If you are an international student considering studying abroad, you might be pondering over how to finance your education. Unfortunately, many government-backed loans and scholarships may not be available to international students. And obtaining traditional bank loans? It can sometimes feel like scaling Everest!
But here’s the silver lining: companies such as Lendwise and Prodigy Finance are here to help. Designed especially for students like you, they offer loans without the need for a co-signer or collateral. But with choices come decisions. What distinguishes Lendwise from Prodigy Finance and vice versa? Let’s dive in and find out together.
Understanding Lendwise and Prodigy Finance
Overview of Lendwise and Prodigy Finance
Lendwise and Prodigy Finance are both renowned financial institutions offering education loans to students. They have similar missions but offer somewhat different features depending on individual needs and circumstances.
Lendwise is a London-based platform that was established in early 2014 and has since specialized in providing better-value loans to UK residents seeking to further their education. It operates with the mission of making education more affordable, improving the availability of loans, enhancing transparency, and delivering excellent customer service. Lendwise aims to assist people looking for career enhancement through postgraduate studies. Its business model is relatively straightforward and resembles a P2P lending platform often used by peer-to-peer lenders. It provides advantages such as favorable interest rates and numerous investment opportunities.
On the other hand, Prodigy Finance was founded in 2007 with a global outlook. Its founders were visionary MBA candidates who saw a need for innovative student financing. Prodigy’s mission is to ensure that nothing holds an ambitious individual back from succeeding, particularly access to education. The company has cornered the market in terms of international student loans, providing loans to students from 150 different nationalities pursuing studies in top universities across the globe. Its business model is quite unique, based on borderless, peer-to-peer lending, fueled by a community of alumni, institutional investors, and qualified private investors.
Lendwise vs. Prodigy Finance: Business Models
When it comes to the business models, Lendwise functions as a peer-to-peer lending system, whereby investors fund the loans of prospective students. It provides a platform for investors looking for good returns and borrowers seeking low-interest-rate loans. By doing so, it eliminates the need for traditional intermediaries, thus lowering the cost of funding and passing the savings onto the borrowers in the form of reduced interest rates.
Prodigy Finance, while also boasting a P2P lending system, adds another layer of complexity to its business model by inviting the alumni of target universities to invest in future students. These alumni, or “community investors,” not only earn a financial return but also contribute towards increasing access to education. Additionally, Prodigy Finance uses predictive scores to underwrite its loans, as opposed to traditional credit scores.
Lendwise vs. Prodigy Finance: Focus on Educational Loans
Lendwise is a platform offering loans mainly for those pursuing postgraduate studies. It supports a wide variety of courses such as MBAs, LLBs, MSc, and other master’s programs. But what really sets Lendwise apart is its targeted approach towards UK residents.
Prodigy Finance, on the contrary, focuses on cross-border loans for international scholars at top-tier universities. This platform offers assistance to students pursuing degrees in Business, Law, Public Policy, and Health Sciences, among others. Prodigy Finance’s vast global coverage encompasses 150 nationalities and 1200 schools across the world.
Both Lendwise and Prodigy Finance have goals directed toward making higher education more affordable and attainable. However, they approach this mission with varied strategies and cater to different audiences. Lendwise takes a particularly domestic approach, focusing on the UK, while Prodigy Finance positions itself as a global student loan contributor.
Eligibility Requirements and Application Process
Now that we’ve got a sense of these companies’ foundations, let’s dive into their application processes. Prospective borrowers with Lendwise must be UK residents and have received a confirmed admission offer from a recognized UK educational institution. Required documents include proof of admission, proof of UK residency, and evidence of creditworthiness such as salary slips or tax returns. The application process involves a thorough review of the applicant’s financial position and the potential earning profile upon graduation.
For Prodigy Finance, the eligibility criteria are more complex. Applicants need to be accepted into a postgraduate program at a school supported by Prodigy Finance. They must also meet country-specific requirements, which could include credit checks and proof of funds. Prodigy’s application process, like Lendwise, involves an assessment of their academic background, earning potential, and creditworthiness.
Comparing Lendwise and Prodigy Finance
Interest Rates and Fees
Interest rates have significant impacts on loan decisions. Lendwise operates on a fixed interest rate basis, beginning at 6.89% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) which provides borrowers with a clear view of their consistent monthly repayments throughout the course of the loan. This level of predictability allows borrowers to accurately plan their budgets without concern for unexpected changes in repayment amounts.
Conversely, Prodigy Finance functions on a variable interest rate model with rates typically initiating at 5.5%. Since these rates are affected by the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), if the LIBOR increases, both the interest rate and monthly repayments on your loan will elevate. This scenario could potentially disrupt the borrower’s financial planning.
Fees and Charges: Lendwise vs. Prodigy Finance
Understanding the fees and charges associated with each lending institution can greatly affect the overall cost of a loan.
Lendwise prides itself on transparency and does not impose origination fees, early repayment penalties, or other hidden costs. This allows borrowers to focus on the principal loan and its interest.
Prodigy Finance, however, charges an administrative fee, that usually ranges from 2.5-5% of the total loan amount. This fee is included in the APR of the loan and is deducted from the loan before it’s disbursed to the borrower. There are also no prepayment penalties if the borrower decides to pay off the loan earlier than anticipated.
Another differentiating point between the two is the loan term. Lendwise offers loan terms of between 1 and 10 years, whereas Prodigy Finance’s term for repayment ranges from 7 to 20 years. This longer-term can reduce monthly payments but could increase the overall cost of the loan.
Loan Penalties: Lendwise vs. Prodigy Finance
Borrowers should consider potential penalties when comparing loan options. For Lendwise, there are no penalties for early repayment of the loan, which is favorable for borrowers who might wish to finish paying their loans earlier than scheduled.
Prodigy Finance also does not impose any penalties for early repayment. This allows borrowers to make larger repayments when possible, reducing the overall interest that would accumulate over the loan term.
Interest Calculation Method
Since Lendwise offers a fixed interest rate, the monthly payments remain constant throughout the duration of the loan which simplifies the calculation.
Prodigy Finance, being variable in its interest rates, complicates the calculation. The rate is tied to the LIBOR, so borrowers can face changes in their repayment plan. With future rates unpredictable, precise calculation of the total repayment amount becomes difficult.
Customer Service and User Reviews
Customer satisfaction plays a significant role in choosing between Lendwise and Prodigy Finance. Both companies have high customer satisfaction scores, but the reasons differ. Based on customer feedback, Lendwise’s clients value the uncomplicated application process, clear terms, and supportive customer service. On the other hand, Prodigy Finance’s customers appreciate the multicultural approach that caters to students from more than 150 nationalities. They also value their targeted loan products, designed specifically for international postgraduate students.
From the details above, it’s evident that both Lendwise and Prodigy Finance present unique lending solutions with varying advantages. Whether you are considering factors like loan types, interest rates, or customer service effectiveness, these institutions showcase distinct strengths and weaknesses. While Prodigy Finance may attract customers desiring a global outlook, Lendwise’s appeal may lie in its specialized focus on the United Kingdom’s education sector.
Remember, your education journey is deeply personal. So, ask yourself: which lender resonates more with your aspirations and circumstances? Dive into customer experiences, weigh out the pros and cons, and make an informed choice for your bright future!