Consolidation Loan Lenders Compared: Marcus Versus SoFi
As the popularity of online lenders continues to climb, several lenders have established themselves as the premier options in the online lending sphere. Two such companies included in this list are Marcus and SoFi.
Here we will conduct a head-to-head comparison of these two lenders, looking at different aspects of their services to identify which one is better and for who.
Types of Debt That Can Be Consolidated
With qualified applicants eligible for loans of up to $100,000, SoFi financing can be used as the borrower sees fit. This includes paying off of any outstanding debt, secured or unsecured. That said, the most common types of debt that borrowers typically pay-off with a consolidation loan include credit cards, medical bills, lines of credit, and car loans.
Just like its peer, Marcus allows borrowers to pay off a wide variety of debt, with the only limitations being educational loans. Unlike SoFi, Marcus offers applicants a much lower max loan amount, capping all loans at $40,000.
The Winner: SoFi - simply because it allows borrowers to use their loan to pay off all types of debt, including educational loans.
Consolidation Loan Size
A consumer favorite in the online lending market, this lender is willing to grant higher value loans than the vast majority of its competitors, and by quite a lot. As of 2020, it is willing to lend qualifying applicants up to $100,000 to use as they see fit.
A result of Goldman Sachs's desire to break into the online lending market, Marcus focuses primarily on applicants with higher than average credit scores. Even though it has secured a fairly high degree of market penetration, max loan amounts are less than half of what its close competition offers, coming in at $40,000.
The Winner: SoFi - with a max loan amount of $100,000, this lender offers borrowers more than double the amount of its competitor.
Consolidation Loan Interest Rates & Duration
Another reason why this operator has been able to cement itself as a top lender in the online lending market is because of its competitive interest rates and flexible payment option. Depending on the applicant's credit score, rates as low as 5.99% APR and 18.99% APR on the high side are available. In addition, it offers a 12 month grace period for borrowers who have unexpectedly lost their jobs.
This lending option delivers borrowers highly competitive interest rates ranging from 6.99% to 23.99% APR. Like its peer, Marcus offers some flexible payment allowances as well as the option to change the terms of the loan if required.
The Winner: SoFi - While both lenders offer competitive rates, SoFi offers slightly better APR as well as a 12-month grace period for those who suffer a sudden loss of employment.
This lender requires a minimum credit score of 680, but most reports indicate that a score closer to 700 is more realistic for approval. Ideally, an applicant’s debt-to-income ratio needs to be below 40%, however, this provider is much more open to working with individuals who have a limited credit history.
When this brand was first introduced to the market, it made a point of presenting itself as a premium option for individuals with a solid credit history. The lender lists its minimum credit score to be 660, but numerous reports suggest that to qualify for competitive rates, applicants need a credit score somewhere between 700 and 750.
The Winner: Marcus - Once again, both lenders match up fairly competitively, but Marcus still comes out on top because of its slightly lower required score.
Application & Approval Process
Borrowers applying here for a consolidation loan will be asked to provide a bit more information. On top of a Social Security number, banking information, valid ID, and proof of income, borrowers may be asked for letters of employment and their educational background. The initial soft check takes roughly two minutes, but the follow up can take up to a week.
All of the standard information required by any lender is normally requested. Unlike SoFi, this brand usually doesn’t ask for additional information and the approval process is completed in a short amount of time. That being said, Marcus will want to know how the applicant intends to use the loan. Once the approval process is completed, the funds are usually deposited within two business days.
The Winner: Marcus - Deposit time matters to borrowers, especially those who need access to funds quickly. Whereas its competition can take up to a week for approval, Marcus can approve an application approved and deposit funds within two business days.
Unlike the majority of lenders, borrowers approved for consolidation loans don’t pay any origination or processing fees. Likewise, the lender only charges a 4% or $5 (whichever is larger) late fee. On top of this, payments have a 15-day grace period, and if payment is made within those 15 days the fee is usually waived.
On the other hand, this lender doesn't charge any fees - origination, maintenance, or late fees. That said, late payments still have to be made, so missing payments will increase the overall cost of the loan.
The Winner: Marcus - even though SoFi does have minimal fees, it is hard to beat the no fees policy held by its near competition.
Special Benefits and Offers
- 12 month grace period for unexpected job loss
- Option for longer than average repayment terms
- Repayment terms can be changed mid loan
- Access a members-only network that can help people find a new job
- Option to pay creditors directly in the case of a consolidation loan
- After 12 on-time payments, a borrower is allowed to skip a payment
- Borrowers who opt for autopay receive a discount on interest rates
- No maximum debt-to-income ratio
The Winner: Marcus - Although both lenders offer great benefits, the interest discount offered by this lender for borrowers who opt-in for autopay is the deciding factor.
$3,500 - $40,000
$5,000 - $100,000
Minimum Credit Score
3 - 6 years
2 - 7 years
Application Approval Time
2 business days
$5 or 4% late payment fee, waived if payment is made within 15 days of payment due date.
Which Is Better?
As highlighted by the comparison above, each lender offers a quality debt consolidation option that is extremely competitive. Deciding which one is better is not easy and depends largely upon the situation of the borrower.
For those who have an excellent credit score, SoFi offers some of the lower APRs around. For those who want to pay their creditors directly while consolidating debt, Marcus is likely the better option, especially for borrowers who opt-in for its autopay feature.