Is it possible to borrow money, build credit, and save money for the future at the same time? And, not spend what extra money you have each month doing so? When you need to build credit fast, you might expect to pay a lot of money.
In this MoneyLion review, we tackle these two questions and help you decide if MoneyLion can help improve your credit score while helping you stop worrying about money.
What is MoneyLion?
MoneyLion is a financial help website that can help you improve your credit score with a credit builder loan.
They also offer a free credit score monitoring, checking account, managed investing, and the chance to earn rewards points from healthy financial behaviors.
There are a free and paid membership plan for MoneyLion.
To get CreditBuilder loans (and grow your credit score), you need to join the paid plan (MoneyLion Plus).
MoneyLion Core: Free
The free MoneyLion Core plan offers these free benefits:
- Credit Score Monitoring
- Checking Account and Debit Card
- Personalized Advice After Linking Bank Accounts and Credit Cards
- 0% APR Cash Advances
- Automated Investing
- Shopping Rewards
You might decide to start with the free version of MoneyLion to decide if you like the platform. Their no-fee checking and investing tools are pretty neat.
With the checking account, you can get 0% APR cash advances when you enroll in direct deposit. MoneyLion is willing to front the money because they know you earn a consistent paycheck. You also have access to 55,000+ fee-free ATMs.
For the free investing account, you decide how much you want to invest each month. MoneyLion invests your cash in Vanguard and Blackrock iShares ETFs. These are two of the largest ETF fund families you can invest with.
Coming in 2019, you can also earn rewards points for online shopping (kinda like Ebates). You can redeem your cash rewards for $25 gift cards for thousands of merchants.
MoneyLion Plus: Costs Up to $79 Per Month*
*MoneyLion invests your monthly membership dues
If you want the MoneyLion Plus Credit Builder Loan, you need to enroll in the MoneyLion Plus service.
MoneyLion Plus Loan
This credit builder loan is the only reason to join MoneyLion Plus.
You can borrow up to $500 for 12 months with a 5.99% APR. It’s way cheaper than a payday loan.
There aren’t any application fees or prepayment fees. You can borrow money today and repay it in two weeks and pay about $1 in interest. MoneyLion almost instantly puts the cash on your MoneyLion debit card.
These loans don’t affect your credit score when you apply.
What’s there not to like?
See Your Credit Score Increase 20 Points in 30 Days
Successfully paying off these loans can improve your credit score. How much it improves depends on several factors, but you can expect a 20-point+ increase in 30 days. Not every MoneyLion Plus Loan will improve your score by this amount. And, you also need to take other measures to increase your score like paying off credit cards and loans or not borrowing any new money.
There are only two basic rules for borrowing money from MoneyLion:
- Can only make one loan request once every 7 days
- Must wait 3 to 4 business days after paying off your loan before you can request a new loan
Another reason I like MoneyLion is that you can only have one loan at a time. This prevents you from overborrowing and paying a lot of money in loan interest.
Avoiding the Monthly Fee
At first glance, the $79 monthly fee see high. But, you can waive the part of the fee and get the other money back.
So you know, the $79 monthly payment goes into your investment account. You can withdraw this money. But, you might decide to keep it invested to build long-term wealth and build your credit score.
MoneyLion breaks the fee into two different expenses:
- $29 monthly “good standing” fee (it’s possible to waive this fee)
- $50 monthly investment
The $50 is invested in the MoneyLion investing account. This money can earn compound interest and you can withdraw the cash when you need it.
Waiving the monthly $29 membership fee that keeps your account in good standing is also possible. Each day you log in to MoneyLion (via the app or website) and look through the advice cards, you get a $1 credit. In other words, visiting MoneyLion each day means they invest $29 free cash every month into your account.
Alternatives to MoneyLion
Here are three alternatives to MoneyLion.
If you only want a credit builder loan without having to invest $50 a month, try Self Lender. Each month, you deposit your cash into a bank CD account. At the end of the 12-month or 24-month term, you get the money back.
You might also appreciate Self Lender because they don’t lend you money. You agree to deposit money into a bank account each month for up to two years. Each month, they report the deposit as an on-time payment to the three credit bureaus.
Self Lender reports that users can see a 40-point credit score increase.
There is a small one-time fee between $9 and $15. Plus, Self Lender keeps about $6 of each monthly deposit. Yes, you’re still paying fees, but it’s cheaper than MoneyLion.
If you have credit card debt, the cheaper and quicker option to improve credit can be keeping the balance on your card. Tally looks at your credit cards and comes up with a payment plan to get your credit card paid off.
It’s free to join. Tally makes their money if they offer you a line of credit (i.e. credit card refinancing) with a lower interest rate than your credit card.
If you want/need to borrow more than $500 and have a credit score in the 600s, try LendingTree. You can get free loan quotes for these loan types:
- Personal Loans
- Student Loans
- Home Loans
- Auto Loans
LendingTree provides quotes from up to 5 different lenders. You can request to get a new loan or refinance old debt.
MoneyLion Review: Is MoneyLion Legit?
Yes. MoneyLion is a legit company that helps you rebuild bad credit. Or, you can start building credit from scratch if you are young. Investing the $79 monthly fee is also a good way to help you build an emergency fund or save extra cash. Too often, we get “tunnel vision” and focus either on paying off debt or saving for the future. In reality, we should be doing both.
Who Should Use MoneyLion?
MoneyLion is a good idea if your credit score is below 700. Once your score goes above this mark and you have your finances in order, it’s a good idea to invest your money in a dedicate online brokerage like Betterment. This way, you have more control over your investments.
At the end of the day, MoneyLion’s main purpose is their credit builder loan to help you build credit. The fee-free investing and checking accounts are awesome ideas to keep your money in one place. But, as your money situation improves, switching to a full-fledged bank and investment brokerage will make your life even easier.
- Fee-free checking and investing
- Free credit score monitoring and credit score simulator
- MoneyLion Plus loan only has 5.99% APR with no extra fees
- Not available in these states: Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, and Vermont
- Have to login each day to fully waive the $29 monthly member fee
MoneyLion is a legit way to build credit. You should still practice other good money habits to improve your credit score faster. Join for free. Then, decide if you want to get a credit builder loan and invest for the long-term too.
Will you use MoneyLion to build your credit score? How else do you improve your score?
Link: Join MoneyLion for Free!