Bright Lending review: Expensive loans for emergency financing

Man sitting on his couch at home in his living room, using his phone to read a review of Bright LendingImage: Man sitting on his couch at home in his living room, using his phone to read a review of Bright Lending

In a Nutshell

Bright Lending offers small emergency loans ranging from $300 to $1,000. But these loans have triple-digit APRs and short repayment terms, making them an expensive way to borrow money.
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  • Potential for fast funding
  • No prepayment penalty
  • Autopay discounts available


  • Very high APRs
  • Low loan maximums
  • Not available in all states

What you need to know about a Bright Lending loan

Bright Lending is a tribal lender owned by the Fort Belknap Indian Community of the Fort Belknap Reservation of Montana, a federally recognized American Indian tribe.

It’s an online lender that offers short-term personal loans, which it calls installment loans. And while Bright Lending advertises its options as an alternative to payday loans, its loans have extremely high APRs.

The main difference between Bright Lending and a payday loan is that with Bright Lending, you’ll have up to 10 months to repay your loan, rather than it being due by your next payday. Here’s the catch: While you’ll have more time to repay your loan, the total cost of the loan will be potentially much higher than a typical payday loan.

Potential for fast funding

If you need money quickly, you’re probably looking for fast funding options. With Bright Lending, you can apply for a loan online. If approved, you could receive your loan via electronic direct deposit to your bank account the next business day.

Very high rates

Although a Bright Lending loan may give you access to quick cash, you should know that you could pay for that convenience in the form of extremely high APRs. The lender charges triple-digit APRs, which means you’ll likely pay much more than you originally borrowed.

Bright Lending says it charges APRs between 500% and 800%, but the payment examples on its site are approximations — so it’s hard to know exactly how much you’ll have to pay until you apply for a loan. Consider the expense of such a loan carefully before deciding whether to accept it. With a 675% APR, for example, you could end up paying thousands of dollars in fees and interest just to borrow a few hundred dollars.

No prepayment penalties

Because Bright Lending personal loans have such high APRs, it’s a good idea to pay off your loan as soon as possible. The company doesn’t charge a prepayment penalty, so you can pay off your loan ahead of schedule without incurring an extra charge.

Low loan maximums

Bright Lending personal loans are intended to cover relatively small emergencies. The loans range from $300 to $1,000, with a 10-month term.

Not available in all states

Bright Lending loans aren’t available to residents of certain states, so make sure to check the lender’s website before applying.

A closer look at Bright Lending loans

Here are a few more details about Bright Lending to keep in mind.

  • No credit checks — Bright Lending doesn’t perform credit checks with the three major consumer credit bureaus — Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. But it may use alternative providers and credit reporting agencies to verify your information, which could show as a soft inquiry.
  • Discounts for automatic payments By signing up for automatic payments, you may get a discount of about 25 percentage points off the loan APR.
  • Late payment fees If your payment is five days late, Bright Lending will charge you a fee equal to 10% of the payment due. There’s also an insufficient funds fee of $30.

Who a Bright Lending loan is good for

Bright Lending personal loans are very expensive. If you need a small loan and have bad credit, we advise exploring other financing options — like asking friends or family for help, requesting a payment plan for your bills or applying with other personal loan lenders — before choosing Bright Lending.

How to apply with Bright Lending

The application process for a Bright Lending loan is relatively simple. You can complete the entire process online.

To apply for a loan, you’ll need to provide some personal information.

  • Full name
  • Address
  • Mobile phone number
  • Social Security number
  • Desired loan amount
  • Government ID, such as a driver’s license or U.S. passport
  • Whether you own or rent
  • Income information
  • Checking or savings account information, including account number and routing number

If you choose to complete an application, Bright Lending reviews your information to determine approval. If you are approved, Bright Lending disburses the funds to your bank account as soon as the next business day.

Not sure if Bright Lending is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

Before applying for a loan from Bright Lending, compare offers from other personal loan lenders. You might be able to qualify for a loan with a lower interest rate and more-favorable repayment terms, depending on your credit profile. Here are two options to check out.

  • NetCredit: If you need a larger loan, NetCredit offers personal loans up to $10,000.
  • One Main Financial: One Main Financial offers personal loans with comparatively lower rates and repayment terms as long as 60 months.

About the author: Kat Tretina is a personal finance writer with a master’s degree in communication studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Obsessed with her many side hustles, she focuses on helping people pay down their … Read more.