Pros & Cons
- Soft credit check with pre-qualification.
- Offers co-sign, joint and secured loan options.
- Accepts borrowers new to credit.
- Offers small loans starting at $300.
- Borrowers cannot choose or change their payment date.
- Doesn't offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
- Reports payments to two of the three major credit bureaus.
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Oportun is an online and storefront lender that makes installment loans to low- and moderate-income applicants with credit that has been hurt by credit reporting errors or who have limited to no credit history.
The company bases loan decisions on things like income, expenses and payments toward utility and cell phone bills rather than focusing heavily on credit history, though it will consider any history an applicant has.
Oportun’s annual percentage rates are high, but below the 36% maximum that many financial experts and consumer advocates consider affordable. Loan amounts vary by state, but loans above $6,000 are for qualified returning customers only. Terms are between six and 46 months, and the lender says it will structure loans in a way that works for a borrower’s payday schedule and income level.
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: Personal loans for fair credit
Oportun is best for borrowers who:
Have limited or no credit history, but not bad credit.
Want to add a co-signer, co-borrower or secure the loan with a vehicle.
Oportun at a glance
Where Oportun stands out
Allows 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 needed to qualify. Instead, the lender reviews things like income, rent and utility payments and how much money you have left over at the end of each month. This loan isn’t for bad-credit borrowers, though. If you have a credit score, Oportun will consider it as part of your application.
» COMPARE: Personal loans for bad credit
Joint, co-signed and secured loan options: Borrowers can add a co-signer or co-borrower to their application or 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.
Keep in mind that each option has consequences if you fail to make payments. If you add a co-signer, that person will be on the hook if you can’t pay, and if you get a secured loan, the lender can take your vehicle.
Hardship program: This lender has a robust hardship program for borrowers struggling to make payments. Depending on the circumstances, Oportun may defer payments or it may rewrite the loan to lower the interest rate and monthly payments and extend the repayment term.
Customers have to qualify for the program and enroll, the company says. Some circumstances that may qualify include home or job loss, a medical emergency, a natural disaster or other emergency.
Community focus: Oportun is a federally certified Community Development Financial Institution, which means its primary mission must be promoting community development. The lender offers a free financial coach to customers, among other resources.
Where Oportun falls short
High rates: Though rates on Oportun loans are below 36%, they’re still high compared with other online lenders. Compare alternatives before you borrow to find the cheapest financing option.
Reports payments to two credit bureaus: Oportun reports payments to Experian and TransUnion, but not Equifax. Most lenders report payments to all three major credit bureaus. On-time payments can help you build credit so you can potentially qualify for better rates on future loans and credit cards. If a lender doesn’t report to all bureaus, good credit behavior could go unnoticed.
No option to choose or change your payment date: Borrowers are given a payment date that coincides with their job’s pay schedule, but that date cannot be changed after signing the loan agreement. 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 July 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.
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%.
A company spokesman said in an emailed statement: "Across our entire loan portfolio over the past five 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."
How to qualify for an Oportun loan
Oportun doesn't have a lot of hard requirements for borrowers, including credit score, history or income.
Applicants must prove they have a regular income, though, and the ability to repay the loan after all other monthly expenses are met. According to Oportun, the average borrower has an income of $47,000.
Here’s what you need to apply for an Oportun loan:
Proof of income.
Proof of address.
Up to four references.
Be 18 years or older.
Loan example: A two-year, $5,000 loan with an APR of 20.5% would have monthly payments of $256. You would pay $1,144 in total interest on that loan.
How to get an Oportun loan
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, including Oportun. Pre-qualifying will not impact your credit.
Apply on Oportun
Enter your ZIP code into Oportun's website to see whether the lender operates in your area. Then, you can start the pre-qualification process online, which will not have an impact on your credit score.
on Oportun's website
Personal Loans Rating Methodology
NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates personal loan products from more than 30 lenders. 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 our editorial guidelines.