First Loan Review 2023Personal Loans
- Best For: Those who need access to a large sum of cash for a short period of time
- Pros: Lends out larger sums of money than app-based lenders
- Cons: Charges astronomically high interest rates on its loans
Up to 859%
- MINIMUM CREDIT:
- ORIGINATION FEE:
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First Loan offers its customers the ability to borrow up to $5,000 when they’re in a crunch for cash.
Although they offer large loan amounts, is getting a loan with them worth the interest rate you pay?
We’ve taken a deep dive and spelled out everything you need to know about First Loan below:
What Is First Loan?
First Loan is a tribal lender that gives customers access to the cash they need quickly (at the cost of an astronomically high interest rate).
Customers can receive up to $5,000 in just one business day when taking out a loan with First Loan.
Although First Loan is not technically a payday loan lender, they are a tribal lender.
For those who aren’t familiar with tribal lenders, they typically come with interest rates that are just as high if not higher than traditional payday lenders.
Oftentimes tribal lenders, such as First Loan market themselves as a much better alternative to payday loans, when in reality they might actually be worse, depending on the company they’re compared to.
Chances are, First Loan is not a great financial choice for you.
If you’re having a tough time economically, paying hundreds of percent in interest will not help you, it will hurt you.
To learn more about First Loan and some cheaper alternatives, continue reading this review.
First Loan Highlights
First Loan’s claim to fame is its ability to lend up to $5,000 to its customers.
As we mentioned before, no matter how much you borrow, loans with First Loan are guaranteed to come with an incredibly high interest rate.
Also, interestingly enough, while researching this article, in addition to numerous spelling/grammatical errors, Google Chrome suggested to us that certain parts of their site weren’t safe.
This is certainly something that you should take into consideration when choosing who you allow access to your personal details and banking information.
First Loan At a Glance
|Loan Amounts||$200 - $5,000 ($1,500 maximum for new customers)|
|Terms||2 Weeks - 12 Months|
|Funding Speed||As fast as one business day|
First Loan earned themselves a 1 / 10 in the APR category because of the ridiculously high interest rates that it charges customers.
Although technically, there are other lenders that charge higher interest rates, we assign the lowest rating possible to any lender that charges its customers triple-digit interest rates.
Interest rates this high are designed to line the pockets of the lender with cash while keeping borrowers in inescapable poverty.
We look down upon this practice and urge anyone contemplating a loan with interest rates this high to seek other lending options.
If you don’t believe us, look to the amortization table in the “transparency” section below.
There you will find how much a $500 loan with First Loan could cost you over the course of a year.
With a total interest cost of almost $3,400, the borrower in this example would be paying more than 6 times the borrowed amount in interest alone!
This is a truly despicable amount of interest to charge people who are likely hitting a rough patch in life, to begin with.
When it comes to Fees, First Loan received a 3 / 10.
This is because they do charge non-sufficient funds fees, late fees, and many other types of fees.
When you couple this with the astronomical rates that they charge, missing a payment can make a loan that’s already expensive even more costly.
We gave First Loan a 6 / 10 because they are pretty brazen when it comes to transparency.
When you explore their rates page, they have an amortization table front and center:
In this table, they clearly spell out how much money you would be paying on a $500 loan at a 777.83% interest rate over the course of a year.
They even go as far as admitting that their loans are “a very expensive form of borrowing”.
Although they do charge ridiculous rates, they don’t try to hide it, unlike other lenders.
So we have to give them some credit where credit is due.
When it comes to flexibility, we’ve given First Loan a 3 / 10.
This is mainly due to the fact that they charge a quite hefty late fee of $25 on top of their already expensive interest rate.
If we use the sample loan in the above amortization table as an example, the borrower would pay roughly an additional 17% of their monthly payment for a late fee!`
First Loan received a 5 / 10 in the Funding Speed category because their funding speed is truly very average.
Most lenders offer some sort of expedited transfer option, whether it be free or for a small fee.
You would think with the rates that First Loan charges, they could offer expedited transfers for free, however, you’d be sadly mistaken.
We gave First Loan a 2 / 10 in the Accessibility category because, in all honesty, they aren’t very accessible.
Many states have outlawed payday lenders as well as tribal lenders that charge incredibly high rates, like First Loan.
This means that if you are located in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, or West Virginia, you are unable to receive a loan from First Loan.
However, at the end of the day, that might not necessarily be a bad thing.
Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any additional features that First Loan offers its customers.
Its website is fairly barebones and seems to only offer information for applicants, necessary disclosures, and an application page.
This is unfortunate, as most other lenders are working on broadening their offerings to their clients.
Many new-age, app-based lenders, such as Dave and Earnin offer much more to their customers than just their lending services.
They also offer suggestions for users to earn side income, credit monitoring services, and much more.
How to Apply at First Loan
For those who are interested in applying for a loan with First Loan, we’ve detailed all of the necessary steps below.
That way you are ready with all of the information necessary when it comes time to apply.
Step 1: Enter Your Personal Information
First, you must enter in your personal information such as your name, date of birth, address, and Social Security number/ITIN.
Step 2: Enter Your Financial Information
After entering your personal information, you must enter your financial information, such as your income.
Step 3: Connect a Bank Account
Connecting your bank account will allow First Loan to view your available balance as well as your transaction history. This will help them make a decision on your loan.
