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The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the employment and income of many people. If you need to borrow money to cover expenses during this time, you might wonder if you can still take out a personal loan — or if any help is available to borrowers who already have a loan and are struggling with payments.
Keep in mind that most lenders are aware of the financial consequences of the pandemic, and many of them have various assistance options available to borrowers affected by coronavirus.
Here’s what you should know about the impact of COVID-19 on personal loans:
- Has coronavirus affected the process to take out a personal loan?
- Personal loan assistance by lender
- Other lenders
- Other options for help with loans during the pandemic
- Watch out for scams during the pandemic
Has coronavirus affected the process to take out a personal loan?
Despite the ongoing economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, low interest personal loans are still widely available. The process to take out a personal loan has also generally not been affected.
However, keep in mind that you’ll still typically need good credit and verifiable income to potentially qualify for a loan. Additionally, some lenders might have more stringent requirements because of the pandemic.
If you decide to take out a personal loan, be sure to consider how much that loan will cost you in the future so you can prepare for any added expenses. You can estimate how much you’ll pay for a loan using our personal loan calculator below.
Enter your loan information to calculate how much you could pay
With a $ loan, you will pay $ monthly and a total of $ in interest over the life of your loan. You will pay a total of $ over the life of the loan.
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Learn More: Emergency Loans: How to Get a Personal Loan Fast
Personal loan assistance by lender
|Achieve||Avant||Axos Bank||Best Egg|
Many lenders are providing hardship assistance to borrowers who have been impacted by the pandemic. Here are the potential options available from each of Credible’s partner lenders:
If you have an Achieve personal loan, you’ll need to contact the lender to see what assistance options might be available to you.
Achieve has also provided a resource guide for customers detailing federal and state coronavirus resources that might be helpful.
If you need assistance with an Avant loan because of COVID-related financial distress, you’ll need to call the lender directly to see what help might be available to you.
You can also visit your loan dashboard to schedule and change your payments and payment method.
Contact information: Call 800-712-5407 to discuss your options with an Avant representative.
Borrowers who can’t make their payments on an Axos Bank loan have been directed to contact Axos by email. Axos Bank typically responds to emails within five business days. Be sure to send only one email so the response isn’t further delayed.
Best Egg hasn’t publicly disclosed specific coronavirus payment relief options. However, borrowers who can’t make their payments have been advised to either log into their Best Egg Account Portal or contact a Best Egg loan specialist to see if any COVID-19 payment programs are available to them.
Additionally, if you’re enrolled in autopay, it’s a good idea to call a Best Egg loan specialist to make sure no payments are accidentally withdrawn.
There are a few payment assistant programs available to Discover personal loan borrowers. These include:
- Payment deferral for past due amounts
- Short-term assistance that lets you make-interest only payments for six to 12 months
- Long-term assistance that changes the length of your repayment and lowers your monthly payment amount
Keep in mind that your account must have been active for at least eight months to potentially be eligible.
Contact information: To request payment assistance, call Discover at 877-256-2660.
If you can’t make payments on a Happy Money loan, you might have access to various assistance options. You’ll need to call Happy Money directly to see what might be available to you.
Contact information: Call 949-346-8740 to discuss options for your Happy Money loan.
LendingClub personal loans come with a 15-day grace period in which to make payments with no penalty. If you need more help, you can contact LendingClub to see if any other options are available to you.
Contact information: Call 877-644-4446 to reach LendingClub’s special care line for pandemic-related financial assistance. You can also call 844-227-5011 for general questions regarding your LendingClub loan.
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LendingPoint offers several types of assistance to borrowers impacted by the pandemic. For example, you might be able to defer your payments or get more repayment flexibility.
Contact information: Call 888-969-0959 to discuss options for your LendingPoint loan.
LightStream is a division of Truist bank, which offers personal loan payment relief for those experiencing financial distress. However, your account will need to have been open for at least nine months and you’ll need to have a strong payment history to potentially qualify.
