Warning: Don’t Apply Until You Read This
Our Review of Spotloan
Spotloan is an alternative to payday loans and specializes in short-term installment loans that can be repaid over time. They are owned by BlueChip Financial, a tribal entity governed by the laws of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota.
– Reasonable interest rates compared to other tribal lenders
– Offers up to $800 cash. Not too much that could trap a borrower into a vicious cycle of debt
– Great solution if you have bad credit and have exhausted all other resources
– Application process is secure, fast and easy
– Even though the APR is reasonable compared to other tribal lenders, it’s still an expensive form of borrowing
– Not a good solution for large financial purchases
What is Spotloan and How Does it Work?
Spotloan is a bad credit lender owned by Bluechip Financial – a tribal loans company run by the Chippewa Indians. While fairly remote, this tribe is recognized by the federal government and approved to operate outside their reservation. Established in 2012, Spotloan has been an established business for quite some time and has given around half a million quick loans to Americans. They pride themselves in their customer service – having their call center set in Belcourt, North Dakota. The company helps consumers obtain financing by providing installment loans.
Unlike payday loans, borrowers can pay the loan back in monthly installments. However, interest rates are typically very similar to payday lenders. Installment loans are also referred to as short term loans. Spotloan has helped a variety of people get a same day loan (within 24 hours, depending on the time of your submitted application), regardless of bad credit. They lend money to anyone in the U.S. that needs an emergency loan.
How Much Does Spotloan Charge?
The average APR is 450% – however, the maximum rate can also reach as high as 490%. This is a very high interest rate, but this is what you can expect to pay, on average, with any tribal lender. In fact, some tribal lenders have interest rates that exceed 1,200% APR. That said, they do a good job on keeping charges lower than most other lenders. Although rare, we’ve seen a tribal lender that charges an insane 2,900% APR to borrowers.
- Minimum: 450% APR
- Maximum: 490% APR
The APR rate you pay depends on how much you borrow and how long your loan term will be. The longer you drag out the term, the higher your APR will be. Also, the more money you borrow, the more you will pay in interest fees. Considering similar tribal lenders, their APR is quite competitive. And please be aware: this type of loan is only recommended for emergency situations, such as car repair, medical bill, etc. it should never be used to finance a long-term purchase (car, house, etc).
How Much Can I Borrow?
How much you borrow will depend on your income and your credit score. When you request a loan, you can opt for a loan between $300 and $800. The loan amount you can borrow is on the lower-side, compared to similar tribal lenders. But there is a good reason for this. The loan amounts are low because Spotloan does not want you to be overwhelmed with debt. They really do want you to pay the loan back as quickly as you can.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you secure a $300 loan that has an average APR of 450%. You will pay back almost double what you borrow (almost $600). If you’re looking for a cheap loan, Spotloan is not it. There are several fast cash lenders that offer similar loans with an APR as low as 35%. One such tribal lender with more attractive interest rates is Big Picture Loans.
Here’s a more accurate example:
- If you borrow $300 and pay the minimum of $58 every two weeks, you will pay back a total of $1,218
- If you borrow $400 and pay the minimum of $77 every two weeks, you will pay back a total of $1,617
- If you borrow $500 and pay the minimum of $97 every two weeks, you will pay back a total of $2,037
- If you borrow $600 and pay the minimum of $116 every two weeks, you will pay back a total of $2,436
- If you borrow $700 and pay the minimum of $135 every two weeks, you will pay back a total of $2,835
- If you borrow $800 and pay the minimum of $155 every two weeks, you will pay back a total of $3,255
* The above calculations are based on loan amounts and payment schedules on the Spotloan website. If you pay more than the bi-weekly minimum, you will pay less in interest.
The Loan Terms
Borrowers can expect to receive their loan funds the same day. However, the funding time depends on when you submit your application and are approved. If it’s later in the day, you might have to wait until the next business day. One of the major benefits is there is no need for heavy paperwork or an intensive credit check. As far as repaying your loan, you can pay it back in as little as three months – and as long as eight months. The terms will be calculated for you upon approval – and it will be up to you whether you accept those terms or not. Unlike other lenders that allow you to choose between monthly and biweekly payments, there is only one option for customers: biweekly payments. This might not be such a great option for those who receive weekly paychecks. It could make budgeting finances more complicated.
Perhaps the most notable thing is the customer support – which claims to go above and beyond to keep their applicants happy. Each applicant is given his/her own “relationship manager,” which will keeps borrowers up to date on their loan and responds to any questions that come up. There are three ways through which the relationship manager may be contacted. You can do so through the phone, by email – and even by traditional mail. There is no list of working hours on the website, but so far, they have been fairly responsive to questions. The customer service is, therefore, very good – and offers productive answers.
