Oportun offers an ethical approach to payday loans and the opportunity to learn.
Since opening in 2005, Oportun has worked tirelessly to secure its status as a provider of some of the best payday loans. In approving more than 3.8 million small-dollar loans, Oportun estimates that its borrowers have saved around $1.7 billion in interest and fees by choosing them rather than other payday loan lenders.
An online payday loan company, Oportun offers short-term loans of between $300 and $8,000 to those who the financial mainstream might exclude, including borrowers with a limited credit history and low to moderate incomes. Importantly, Oportun wants to lend responsibly, educate its customers, and offers the chance for borrowers to improve their credit scores to stand them in better stead for the future.
Oportun operate in twelve states - Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin - and also offers auto loans and credit cards.
Oportun review: Cost of loans
- Rates of interest are variable
- Rates much lower than average
Rates of interest are variable down to the individual’s specific financial circumstances and geographic location. For our purposes, we took a quote for a married, 45-year old man with two children and no credit rating.
We sought to borrow $500 for a total period of six months, to be paid back in monthly instalments. The total repayment quoted was $603, equaling a total charge of $103, this being equivalent to an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 59%.
To qualify for an Oportun short-term loan, customers must have proof of identity and of regular income as well as some references, a verified address and phone number in one of the states where Oportun operates. Customers do not necessarily need a checking account.
Opportun review: Products
- Repayment plans stretching from six months to 46 months
- Oportun does not charge fees
Oportun offers one short-term loan product, with repayment plans stretching from six months to 46 months. If approved, customers can receive your funds either as a check, loaded onto a prepaid debit card, or via direct deposit. Oportun loans does not charge fees or penalties for prepayments.
Oportun review: How is it different?
- Does not require a credit score or checking account
- Website has a good amount of resources that's free to use
Unlike many loan companies, Oportun does not require customers to have a credit score or even a checking account. It does ask for references, proof of address and income, but these are mainly to ensure that the loan repayments are going to be affordable for the customer.
Oportun reports that it works with nationwide credit bureaus so that on-time instalment payments and successful total loan repayments can be shared and used to help customers establish a better credit rating for future loan applications.
The Oportun website has a good amount of resources, free to use for customers and potential customers. These resources explain loan procedures, go into more detail about establishing credit, and give links to community partners and financial coaching organizations such as Unidos US and Springfour.
Oportun: Usability and user reviews
- Accredited with the Better Business Bureau
- Generally positive reviews on many of the financial service sites
Oportun has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since 2016 and has an excellent A+ rating. It receives generally positive reviews on many of the financial service sites.
It does not have an online calculator like many payday loan companies have, and so the quote process does require customers to enter some personal details. The application process can take as short a time as ten minutes, and funds can in theory be released that same day.
Should you choose Oportun?
In terms of interest rates and customer service, Oportun is relatively straightforward and easy to deal with, and as a company it espouses only giving loans to those that can afford the repayments, and it looks to have policies in place (such as proof of income) to help make this a reality.
Its financial education and management resources are free and available to all potential customers, and it works with nationwide credit bureaus to help customers with no or very low credit ratings to establish a more advantageous position for the future.
A note on payday loans
Regardless of how well packaged a payday loan appears, these are financial products that you should only consider as an option of last resort. Attracting abnormally high rates of interest, payday loans can often lead borrowers to a more difficult financial future and significant debt. Although Oportun adopts a more ethical payday loan approach than most, always consider the alternatives to a payday loan first and take the time to learn about the following options that can also put you on a firmer financial footing.