- One of the largest lender networks
- Also has home equity lines of credit & mortgages
- Does NOT conduct a hard credit pull
Guide to Lenders is not a direct lender. They are a comparison site where borrowers fill out all the information needed to apply for a loan, and then Guide to Lenders checks which lenders will pre-approve you based off of that information. They do not actually apply on your behalf. It’s only a pre-approval, which is a non-binding approval from the lender with the approximate interest rate that you would pay.
One of the largest lender networks
Guide to Lenders has been in business since 2007, which makes them one of the first loan comparison sites online. Over this time, they’ve built relationships and technology integrations with many lenders – everyone from online lenders to banks to credit unions. This means that they can:
- service borrowers in all 50 states
- service borrowers in any credit tier (0 – 850 FICO)
Also has home equity lines of credit and mortgages
When looking to borrow money or refinance existing debt, many consumers instantly look to an unsecured line of credit – meaning, a personal loan. However, if you have a mortgage but own some portion of your home, you may be able to obtain a home equity line of credit at a lower rate than an unsecured loan would offer.
Because Guide to Lenders also matches consumers to mortgages, they are able to service home equity lines of credit as well. That said, the process to obtain a home equity line of credit (HELOC) is not the same as a personal loan. Rather than seeing all of your rates online, you will need to speak to a mortgage broker who will let you know the best rate they can offer. Guide to Lenders makes this easy, but it’s a somewhat more manual and non-transparent process than shopping for a personal loan. A HELOC is worth looking at though if you have existing credit card or other debt but own a portion of your home.
Does NOT conduct a hard credit pull
Finally, Guide to Lenders does not conduct a hard credit pull. You can read more about a hard credit vs soft credit pull, but a hard credit pull appears on your credit history and temporarily impacts your credit score. It’s less common now among online lenders, but traditionally, banks and payday lenders would conduct a hard credit pull when you applied for a loan – even just to quote you the interest rate. Now, many online lenders only conduct a soft credit pull to show you the rate, and then they’ll do a hard credit pull before actually sending you the funds. Guide to Lenders conducts only soft credit pulls, so you can compare rates and get information before making a decision that could impact your credit (note: once you decide upon your lender, that lender will still conduct a hard credit pull).
- Excessive marketing to borrowers
- May not offer the absolute lowest rate
Excessive marketing to borrowers
Guide to Lenders is owned by a large marketing company called Quin Street. Like many websites (including this one), they make money from advertising. But consumers seem to indicate that Guide to Lenders is more aggressive in some of their marketing than others. This has been reported as automatically signing up consumers to receive emails from lenders, and that those emails are frequent. Guide to Lenders also sends a large number of their own emails and shares your email address with marketing partners who may email you.
May not offer the absolute lowest rate
Guide to Lenders is very good at finding lender for everyone, regardless of credit tier or geographic location. However, in our tests, they did not always have the lowest rate. This could be because they are directing borrowers to lenders who pay more. This means consumers could be more likely to be matched with installment and other high-interest rate lenders, when the individual might have been able to qualify for a more competitive rate elsewhere.
In conclusion, Guide to Lenders is a solid free option for consumers to check out, particularly those with a lower credit score. For those with higher credit scores (above 650 FICO) who want to use an aggregator to compare across multiple lenders, we would recommend EVEN Financial.