Pros & Cons
- Pre-qualify with soft credit check.
- Co-sign and limited secured loan options.
- Accepts borrowers new to credit.
- Small loans starting at $300.
- Community Development Financial Institution.
- May charge an origination fee.
- High rates.
- No mobile app to manage loan payments.
- No option to change your payment date.
Compare to Other Lenders
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Full Review of Oportun
Oportun is an online and storefront lender that makes installment loans to low- and moderate-income applicants with limited or no credit history.
Oportun’s rates are high, but below the 36% maximum that many financial experts and consumer advocates consider affordable. 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.
» MORE: See your bad-credit loan options
Table of Contents
Oportun personal loans at a glance
Minimum credit score
None; this lender accepts borrowers with no credit score.
20.05% - 35.99%.
$300 to $12,000.
1 to 5 years.
Time to fund after approval
1 to 3 days.
Loans not available in CO, CT, IA, ME, MD, MA, NY, WV or Washington, D.C.
Where Oportun personal loans stand out
Loans for applicants with thin or no credit history: Oportun says it aims to help borrowers establish and build credit history, so a credit score isn’t required to qualify. The lender reviews information like income, rent and utility payments, and how much money you have left over at the end of each month, to qualify you.
Small loans: Oportun loans can be as small as $300, which is much lower than most other personal loans. A low minimum loan amount means these loans can be used for small, short-term emergencies or income gaps and may make them a good alternative to payday loans.
» MORE: Best emergency loans
Co-signed and secured loan options: Borrowers can add a co-signer to their application or, in a few states, secure the loan with a vehicle. Adding any of these to your application may help you qualify for the loan or get a lower rate.
These options have consequences if you fail to make payments. Adding a co-signer puts that person on the hook if you can’t pay, and the lender can take your car if you fail to repay a secured loan.
» MORE: Best secured personal loans
Hardship program: Depending on the circumstances, Oportun may defer payments for borrowers struggling to pay, or it may rewrite the loan to lower the interest rate and monthly payments and extend the repayment term.
Community focus: Oportun is a federally certified community development financial institution, which means its primary mission must be promoting community development. The lender offers free financial coaching to customers and provides job assistance and financial support through partnerships with other organizations.
Returning borrower discount: Oportun offers a small rate discount for returning customers. The discount size depends on the number of personal loans a borrower has had and their payment history. For example, the lender says a borrower getting their third Oportun loan may be eligible for a discount of 0.5 percentage points.
Many other lenders offer a rate discount for setting up autopay or using the loan funds to pay off other debts. Even if Oportun offers a discounted rate on your next loan, it pays to compare lenders each time you borrow.
Where Oportun personal loans fall short
High rates: Though rates on Oportun loans are below 36%, they’re still high compared with other online lenders whose minimum APRs can be below 10%.
Origination fee: Oportun may charge an origination fee up to 7% of the loan amount. Lenders usually take this fee from the loan before sending you the funds, reducing your loan amount by a few hundred dollars or more. Be sure the loan amount is still enough to cover your expense after the fee is applied.
No option to change your payment date: Before signing a loan agreement, Oportun says it allows borrowers to choose from a few payment dates that coincide with their job’s payday schedule. After that, the date cannot be changed. It’s common for a lender to let borrowers change their payment date at least once, even if they can’t choose it at the outset of the loan.
What to know about Oportun
In 2020, multiple news outlets reported that Oportun filed tens of thousands of small claims lawsuits in California 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.
In 2021, Oportun told investors that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was investigating its collections practices between 2019 and 2021 and the hardship plans it offered during the height of the pandemic.
The company said in a blog post that it used small claims lawsuits in cases where customers 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%.
How to qualify for an Oportun personal loan
Lenders typically have minimum requirements to apply for a loan and financial requirements to qualify. Oportun accepts borrowers with no credit or thin credit histories, but will review credit if you have it.
To apply for an Oportun loan, borrowers must:
Be 18 years old in most states.
Have a valid ID.
Provide proof of income and address.
Provide personal references if requested.
Oportun requires borrowers have at least $500 in monthly income, which can be from employment, alimony, retirement, child support and Social Security. The lender says applicants must show regular income.
