Oportun Personal Loans: 2021 Review

Oportun's personal loans offer an accessible alternative to payday and high-interest loans, but rates are high.
Annie MillerberndOct 21, 2021

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Our Take

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Oportun loans may be a fit for borrowers with no credit history or fair credit looking to borrow a small amount of money.

Oportun

on Oportun's website

on Oportun's website

Min. Credit Score

None

Est. APR

27.74-35.95%

Loan Amount

$300-$10,000

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Borrowers cannot change their payment date.
  • Doesn't offer direct payment to creditors with debt consolidation loans.
  • No joint loan option.
  • Loans are expensive compared to other bad-credit options.
  • Reports to only two of the three major credit bureaus.

Compare to Other Lenders

Oportun
Upgrade
Universal Credit
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Est. APR

27.74-35.95%

Est. APR

5.94-35.47%

Est. APR

8.93-35.43%

Loan Term

12 to 51 months

Loan Term

2 to 7 years

Loan Term

3 to 5 years

Loan Amount

$300-$10,000

Loan Amount

$1,000-$50,000

Loan Amount

$1,000-$50,000

Min. Credit Score

None

Min. Credit Score

560

Min. Credit Score

560

Compare estimated rates from multiple lenders

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Full Review

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. Terms are between 12 and 51 months, and the lender says it will structure loans and payments to account for a borrower’s income level and payday schedule.

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.

Oportun is best for borrowers who:

  • Have limited or no credit history, but not bad credit.

  • Want to add a co-signer.

  • Need funds quickly.

Oportun at a glance

Affordability

  • APRs are high among lenders targeting similar borrowers.

  • Charges origination fee.

  • No rate discount for autopayments.

  • No prepayment fee.

Loan flexibility

  • Offers multiple loan types.

  • No option to change payment date.

  • Funds loans within three business days.

  • Offers payment deferrals for hardships.

  • Loans not available in CO, CT, GA, HI, IA, ME, MD, MA, MN, NE, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, WA, WV and WY.

Transparency

  • Rates and terms aren’t clearly displayed on website.

  • Website includes FAQ that answers key borrower questions.

Customer experience

  • Offers multiple customer contact channels available seven days a week.

  • Offers online financial education.

  • Offers 100% online application.

  • Does not offer mobile app to manage loans.

Key terms to know about personal loans

Annual percentage rate is the interest rate on your loan plus all fees, calculated on an annual basis and expressed as a percentage. Use the APR to compare loan costs from multiple lenders.

An origination fee is a one-time, upfront fee that some lenders charge for processing a loan. The fee can range from 1% to 10% of the loan amount, and lenders typically deduct it from your loan proceeds.

The debt-to-income ratio divides your total monthly debt payments by your gross monthly income, giving you a percentage. Lenders use DTI — along with credit history and other factors — to evaluate a borrower's financial ability to repay a loan.

Lenders that offer pre-qualification typically do so using a soft credit check, which allows you to see rates and terms you qualify for without affecting your credit score. If you accept the loan offer, the lender will perform a hard check to confirm your information. Hard checks knock a few points off your credit score.

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 required 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.

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.

Keep in mind that each option has 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.

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.

Customers have to enroll and qualify for the hardship program, 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 and partners with other organizations to provide job assistance and financial support.

Where Oportun falls short

High rates: Though rates on Oportun loans are below 36%, they’re still high compared with other online lenders. Consider alternatives to borrowing before you commit to a loan.

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 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 again. 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.

In March 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 COVID-19 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%.

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.”

How to qualify for an Oportun loan

Oportun doesn't have a lot of hard credit requirements.

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.

Applicants must prove they have a regular income and the ability to repay the loan after all other monthly expenses are met. According to Oportun, the average borrower has an income of $50,000.

Here’s what you need to apply for an Oportun loan:

  • Valid identification.

  • Proof of income.

  • Proof of address.

  • At least $500 in monthly income.

  • Up to four references.

  • Be 18 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.