Understand Your Borrowing Options

Make educated decisions with the right tools so you don’t have to pay for them later.

Whether it’s attending college, making fixes around your home, or even ensuring your credit stays intact, all of it comes at a cost. Borrowing the funds is a great way to cover the bill up front. Then, you can get on with your life without a lot of worry. But do you know which loans are best for you?

Student Loans

Many variables come into play while considering student loan options. So many, in fact, that it can easily become overwhelming—but we’re here to prevent that. Whether you’re preparing to take out a student loan for the first time or looking to refinance, your first step should be to educate yourself on all of the facts and terms.

The two major student loan types are federal loans and private loans. Federal loans, also known as government loans, are available to students that file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Private loans can come from a variety of different, private lenders. Student loans are borrowed money. You will be responsible for paying back the principal amount and an additional percentage that is calculated with your loan’s unique interest rate.

The principal amount is the amount of money that you will receive upon loan approval and then use to pay for school. The interest rate is the amount that your lender charges you each month, in addition to the principal amount, as you pay them back. It’s important to note that some lenders require you to start repayment immediately while others offer a grace period.


As you familiarize yourself with these terms and consider your options, allow RaptorFi to help you discover the student loan that suits you best.


Why Use the Student Loan Finder?

You will save yourself a lot of money during the repayment process if you secure a student loan with a good interest rate. The RaptorFi Student Loan Finder is an intuitive tool that helps you find and compare student loans. We'll help you find the one that best suits your personal financial needs and also offers a list of pros and cons per option.

What to Look For in a Lender

Finding the right lender is the ultimate key to making beneficial financial decisions for your future. We recommend lenders who have the following characteristics:

  • Low interest rates
  • No hidden fees
  • Grace periods
  • Reasonable length of repayment time
  • Flexibility (such as options to pause payments in case of financial trouble)
  • Co-signer availability

Our Latest Student Loan Articles

Student Loan Refinancing

Why Consider Student Loan Refinancing?

Refinancing your student loans can help you obtain a lower interest rate — making repayment much easier. Whether you have loans with hefty interest rates or suffer from bad credit, RaptorFi will help you gain enough knowledge and find real-time information to make a confident decision.


RaptorFi tools can help guide your refinancing decisions by calculating how much money you can save and comparing refinance rates.


Compare Refinancing Lenders

Lender Fixed Rates Variable Rates Terms
Commonbond.png 2.59%* - 6.94%* 1.97%* - 7.03%* 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years Lender details Apply
ISL Education Lending.png 3.94% - 9.08%* N/A 5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years Lender details Apply
Education Loan Finance.png 3.39% - 6.99% 1.86% - 7.98% 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years Lender details Apply
CollegeAve.png 3.49% - 7.99%* 3.44%* - 7.99%* 5 - 15 years Lender details Apply
LendKey.png 2.49%* - 7.93%* 2.05%* - 5.25%* 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years Lender details Apply
earnest.png 3.24% - 7.99%* 1.89%* - 7.99%* 5 - 20 years (flexible) Lender details Apply
credible.png 2.35% - 8.73%* 1.86%* - 8.38%* 5, 10, 15 or 20 years Lender details Apply
Laurel Road.svg 3.99%* - 6.40%* 2.50%* - 6.30%* 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years Lender details Apply
Lender
Commonbond.png
Fixed Rates
2.59%* - 6.94%*
Variable Rates
1.97%* - 7.03%*
Terms
5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
Lender details
Apply
Lender
ISL Education Lending.png
Fixed Rates
3.94% - 9.08%*
Variable Rates
N/A
Terms
5, 7, 10, 15, or 20 years
Lender details
Apply
Lender
Education Loan Finance.png
Fixed Rates
3.39% - 6.99%
Variable Rates
1.86% - 7.98%
Terms
5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years
Lender details
Apply
Lender
CollegeAve.png
Fixed Rates
3.49% - 7.99%*
Variable Rates
3.44%* - 7.99%*
Terms
5 - 15 years
Lender details
Apply
Lender
LendKey.png
Fixed Rates
2.49%* - 7.93%*
Variable Rates
2.05%* - 5.25%*
Terms
5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
Lender details
Apply
Lender
earnest.png
Fixed Rates
3.24% - 7.99%*
Variable Rates
1.89%* - 7.99%*
Terms
5 - 20 years (flexible)
Lender details
Apply
Lender
credible.png
Fixed Rates
2.35% - 8.73%*
Variable Rates
1.86%* - 8.38%*
Terms
5, 10, 15 or 20 years
Lender details
Apply
Lender
Laurel Road.svg
Fixed Rates
3.99%* - 6.40%*
Variable Rates
2.50%* - 6.30%*
Terms
5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
Lender details
Apply

*APR includes a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrollment in automatic payments.

Personal Loans

Personal loans can be helpful for many different circumstances and financial needs. And a bonus — they typically come with a fixed interest rate, fixed term rate, and fixed monthly payment making them a less expensive form of credit than other types of loans.

It’s important to note that you are still taking on a form of debt when you use a personal loan, so make sure to evaluate your need for the credit against your ability to repay it down the line.

