The bottom line: A Rise loan, designed for bad-credit consumers, is costly and best considered only after trying alternatives.
Min. Credit Score
50.00 - 299.00%
$500 - $5,000
Pros & Cons
Offers free credit score access.
Able to fund loans within one business day.
High rates compared with other similar lenders.
No option to pre-qualify.
To review Rise Credit, 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.
When to consider: A last resort in a true emergency after you’ve exhausted other options.
Rise Credit is an online installment loan for bad-credit borrowers offered by Texas-based Elevate.
Rise loans are designed for bad-credit borrowers or those who can’t get a loan from a traditional bank or online lender. The company says the loans are commonly used for unexpected expenses, like a medical emergency or urgent car repair.
Rise loan rates can rival some payday lenders', with maximum annual percentage rates reaching 299% in some states. High rates make these loans an expensive way to get cash in an emergency. NerdWallet recommends avoiding loans with rates above 36% unless you’ve ruled out all the alternatives.
Rise loan details
To evaluate borrowers, Rise generates an internal score using credit, income and bank account data. Borrowers are assigned rates and loan amounts based on how much they can afford relative to their income.
Rise loans can be repaid over four to 26 months, though terms vary by state.
To get a Rise loan, you must:
Have a job or regular source of income.
Have a checking account.
Live in one of the 31 states where Rise offers loans.
Seven-day payment extension option.
Free credit score monitoring.
Some borrowers may get a reduced rate on a refinanced or subsequent loan.
Reports payments to Experian and TransUnion.
The company says customers can get rates reduced over time, either through refinancing or on a subsequent loan.
If getting a lower rate means extending the term, reconsider refinancing. NerdWallet doesn't recommend long-term, high-rate loans or taking loans on a repeat basis, because the loan can become unaffordable and you may end up paying more in interest than the original amount you borrowed.
Rise loan example
Rise loans can have lower APRs than payday loans, but they are still an expensive option. For a borrower with poor credit, a $2,100 loan with a repayment term of 5 months at an APR of 125% — the company’s average — would carry:
Monthly payments: $560.
Total interest: $699.
Total amount due: $2,799.
What to know about Rise
Rise offers loans with APRs above some state-mandated maximums. In Ohio, for example, short-term loans can’t have an APR above 28%, but Rise offers loans with APRs between 99% and 149%.
Asked about the discrepancy, the company says it adheres to “applicable state and federal banking laws.” Loans are made by Utah-based FinWise Bank in 17 of the 31 states where Rise offers them, and Utah doesn’t impose a maximum APR.
In June 2020, Washington, D.C.'s attorney general announced a lawsuit against Elevate, alleging Rise and Elastic — another lender Elevate owns — lent money at interest rates above the district's mandated maximum. The lawsuit also alleges that the lenders' marketing efforts misled consumers and they didn't accurately communicate their loans' interest rates.
An Elevate spokesman said in an email that Rise does not lend in D.C. The spokesman said the company adheres to federal law, which allows banks to license financial technology that lets them lend in all states.
How Rise loans compare
OppLoans APRs are comparable to — or in some cases lower than — Rise APRs. Like Rise, OppLoans lends above APR caps in some states. Unlike Rise, OppLoans reports payments to all three major credit bureaus. The lender also offers an option to change your payment date, while Rise allows you to extend it by seven days.
Oportun has lower APRs and focuses on helping those with no credit history — called “credit invisible” consumers — establish it. Oportun operates in just 12 states, but its lower rates and borrowers’ ability to add a co-signer make it a better option than Rise.
Rise is not a good idea if:
Your main goal is to build credit: Getting a secured credit card or credit-builder loan, or paying off existing debt, are faster and cheaper ways to build credit. Find other ways to build credit. NerdWallet lets you view your free credit score and offers other budgeting tools without requiring you get a loan.
You can get cash elsewhere: NerdWallet recommends exhausting cheaper alternatives first, including local charities and nonprofits — even in an emergency.
Before you take a Rise loan
Try all other options: If none of the alternatives listed above work for you, see if you can buy time from your creditor, work out a payment plan or face the short-term financial consequences of not paying, such as a late fee.
Compare the cost of taking the loan to the cost of not taking it: Calculate the overall cost of not having funds for your purpose, then weigh that against the typical cost of this loan in your state.
If you take a Rise personal loan
After considering alternatives and weighing the costs, you may decide that taking a Rise loan is your best option. In that case, do what you can to carve out room in your budget to pay the loan off as quickly as possible. For most people, this loan is too expensive to be a long-term or repeat solution.
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.