What is a Flex Loan? | Flex Loan vs. Personal Loan

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Flex loans are generally offered by payday lenders and title loan lenders. These kinds of loans might seem like a good option if you need fast access to cash — however, they can be extremely expensive in the long run.

Here’s what you should know about flex loans:

What is a flex loan?

A flex loan is a type of unsecured personal line of credit. With a flex loan, you’ll have access to a credit line that you can repeatedly draw on and pay off. You only pay interest on the actual amount you borrow with a flex like, and you’ll have to make a minimum payment each month until you pay it off — similar to a credit card.

Unlike other types of loans — such as personal loans — you can likely still qualify for a flex loan even if you have poor or fair credit.

Keep in mind: Interest rates on flex loans are generally higher than the rates on personal loans or personal lines of credit — which could make them a much more expensive form of credit.

If you decide to take out a flex loan or another type of loan (such as a personal loan), be sure to consider how much that loan will cost over time. This way, 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

Total Payment
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Total Interest
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Monthly Payment
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With a
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loan, you will pay
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Learn More: Personal Loan vs. Line of Credit: How to Choose

Pros and cons of flex loans

Here are a few reasons you might opt for a flex loan:

  • Generally easy to qualify for, even if you have poor credit
  • Flexible terms that let you repeatedly access money
  • Approval is typically fast, giving you quick access to cash

However, flex loans aren’t always a good choice. Here are some drawbacks to keep in mind:

  • High interest rates, sometimes up to 200% APR or more
  • Minimum payments might not cover more than interest and fees, which could keep you in debt longer
  • A revolving line of credit could lead to a long-term debt cycle for some borrowers

Check Out: How Personal Loans Impact Your Credit Score

How flex loans compare to personal loans and credit cards

Here are several important points to note as you compare flex loans to other types of credit:

Type of credit Average APR Loan amounts Loan terms
Flex loan Revolving Up to 200% APR or higher

(depending on the lender and state)

Typically $500 up to $5,000

(depending on the lender)

Flexible
Personal loan Installment Varies $600 to $100,000

(with Credible partner lenders)

1 to 7 years

(depending on the lender)

Credit card Revolving 16.28% About $30,000 on average

(possibly up to $500,000, depending on credit)

Flexible

Personal loans

A personal loan is a type of installment loan, which means you’ll pay it back in fixed payments by the end of a specific repayment term. These loans also typically come with much lower interest rates compared to flex loans.

Unlike revolving credit like a flex loan or credit card, you’ll get the funds from a personal loan as lump sum. The time to fund for a personal loan is typically one week or less — however, some lenders also offer next- or even Oak Park Financial – online loans same day platform if you’re approved.

Tip: You can generally use a personal loan for almost any personal expense, such as debt consolidation or home improvements.

If you decide to take out a personal loan, be sure to consider as many lenders as possible to find the right loan for you. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from our partner lenders in the table below in two minutes.

Lender Fixed rates Loan amounts Min. credit score Loan terms (years)
View details 9.95% – 35.99% APR $2,000 to $35,000** 550 2, 3, 4, 5*
  • Rates: 9.95% – 35.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5*
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $35,000**
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except CO, IA, HI, VT, NV NY, WV
  • Min. income: $1,200 monthly
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 550
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the next business day (if approved by 4:30 p.m. CT on a weekday)
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, emergency expense, life event, home improvement, and other purposes

Avant personal loans review

*If approved, the actual loan terms that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination, state law, and other factors. Minimum loan amounts vary by state.

**Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

axos

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6.49% – 29.99% APR $5,000 to $35,000 740 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Rates: 6.49% – 29.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $35,000
  • Fees: No prepayment penalty
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 740
  • Time to get funds: Next business day
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Axos Bank personal loans review

best egg

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5.99% – 29.99% APR $5,000 to $35,000 600 3, 5
  • Rates: 5.99% – 29.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 5
  • Loan amount: $5,000 – $50,000
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except DC, IA, VT, and WV
  • Min. income: None
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 600
  • Time to get funds: As soon as 1 – 3 business days after successful verification
  • Loan uses: Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Best Egg personal loans review

discover

View details

6.99% – 24.99% APR $2,500 to $35,000 660 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Rates: 6.99% – 24.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Loan amount: $2,500 – $35,000
  • Fees: Late fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 660
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the next business day after acceptance
  • Loan uses: Auto repair, credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home remodel or repair, major purchase, medical expenses, taxes, vacation, and wedding

Discover personal loans review

freedomplus

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7.99% – 29.99% APR $10,000 to $35,000 Not disclosed by lender 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Rates: 7.99% – 29.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Loan amount: $7,500 – $50,000
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Does not disclose
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except CO, CT, HI, KS, NH, NV, NY, ND, OR, VT, WV, WI, and WY
  • Min. income: None
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Time to get funds: As soon as 2 business days
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, home improvement, wedding, travel, medical expenses, and other purposes

