Minto Money review: A costly tribal loan with no upfront info on rates

A couple seated in front of a laptop review a financial document while determining if they should take out a loan from Minto Money.Image: A couple seated in front of a laptop review a financial document while determining if they should take out a loan from Minto Money.

In a Nutshell

Minto Money is a tribal lender that offers small loans to cover emergency expenses. But it doesn’t disclose its rates, fees or loan periods on its site, and Minto itself warns that its loans cost a lot and may not be your best option.
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  • Online application and approval
  • Installment payment plan options


  • Not transparent about rates, fees or loan periods
  • Not currently regulated by state laws
  • Not available in all states. Also not available to active members of the U.S. military.

What you need to know about a Minto Money personal loan

Minto Money is a tribal lending company offering installment loans up to $3,000. These are short-term loans designed to help people who need cash fast but who want at least some time to pay off what they borrow. Minto was originally created to support the Native Village of Minto, which is a recognized Native American Indian tribe in Alaska.

Not transparent about rates and fees

If you search the Minto Money website for information about rates and fees, you won’t find much. In the fine print on its site, Minto advises, “our fees are disclosed in your loan agreement” but doesn’t give any indication of what their range of fees is before you apply, aside from $20 late fees and $30 nonsufficient funds fees for returned payments.

Minto Money also admits in its fine print that other financing options, like a home equity line credit or credit card cash advance, may be a better, cheaper alternative. 

Online application and approval

To apply for a Minto Money loan, you can fill out an application online. If you’re approved, you’ll be able to sign the official loan documents (where you’ll finally get to see what the loan will cost you) electronically. You can expect the money in your account within one business day, depending on your bank.

Not regulated by state laws

Tribal lenders like Minto Money aren’t necessarily regulated by state authorities, the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, though Minto Money claims to comply with laws that apply to short-term and online lending.  

Installment payment plan options

Unlike with payday loans, which require you to pay back what you borrow by your next paycheck, Minto Money loans are installment loans. That means you can repay the funds over time, but Minto is not transparent about the length of its loans or how many installments are required. The site simply claims that Minto Money will work with you to design a “manageable payment schedule” that coincides with your paydays.

A closer look at a Minto Money personal loan

Here are a few more details to keep in mind if you’re interested in a Minto Money personal loan.

  • Not available in every state — Minto Money does not lend to borrowers in every state, so if you’re interested, check to see if yours is excluded.
  • Not available to active military members — If you apply online, at the bottom of the form there’s a field asking if you’re active military. Those who respond “yes” get a message saying there are no loans offered to you at this time.
  • May qualify for same-day funding — If your application is approved Monday through Friday by 2 p.m. Central time, you might be able to get your money that same day, depending on your bank.
  • Can cancel your loan — You may not be stuck with your loan if you realize it’s not right for you after approval. Minto Money says it will allow you to cancel, but you must do so by 4 p.m. Central time the next business day after you receive the funds.
  • No prepayment penalties — If you want to pay off your loan early, you may be able to do so without facing a prepayment penalty. You’ll need to contact customer service so they can process your final payment.

Who is a Minto Money loan good for?

It may be risky to apply for a Minto Money loan. Since its rates and fees are unclear, you won’t know the costs of your loan (or how long you have to repay it) until you apply, get approved and receive a loan agreement.

Before you apply for a Minto Money loan to cover emergency expenses, consider other bad credit lenders who might be more transparent about their costs — or who might allow you to prequalify without a hard credit inquiry, which can temporarily ding your credit.

Another smart move is to look into a payday alternative loan from a federal credit union or a loan app.

If you do decide to borrow money from Minto Money, read the fine print and make sure you’re aware of the interest rates and fees and repayment period before you sign. Minto acknowledges that these are expensive loans, and you should know what you’re getting into before committing.

How to apply with Minto Money

You may find it’s possible to get approved for a Minto Money loan even if you have bad credit, as the lender will consider other factors like your income and banking history.

Eligibility requirements for a loan from tribal lender Minto Money include …

  • You must be 18 years or older
  • You must not be in a bankruptcy case
  • You must share contact details, income and checking account info

If you’ve considered your options and still think Minto Money might be right for you, you can fill out the short application form on its site. You’ll indicate how much you want to borrow as well as your name, email and state.

There’s also a section that will require you to share your income and other information. You’ll also need to speak to a customer service representative to complete the verification process.

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

  • OneMain Financial: If you’d like to prequalify for a loan and check your potential rate, OneMain Financial might be an option.
  • NetCredit: NetCredit may make sense if you don’t have the best credit but need a larger emergency loan of up to $10,000 with the option to prequalify.

About the author: Anna Baluch is a freelance personal finance writer from Cleveland, Ohio. You can find her work on sites like The Balance, Freedom Debt Relief, LendingTree and RateGenius. Anna has an MBA in marketing from Roosevelt Un… Read more.