You may want a personal loan for any of the following reasons:

  • Debt Consolidation: Consolidating your loans puts all of your money into one place and oftentimes at a lower interest rate so you can pay it back faster and easier. Instead of making multiple payments to multiple providers each month with different interest rates and different minimal payments, you can do it all at once.
  • Miscellaneous Bill Payments: If you find yourself unable to pay your bills, a personal loan can be used as a quick fix as you’re approaching a payment due date. However, you must remember that this money will still be owed as you repay the loan.
  • Emergency Costs: Unfortunately, emergencies happen. If you find yourself in a situation where all of a sudden you need: car repair, a major appliance replaced, unexpected legal fees, moving costs, etc. and don’t have the money to cover it, a personal loan can be utilized as a temporary pressure reliever.
  • Your Loan, Tailored for You

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  • Renovations: If you have not yet established a lot of equity in your home, a personal loan vs a HELOC (A Home Equity Line of Credit is a line of credit given to a person using their house as collateral) could help. To some, home renovations may be considered as more of a want than a need. If you’re prepared to repay the borrowed money over time, a personal loan can be helpful in funding the project up front.
  • Investments: Borrowing money to use for investments is an extremely risky decision. While it has worked for some people, we suggest you proceed with caution and make sure you are highly informed.
  • Education: Personal loans for education are used to pay off a student loan — whether private or from the government. Essentially, you’re borrowing money to pay off other borrowed money. The benefit of doing this is that personal loans occasionally offer lower interest rates than student loans. If you’re considering using a personal loan to pay off a student loan, it’s important to do your research and assess the benefits and costs against your own financial situation. Before considering a personal loans for education, it is important to first exhaust all other forms of financial aid.
  • Medical Bills: Medical bills can become quite the money suckers. Before taking out a personal loan to pay these pesky dues, you should first have a conversation with your insurance and see if they offer their own payment plans.
  • Special Events: Using a personal loan for a special event (weddings, funerals, engagement parties, etc.) is also a risky endeavor. If you think that the potential revenue from your event will allow you to repay the loan (and still take home a profit), it may be worth it.

Our Debt Consolidation Articles

Credit Cards

Credit Cards and What You Should Consider

Credit cards help strengthen your credit score and teach you the practice of borrowing and repaying. An important component of being savvy in the realm of personal finance is knowing your credit score, consistently working to build it, and using it to your advantage. As you step into adulthood, using a credit card for small yet consistent and necessary purchases — such as gas and groceries — will train you in the art of borrowing. Pay on time and you’ll get good marks; pay late and you’ll see your young credit score drop. Be responsible and dependable and don’t take on too much debt. As you repay what you charge, you’ll simultaneously build your credit score (as long as you pay on time)!



What to Look for in a Credit Card

Like with any purchase, it’s worthwhile to shop around and see various offers before selecting one. Different card companies have different cards and perks available. You may qualify for some, but not others. So do your research thoroughly to find the best card for you and your needs. A few things to keep in mind while searching and comparing include:

  • Interest rates / APR
  • Monthly and annual fees
  • Benefits or rewards
  • Reward rate

Types of Credit Cards

There are many different kinds of credit cards out there, each catering to a specific demographic or need. To find the ideal credit card for you, you need to know what you want out of the card. Do you intend to use it for business expenses? Are you trying to build credit history? Your reasons may inform your ultimate decision in which type of card to get.

Let’s go over some of the basic types:

Standard

A basic card with no bells and whistles. Ideal for people who want a simple, functional card.

Reward

A card that comes with reward perks for making purchases. Good for people who want to redeem points, merchandise, or travel miles.

Student

These are intended for college students applying for their first credit card. They often come with special perks like lower interest rates.

Business

Cards meant for business expenses and purchases. They’re a good way to keep personal and professional charges separate.

Prepaid

Similar to debit cards, this card is limited to the amount the cardholder loads into it. Ideal for those trying to stick to a budget and not overspend.

Potential Credit Card Rewards

Cashback

A percentage of a purchase returned back as a cash reward. Usually specified as a certain kind of purchase — like gas or groceries.

Low Monthly Fees

Low (or no) fees charged for various card services.

Low Annual Fees

Low (or no) fees charged for annual card services.

Balance Transfer

Moving the balance of one credit card to another.

Reward Points

Earn points by making purchases, referring friends to the card company, or spending a certain amount. Points can be redeemed for products, events, and more.

Miles

Often interchangeable with reward points, though some miles refer specifically to airfare and other travel expense rewards.

Our Latest Credit Card Articles

Credit Score

Your credit score is a number between 300–850 that depicts your creditworthiness. The higher the score, the better your look to potential lenders. Your credit score can determine how much you can borrow, your interest rates, and even your refinancing options. Having and building good credit will lay a solid foundation for your financial future. Your credit score is based on five factors:

  • Payment history — if you make payments on time, how many days past due you may be, and even whether you bring accounts back into good standing
  • How much you owe — the total amount across all your accounts, loans, and credit cards
  • The length of your credit history — the longer you’ve made on time payments the better the score
  • The types of accounts you have — student loans, home loans, retail and credit cards (your credit mix)
  • Recent credit — the accounts that you’ve opened most recently which could imply financial trouble if there are many new applications

Credit Score

  • 800+ Excellent
  • 740–799 Very Good
  • 670–739 Good
  • 580–669 Fair
  • < 580 Bad
  • Payment history (35%)
  • Amount owed (30%)
  • Length of credit history (15%)
  • Credit mix (10%)
  • Recent credit (10%)

Be sure to check the Free Credit Reports | Consumer Information (ftc.gov) regularly to monitor your credit report, and credit scores.

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