Though Oportun doesn’t have a maximum debt-to-income ratio requirement, the company says it reviews income, debt payments and other living expenses — among other factors — to decide whether an applicant qualifies and for what size loan.
Here’s a snapshot of the average Oportun borrower, according to the lender:
Average annual income: $48,000.
Average loan amount: $4,000 for unsecured loans; $8,000 for secured loans.
Average loan APR: 33% for unsecured loans; 30% for secured loans.
Average loan term: 29 months for unsecured loans; 43 for secured loans.
Common loan purposes: Shopping for a home, to pay bills, to pay off or consolidate debt, to establish credit, to buy or repair a car and for non-medical emergencies.
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 in order to repay the loan, it’s better to know that before you borrow.
Gather your documents. Oportun may require proof of income, which can be a W-2 or paystub, as well as proof of address and a Social Security number. Having these documents handy can speed the application process.
How to apply for an Oportun personal loan
Here are the steps to apply for an Oportun loan, based on information from the lender and our experience pre-qualifying.
Pre-qualify on Oportun’s website. Click “Apply Now” under “Personal Loans” on Oportun’s website. You’ll enter your ZIP code, name, birthdate and contact information. Then click “Next.” There is no hard credit pull at this stage.
Preview loan offers and accept the one that fits your budget. Qualified applicants will see the maximum loan amount they’re approved for, as well as their potential APR and repayment term.
Submit an application. Next, you’ll submit a formal personal loan application, which may require more documents like W-2s, pay stubs and bank statements. Oportun may also require personal references before approval. Though this lender accepts borrowers with thin or no credit history, it does a hard credit inquiry before final approval. Borrowers who are approved are able to choose from three repayment plans.
Make a plan to repay the loan. Oportun reports payment to all three credit bureaus, so on-time payments will help build your credit score, but missed payments will hurt it. Setting up automatic payments and keeping an eye on your budget are two ways to manage your loan payments.
Compare Oportun to other lenders
Personal loan lenders offer different rates, loan amounts and special features, so it pays to weigh other options. The best personal loan is usually the one with the lowest APR.
Universal Credit and OneMain Financial both offer personal loans to borrowers with low credit scores. These lenders have lower rates than Oportun, but qualification requirements may be tighter.
Oportun vs. Universal Credit
Universal Credit requires a minimum credit score of 560 and does not accept no-credit borrowers. This lender stands out for its help building credit, so it may be a good choice for fair- or bad-credit borrowers looking to boost their scores.
Universal Credit offers larger loans than Oportun and can fund a loan the day after approval, making it a solid option for a large, urgent expense. Universal Credit loans are available in all 50 states, but not Washington, D.C.
Universal Credit’s repayment terms are less flexible than Oportun’s. Universal Credit offers three- or five-year repayment terms, and borrowers are expected to make monthly payments. Oportun’s repayment terms can be in three-month increments, and borrowers may make bi-weekly payments.
Oportun vs. OneMain Financial
Like Oportun, OneMain doesn’t have a minimum credit score requirement, but still checks applicants’ credit. Unlike Oportun, OneMain does not approve applicants with no credit score. OneMain offers slightly larger loans than Oportun and allows borrowers to change their payment date twice during the life of the loan.
OneMain’s rates aren’t much lower than Oportun, but it may be a better choice for bad-credit borrowers looking to consolidate high-interest debts.
» MORE: NerdWallet’s OneMain review
How we rate Oportun 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:
Compare with other lenders. Click the button below to pre-qualify with lenders that partner with NerdWallet.
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.
Frequently asked questions
Oportun is an online lender and certified Community Development Financial Institution. This lender reports loan payments to all three major credit bureaus. Though Oportun accepts borrowers with thin or no credit history, the lender still does a hard credit check to approve borrowers.
In 2020, multiple news outlets reported the lender filed tens of thousands of small claims lawsuits against borrowers who were struggling to repay their loans during the pandemic. The lender responded by dismissing the lawsuits and reducing the number of future lawsuits.
Oportun lets applicants pre-qualify with a soft credit check to preview potential loan offers. Borrowers with thin or no credit history may qualify for an Oportun loan, but if an applicant has credit history, Oportun will review it.
No. Oportun only allows borrowers to have one loan at a time.