounts typically were pursued to a judgment because we were successful in reengaging with our customers, understanding their situation and getting them onto a plan they could afford. If a customer was unemployed and could not repay us, we also did not proceed with the case.

"Throughout the pandemic, customers who told us they were impacted by COVID-19 were placed into a hardship program and removed from our legal collections process."

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How to apply with Oportun

Enter your ZIP code on Oportun's website to see whether the lender operates in your area. Then, you can start the pre-qualification process online, which the lender says will not impact your credit score.

on Oportun 's website

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.