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by Ana-Maria Sanders   August 27, 2019

How Good is Mariner Finance?

Learn more about the personal finance company headquartered in Maryland. Discover how to build credit with the non-traditional loan source, and read about some of the advantages and disadvantages of using the online or in-store credit option.

Read our Mariner Finance personal loan review.

Millions of Americans struggle to make ends meet and pay their bills every month on time. These individuals are often looking for ways to meet their obligations. Unfortunately, some “solutions” cause more problems than they solve. Credit cards and mortgages may drive a person into continuous debt and cause them to lose any ability to pay their bills on time. A personal loan may be the answer for these individuals. It can help people replace lost income and have more time to create a plan for solving their debt issues. Working with a trusted partner such as Mariner Finance can make the process of acquiring and securing this loan significantly easier.

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Personal Loan Overview

There is a wide variety of reasons why an individual may want to take out a personal loan from Mariner Finance.

  • Some individuals may want to make a major purchase and do not have the credit needed to obtain a credit card. They may have purchased a home in recent years when mortgage payments and home prices had increased. Individuals may have stretched themselves thin on credit card payments or student loan debt.
  • Others need to meet major bills and other expenses that are due before their next paycheck. Many types of loans have balloon payments that vastly increase the amount of money that an individual owes every month. These balloon payments cannot always be met if a person has had massive expenses in the recent past.
  • In some instances, an individual who gets laid off may have trouble finding another job. There are a number of sectors where the labor market remains difficult, and all jobs are quickly scooped up by applicants.

In the case of a layoff, the individual is not able to pause their bill payments until they find another job. Their landlord and car loan finance company still want their money on time. Individuals may not want to ruin their credit with some of the more common ways that they can secure debt. They know that negotiated settlements and arrangements to pay their rent at different times may cause more problems for them down the line than they solve.

Bankruptcy is not an option, and neither is foreclosure. These events can ruin an individual's life and financial activity for years at a time. The personal loan space is an area for these individuals who want to avoid serious recourse for their financial problems. It can help some people secure financing quickly and with a minimum amount of hassle to pay off their debts and get their lives on track.

What is Mariner Finance?

What exactly is the Mariner Financial company?

Mariner Finance is a financial company that has been writing personal loans for nearly 20 years. The company was founded in Baltimore in 2002 with a goal of helping people meet their financial obligations and become financially successful. This company started out with offices in Maryland and gained a reputation for prompt service and efficient payments. Eventually, the company branched out and began opening offices in other states.

The financial collapse known as the Great Recession created an opportunity for the company's services. Millions of Americans became unemployed and needed short-term personal loans from a personal finance company in Columbia, MO, and surrounding areas. Mariner Finance met those needs and began to prosper. Now, the company exists in nearly two dozen states and writes millions of dollars in personal loans every year.

Mariner Finance welcomes efforts to root out bad actors in the personal loan industry and raise standards for writing personal loans. The company has also been prompt in responding to any complaints the individuals may have about their products and services. According to the Better Business Bureau, Mariner Finance has made a diligent effort to smooth out loan problems and satisfy customers who may be unhappy with their products. The company has become a partner with banks and employers to meet the basic needs of the men and women who use its services on a daily basis.

Building Credit with a Mariner Finance Personal Loan

It's easier to build credit than many realize.

The industry that offers personal loans online is also particularly tailored for individuals who need to build up their credit. Bad credit can be demoralizing, and it is a harmful factor for anyone looking to buy a house or a car. People with bad credit can build their way out of their situations by finding installment loans and paying those loans off on time.

However, many institutions are not tailored for these individuals. They are wary about signing up with any individual who has a bad mark on their credit. There are plenty of other customers lined up who are able to secure these loans without any marks on their credit.

The personal loan industry plans for and accommodates these individuals, offering them a product with its own risks and benefits. Alternative lenders, in general, use tools that influence how people repay their debts and make payments on time. Some customers may find that Mariner finance rates are more reasonable than other lending models.

When loan customers pay back their funding on time, they are able to build up their credit score. Companies that give people a chance to receive funding are also giving them a chance to improve their credit score.

The Need for Non-Traditional Loan Sources

An individual can secure a personal loan from a number of different sources. Banks are often the resources that most people think of when they think of loans. They are massive institutions that individuals get paid through and secure mortgage payments from. Banks and credit unions are common sources for many forms of loans, and even for some personal loans.

