Ascend Consumer Finance or ascendloan.com is an online lender based in San Francisco, California, that is offering competitive rates to borrowers with tarnished credit by using new risk assessment methods. The startup was founded in 2014 by Stewart Sui, Scott Crawford and Steven Carlson, and has received $1.5 million from venture capital companies Mucker Capital, OCA Ventures and Birchmere Ventures.
How Does Ascend Work?
Ascend provides customers with two loan types: the Ascend Personal Loan, which has fixed interest rates and payments, and the RateReward Loan, which gives borrowers the chance to qualify for lower finance charges by using a new risk evaluation method called adaptive risk pricing. This method allows Ascend to change the interest rates it charges borrowers from month to month based on the financial decisions they make.
Borrowers who make financially responsible decisions such as paying debt accounts on-time, increasing savings balances or reducing their overall debt receive monthly rewards. The monthly finance charges of borrowers are then lowered every month based on the rewards they have earned. Rewards can reduce the interest cost by up to 50 percent. People can even choose to pledge their auto title to reduce the interest expense of their loan by 20% each month.
What Are Ascend's Interest Rates?
Ascend's interest rates range from 27% to 36% depending on borrowers' credit, the loan amount and the rewards they earn. Ascend doesn't charge borrowers initiation fees, application fees or prepayment fees. The only charges borrowers need to consider are the interest rate and late fees, if they don't make payments on time.
How Much Money Can I Borrow with Ascend?
Ascend offers loan amounts ranging from $2,600 to $12,500. The maximum loan amount is determined by credit history and income. Loan terms are for 36 months.
Which States Does Ascend Operate In?
Ascend operates in Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon, Utah, and Missouri.
What Is Ascend's Application Process Like?
Ascend's application process is done entirely online. Ascend must confirm employment history and income before granting a loan, but application turnover times are fast and once approved borrowers receive their funds within the next business day. Deposits are done automatically and payments can also be paid through electronic fund transfers.
How Is Ascend Better Than Other Lenders?
Ascend offers fast loans of up to $12,500 with interest rates ranging from 27 to 36 percent to people with fair or even poor credit by using its proprietary adaptive risk assessment model. Ascend's adaptive risk assessment uses borrowers' FICO score to create a baseline interest rate, but then tweaks it depending on the day-to-day financial decisions borrowers make.
This is an excellent tool to encourage people make better financial decisions and reward those who are working to hard to live down bad financial decisions in the past. This is a promising product with exciting and new loan products. Yet, it is still a very new company and it is still unclear whether the rate discount method they are using is viable in the long term.