LendingTree is an online lender exchange marketplace that connects borrowers with a large pool of lenders. It doesn't provide any loans directly but instead acts as a broker for many lenders. The website also provides online tools, such as financial calculators and loan tutorials.
Lending Tree was launched by Doug Lebda and Jamey Bennet in 1996 as CreditSource USA. In 1998, it was rebranded as LendingTree and in 2000 it went public. Since then it has been bought by InterActiveCorp and is now part of Tree.com Inc.
LendingTree acts as a matchmaker between borrowers and lenders. Actually, InterActiveCorp, the company that controls LendingTree also owns dating website, Match.com. The idea behind LendingTree is to make it easier for borrowers to find the best deal on a loan by flipping the relationship between customers and banks and getting lenders to court borrowers instead. LendingTree makes money by selling your information to matching lenders.
They vary by borrower. Your rates will be determined by how many lenders are active in your area, the loan amount, the term length and your creditworthiness. To illustrate, a typical range for a $10,000 is 5.99% APR to 36% APR depending on your credit. According to LendingTree, the average difference in rates between two lenders is 4.74% APR.
Personal loans range from $1,000 to $35,000, and loan terms vary from 1 to 5 years. If you borrowed $10,000 for 36 months at 12.86% APR, your monthly payment would be $335.02 and your total cost would be $12.060.72. However, the same loan with a rate of 7.86% APR, will have monthly payments of $312.72 and a total cost of $11,257.92, which represents $802.80 in savings.
LendingTree's online application is fast and easy to complete. However, you will receive a LOT of attention from the lenders that receive your information. The application asks for basic information, such as the purpose of the loan, how much you want to borrow, credit rating, employment status, income, whether your rent or own your home and your address. Once you submit this information LendingTree sells your information to matching lenders in your area who will contact you by phone or email. LendingTree will perform a soft pull on your credit, but there won't be a hard pull until you apply for a loan.
LendingTree makes it easier to filter through the hundreds of lenders available and is available in all states. Instead of filling endless application forms, you just need to fill one form and wait for loan officers to compete for your business. However, you may want to use a virtual phone number and a separate email address you can cancel once you find the right loan. The volume of calls and emails from lenders may become unbearable and once your information is sold to lenders it can be a challenge to get off their lists.