However, banks and credit unions do not work for a large number of people. Some banks have large limits for the personal loans that they will write. Banks are also still chastened by the mortgage crisis of the previous decade. They are wary of lending money to anyone who does not have a stellar credit rating. Banks want individuals to have perfect credit and no bad marks on their credit scores. But the real world does not include Perfection and constant success.

Millions of individuals often have credit-worthiness but also have certain marks on their credit scores. They may have missed one payment a few years prior for taking out a loan that they were eventually unable to repay. These individuals who do not have perfect credit scores still need to pay off their bills and receive short-term loans. They may also not want to meet the upper limits required by a large number of banks. A person who makes only a few thousand dollars per year may not want to take a $5,000 loan that they do not think that they can pay off.

Individuals should not be forced to take on loans outside of their means simply because a bank sets a limit that they refused to give out loans under $5,000. There's also the option of online lending. Online lending involves individuals who meet other people or institutions online and receive their money through wire transfers and transfers through payment services such as PayPal. These sources have their benefits in a number of different instances. But they do not cover a large number of Americans looking for a personal loan from Mariner Finance or a similar company.

Sometimes, these Americans are not familiar or comfortable with the process of taking out loans online. They may not know how to hand over their financial information. They may be uncomfortable sharing personal information over what they perceive to be an insecure connection. As a result, institutions such as Mariner Financial fill a certain void in the marketplace. Individuals can personally visit their lender and make a case directly in front of them. Lenders like Mariner Financial also do not have wider rangers on what can be borrowed by their customers. They provide money quickly and often have generous terms.

How is Mariner Finance Different from Other Personal Loan Companies?

The main difference between Mariner Finance and other companies is its hybrid approach. This company provides dual services for individuals who want an online versus an in-person experience. Individuals can do part of the process from the comfort of their own homes. Many companies focus on either their physical stores or their online interfaces. Few personal loan companies combine both of these approaches into a seamless business model.

There is also the question of being established and known. Mariner Finance is a successful company with nearly two decades in the business of writing personal loans. This experience means that the company has survived the changes in the regulatory landscape for the personal loan industry. As a result, individuals can trust that their dealings will be handled with a company that knows how to stick around.

Mariner Finance Personal Loan Advantages

There are a number of advantages to using Mariner Finance as compared to many of the company's competitors.

Established Company with Many Locations

One important benefit is the fact that Mariner Finance operates in multiple states and has many different branch locations. A large number of companies that offer personal loans are individual businesses that are located in only one or two communities.

The personal loan business contains a considerable amount of risk and is potentially problematic for any man or woman who makes poor business decisions. Poor decisions could lead to a company going bankrupt and losing all of the funds that they may have accumulated.

They may lose property that an individual as handed over as collateral. An individual may lose any opportunity to collect more loans. There is also the possibility that the loans individual takes out will be called in by the next company that buys the bankrupt personal lender's assets. All of this chaos can be avoided by working with a company that is established.

Online and Offline

Another benefit to working with Mariner Finance is the dual approach of their financial platform. Many companies focus on either an online or in-person approach for their business. With online companies, individuals never even talk to another human being. They may put in their information, answer a few questions, and then sign a contract in order to receive their funds. This process often seems stale and wooden to many individuals. On the other hand, those individuals may not be completely happy working with a dedicated agent. In-person interactions involve long lines and delayed responses. People may want an option where they can have certain online aspects while also retaining the personal touch when needed.

Mariner Finance provides exactly that form of opportunity. An individual working with Mariner Finance is able to apply for their loan online and even receive a decision on that loan through the company's online dashboard. However, the more common approach is for an individual to apply online and then meet in-person at one of the company's branches in over 20 states. At the branch, an individual would only need to show the form that they have already filled out and answer a few questions in person. They may be able to state their case more eloquently than they would have been able to online.

Lower Rates than Similar Companies

The third benefit of using Mariner Finance is the fact that its rates are better than similar companies. Mariner Finance focuses on individuals who have low credit scores and need short-term funding. However, the company is not known for the deceptive practices and massive interest rates that can cause problems for those who are struggling to get by. Instead, Mariner Finance combines the safety and trustworthy nature of many online lenders with the safe, local presence of a bank or credit union.

Opportunity to Build One’s Credit

Finally, working with a company like Mariner Finance can eventually lead an individual to build up their credit score and never have to take out a high rate loan again. Building up a credit score requires a number of factors. These factors are all related to the ability of an individual to handle their debts and only use a small percentage of the credit that is available to them. Individuals have to only use a percentage of their available credit in order to have a high score. However, the ability to pay off installment loans is another key factor in improving a score.

