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Have you ever needed a loan quickly but didn’t know where to start?
I have. And it’s frustrating beyond belief.
Talking to multiple banks, filling out a bunch of applications, and dealing with sleazy loan officers isn’t really my idea of fun.
That’s where a company like Fiona comes in.
Fiona isn’t a lender themselves, but rather a marketplace to connect you to highly-qualified lenders for loans on anything from debt consolidation to a wedding.
In this article, I’ll give an in-depth look at Fiona so you can see if it’s worth your time submitting an application with them or not. Let’s first start with some of the key features.
What is Fiona?
Fiona is a facilitator of loans, meaning they connect you with partners who offer personal loans. The benefit of going through Fiona is that they can consolidate offers into one easy-to-use platform for you, making the decision-making process smooth. Fiona can also help you get the lowest rates possible by working directly with partners and pre-approving you.
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Fiona Key Features
Fiona works by taking your application data and aligning you to the best lenders possible for what you need. They work with partners like LendingClub, SoFi, Prosper, and Payoff (among many more) to determine where you’ll get the best deal. So they don’t actually originate the loan, but they find you the best partner that will. They’ve been doing this since 2014, and have been responsible for originating over $200 million in loans over the past year.
There is a wide variety of personalized loans you can apply for using Fiona. The loans are unsecured and range anywhere from $1,000 to $250,000 with terms from 6 to 144 months. Here are just some of the ways you can use Fiona:
- Debt consolidation
- Purchasing a home
- Home improvements
- Medical expenses
What’s even better about the personalized offer is that it won’t hurt your credit score. Fiona uses what’s considered a soft pull on your credit to give you a preliminary offer. These offers will tell you who the lending partner is, what loan amount you may qualify for, and at what rate.
It’s important to keep in mind that these offers are just preliminary, based on basic information collected. Once you actually complete an application, that offer might change (since they’re now reviewing your credit via a hard pull).
Fiona Financial Pricing
The loans partnered through Fiona’s marketplace range anywhere from 2.49% to 35.99% APR. Because Fiona doesn’t underwrite the loans, though, this is dependent on where you actually apply and get a loan from. Each of the lenders in Fiona’s marketplace will be different–and pricing will be different based on your credit history, income, and intended use of the funds.
One thing to note is that some of the lenders will charge a loan origination fee. This is a charge for underwriting the loan and typically ranges from 1% to 6% of the total loan amount. LendingClub is a good example of this, so it’s helpful to be aware of these additional fees as you apply, as they could end up tacking on a few hundred dollars to your loan balance.
Signing-Up for Fiona
One of the best parts about Fiona is its incredibly easy-to-navigate application process. Their application requires:
- Your date of birth
- Your social security number
- How much money you are looking to borrow
- What you need the money for (i.e., home renovation, debt consolidation)
- Your employment status (i.e., employed, self-employed)
- Your estimated credit score range
- Whether you own or rent your home
- Your annual income
Based on the data you enter, Fiona will run an algorithm along with doing a soft pull on your credit to determine what offers are available for you. Within a matter of minutes, Fiona will present you with offers from a variety of partner lenders. These offers will be considered pre-approvals, and you’ll end up going to that specific lender’s website to submit a full application if and when you are ready.
Who It’s For
The beauty of Fiona is that it’s really for everyone and anyone who is looking to borrow money. As I mentioned above, you can use Fiona to apply for loans for a variety of purposes.
Keep in mind, there are some guidelines in order to qualify for a loan through Fiona and its partners. You need to be at least 18 years old, be a United States citizen, and have at least a 580 credit score. Obviously the better your credit score and overall credit history, the better rate you’ll get on your loan.
Fiona uses SSL Encryption on its website and within their API. This means that partners who use Fiona directly through their website will have the same level of security.
Fiona primarily runs through API, so it doesn’t have its own app. But, the software is designed to be implemented on sites that are mobile-friendly, so you should have no issues applying for a loan using your phone.
Fiona Customer Service
Customer service is relatively weak–you have to email Fiona directly through their website. They don’t have a phone number listed, so you have to go through their site or email them directly.
Highly accredited service — Fiona has a Better Business Bureau rating of “A” with only two customer complaints on file in the past three years. They’ve also been featured by companies/websites like Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal, and Cheddar.
One application gets you multiple offers — One of the worst parts about applying for a loan is that you don’t always know where the best offer is until you submit applications at a bunch of different places. Fiona eliminates that problem by connecting you to multiple different offers on a single (and simple) application.
Fast application process — Speaking of the application process, it’s quick and easy. As I showed you above, Fiona collects eight or so basic pieces of information before delivering you loan offers from its partners.
Rates are competitive — No, 35.99% APR is NOT a competitive rate, but you could qualify for a much lower rate well under 10%, as long as your credit score isn’t in the toilet. Fiona does a nice job of lining up competitive rates for those who qualify, and most are much better than the average credit card rates available today.
No impact on your credit if you’re just browsing — Sometimes you just want to explore options without fully committing. Fiona allows you to do just that with your loan since a soft pull doesn’t have any impact on your credit score. This way, you can browse the types of offers you would get in advance if you were to ultimately apply for a loan.
They aren’t the actual lender — Like I mentioned, Fiona is not an actual lender–they are a marketplace that connects you to lenders. Think of them as the middleman. Yes, they do a good job at it, but this may be less attractive for some borrowers who would prefer to have the end-to-end process be with one lender and want more guaranteed offers up front.
You may get too many offers (or not enough) — This really depends on your creditworthiness and income. It also depends on what lenders are looking for in borrowers at that time. All that being said, you may find yourself getting bombarded with too many offers to manage, which can make it difficult to chose. On the other hand, you may get little to no offers, which can be incredibly frustrating.
There are a relatively small number of partner lenders available — While the lenders in the marketplace are highly-credible, they’re somewhat limiting. Each time you fill out an application, you’ll tend to see the same lenders over and over again. The downside here is that you won’t get offers from local banks or credit unions–which can offer competitive rates on personal loans as well.
Pre-qualified doesn’t mean guaranteed — This will be a huge point of frustration for many. The offers you get after your initial application may or may not be valid once you apply and have your credit checked. The offers initially presented to you are based on limited information. While it’s usually accurate, it’s not always guaranteed that you’ll get that dollar amount, rate, or payment.
Fees and terms can vary widely based on the lender — Depending on the dollar amount and term you’re seeking, you might see a wide variety of terms and fees amongst lenders. Some lenders will charge origination fees, while others won’t. Some will give you a great rate, others won’t.
Fiona Financial Alternatives
The main alternatives to Fiona are some of the big hitters, like SoFi and Payoff. In terms of ease of use, SoFi has a much cleaner interface, and we found that Payoff can get lower rates at times. The reality is, though, this all depends on the applicant. Since there’s no impact to your credit score, you might as well try Fiona and somewhere else like SoFi. Because honestly, who cares about a clean interface when you’re looking to borrow money. The lowest rate is what you should be after.
There’s really no risk in trying Fiona. They have a simple application form that won’t hurt your credit, and you’ll be able to field multiple offers for loans within minutes. It’s nice that you can pick and choose which offer suits you if any, and it’s good to know that you can borrow up to $100,000 at a competitive rate if you need to. If you’re looking for a personal loan, it’s a no-brainer to try Fiona–especially because it doesn’t cost a thing and won’t impact your credit with an initial application.