What is RISE?
Rise professes to be a lender of the people. It even says so in the name — RISE, as in helping people who aren’t able to qualify with better credit rise to a better financial status. From the company’s start in 2013 to late 2017 (the latest data available), it’s loaned out almost $2 billion to nearly half-a-million customers with subprime credit. The company is run by Elevate Credit Inc., which owns several other lending companies focusing on people with less-than-optimal credit.
It’s a nice story, and the company does offer a few perks to help boost its customers’ financial literacy, but you should know that these are very expensive loans. They’re so expensive that there’s not a huge difference between the interest rates that RISE charges and those charged by payday lenders.
Still, if you have suboptimal credit, you might not have a wide range of lenders from which to choose. But it’s still important to know what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line, and we’ll help you vet the company and determine whether it’s right for you in this review.
RISE personal loan highlights
- High APR: The exact APR you pay will depend on the state in which you live and your credit. But the lowest APR you’ll pay is 36.00%, while the highest is 299.00%.
- Fast funding time: You can get your money as soon as the next business day, assuming that you are approved by 6 p.m. EST on the day you apply. Check with your bank for any bank-specific holding periods, if applicable.
- Not available in all states: RISE does not offer installment loans in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.
- Your rate can decrease: If you make your payments on time, RISE may lower your interest rate. This is a fuzzy promise since there’s no schedule or terms for it to do so. If it does lower your rate, consider it a nice perk, but don’t count on it happening.
- Credit requirements: Minimum 500 credit score
- Terms: 4 to 26 months, although it varies by state
- Fees: No prepayment fee; others not readily disclosed
RISE Personal Loan Details
|*The fine print on RISE’s website says it doesn’t charge “hidden fees” that are not disclosed, but the possible fees are not readily listed.|
RISE product details
If you choose a RISE loan, you’ll get a few small financial perks. RISE provides you with a free credit score from TransUnion, as well as credit alerts if your credit changes. You’ll also get access to spreadsheets that help you budget, plan savings goals and track your debt. It’s important to note that you can still get these things in other places for free, too.
RISE also purports to lower your rates if you make on-time payments. But as we’ve already discussed, the company is not transparent about how and when this happens, so we’d caution you to hold the company to its promise.
RISE loans also vary significantly depending on the state in which you live. For example, if you live in Texas, you can only take out loans between $300 and $2,000, for terms of four or five months. If you live in Delaware, you can take out loans between $300 and $5,000, for terms between four and 26 months.
- Minimum credit score: 500
- Minimum credit history: Not specified
- Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Not specified
RISE does not publish the specific details of the credit score, credit history or debt-to-income ratio that someone must have to be approved for a loan. But the company does specialize in offering subprime loans, which means that you may qualify for a loan even if you have suboptimal credit.
Also, to be approved for a loan, you’ll need to be at least 18 (or 19 if you live in Alabama) and have a job or a stable income source, a valid email account and a checking account.
You’ll also need to live in one of the following states in which RISE operates:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
RISE also operates in Washington, D.C.
Applying for a personal loan from RISE
You can apply for a loan from RISE through its website. You’ll need to enter your personal details such as your name, address, Social Security number and annual income. If you received a loan offer through the mail and would like to apply for it, you can also enter the mail offer code to speed the process.
After you apply, you will most likely receive an instant decision. In some cases, RISE may require other documents, such as proof of income. If you’re not approved, RISE will give you a reason why. Once approved, you can select how much money you’d like to borrow. This will depend on where you live, as well as the approval amount that RISE has authorized.
If you complete the application process and are approved before 6 p.m. EST, RISE will send the money to your bank account by the next business day. If you miss the 6 p.m. cutoff, the transfer will be processed starting on the next business day. It’s a good idea to check with your bank for its funds availability policy, since some banks may hold this money for a period before making it available to you. You can also choose to have a paper check mailed to you, in which case you can expect your money in seven to 10 business days.
Pros and Cons of a RISE Personal Loan
Who’s the best fit for a RISE personal loan?
RISE personal loans are best for people who meet three conditions:
- Have a low credit score
- Need money quickly
- Don’t mind paying very high financing charges
That’s because almost all other lenders out there (even most credit card companies) offer better interest rates than RISE. But to get those interest rates, you’ll need to qualify for them by having a higher credit score, or at least be willing to spend some time doing research to find a lender who’ll work with you even though you don’t have an optimal credit score.
Alternative personal loan options
If you’ve got a little bit of time to spare, we recommend researching other lenders that will give you better rates on your personal loan.
- APR range: 6.95% – 35.89%
- Credit requirements: Minimum 600 credit score
- Terms: 36 or 60 months
- Origination fee: 1.00% - 6.00%
LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lender, which means it matches potential borrowers with investors. It boasts a simple online application process and allows you to borrow up to $40,000. You can borrow for either 36 or 60 months. There is an origination fee, however.
Discover Personal Loans
- APR range: 6.99% – 24.99%
- Credit requirements: Minimum 660 credit score
- Terms: 36 to 84 months
- Origination fee: No origination fee
You may know Discover for its credit card products, but it also offers personal loans. With no origination fee, Discover personal loans can be an affordable way for borrowers with decent credit to get loan funds. You can get a decision as soon as the same day you apply for a loan.
Affinity Federal Credit Union
- APR range: 9.75% – 18.00%
- Credit requirements: 525 minimum credit score
- Terms: 60 months
- Origination fee: No origination fee
If your credit score is lower (as low as 525), you may still be able to qualify for a personal loan from Affinity Federal Credit Union, a New Jersey-based financial institution. You can still join even if you don’t otherwise meet the membership criteria by making a $5 donation to the New Jersey Coalition for Financial Education or the Connecticut Jump$tart Coalition. You’ll also need to deposit at least $5 in a membership eligibility account before you can apply for a loan.