Blue Trust Loans review: High rates for emergency cash

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In a Nutshell

Blue Trust Loans is an online lender owned and operated by an American Indian tribe. Blue Trust’s loans are relatively small — up to $3,000 — and may be funded within the same or next business day. But fees (and APRs) are beyond sky high.
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Pros Cons
Online application with quick funding possible Very high fees that equate to high APRs
“Loyalty” program with discount possible on future loans (if you pay your loan in full and make on-time payments)

Not available in every state

What you need to know about personal loans from Blue Trust Loans

Blue Trust Loans is an online tribal lender that’s owned and operated by the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. If you’re approved for a loan and sign the documents before 11:45 a.m. Eastern time, you may receive loan funds in your bank account on the same day that you apply if you apply on a business day. First-time customers may be able to borrow up to $1,500, and repeat customers may be able to borrow up to $3,000.

Blue Trust Loans markets its installment loans as alternatives to payday loans because you don’t need to pay them off completely by your next paycheck, as you do with typical payday loans. The loan term length is typically within nine months, with a repayment schedule that aligns with your paycheck dates. You make payments on a weekly, biweekly, semimonthly or monthly schedule, depending on when you get paid.

Fees can add up to an exceptionally high APR

Blue Trust Loans says it charges a fee for every $100 borrowed, with costs translating to annual percentage rates, or APRs, of around 400% to 800%. The higher end of this range is about double the APRs that come with typical payday loans.

To put into context just how high that cost is, consider that the National Consumer Law Center says that 36% is the highest interest rate for small loans that’s reasonable for people to repay. With rates as high as Blue Trust’s, your loan debt could be overwhelming.

Returning customers may qualify for a fee discount

If you’re approved for a loan, you automatically become a member of the Club Blue Rewards Program. As a Club Blue Rewards Program member, you can qualify for discounted loan fees on future loans — if you make on-time payments and pay off your existing loan.

There’s no prepayment penalty

There’s no prepayment penalty for paying off your loan early. Blue Trust Loans encourages people to pay off their loans with a lump sum or extra payments to save on loan fees.

A closer look at a Blue Trust Loans personal loan

If you’re considering Blue Trust Loans, here are a few things to know before applying.

  • You may pay extra fees: Blue Trust Loans may charge additional fees if you don’t pay on time or in full. Be sure to read through your loan agreement to find out how much fees will cost you.
  • There are application restrictions: You need to be 18 years or older and a U.S. resident to apply. Active duty military members and their spouses and dependents can’t borrow from Blue Trust Loans.
  • Not available in all states: Blue Trust Loans personal loans aren’t available in Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin or West Virginia.
  • Credit check required: Blue Trust Loans may perform a credit check when you apply for a loan, although it’s unclear if this is a soft or hard inquiry.
  • There are bankruptcy restrictions: You can’t apply for a loan if you’re a debtor in a bankruptcy case or intend to file for bankruptcy.
Learn more about applying for a personal loan after bankruptcy

Who a Blue Trust Loans personal loan is good for

You should turn to Blue Trust Loans only if you need money to cover a small expense and have no other options. A Blue Trust Loans personal loan is small and expensive — it’s not a good option for debt consolidation or any major purchase.

Blue Trust loan fees are extremely high. If you need to borrow from Blue Trust Loans, do your best to pay your loan off early to minimize fees.

Make sure you fully understand the cost of doing business with Blue Trust Loans — or any other emergency lender — before you sign loan documents.

If at all possible, consider shopping with other lenders and considering options like payday alternative loans. Payday alternative loans are small loans offered by some federal credit unions. To qualify for one, you need to be a member of a credit union for at least one month. These loans typically have lower fees than payday loans and other short-term products.

How to apply with Blue Trust Loans

Blue Trust Loans has a simple online loan application. If you’re approved and you agree to the loan terms, you’ll electronically sign your documents, and money will be deposited into your checking account. Here’s some of the personal information Blue Trust Loans asks for on its application.

  • Name and address
  • Email address and phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Employer name and income information
  • Checking account information

Not sure if Blue Trust Loans is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

  • Rocket Loans: Rocket Loans offers loan amounts up to $45,000 and may be a good alternative if you need a larger loan for a major purchase or debt consolidation. Rocket Loans does charge certain fees but the maximum APR is much lower than Blue Trust’s.
  • Earnin: Earnin is an alternative option for emergency cash. It’s an app that allows you to borrow against your paycheck without fees or interest (you can choose to tip instead).

About the author: Taylor Medine is a freelance writer who’s covered all things personal finance for the past seven years. She enjoys writing financial product reviews and guides on budgeting, saving, repaying debt and building credit. … Read more.