Personify Financial, owned by Applied Data Finance, LLC, provides personal loans to borrowers with less-than-stellar credit. Qualified applicants can borrow up to $15,000 and have up to four years to repay the loan. The company currently offers loans in 27 states, and it works with First Electronic Bank in some areas to originate loans.
While people in need of quick cash may find Personify Financial appealing, we can’t recommend borrowing from this lender because of its sky-high interest rates and fees. Depending on your state, APRs can be as high as 199.99%.
Personify Financial is also one of the lenders listed on the National Consumer Law Center’s (NCLC) high-cost rent-a-bank watch list. According to the NCLC, some lenders use the legally grey strategy of rent-a-bank schemes to get around state interest rate caps.
Applied Data Finance, Personify Financial’s parent company, was the subject of two class action lawsuits — one in Washington filed January 2020 and one in Florida filed May 2020 — for charging interest rates and fees that exceeded the states’ interest rate caps and attempting to circumvent state usury laws via a rent-a-bank scheme with a bank chartered in Utah (a state with no interest rate caps). We reached out to Applied Data Finance for an official statement but have not yet received a response as of the time of publication.
If you decide to take out a loan from Personify Financial, have a plan in place to pay off the debt as quickly as possible. However, we recommend that you exhaust all alternatives before turning to this lender. Even if you have poor credit, you may still be able to find a loan with lower interest rates and fees from another lender.
What to Know Before Getting a Personal Loan
Personal loans can give you quick access to a lump sum of cash for many different purposes, from covering emergency expenses to consolidating debt to paying for large purchases. Personal loan rates and terms can vary widely from lender to lender. What interest rate you receive is dependent on your credit score, selected loan term and amount, and other factors like the presence of collateral or whether you have a cosigner on your application.
If you have poor credit and cannot qualify for a loan on your own or can only get a loan with a very high interest rate, consider asking a friend or relative with good credit to cosign your loan application. Having a cosigner can increase your chances of qualifying for a loan, and you can often get a lower interest rate than you’d get by applying on your own.
Personal loans can be unsecured or secured. Unsecured loans don’t require you to provide any form of collateral. With secured loans, you have to give the lender some form of property that acts as security for the loan. Secured loans often have lower interest rates than unsecured loans, but the lender can take your collateral and resell it to recoup their money if you fall behind on your payments.
Before signing a loan agreement, make sure to shop around and compare offers from multiple personal loan lenders to ensure you get the best deal. Review the loan fee disclosures so that you know what you’ll owe each month, what you’ll repay over the life of the loan, and what fees — including late fees, origination fees, and prepayment fees — to expect.
Alternatives to Personal Loans
Although a personal loan can be a convenient way to finance purchases, consolidate your debt, or cover emergency expenses, there may be other options that are a better fit for your personal financial situation and goals:
- A home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). If you own a home and have built equity in your house, you can get access to either a lump sum of cash or a revolving line of credit through a home equity loan or a HELOC, respectively. Your home secures these forms of credit, so you may get a lower interest rate than you’d get with a personal loan. However, you risk the bank foreclosing on your home if you can’t keep up with payments.
- A balance transfer credit card. If you have good credit and want to consolidate high-interest debt, you may be eligible for a balance transfer credit card. With this approach, you can transfer your existing credit card balances to a new card with a 0% APR intro offer. Balance transfer cards offer 0% APR for a set introductory period, typically ranging from 12 to 18 months, giving you time to pay off your debt without interest.
- A payday alternative loan (PAL). If you need a relatively small amount to cover an unexpected expense, some credit unions offer PALs. You can borrow up to $2,000 and have up to six months to repay the loan. The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) limits how much credit unions can charge in interest; as of 2021, the interest rate cap is 28%.
- Savings. If at all possible, tap into your savings rather than take on debt. If you’re planning for a non-emergency expense, you can set aside money from every paycheck until you reach your goal. It’s also wise to build an emergency fund to give you a cushion against unexpected expenses.
- Credit counseling. If you’re trying to get a handle on your debt and aren’t sure where to start, meet with a counselor from a non-profit credit counseling organization. The counselor can help you create a budget, identify areas to cut back, and even negotiate with your creditors. To find a reputable agency, contact your state attorney general or search through the list of approved agencies on the U.S. Trustee Program website.
Pros and Cons of Personify Financial
Quick loan disbursement
Soft credit check for prequalification
No prepayment penalty
Low minimum credit score requirement
Only available in 27 states
APRs as high as 199.99%
May charge origination fees in some states
Not the direct lender in some states
Cosigners not accepted
Personify Financial Compared to Other Lenders
|Loan Term Range||1 to 4 years (varies by state)||3 to 5 years||2 to 5 years|
|Loan Amount||$500 to $15,000 (varies by state)||$2,000 to $45,000||$2,000 to $35,000|
|Credit Score Needed||500||540||580|
|Origination Fee||Up to 5% of loan amount (varies by state)||1% to 6% of loan amount||Up to 4.75%|
|Unsecured or Secured Debt||Unsecured||Unsecured||Unsecured|
Who Should Get a Personify Loan
When you’re in a financial bind, a loan from Personify Financial can seem tempting. The lender offers loan disbursements within one business day, requires a minimum VantageScore of just 500, and doesn’t have an income requirement.
