Republic Finance personal loan review: Small loans for emergencies

Young man at his laptop, sitting on his sofa at home.Image: Young man at his laptop, sitting on his sofa at home.

In a Nutshell

Republic Finance offers personal loans that can be funded within a few days. But its loans aren’t available in most states, and while it may work as an alternative to a payday loan, the interest rates are still relatively high.

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Pros Cons
Check potential rates without hurting credit scores Rates are relatively high
Small loan amounts available May have to close your loan in person
  May only qualify for a secured loan

What you need to know about a Republic Finance personal loan

Republic Finance is a lender that offers personal loans. Founded in 1952, it has more than 200 branch locations in nine Southern states. The company says its personal loans are commonly used for things like vacations, major purchases and emergencies.

Republic Finance offers fixed-rate personal loans in amounts starting at $2,000. You may qualify for an unsecured or secured personal loan. Its secured loans, which it calls auto-secured loans, require you to put up an insured car that’s in your name as collateral.

Relatively high rates

Republic’s personal loan rates and fees vary by state. If you need emergency cash, its APRs are better than those of a typical payday loan, but they’re still relatively high. If you have strong credit, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Another good option is to consider a payday alternative loan from a federal credit union.

Since Republic’s rates and loan availability vary based on your location, your best bet is to reach out to someone at a nearby branch to get your questions answered and see what options may be available to you.

You may be able to qualify with lower credit scores

If you’ve got some blemishes on your credit, Republic Finance may still lend to you. Lenders typically look at factors such your credit history, debt-to-income ratio and income to see if you qualify, and what terms and rates you might be eligible for.

Republic lets you check your potential rate with a prequalification application that won’t hurt your credit scores. Just remember that a prequalified offer isn’t a guarantee of approval and terms — your final offer could be different once you formally apply.

May have to close your loan in person

If you only qualify for a secured personal loan, Republic Finance requires you to visit a local branch to complete your loan application and collect your funds. While the company now offers curbside loan closing, it’s certainly a hassle if you’d prefer to stay at home.

A closer look at Republic Finance personal loans

If you’re thinking about applying for a Republic Finance personal loan, here are some more things to consider.

  • Online funding not always available — You can start a prequalification application online, but you may not qualify to submit a full application online. If you only qualify for a secured loan, you’ll have to finish the process at a branch.
  • Several payment options — If you’re approved for a loan, Republic lets you submit repayments several ways: online, over the phone, at a branch or by mail.
  • Personal service — If you like talking to a person, you can visit a branch location near you or call to talk to a representative.
  • Not available in most states — Republic Finance personal loans are available only in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Who is a Republic Finance personal loan good for?

If your credit history has some problem spots and you’re comfortable taking on a loan with a relatively high interest rate, a Republic Finance personal loan might be worth considering.

Plus, if you prefer to talk to a human and don’t mind going to a physical location to apply or complete the loan application process, Republic Finance could be a fit as well.

But proceed with caution if you only qualify for an auto-secured loan. Pledging your vehicle as collateral means you could lose your car if you fall behind on payments. Consider other options first, like using an existing credit card or applying for a payday alternative loan from a credit union.

How to apply with Republic Finance

You can start a Republic Finance loan application online by seeing if you prequalify. But keep in mind that only people who qualify for unsecured loans can complete the application online. Otherwise you have to visit a branch to complete the process for your final offer and acceptance.

One of the major draws of a personal loan is that it can be used in a number of ways, but you’ll want to make sure the terms and rates are a good fit for what you need. It’s important to do your homework and comb through the fine print.

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

  • Oportun: Oportun also offers small loans and the ability to prequalify.
  • Earnin: If you’re looking for a payday loan alternative that doesn’t require fees, the Earnin app is worth considering for small cash advances.

About the author: Jackie Lam is an L.A.-based money writer who is passionate about helping creatives with their finances and cultivating community among entrepreneurs. Her clients include Fortune 500 comp… Read more.