ThriveCash 2022 Review: Personal Loans for Students and Recent Graduates

ThriveCash offers fast, low-rate loans for students and recent graduates with an internship or employment offer letter.
Feb 25, 2021

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Our Take

The bottom line:

ThriveCash is a financing option for students looking to borrow a small amount of cash before starting a new job or internship.

ThriveCash Personal Loan
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Pros & Cons


  • Able to fund a loan the next business day.
  • Offers small loans of $250.
  • Accepts borrowers with no credit score or history.


  • Loan amount is limited by the amount on your offer letter.
  • Does not report on-time payments to credit bureaus.

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3 to 5 years

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2 to 5 years

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Full Review of ThriveCash Personal Loan

To review ThriveCash, NerdWallet collected more than 30 data points from the lender, interviewed company executives and compared the lender with other similar products. Because ThriveCash's loan works differently than other personal loans, it is not rated.

ThriveCash loans are designed for students and recent graduates. These unsecured loans fill the income gap between school and a full-time job or internship when savings or cheaper financing isn’t available.

Co-founder Deepak Rao says the concept for ThriveCash came from his own struggle to make purchases that his student loans didn’t cover when he was a student at Stanford University.

“If I wanted to go to India to meet my grandma, there’s no money for that,” Rao says.

ThriveCash rates, terms and fees

Rates: ThriveCash charges a flat monthly fee of $7 to $15 per $1,000 borrowed, which translates to an annual percentage rate of 8.4% to 18%. Fees are determined based on information in a borrower’s offer letter, the state he or she lives in and repayment term selected.

Terms: Maximum repayment terms are three months for interns and up to 12 months for full-time employees. There are no fees for repaying the loan early.

Fees begin accruing on the money you borrow once you borrow it, not during the repayment period. That means if you borrowed money April 1 and aren’t beginning your three-month repayment term until June, you’re actually going to repay five months’ interest.

If you lose your job or your start date changes, Rao says the company will work with you to arrange a different payment schedule.

Other fees: ThriveCash doesn’t charge origination or late fees, the company says.

How ThriveCash works

ThriveCash approves borrowers with internship offer letters for up to 25% of the pay they’re offered. Full-time employees are approved for up to 25% of their first three months’ pay.

You get your money, manage and repay your loan on ThriveCash’s app.

When you first log in to the app, you’ll enter your school email address and email the company your offer letter. Based on that letter and other personal information you give them, ThriveCash will tell you how much you're approved for.

For example, if you’re taking a three-month internship that will pay you a total of $10,000, you may be approved for up to $2,500.

Like a line of credit, you don’t have to use the entire amount you’re approved for, but you can continue to draw on the funds you’ve been approved for up until you start earning money, Rao says.

Because the money is unsecured, you can use it however you want, including to pay a deposit for an apartment or for moving expenses.

Once you tell ThriveCash how much money you want to borrow, you’ll set your repayment terms, including your first payment due date and whether you want to repay in monthly installments or all at once.

So if you’re approved in April to borrow $2,500, and you don’t get your first paycheck until June 14, you can choose that later date as your first payment due date.

Once approved, the company says it can send the funds to your bank account as soon as the following business day.

When you begin repayment, the company will automatically deduct the payments from a linked bank account. You can change your payment date by texting customer service.

If you borrow the full $2,500 in April for your three-month internship starting in June and get the company’s lowest fee of $7 per $1,000, you’d owe $2,587.50 by the end of August, when you finish your internship.

How to get approved with ThriveCash

ThriveCash doesn’t require a credit score or history, and loans are available to international students who are eligible to work in the U.S.

The company does a soft credit pull on students who do have credit histories.

To apply, you need a school email and a copy of an offer letter with an employer, position, salary and start date listed.

ThriveCash doesn’t currently lend to contractors or freelancers, Rao says.

ThriveCash’s hard requirements are:

  • Borrowers must be undergraduate or graduate students with an offer letter for an upcoming internship or full-time job.

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or hold a valid visa, residency card or other authorization to legally work in the U.S.

  • No bankruptcies.

ThriveCash isn’t available in Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia or Wyoming.

Average ThriveCash borrowers have:

  • A 685 credit score. The company uses credit scoring model FICO version 8 and says 15% of its borrowers do not have a credit score.

  • An annual full-time and prorated internship income of $69,000.

  • An average loan amount of $4,200.

  • An APR of 12%.

Of ThriveCash’s borrowers, 35% applied with an offer letter for an internship and 65% had an offer for full-time employment, the company says. About 30% of borrowers are graduate students and 70% are undergrads.

How ThriveCash compares with personal loans and credit cards

Rates: ThriveCash may offer a lower interest rate than what you might get with other personal loans or credit cards, especially for borrowers with thin credit profiles.

However, if you have a FICO score of 690 or higher, you might qualify for a credit card with a 0% introductory APR. If you qualify and think you can repay what you borrow in the first interest-free 15 to 18 months, consider one of these cards among your options.

Qualifying: If you’re a student with an offer letter, qualifying with ThriveCash will likely be easier because the company doesn’t rely as heavily on credit or debt information to make a loan decision.

Credit building: Because ThriveCash doesn’t report on-time payments to credit bureaus, it won’t help your credit the way paying off a personal loan or credit card balance would.

Compare Personal Loan Rates

Personal loans are unsecured funds you can use for just about anything. Your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and other factors help lenders qualify you for a loan. Compare loans to find the best rate for you.

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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.