Lending Tree Review

Looking to raise finance can be a pretty unpleasant process at the best of times, It’s best practice to shop around for the best deal, but that means speaking to at least three unpleasant high pressure salespeople all of whom would sell their mother to make a deal, the best deal for them that is.

So when Lending Tree came along offering to do all the hard work for you, with a promise to search all possible lenders to find the absolute best deal for you, it’s got to be worth a look right!

Who are they and what do they do?

Lending Tree is what you might call a loan broker. Their job is to search all possible lenders to find the absolute best rate for you. They provide quotes for auto loans, mortgages, refinance and loans for people with bad credit.

They claim to have built up a number of special relationships with some major high street lenders, as a result they can offer you extra special rates that aren’t available to anybody else. But is it true?

Applying for an Auto Loan



To try out the service I applied for an auto loan for a 2011 Dodge Challenger R/T for $28,000. Let’s assume I have a 10% deposit so I’m looking to finance $25,200. I have good credit history and live in California.

To get a base rate for this review I applied for a loan with my local Bank of America first, who offered me a rate of 3.24% over 48 months. So let’s see what Lending Tree come up with.

Applying for a loan is a four step process, first of all they want to know how much you want to borrow and over what term, then they want your personal details and employment status, then you’ll be given a choice of providers, no rates yet that comes later.

Now you have to decide if you want to continue, naturally I did and my details were passed on to the providers to supply me with a quote. It’s worth bearing in mind at this point that your details are being passed over to the loan companies who will supply you with a quote, at this point no credit check is required.

There were four providers in all and they all responded with a quote within 24 hours, I guess times are hard.

What Rate Can You Achieve?

The first one as it happens was from Bank of America who quoted me 3.78% over four years, rather bizarre since I’d already been quoted 3.24% by them without the benefit of a ‘special’ relationship.

The second quote was from Wells Fargo, they offered me the quite astonishing rate of 11.07% over four years. Wow I really must break their hand off before I miss out on this amazing deal. Do you ever get the feeling they don’t want my business.

The third quote was from Chase Bank, who offered me a much more respectable rate of 3.85%, but still way above what I’d achieved on my own without much thought or effort.

My final quote came from the Kaiser Federal Bank, I kid you not. A well known bank here in Southern California, they even have their own .biz domain name. Apparently they have some local branches too, but they must be in Sioux City, IA because I’ve never seen one. Their rate wasn’t too bad though, coming in at 3.99% over 48 months.

Is it worth it?

There you have it, four quotes none of which beat my original quote from my own bank, this from a company that claims to be able to get the cheapest rates around thanks to its ‘special’ relationships.

The bottom line is Lending Tree would appear to be little more than a lead generation service. Their aim is to sell your details to as many providers as they can with little or no concern as who is the cheapest.

This was confirmed to me over the next seven days when ten companies called me offering auto loans at varying rates of interest none of which came close to my original quote.

If you think about it, it’s a nice little business; they obtain my details then sell them to highest bidder. These would likely have been the first four quotes I received; these initial companies could be paying anything between $10 and $20 for my details.

Not satisfied with that they sell my details again to another ten companies, who could be paying between $2 and $5 for a secondary lead. Add all that up and they’ve made around $100 for my one lead with little or no work.

Would I Recommend Them?

Err no! Not unless you want to be hassled by a barrage of sales people calling you up at the most inopportune moments offering a not so spectacular rate of interest, personally I’d rather have root canal surgery.

The promise of the service is good but the execution is poor, if they did actually have ‘special’ relationships with lenders and could offer some special rates then it would be worthwhile. But all they seem to do is sell your details to the highest bidder.

So it would appear there are no shortcuts, the best way to get a cheap loan is still to call a few companies yourself and get some quotes. I only called one bank and Lending Tree never came close to beating it and I’m pretty sure I could have done better than that if I’d put more effort in.

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