However, you should exhaust all other options before turning to Personify or other high-cost lenders. With its sky-high APRs and origination fees, you could end up paying much more than you initially borrowed. Consider this example, calculated with NextAdvisor’s loan calculator:
Jeff takes out a $2,000 loan and qualifies for a three-year term. The interest rate on his loan is 150%, and a 5% origination fee is deducted from the loan amount. If he makes his minimum payments every month and pays off his loan as scheduled, Jeff will pay a total of $9,131.54 — of which over $7,000 is interest.
|Repayment of a $2,000 Personal Loan|
|Loan term||3 Years|
|Origination fee (deducted from the loan amount)||$100.00|
|Minimum monthly payment||$253.65|
With such high rates, taking out a loan from Personify can make it difficult to get out of debt. Because of this, we don’t recommend Personify loans — and other high-interest loans — unless there is no other option available.
If you do have to take out a Personify loan, develop a plan for paying it off and, if possible, pay more than the minimum amount each month to eliminate the loan faster and reduce the total amount interest you’ll pay. Personify doesn’t charge any prepayment fees, so you won’t be penalized for paying your loan off early.
Alternatives to a Personify Loan
To get money for an emergency expense or other time-sensitive issue, consider these alternatives before applying for a Personify personal loan:
- Seek help from friends and family. While asking relatives and loved ones for money may not be ideal, a small loan from a friend or family member can be a much better option than a high-interest loan. If you go this route, make sure the two of you agree on loan repayment terms and stick to a payment plan that works for both of you.
- Research local assistance programs. You may be eligible for non-profit assistance programs in your area. Depending on your situation, you could get help with housing, food, transportation, or even childcare costs. Contact 2-1-1 to find resources near you.
- Sell unused items. If you have unused clothing, electronics, books, toys, or furniture in your home, you can sell them to get money fast.
- Apply for a bad credit loan. Some personal loan lenders specialize in loans for people with poor to fair credit. With many of them, interest rates are capped at 36% — the maximum rate the NCLC says lenders can charge and still give people a reasonable chance to repay the loan on time.
How to Qualify for a Personify Loan
When evaluating your application, Personify will look at the following:
- Income. The lender will ask for information about your employment and income.
- Bank account. You’ll need a valid checking account in your name.
- Credit report. Personify will check your credit report and look at your total outstanding debts and payment history.
- Location. You must be a resident in one of the states where Personify operates. As of September 2021, Personify loans are available in: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
When it comes to credit score, a company representative said that Personify looks at your VantageScore. Borrowers must have a VantageScore over 500 to qualify for a loan.
Personify doesn’t have a specific minimum income requirement. When we reached out to the company for details, a representative said: “There is not a minimum income, but we require applicants to show sufficient income to repay the loan, as reflected in the minimum payment and debt-to-income ratios.”
All Personify loans are unsecured, and the lender doesn’t allow cosigners or co-borrowers.
How to Apply for a Personify Loan
We don’t recommend taking out a loan from Personify Financial. However, you may decide to do so if you need money quickly and have already explored all other options. If that’s the case, you can use the company’s prequalification tool to find out if you’re eligible for a loan and what rate you’ll receive without undergoing a hard credit inquiry.
If you decide to proceed with your loan application, the company will ask you for your contact information, photo identification, employer details, and your checking account and routing numbers.
You’ll receive a loan agreement detailing your loan amount, repayment terms, and total repayment cost. Before the loan can be disbursed, you must read and sign the agreement. Once you send the signed agreement back, Personify will issue the loan. Depending on when you sign the agreement, you could receive your funds as soon as the next day.
Is Personify good for personal loans?
We don’t recommend Personify Financial due to its high APRs, origination fees, and because it’s included on the NCLC’s high-cost rent-a-bank watchlist. In addition, Personify Financial’s parent company, Applied Finance, LLC, was subject to two class action lawsuits (one in Florida filed May 2020 and one in Washington in filed January 2020) for its business practices, high APRs that exceeded state interest rate caps, and engagement in rent-a-bank schemes to circumvent state usury laws. Applied Finance, LLC could not be reached for comment.
What credit score do you need for a Personify loan?
A company representative said that Personify requires applicants to have a VantageScore over 500 to qualify for a loan.
Can I get a Personify personal loan with bad credit?
You may qualify for a Personify loan with bad credit. To qualify, you must have a score over 500, which is in the “poor” range, according to credit bureau Experian.
Does a Personify loan hurt your credit?
Whenever you apply for a personal loan, your credit score may be impacted in several ways:
- New account. When you take out a loan, a new credit account will appear on your credit report. New accounts play a small role in determining your VantageScore.
- Improved credit mix. Your credit mix — the different types of credit you manage, such as credit cards, auto loans, and mortgages — is highly influential for the VantageScore model. By taking out an installment loan, you can improve your credit mix.
- Payment history. Your payment history is moderately influential under the VantageScore model. If you make all of your Personify personal loan payments on time, you can boost your credit over time.