NerdWallet Loan Matching Review [2024]: Prequalify for a Personal Loan

NerdWallet’s loan matching platform may help you find loans with terms that fit your needs.
Updated June 9, 2023
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Sometimes, a personal loan is the best choice for big purchases or consolidating debt. NerdWallet offers a loan matching service that lets you compare several loan providers and shop their offers without a hard credit check.

The NerdWallet loan matching service may help you find a personal loan with interest rates and repayment terms that work for you. The service can simplify the loan search process and make it quicker as well. 

Let’s explore how this service works, what advantages it offers, and the elements it didn’t quite nail right.

Quick Summary

Get connected to personal loan providers without a credit check

  • Find loans for different levels of credit, including low credit scores.
  • Quickly connect with lenders through NerdWallet loan matching.
  • Access loans between $2,000 and $100,000.
In this NerdWallet loan matching review

What is NerdWallet loan matching?

NerdWallet loan matching pros NerdWallet loan matching cons
  • No hard credit check to pre-qualify and view personalized offers
  • Personalized loan options that fit multiple borrowing needs
  • Loans that fit borrowers with bad, good, or excellent credit
  • Loan fees may not be stated until you reach the lender's website
  • Multi-step pre-qualification form may feel long to complete

The NerdWallet loan matching service operates as a matchmaker that collects information from you and shares it with partner lenders.

From there, partner lenders determine the loan terms and offers you may qualify for. You're then connected to a lender that is willing to work with you. NerdWallet loan matching doesn’t require a hard credit check to provide you with an offer.

If you see an offer you want to pursue, you need to fill out a full loan application. This step often involves a full credit check and a hard inquiry. Keep in mind that NerdWallet doesn’t lend you the money but simply connects you with potential lenders.

Commission-based loan matching

The benefit of working with a loan matching service like NerdWallet is that it may save you time while you’re looking for a personal or conventional loan. However, it’s important to note that NerdWallet makes money by earning commissions from referring customers to loan products.

NerdWallet states that this commission-based system doesn’t affect how it evaluates or reviews personal loans. However, the commission-based system may influence the loans that you get matched with, which is something to consider when shopping around.

How does NerdWallet loan matching work?

The NerdWallet loan matching service follows a simple process to show you the loans you may be eligible for. NerdWallet will:

  1. Ask you questions about your financial situation, such as how much you want to borrow and how you plan to use the loan
  2. Ask for your personal information such as your name, address, and Social Security number 
  3. Connect you to the loan offer you prequalify for

The loans you’re offered may have certain limitations, requirements, interest rates, and fees. It’s essential that you understand these factors before applying for the loan you want.

Loan limits

The loan amounts you can qualify for through the NerdWallet loan matching service depend on factors like your credit score, the lender you borrow from, and other factors. NerdWallet can match you with loans ranging from $2,000 to $100,000.

Keep in mind that these numbers are general guidelines that NerdWallet offers. The actual loan amount you qualify for may not match the maximum amount.

Loan requirements

Loan requirements vary from one lender to another, making a service like NerdWallet loan matching convenient. When you fill out your financial and personal information, you get personalized loan offers that your income and credit profile may match.

Some lenders on the platform are geared toward borrowers with good credit, while others may accept borrowers with less-than-stellar credit.

Income requirements for each lender also vary. An income requirement may be expressed as a debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Some lenders may require a DTI above a certain level, while other lenders set no minimum income requirement.

Loan origination fees

Many NerdWallet lending partners charge no origination fees, but some lenders may charge origination fees. An origination fee is a fee for processing your loan, and it’s typically deducted from the loan amount before you get loan funds. When you're matched with a lender, check if it charges an origination fee and how much it is.

Say you qualify for a $10,000 loan with a 5% origination fee. In this scenario, $500 would be deducted from your loan proceeds, and you’d receive $9,500. You would still be responsible for repaying the full loan amount of $10,000, though, which is why it’s important to consider the origination fee when deciding how much to borrow.

Loan interest rates

Loan interest rates are often expressed as annual percentage rates (APR) and are set based on your creditworthiness. The minimum APR rate you can get via NerdWallet loan matching is 5.99% (as of June 21, 2023).

