Lendly loan review: Loans repaid through payroll direct deposit

Woman outside drinking coffee and looking up a Lendly loan on her cellphoneImage: Woman outside drinking coffee and looking up a Lendly loan on her cellphone

In a Nutshell

Lendly is an online lender that offers small loans of up to $2,000 to people with at least six months of job history. Stellar credit isn’t required, but be aware that you’ll have to let Lendly draw directly from your paycheck for repayment. And Lendly’s loans can be expensive — your interest rate could be in the triple digits.  
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  • Fast application and potential quick funding
  • May accept low credit scores


  • High interest rates
  • Not available in all states
  • No prequalification option

What you need to know about a Lendly loan

Lendly is an online lender that offers small personal loans of up to $2,000 in 26 states.

Payments are made through your payroll provider

While other payday advance lenders may debit your bank account after payday, Lendly says it automatically deducts payments from your paychecks, using your employer’s payroll direct deposit. Depending on the state you live in and whether your employer partners with Lendly, you may have other repayment options such as automated clearing house (ACH) direct debit.

The amount of your bi-weekly payment depends on how much you borrow and how long your repayment term is. Lendly says you’ll get instructions on how to set this up, and you’ll need to show confirmation of your direct deposit before your loan is funded.

These automatic deductions can help prevent you from missing a loan payment and help you build credit through consistent, on-time payments — but note that Lendly says it only reports to one of the three credit bureaus.

And keep in mind: Signing up to have some of your paycheck channeled directly to the lender means you lose some control of how and when you spend your earnings.

Lendly looks beyond your credit scores

When considering people for a loan, Lendly largely looks at employment history.

Less-than-perfect credit scores may not disqualify you from a loan if you’ve had enough time on the job and you’re able to set up payroll direct deposits for loan payments. Our guide to credit score ranges can help give you an idea of where you might stand.

Interest rates are high

Lendly says the annual percentage rate, or APR, for a “typical” loan paid back via payroll direct deposit is 175%. While this may be lower than what many payday loans cost, it’s high compared to other lending apps in the cash advance space.

For example, Earnin is an app that offers payday advances of up to $500 at no cost; instead, you can tip the company whatever you can afford. Dave is a banking app that offers $200 in cash advances with no fees, and the Brigit app fronts users up to $250 in cash, with no interest or credit check.

Loans are only available in select states

Lendly loans are currently available in Arizona,  Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

A closer look at Lendly loans   

Here are a few other things to know about Lendly.

  • Lendly checks your credit — Applying for a loan with Lendly may show up on your credit reports and affect your scores.
  • Loan terms vary — Lendly notes that the average loan term consists of 26 bi-weekly payments (roughly a year), but the number of bi-weekly payments can range from 20 to 52.
  • Fast application and funding — The online application can be completed in five to 10 minutes, and Lendly can typically give you a decision on your application within 24 hours. After you submit necessary documents, funds can be deposited in your account as soon as the next business day, depending on your financial institution.

Who is a Lendly loan good for?

Lendly offers quick funding without stringent credit criteria, which may be ideal if you’re facing surprise expenses like car repairs or medical bills and are struggling to get approved for a traditional personal loan because of poor credit.

A Lendly loan could be a cheaper option than a payday loan, which can have fees that equate to APRs as high as 400%. A Lendly loan may also be an alternative to a high-interest car title loan, since you don’t risk losing your ride if you’re unable to pay the loan back.

But even if you have bad credit, there might be better options. If you already have an open line of credit, such as a credit card, using it to cover a financial emergency could be less expensive.

Payday alternative loans may be another option. PALs are small installment loans available at some federal credit unions with rates capped at 28%. Available loan amounts can range from $200 to $2,000.

If you’re having a hard time getting caught up on bills, you could also consider reaching out to your service providers. For example, your healthcare provider may be willing to set up a payment plan or agree to other arrangements that don’t require you to take on new debt.

How to apply with Lendly

You can apply for a Lendly loan on desktop or mobile within five to 10 minutes. You could get a decision on your application within 24 hours, and funds as soon as the next business day once your information is confirmed.

The application asks for basic information, such as your name, address and employment history, and Lendly will conduct a hard credit inquiry, which may affect your credit scores. 

Lendly doesn’t have a form on its website that you can use to try to prequalify for a personal loan with them and check rates — you’ll have to formally apply to see what rate and terms you qualify for. Before applying for a cash advance or any other loan, it’s a good idea to compare lenders and loan terms to find the best rate and terms for your needs.

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

  • Earnin: Earnin could be good if you need a smaller payday advance loan and don’t want to pay any fees or interest.
  • Upstart: Upstart could be an option if you need to borrow a larger amount.

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.