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Discover Personal Loans Review

Discover is an excellent option for people with good credit who need a personal loan of no more than $35,000. Not only are its rates and terms competitive, but it was also recently rated as one of the best personal loan providers in terms of customer satisfaction, making it a great choice for borrowers.

Pros

  • No origination fees: You won’t pay an origination fee if you get a personal loan from Discover. It’s common for some personal loan providers to charge origination fees of 3.5% or more.
  • Maximum repayment term is long: With Discover, you can take as long as 84 months (7 years) to repay your loan. This maximum repayment term is long, as many competitors only offer repayment terms up to 60 months (5 years).
  • Excellent customer satisfaction ratings: Consumer reviews suggest Discover is well-regarded by its customers. Plus, it tied for first place in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Survey.

Cons

  • Most qualifications aren’t disclosed: Besides stating that you need to be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and have at least $25,000 in household income to qualify for a personal loan, Discover doesn’t disclose other qualifications, like minimum credit scores or debt-to-income ratios. 
  • Maximum loan amount is low: You can only get a personal loan of up to $35,000 with Discover. Many other lenders offer maximum loan amounts of up to $50,000 or more. 
  • Refinance options are limited: Once you’ve received a loan from Discover, you can change your payment due date up to two times. Unless you’re experiencing financial hardship, other refinance options aren’t available.

Introduction

Discover is one of the largest credit card issuers in the United States, and it also offers unsecured personal loans available in all 50 states. Although Discover has a lower maximum loan amount than other lenders, its APRs of 5.99% to 24.99% are excellent and its repayment terms of up to 84 months are longer than average. Plus, it recently received top customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power.

Personal loans from Discover are an excellent option for people who need to cover various personal or family expenditures, like paying for unexpected expenses, funding a wedding, covering the costs of a vacation, or making home improvements. Plus, the loan can be used to consolidate existing debt into a single fixed-rate loan. However, you’ll likely need good credit to qualify. If you don’t have good credit, you may need to look elsewhere.

Company Overview

Discover is a financial institution headquartered in Riverwoods, Illinois, founded in 1986 and is one of the biggest credit card issuers in the United States. Besides offering credit cards, the company also offers one of the most highly-rated unsecured personal loans (in terms of customer satisfaction), along with bank accounts and other financial products.

As of September 2021, Discover has about $7 billion in outstanding personal loans, which are offered in all 50 U.S. states.

Types of Personal Loans Offered by Discover

Discover Bank offers unsecured personal loans that can be used for several purposes. For example, you could use the loans to cover unexpected expenses, fund a wedding, pay for a family vacation, or pay for adoption or fertility costs. Plus, you can use the funds to repair your home, make energy-efficient improvements, or fund renovation projects without using your home as collateral. 

You can’t use your Discover personal loan funds to pay for post-secondary educational expenses, repay a secured loan, or pay off an existing Discover credit card. You can, however, use the funds from your personal loan to consolidate other types of unsecured debt, like credit card balances with other issuers. 

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To qualify for a personal loan from Discover, you need to be at least 18 years old, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and have at least $25,000 in household income. Discover will review your financial information and credit history to make sure you have sufficient income to repay the loan and that you meet its other creditworthiness requirements (e.g., your debt-to-income ratio and credit history are acceptable).

One of the key drawbacks to Discover is that the specific criteria it uses to determine if you are creditworthy aren’t disclosed. However, you’ll likely need good credit to qualify. 

Time to Receive Funds

Typically, you’ll know if you’re approved for a Discover personal loan on the day you apply. After accepting the loan terms, you may get funded as soon as the next business day. This funding speed is excellent compared to the competition.

When you apply for a personal loan, you’ll let Discover know how you want to receive the funds. One option is to have the funds directly deposited into your bank accounts. Plus, if you’re using the loan to consolidate debt, you can have Discover send the funds directly to your existing creditors.

Discover Bank Personal Loan Features

No Origination Fees

Discover doesn’t charge any origination fees for its personal loans.9 This makes it stand out from the competition, as many lenders charge origination fees of 3.5% or more. The lack of origination fees is reflected in Discover’s lower-than-average APR range of 5.99% 24.99% since the APR calculation considers loan fees.  

Funds Can Be Used for Debt Consolidation

If approved, you can use your personal loan funds from Discover to consolidate existing debt. Discover can simplify the process of consolidating debt by sending loan funds directly to your creditors.

Keep in mind, you can’t use the funds from a Discover personal loan to consolidate the balance on an existing Discover credit card.

Apply for a Discover Bank Loan

To apply for a personal loan with Discover, you’ll need to:

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  1. Determine the loan amount and payment terms you need: Before you apply for a loan with Discover, know how much you need to borrow, how long you need to repay the loan, and if you can reasonably afford the payments by reviewing your personal finances and budget.
  2. Collect basic information required for the application: When you apply, you’ll need to provide basic personal information, and details about your income and employment history. To expedite the process, gather these details before applying.
  3. Decide how you want to receive your funds and gather required information: As you apply, you’ll tell Discover how you want to get funded. The funds can be transferred to your bank account (you’ll need bank account numbers and routing numbers) or sent directly to your creditors (you’ll need account numbers and balances when you apply). 
  4. Submit your application online or by calling 1-866-248-1255: You can apply for a personal loan with Discover online or by speaking with a loan specialist over the phone. You’ll need to provide basic personal information, so make sure you have it on hand before you apply.
  5. Receive a credit decision, accept the loan terms, and get funded: As long as you’ve submitted a complete application and no information is missing, you’ll learn if you’re approved the day you apply. After you’ve accepted the loan terms online, you can get funded as soon as the next business day.

Remember, qualifying for a loan and affording a loan are two different things. Always make sure to review your budget before signing up for a loan to make sure you can reasonably afford the payments.

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Can You Refinance a Personal Loan with Discover?

If you have a short-term financial hardship, Discover may provide short-term assistance in the form of payment deferrals or interest-only payments for a short period (e.g., six to 12 months). Plus, if you have a long-term financial hardship, Discover might be able to extend your loan’s term and reduce your monthly payments for the remainder of your loan period.

Besides refinancing assistance related to financial hardships, you can also request a change to your payment due date two times during the life of your loan. Discover doesn’t disclose any other refinance options.

You can’t request more than one payment due date change in a single 12 month period from Discover. So, make sure to select a payment due date that will work for at least this amount of time. 

Customer Service

Unlike some of its competitors, all of Discover’s loan specialists are based in the United States. Plus, they are available by phone seven days a week. You can speak with a loan specialist by calling 1-866-248-1255 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. You can also check your application status or send secure messages to loan specialists by logging into your account online. 

Customer Satisfaction

Discover’s customers are generally satisfied with the level of support received and services provided by Discover. This is corroborated by the fact that Discover tied for first with American Express for overall customer satisfaction among personal loan lenders in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Consumer Lending Satisfaction Study.

Plus, Discover ranked number two (just behind American Express) in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Survey. This finding is notable and relevant since Discover not only offers personal loans but is also a major credit card provider.

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