Step 4: Speak with a First Loan Representative on the Phone
After submitting all of your information, a First Loan representative will reach out to you to complete the final steps of the application.
Step 5: Have as Much as $5,000 Transferred to Your Account
After receiving approval, First Loan will deposit your loan of up to $5,000 into your bank account within one to two business days.
First Loan Consumer Reviews
Although First Loan sounds like a less-than-stellar lender on paper, it’s important to see what actual customers are saying to get the full picture.
In order to do so, we’ll be taking a look at their page on the Better Business Bureau.
For those who are unfamiliar with the Better Business Bureau and how they rate companies, we’ve listed their most pertinent metrics below:
- A BBB rating represents their own opinion of how likely a business is to interact with their prospective customers.
- Their ratings go from A+ on the high end, to an F on the low end
Surprisingly, First Loan has been given a B- rating by the Better Business Bureau, however, they are not accredited.
Typically loan companies don’t have very high BBB ratings, so it’s quite shocking to see a company like First Loan given a B-.
However, the customer reviews tell a different story when it comes to First Loan. Out of 60 customer reviews, First Loan received a measly 1.07 / 5 stars.
This rating comes with no surprise from us. In order to get a better understanding of what people are saying, we’ve assembled a few recent reviews in a table below:
|Gary N. - 01/31/2022||Gary brought up that his $1,200 loan cost him $370 per month, and would have cost him thousands over the course of the loan term.||Gary took the words right out of our mouth. We’re not joking when we say that these loans are ridiculously expensive over time!|
|Vanessa H. - 01/24/2022||She calls First Loan a “Digital Loan Shark”, and tells us how she was charged incredibly high fees to fix errors made by First Loan representatives.||While there is no way of knowing whether or not this is true, charging to fix your employees' mistakes is profoundly unprofessional.|
|Lori B. - 01/14/2022||Lori claims that the payoff amount of her initial $925 loan is $7094. She is also concerned that her wages will be garnished if she cannot pay the loan back.||Again, this demonstrates just how expensive these loans are. At the end of the day, loans like this really hurt the borrowers.|
|Tyler K. - 01/10/2022||Tyler claims that his wages were garnished without prior notice.||This is a common complaint among reviewers. First Loan seems to have a boilerplate response for these reviews stating “our company does not garnish wages. You may have confused a voluntary wage assignment with wage garnishment.” This leads me to believe, they might be sneaking in some “voluntary wage garnishment” legalese into their contracts.|
Is First Loan Legit?
Although First Loan is not legally allowed to lend in many states, their business practices are morally questionable, and our internet browser warned us that their site may not be safe, they do seem to be a legitimate company.
However, as we’ve mentioned plenty of times in this article, it’s best to seek other means of obtaining a loan before borrowing through First Loan.
First Loan Pros and Cons
There are both benefits and drawbacks when it comes to borrowing through First Loan.
We’ve outlined the most pertinent of each in the table below:
- Borrow larger sums of money: Most app-based lenders, such as Earnin and Dave will only lend out a couple of hundred dollars at the most. While a couple of hundred dollars solves many problems, it doesn’t solve them all. Sometimes you need to borrow a bit more.
- Access Funds Quickly: First Loan can provide you with the funds you need in as little as one business day
- Astronomically High-Interest Rates: With a low end of ~600%, you’re probably better off borrowing money from anywhere else. Even a credit card cash advance is much cheaper than a loan from First Loan.
- Keeps Borrowers Poor: High-interest loans don’t do anything to financially aid a borrower in need. If anything, they put borrowers in a much worse financial position than before they took the loan.
- Less Than Professional Website: While researching for this review, we came across several spelling/grammatical errors and received safety warnings from our web browser. These are things that you typically don’t find on reputable lenders’ websites.
Who First Loan Is Good For
First Loan is really only good for those who have exhausted all other lending options.
Before getting a loan from First Loan, borrowers should be sure to try to get a loan from app-based payday lenders and other fintech companies, as they offer no/low-interest loans to those in need.
Who First Loan Is Not Good For
First Loan is not good for anyone who has access to a better means of borrowing, which is the vast majority of folks out there.
Chances are if you are in need of some fast cash, there is a much less expensive way of going about getting it.
As we mentioned before, there are plenty of fintech companies that offer low/no-cost loans.
There are also plenty of low-cost personal loan lenders as well.
Even borrowing money using a credit card would be cheaper than getting a loan from First Loan.
Alternatives to First Loan
First Loan Frequently Asked Questions
- What is First Loan’s minimum credit score requirement?
First Loan doesn’t seem to have a minimum credit score requirement. Instead, they base their lending decisions on a given applicant’s income and financial standing. This is great for those who have a less than stellar credit score.
- Are there prepayment penalties with First Loan?
According to their website, First Loan doesn’t charge any prepayment penalties. This is generally a good thing because if you get a loan through First Loan, you should pay it back in full as soon as humanly possible.
- Can I change my due date with First Loan?
If you cannot make your payment by the due date, First Loan urges borrowers to reach out to a customer service representative to make accommodations. They don’t publicly disclose on their website if they allow the change of due dates though.
Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.
Seth Kolloen formerly served as Money Done Right's content manager. His writing has appeared in McSweeney’s, ESPN’s Grantland, and the Seattle P-I. He has served as a content leader at Seattlest.com (Gothamist Network), for top 500 US website Allrecipes.com, and for content marketing pioneers Content Harmony. Learn more about Seth.