FreedomPlus personal loans review

lendingclub

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10.68% – 35.89% APR $1,000 to $40,000 600 3, 5
  • Rates: 10.68% – 35.89% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 5
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Min. income: None
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 600
  • Time to get funds: Usually takes about 3 days
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, paying off credit cards

LendingClub personal loans review

Based on a majority of borrowers from LendingClub’s marketing partners who were issued loans between 1/1/19-12/13/19. The time it takes for your loan to be funded may vary.

lendingpoint

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15.49% – 35.99% APR $2,000 to $25,000 580 2, 3, 4
  • Rates: 15.49% – 35.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $25,000
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except NV and WV
  • Min. income: $20,000
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 580
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the next business day
  • Loan uses: Home improvement, consolidate debt, credit card refinancing, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

LendingPoint personal loans review

lightstream

View details

3.99% – 19.99% APR $5,000 to $100,000 660 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
(up to 12 years for home improvement loans)
  • Rates: 3.99% – 19.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (up to 12 years for home improvement loans)
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except RI and VT
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: No
  • Min. credit score: 660
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the same business day
  • Loan uses: Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

LightStream personal loans review

LightStream disclosure

marcus

View details

6.99% – 19.99% APR1 $3,500 to $40,0002 660

(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)

3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Rates: 6.99% – 19.99% APR1
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 4, 5, 6
  • Loan amount: $3,500 to $40,0002
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Min. income: Undisclosed
  • Customer service: Phone
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 660(TransUnion FICO®️ Score 9)
  • Time to get funds: Many Marcus customers receive funds in as little as five days
  • Loan uses: Credit card refinancing, debt consolidation, home improvement, and other purposes

Marcus personal loans review

1Rate reduction of 0.25% when enrolled in autopay.

2You may be required to have some of your funds sent directly to pay off outstanding unsecured debt.

3After making 12 or more consecutive monthly payments, you can defer one payment as long as you have made all your prior payments in full and on time. Marcus will waive any interest incurred during the deferral and extend your loan by one month (you will pay interest during this extra month). Your payments resume as usual after your deferral. Advance notice is required. See loan agreement for details.

4Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans).Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions.

onemain financial

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18.00% – 35.99% APR $1,500 to $20,000 None 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Rates: 18.00% – 35.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Loan amount: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Must have photo I.D. issued by U.S. federal, state or local government
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: None
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the same day, but usually requires a visit to a branch office

OneMain Financial personal loans review

payoff

View details

5.99% – 24.99% APR $5,000 to $40,000 640 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Rates: 5.99% – 24.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $40,000
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except MA, MS, NE, NV, and OH
  • Min. income: None
  • Customer service: Phone, email, chat
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 640
  • Time to get funds: As soon as 2 – 5 business days after verification
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation and credit card consolidation only

Payoff personal loans review

penfed

View details

5.99% – 17.99% APR $600 to $35,000
(depending on loan term)
670 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Rates: 5.99% – 17.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
  • Loan amount: $600 to $35,000 (depending on loan term)
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Does not disclose
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: No
  • Min. credit score: 670
  • Time to get funds: 2 to 4 business days after verification
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, home improvement, transportation, medical, dental, life events

PenFed personal loans review

prosper

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6.95% – 35.99% APR $2,000 to $40,000 640 3, 5
  • Rates: 6.95% – 35.99% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 5
  • Loan amount: $2,000 to $40,000
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except IA, ND, WV
  • Min. income: None
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 640
  • Time to get funds: As soon as one business day
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, home improvement, vehicles, small business, new baby expenses, and other purposes

Prosper personal loans review

sofi

View details

5.99% – 18.83% APR $5,000 to $100,000 Does not disclose 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Rates: 5.99% – 18.83% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
  • Loan amount: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Fees: None
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except MS
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: Does not disclose
  • Time to get funds: 3 business days
  • Loan uses: Solely for personal, family, or household uses

SoFi personal loans review

upstart

View details

5.94% – 35.97% APR $1,000 to $50,000 580 3, 5
  • Rates: 5.94% – 35.97% APR
  • Loan terms (years): 3, 5
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,000 ($3,005 minimum in GA; $6,005 minimum in MA)
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Eligibility: Available in all states except IA and WV
  • Min. income: Does not disclose
  • Customer service: Email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 580
  • Time to get funds: Within a day of clearing necessary verifications
  • Loan uses: Debt consolidation, credit card refinancing, home improvement, and other purposes

Upgrade personal loans review

upstart

View details

8.27% – 35.99% APR4 $1,000 to $50,0005 580 3 to 5 years4
  • Rates: 8.27% – 35.99% APR4
  • Loan terms (years): 3 to 5 years4
  • Loan amount: $1,000 to $50,0005
  • Fees: Origination fee
  • Discounts: None
  • Eligibility: Available in all 50 states
  • Min. income: $12,000
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Soft credit check: Yes
  • Min. credit score: 580
  • Time to get funds: As soon as 1 – 3 business days6
  • Loan uses: Payoff credit cards, consolidate debt, take a course or bootcamp, relocate, make a large purchase, and other purposes

Upstart personal loans review

4The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 25.79% and 36 monthly payments of $37 per $1,000 borrowed. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Average APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will be approved.

