Personal Loans 101: Ascend vs. Oportun Loans–Which Is Better?

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The numerous choices and requirements can seem overwhelming when you need personal loans fast. That’s why it’s a good idea to compare shops for the best option that fits your repayment ability and current needs.

That’s why Ascend and Oportun offer short-term loans that create more affordable options than pricy and unsafe payday loans that can have rates that skyrocket to 400% APR.

If you run into a big medical bill or your car breaks down, you often don’t have time to wait for your paycheck to arrive. The good news is that these companies are legitimate lenders that offer secured and unsecured short-term loan options for people with bad credit.

However, keep in mind that when you receive the money depends on approval timeframes and how fast your bank processes the loan.  

Read on to find out what to look for in a good loan company and discover the pros and cons of Ascend and Oportun loans, their rates, approval requirements, and how to apply.


When you find yourself in a challenging financial situation, Ascend Consumer Finance prides itself on saying “Yes” to loan applicants when other lenders say “No.” On their website, Ascend also says they have more loan options for people who might not qualify for loans at other financial institutions.

ascend personal loans are a great option

Even though the Better Business Bureau does not accredit Ascend, the BBB did not receive a single complaint about the business in 2020. It also garnered an A-plus consumer rating.

When you need fast funding, Ascend’s online application process is quick, user-friendly, and generates an offer within minutes. In addition, Ascend doesn’t judge credit scores by checking major credit bureaus that banks use.

Instead, they approve applications based on various factors, including reports from specialized bureaus. Even better, applying for an Ascend loan won’t affect your credit rating with the three main credit bureaus.

This doesn’t mean that it’s all clear sailing when it comes to loan approval.

You will still need to provide the requested information, including your name, date of birth, address, social security number, a verifiable income of at least $35,000, a 580+ credit score, and a clear delinquency history of at least three months. While you can’t increase the size of your loan offer, you can qualify for a larger loan after you finish paying off your current loan.

Even if you only qualify for a higher interest rate, you can soften the blow by making extra payments whenever possible. This will help you cut down on interest and avoid paying that much extra on top of your original loan amount.

Minimum Credit score: 580

Time to receive a loan: One business day

Borrowing limit: $1,000


  • Geared towards applicants with low credit scores.
  • Auto-pay discount.
  • A fast online application determines eligibility and gives you a loan offer amount in just minutes.


Approval Requirements  

  • You must be 18 years old or have reached the minimum age in your state required to enter a contract.
  • Apply alone.
  • Verify your name, date of birth, address, and Social Security Number.
  • Enter a valid email address.
  • You are a resident of a state where Ascend currently lends loans.
  • Possess a primary checking account at a financial institution that accepts deposits and has at least a 3-months transaction history.
  • You have not applied for or finished paying off an Ascend loan in the last six months.
  • You must have a verifiable income that is over $35,000 (if independently employed) and two years of verified income (for the self-employed).
  • No delinquent loans or payments during the past three months.
  • Meet Ascends underwriting scoring standards that include multiple credit reports and a review of the overall financial situation to help the company assess your credit risk for a loan. 

How to Apply 

  • Apply online OR enter your response code from a mail offer on their website.
  • Receive a response in less than 60 seconds.


If you’re looking for a fast personal loan to help you through a financial crisis, Oportun is another legitimate lender accredited with an A+ by the Better Business Bureau.

Oportun is a good personal loan option as well

For people who have trouble securing personal loans due to bad credit, Oportun extends its services to individuals with either low or high credit scores. The company brands itself as a place with “easy credit for people like you.”

You can apply for a loan from Oportun if you live in a state where the company is registered to conduct business. That’s a legal requirement if a lender is verified as legitimate.

It is good that the company is certified to operate in over 280 locations across 11 states. These include California, Florida, Arizona, Illinois, Idaho, Missouri, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and Wisconsin. That means that if you live in any of these states, you already meet one of the approval requirements.

Some borrowers worry that the prequalification process, which lets you know if you qualify for a loan and estimated loan amounts, can hurt their credit score. Since Oportun is taking a calculated financial risk when they approve borrowers, the company does a hard inquiry rather than a soft credit check.

While this might drop your credit score temporarily by 5-10 points, it won’t hurt your credit in the long run. Paying on time can get your score back on track in just a couple of months.

Overall, Oportun’s flexible credit approach towards potential borrowers with low or nonexistent credit scores makes this a good option for people with poor credit who need a legitimate loan.

Minimum credit score: Flexible

Estimated time to receive a loan: 1-2 business days

Borrowing limit: $300-$10,000


  • Flexible credit score requirements.
  • Applicants may qualify even if they have no credit history or have filed for bankruptcy.
  • Accepts co-applicants.
  • Broad maximum lending limit range.
  • Fast fund disbursement.
  • 12–48-month repayment plans.
  • Since 2020, Oportun has overhauled some business practices that cap interest rates at 36%, discharged pending cases, and stopped filing new debt lawsuits against delinquent borrowers.
  • A bi-weekly payment schedule may make payments more manageable than a once-per-month lump sum.
  • Zero prepayment penalties.
  • Secured loan options (with your car title) are available. Borrowers may qualify for higher loan amounts or lower APR with a secured loan.


  • High-interest rates mean you can pay a lot more than you borrowed.
  • Only returning borrowers qualify for higher unsecured loan amounts totaling $6,000 or more.
  • Issues with the institution’s debt collection practices in 2020.
  • Oportun filed many debt lawsuits, particularly in California and Texas, against borrowers who fell behind on payments even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Borrowers who secure a loan using their car title risk losing their car if they fail to make the loan payments.
  • Not available nationwide. 

Approval Requirements

  • Verified address.
  • A valid photo ID such as a driver’s license.
  • Four personal references from your friends, family, or employer.

How to Apply

  • Easy online application.
  • Enter your zip code to see if Oportun is available in your state.

Final Thoughts

Applying for a personal loan can be an intimidating process. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful.

These two legitimate lenders offer credit options for borrowers with poor credit who find themselves in need of a personal loan. Annual percentage rates, loan amounts, and repayment timeframes can vary depending on qualified applications.

The sooner you solve your monetary crisis and get on track to make on-time loan repayments, the better you can start planning your financial future.

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