How to Apply for a Loan
It only takes 10 minutes to apply for a loan. Everything is straightforward from the moment you hit the first page. You’ll select how much you want to borrow – and then how much you want to pay bi-weekly.
Select How Much You Want to Borrow
In addition to your First Name, Last name and Social Security Number, Spotloan will need:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Your physical address
- Length of time at your residence
- Whether you rent or own your home
- Monthly rent or mortgage amount
- Whether you have ever been evicted
Submit Your Financial Details
For step 3, you will need:
- Bank routing number
- Bank account number
- Bank account type
- How long you’ve had this bank account
- Whether this bank account has direct deposit
- Whether you want to setup automatic payments with this account
- Your primary source of income
- The take home pay of your last paycheck
- When you were last paid
- When your next payday is
- How often you are paid
- Whether you have additional income
- The purpose of the loan
- Whether you are active-duty military or a dependent
- Whether you have ever filed for bankruptcy
- Whether you have ever had a payday loan
- How you heard about Spotloan
After you complete the application, you will be shortly contacted by the relationship manager – who will tell you whether you have been approved or not. If the answer is yes, then you will be guided throughout the rest of the process.
The Advantages of Spotloan
While there are some things that people do not like, there are several features that are quite convenient. A borrower that has bad credit should not assume they will get the best rates and pay less than someone with perfect credit. It just will not happen. If you have bad credit, expect to pay a very hefty fee because you are a risk to the lender. That said, here are the most notable features:
No Minimum Credit Score – Bad Credit Ok
If you have bad credit, this may be a good option for you – they do not look at your credit score. Therefore, it will not be taken into consideration during the application process. However, it might affect the interest rate that you pay.
No Hidden Payment Fees
The good thing is they tell you about any and all fees upfront. You’ll be told exactly how much you will be charged, and there are no penalties if you want to pay the loan off sooner, rather than later. Furthermore, there are no hidden prepayments for you to make. You’ll start paying the loan back as soon as the first installment hits.
Funds Deposited Same Day or Next Day
There will be a brief waiting time until you are approved. However, the loan will be processed as soon as it goes through your relationship manager. And, you’ll get your money no later than the following day. The time of day you make your loan request will also determine how soon the loan is deposited into your account. For instance, if you complete your application in the morning, there is a chance that you’ll receive your money on the same day. On the other hand, if you make your request in the evening, the chances are high that you will receive your money the next day.
Option to Pause Your Payments
This is an option you’ll be hard-pressed to find with many lenders. Most of the time, missed payments are not taken lightly – so, there will be penalties. You have the option to pause your payments until you have the funds. Simply notify them. There is a chance that you’ll be charged more for it in the long run – which is why you’ll have to discuss things thoroughly with your relationship manager. They will tell you exactly what extra charges may occur.
Applying Will Not Affect Your Credit Score
They check your credit score in order to calculate the appropriate payment. However, it won’t be a hard credit check – instead, it will be a soft credit inquiry. This means that your loan application will not directly affect your credit score.
This is actually quite convenient if you’re a busy person. In the event you are swamped with work or simply forget to make a payment, the installment payment will be withdrawn automatically. This way, it’s set and forget.
The Disadvantages of Spotloan
While there are things that many people appreciate about Spotloan, there are also a few things that might be viewed as a disadvantage. For starters, the interest rates are extremely high. But by now, you should already know this. Borrowers with bad credit should not expect to receive the same benefits as someone with a perfect credit rating.
Expect to Pay a High APR
Compared to a personal loan – or even private lenders with similar terms – the APR for Spotloan is higher than most traditional lenders. However, lenders that work with borrowers with bad credit, are taking a huge risk. This ‘risk’ is why borrowers are hit with extremely high interest rates. The key is to pay the loan back as soon as possible.
You Can Only Borrow Up to $800
For some people, this is actually highly convenient, since they do not really want to borrow more money that they can handle. However, those who want to borrow more money will not find any help here, as they can borrow only up to $800. If you have a more costly expense to pay, you may want to look elsewhere.
It’s Not Available in Every State
Spotloan covers quite a large part of the map in America – but there are also several states that have not been covered. For instance, while you may be able to borrow in 38 states, you won’t be able to do so if you live in Colorado, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Minnesota, North Dakota, North Carolina, Vermont, Pennsylvania, or West Virginia.