5This offer is conditioned on final approval based on our consideration and verification of financial and non-financial information. Rate and loan amount are subject to change based upon information received in your full application. This offer may be accepted only by the person identified in this offer, who is old enough to legally enter into contract for the extension of credit, a US citizen or permanent resident, and a current resident of the US. Duplicate offers received are void. Closing your loan is contingent on your meeting our eligibility requirements, our verification of your information, and your agreement to the terms and conditions on the www.upstart.com website.

Your loan amount will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application. Not all applicants will qualify for the full amount. Loans are not available in West Virginia or Iowa. The minimum loan amount in MA is $7,000. The minimum loan amount in Ohio is $6,000. The minimum loan amount in NM is $5100. The minimum loan amount in GA is $3,100.

6​If you accept your loan by 5pm EST (not including weekends or holidays), you will receive your funds the next business day. Loans used to fund education related expenses are subject to a 3 business day wait period between loan acceptance and funding in accordance with federal law.

Compare rates from these lenders without affecting your credit score. 100% free!
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All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | Read more about Rates and Terms

Credit cards

Like flex loans, credit cards are a type of revolving credit you can pull from on an ongoing basis without a fixed payoff date.

While credit card interest rates are sometimes higher than personal rates (depending on your credit), they’re generally lower than what you’ll pay in interest on a flex loan.

Ultimately, how much you’ll pay in interest on a credit card will depend on the balance you carry and whether you pay it off by the due date each month. Keep in mind that depending on the card, you might also have to pay annual fees or other fees, such as for cash advances.

Tip: Some credit cards offer 0% APR introductory periods. This means if you pay off your card by the time this period ends, you won’t pay any interest.

However, if you can’t repay your balance in time, you could be stuck with hefty interest charges.

Learn More: Best Personal Loan Lenders

Can you get a flex loan with bad credit?

Unlike personal loans and credit cards, you can likely get a flex loan even if you have bad credit. Flex loan lenders often don’t require a credit check for flex loans at all. To qualify for a flex loan, you’ll generally only need to:

  • Be a U.S. citizen
  • Be 18 or older
  • Show proof of employment
  • Have a bank account

However, keep in mind that flex loans can come with extremely high interest rates. If you need to borrow money, it’s usually a better idea to take out a personal loan so you can avoid getting stuck with high-interest debt.

Tip: Unlike flex loans, you’ll typically need good to excellent credit to qualify for a personal loan. Some lenders also offer personal loans for bad credit, though these generally come with higher interest rates compared to good credit loans.

Another option if you’re struggling to get approved for a personal loan is to apply with a cosigner. Not all lenders allow cosigners on personal loans, but some do. Even if you don’t need a cosigner to qualify, having one could get you a lower interest rate than you’d get on your own.

Check personal loan rates before considering a flex loan

If you need to borrow money and are considering a flex loan, it’s a good idea to compare personal loan rates as well. Even if you have poor credit, you might still qualify for a much lower interest rate on a personal loan compared to a flex loan.

Tip: In some situations, you might still need to take out a flex loan. If this is the case, be sure to come up with a payoff strategy before getting your loan to minimize the cost as much as possible

Make sure to borrow only what you need and to pay it off in the shortest amount of time you can afford to avoid extra interest charges and fees.

If you decide to take out a personal loan, remember to consider as many lenders as you can to find a loan that suits your needs. Credible makes this easy — you can compare your prequalified rates from multiple lenders in two minutes.

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About Rates and Terms: Rates for personal loans provided by lenders on the Credible platform range between 4.99-35.99% APR with terms from 12 to 84 months. Rates presented include lender discounts for enrolling in autopay and loyalty programs, where applicable. Actual rates may be different from the rates advertised and/or shown and will be based on the lender’s eligibility criteria, which include factors such as credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history, and vary based on loan purpose. The lowest rates available typically require excellent credit, and for some lenders, may be reserved for specific loan purposes and/or shorter loan terms. The origination fee charged by the lenders on our platform ranges from 0% to 8%. Each lender has their own qualification criteria with respect to their autopay and loyalty discounts (e.g., some lenders require the borrower to elect autopay prior to loan funding in order to qualify for the autopay discount). All rates are determined by the lender and must be agreed upon between the borrower and the borrower’s chosen lender. For a loan of $10,000 with a three year repayment period, an interest rate of 7.99%, a $350 origination fee and an APR of 11.51%, the borrower will receive $9,650 at the time of loan funding and will make 36 monthly payments of $313.32. Assuming all on-time payments, and full performance of all terms and conditions of the loan contract and any discount programs enrolled in included in the APR/interest rate throughout the life of the loan, the borrower will pay a total of $11,279.43. As of March 12, 2019, none of the lenders on our platform require a down payment nor do they charge any prepayment penalties.

About the author

Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a Credible authority on personal finance. Her work has been featured by Forbes, Kiplinger’s, Huffington Post, MSN Money, and The Washington Post online.

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