This payment relief program can suspend your payments for up to 90 days at a time — possibly up to 180 days for those impacted directly by coronavirus. Keep in mind that interest will continue to accrue during this time.
Additionally, borrowers specifically affected by COVID-19 might also be able to apply for short-term loan payment accommodation even if they don’t meet the payment history requirements or their account is less than nine months old.
Contact information: You can contact Truist at 800-828-7859 to discuss payment relief options for your LightStream loan.
Borrowers who are struggling with personal loan payments are encouraged to call their local OneMain Financial branch to discuss their options. You can find branch locations here.
Contact information: You can also call 800-961-5577 to discuss your options with a OneMain Financial loan specialist.
PenFed is offering a self-service courtesy skip payment program for borrowers who are affected by the pandemic.
To determine if you’re eligible, log into your PenFed Online account and select the “Financial Assistance for Members Affected by COVID-19” option.
Contact information: If you have any other questions or need further assistance, you can call PenFed at 800-247-5626.
If you have a Prosper personal loan, keep in mind that late fees will only be assessed 15 days after the payment is due, which could give you some leeway when making payments.
For those who still need additional help because of the pandemic, Prosper has asked that you contact them directly to discuss payment options.
If you’ve been impacted by COVID-19, you can defer payments on your SoFi loan. There might also be other options available — for example, you can put your loan in forbearance for an initial 30 days and potentially extend that period later on.
Contact information: You can apply for payment deferment on a SoFi loan through its website or call 855-456-7634 to discuss your options. Additionally, you can schedule a time to chat with a SoFi financial planner at no cost.
Universal Credit hasn’t disclosed specific COVID-19 payment assistance options. If you’re struggling to make your payments due to the pandemic, be sure to reach out to the lender to see what help might be available to you.
If you’ve been affected by COVID-19, you can sign into your Upgrade account to see if any alternative payment options are available to you.
There are two hardship relief options available to Upstart borrowers — deferring your payment for one month or reducing two months of payments by 50%. There might also be additional payment arrangements available.
Check Out: Secured Personal Loans You Should Know About
If you have a personal loan from a lender not listed here and need assistance, it’s a good idea to start by searching the lender’s website for information.
Many lenders have a specific coronavirus help page that will walk you through your options. You might also find answers on a page with frequently asked questions or additional resources.
Learn More: How to Get a $5,000 Personal Loan Fast
Other options for help with loans during the pandemic
In addition to your lender, there are a few other options that might offer assistance. These include:
- Credit counseling: There are nonprofit organizations that offer credit counseling — such as the National Foundation for Credit Counseling — that could help you simplify your debt repayment process and potentially negotiate better terms with your creditors.
- Government grants: If you’re facing economic distress, you might qualify for various grants, loans, or other benefits from the federal government.
- Unemployment benefits: If you’ve lost your job, you might be eligible for unemployment benefits, insurance, and other programs.
If you have to borrow money to cover your expenses, options such as payday loans or pawn shop loans might be appealing, especially if you need the money quickly. However, these types of loans often come with astronomically high rates and fees that could land you in even worse financial trouble.
Instead, it’s usually a better idea to apply for a personal loan from a reputable lender. There are even lenders that offer personal loans for bad credit. While these might come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans, you won’t be stuck paying triple-digit interest rates like you might with a payday loan (also known as a cash advance loan).
Watch out for scams during the pandemic
Keep in mind that scams often crop up during a national disaster — including the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, predatory lenders took the opportunity to raise interest rates to astronomical heights on payday loans and other short-term loans in 2020 and 2021.
Here are a few ways to protect yourself from personal loan scams and other pitfalls:
- Never give out personal information via phone or email. No one from the IRS, Social Security Administration, or federal government will contact you by phone or email asking for personal information.
- Don’t fall for high-pressure tactics. Scammers will often try to push you to make fast decisions without thinking them through. If a company is pressuring you to make a decision, walk away.
- Never pay for free programs. Scammers try to take advantage of people who don’t fully understand programs that are available to them for free. Be sure to do your own research — in many cases, you can apply for various forms of assistance on your own at no extra cost.
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