Borrower benefits

Several lenders may reduce the interest rate by a certain percentage if you sign up for automatic payments. Some NerdWallet loan partners offer borrower perks above and beyond this discount to sweeten the deal, such as an interest rate discount for adding a co-borrower.

What we like about NerdWallet loan matching

NerdWallet loan matching is an easy-to-use tool that can help you shop for installment loans. Here’s what we like about the platform:

  • No hard credit check: Prequalifying for loans using the platform does not involve a hard credit inquiry, so you don’t have to worry about negatively impacting your credit.
  • Personalized loan options: The lenders you get matched with offer small and large loans, allowing you the flexibility to customize your loan.
  • Flexible eligibility requirements: NerdWallet loan matching connects you with lenders that work with borrowers with bad, good, or excellent credit.

What NerdWallet loan matching can improve

NerdWallet loan matching service has a few flaws. Here are some elements that NerdWallet could improve:

  • NerdWallet should clearly outline fees: The applicable fees for loans may be buried in the fine print on the lender's website. Clearly pointing out the fees may give borrowers a better idea of loan costs.
  • NerdWallet can optimize the prequalification form flow: The NerdWallet prequalification form is a 15-step process, but there isn’t an outline at the beginning of or during the process that states what to look forward to in each step. Adding directions or a summary of what’s involved may improve user experience.

How to get a personal loan from NerdWallet loan matching

The NerdWallet loan matching application process starts with inputting information about your finances and the type of loan you want. Here’s the information you’ll need:

  • The loan amount you want to borrow
  • Why you want to borrow money
  • How much you earn
  • Where you live
  • What your credit score is
  • What your Social Security number is

Once you have the information you need, you can begin the process by following these steps:

  1. Enter the main reason you'd like a personal loan and the amount you'd like to borrow.

  1. Select your credit score range.

  1. Choose your employment situation and enter your annual income.

  1. Add your name, address, phone number, and date of birth in the questions that follow.

  1. Type in your Social Security number.

  1. NerdWallet will take a few seconds to analyze your information and match you with a loan provider.

  1. You can apply for your loan once you're forwarded to the loan provider's website.

Note that you may need to enter your information again on the lender's website to complete the loan application. The full application may involve a hard credit inquiry and financial document verification.

NerdWallet loan matching FAQs

Is NerdWallet a legitimate website?

Yes, NerdWallet is a legitimate public company that was founded in 2009 by Jacob Gibson and Tim Chen. The company offers several financial tools, investment calculators, and loan matching services.

NerdWallet has an A+ accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). However, some customers on the BBB website mentioned their annoyance with the marketing emails and calls they received after submitting their information on NerdWallet.

You may need to unsubscribe or put your number on a do-not-call list to stop undesired communication if you’re no longer interested in a loan.

How much can I borrow through NerdWallet?

How much you can borrow from NerdWallet depends on your credit and income. If you have good credit and sufficient income, you may be able to qualify for as much as $100,000 at low interest rates. However, if your credit score is bad or you have a small income, you may be offered a smaller loan amount and may not qualify for the lowest interest rates.

Can I get a loan through NerdWallet with poor credit?

Yes, lenders that NerdWallet loan matching connects you with may offer loans to borrowers with bad credit. But having a low credit score may result in a higher interest rate, leading to higher payments and higher long-term costs. Working on your credit before applying for a loan may help you qualify for better terms.

Bottom line

Learning how to get a loan begins with shopping around, and NerdWallet loan matching aims to make that step easier for you by presenting you with multiple loan offers after you fill out one form. This can cut down on the research you have to do to find a loan that fits your needs.

However, while the service is technically free, NerdWallet loan matching earns commissions from its lending partners, which may influence the lending partners that appear on its list. If NerdWallet isn’t right for you, you can explore the best personal loans.

Author Details

Taylor Medine Taylor Medine is a freelance writer who's covered all things personal finance for the last seven years. She enjoys writing financial product reviews and guides on budgeting, saving, repaying debt, and building credit.

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