Wise Loan review: Sky-high rates for emergency loans

Man sitting outside downtown office building, looking up Wise Loans on his cellphoneImage: Man sitting outside downtown office building, looking up Wise Loans on his cellphone

In a Nutshell

Wise Loan offers small loan amounts and cash bonuses for on-time payments. But its fees are unclear until you apply, and its interest rates are very high.
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Pros Cons
May be able to get money quickly Very high interest rates
Cash bonuses for certain on-time payments Fees are not transparent
  Not available in most states

What you need to know about a personal loan from Wise Loan

Wise Loan is an online lender that offers small loans ranging from $200 to $2,000, depending on where you live. Its loans are targeted at people who are facing financial emergencies such as a car repair or medical bill. Wise Loan says you don’t need good credit to apply.

The company only lends in these states: Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

Here’s what else you need to know about Wise Loan.

Very high interest rates

If you borrow from Wise Loan, you’ll face a sky-high APR — in the triple digits and sometimes the high triple digits. This will increase the overall cost of your loan and could even steer you into a cycle of debt if you can’t make your repayments. Unless you’re sure you can pay back your loan right away, Wise Loan may be a risky financial move.

For reference, Wise Loan’s APRs can exceed those of typical payday loans.

Fees aren’t transparent

Before you agree to any loan, you should investigate the fees you may be charged. Wise Loan makes this difficult since it’s not transparent about fees on its website. While its site does state there are late fees, it’s unclear on the site how much they are. Also, you won’t know all the fees you may face unless you apply.

Cash bonuses for on-time payments

The company’s Nest Egg Rewards program may reward you in cash for repaying your Wise Loan on time. You can earn between $1 to $5 in your Nest Egg Rewards account for every $100 you borrow and repay.

Once you earn rewards, you can transfer the funds to your bank account, apply them to a current loan payment or add them to a future loan.

Potentially fast funding

Wise Loan’s “Instant Funding” option may give you the cash you need in as little as an hour.

But you’ll have to apply and receive approval before 5:30 p.m. Central time, have a debit card and checking account and meet other loan eligibility requirements.

A closer look at a Wise personal loan

Here are some more details to consider before deciding if a Wise Loan is a good option for you.

  • Can help build credit: Wise Loan reports payment history to the major credit bureaus, which can help you build credit with on-time payments.
  • Repayment terms vary by state: Your repayment terms will be based on the state you live in. Most states have terms of two to 12 monthly payments.

Should I get a Wise Loan?

Wise Loan’s personal loans have very high interest rates and unclear fees, so you should look for other options.

If you need to pay for an emergency dental procedure, for example, ask your provider if it offers payment plans. To pay for a car repair, you may be better off using a credit card, because a credit card will typically have a much lower interest rate than a Wise Loan. You should only choose a Wise Loan if you have no other options.

Keep in mind that with a high APR, the total cost of your loan may be far more than the amount borrowed. Let’s say you take out a $1,000 loan with a 450% APR and repay it over 12 months. You’ll wind up paying about $4,600 over the course of a year — that’s more than four times the original loan amount.

How to apply with Wise Loan

To apply with Wise Loan, you’ll need to live in one of the 10 states it services and have a valid bank account. Wise Loan says the online application process takes less than five minutes to complete.

You’ll have to provide some personal information.

  • Name
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Social Security number
  • Income and employment details
  • Bank account and routing number

Before you borrow money from Wise Loan, consider other lenders who work with people who have credit issues — but who may have far better APRs and are more transparent about their personal loan costs than Wise Loan.

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

  • OneMain Financial: With loan amounts starting at just $1,500, OneMain also works with people who have rough credit — but its interest rates are much lower than Wise Loan’s.
  • Earnin: You may be better off with a cash advance from the Earnin app if you want a lender that promises no fees or interest.  

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.