An individual can have a credit card and then take out a personal loan in order to reduce their credit utilization. For instance, an individual who has a credit card with a limit of $10,000 and uses $3,000 per month has a 30% credit utilization rate. This rate is relatively high for an individual who wants to improve their credit score. An individual who then takes out a personal loan for $5,000 will not be using their credit card and will have their rate on that credit opportunity decrease. This decrease in utilization may lead to an increase in their credit score.

Paying off an installment loan may increase the credit score of an individual. An installment loan shows that an individual can make payments on a regular schedule and can be trusted with the money that they are being given. If they pay off their loan on time and in full, they will slowly build up their score until it has reached a considerable level. Then, they may be able to use credit cards and other forms of borrowing with low-interest rates. They may also qualify for car loans and mortgages. Mariner Finance can easily become the first step in building up a credit score and seizing more opportunities in the greater financial world.

Mariner Finance Disadvantages

One of the biggest disadvantages to an individual working with Mariner Finance is the company's interest rates. An individual may have to pay an interest rate of above 24 percent to take out a loan for this company. The interest rate is connected to the fact that a large number of individuals will default on their loan prior to the time that it will have matured. There are a number of situations where such a high-interest rate may actually end up causing more problems for an individual than the loan helped solve.

For instance, an individual may get laid off and may take out a loan to pay off their mortgage. They will then have to make a considerably higher amount of money to pay off their loan if the terms of the loan do not extend past a few months. If an individual is unable to pay off their loan or get a new job, their loan payment may increase substantially and may end up leading to them losing their house.

Some individuals do not immediately need a personal loan to help solve their financial problems. They may have bad spending habits that cause all of the extra money that they bring in every month to evaporate. For these individuals, a personal loan will only add to their problems.

These individuals may need a personal loan. But first, they need to review their finances with a professional who can help them develop techniques and tactics to save more money. This process needs to occur before an individual receives thousands of dollars that they would procure upon signing a contract for a personal loan.

Receiving a Check in the Mail from Mariner Finance

One of the fastest ways to receive money is also the most dangerous. Those who receive a Mariner Finance check in the mail should be careful about accepting the money. It’s wise to only accept a loan for the dollar amount needed, and only after developing a sensible schedule for paying back the loan.

Information on Mariner Finance Physical Stores

More and more companies are moving towards an entirely digital model to perform their services. They count on a user interface and different chat and phone conversations to interact with the public. But these interfaces can cause problems for the customer. Mariner Financing has kept its physical interface and has fought against the move toward making every aspect of the business digital. The company has many stores across the country.

Stores are located in over 20 states, and many states have multiple locations. A number of these locations are in prominent cities and towns. They are in strip malls with plentiful parking as well. For instance, there are locations in the state of North Carolina. Individuals can visit a store in a major city such as Goldsboro or Raleigh just like they could visit a personal finance company Columbia, MO. They may spend all or only some of their time in a store. These stores have the facilities necessary for individuals to complete their transactions.

Even if a customer plans on visiting a store location, the first step to securing a Mariner Finance personal loan is to request a loan through their site. A borrower should be certain of the reason that they need their loan and the amount that they need. Anybody who is interested in taking out a loan should review their income, expenses, and any debts that they have. They should also find out their credit score on their own. Many people can learn this information through free online services that will show both their score and their report. This information is vital for figuring out how to negotiate and decide on a loan amount.

Two helpful numbers to secure in this process are one’s credit history and debt-to-assets ratio.

  • An individual will need to have at least three years of credit history in order to qualify. If an individual is not sure of how much credit history they have, they should contact a free service that will present them with a copy of their credit report.
  • Individuals will also need to be in a broad range for their debt-to-asset ratio. A few basic calculations will help tell a person what their debt-to-asset ratio is. They should not be completely mired in debt if they are attempting to add on more debt with a personal loan.

Next, they need to decide the way in which they are planning to interact with the company. There are two broad ways.

  • Some individuals have busy schedules and want to sign up early. They will go to the Mariners bank website and enter in their information. At that point, when they are on marinerfinance.com, they can go as far as they want in the process from their computer. Some individuals put in all of their information and go through the entire process online. They will need to enter in personal information and then be subjected to what is known as a soft pull. A soft pull is when a company looks up an individual's credit score and report as part of their background check. This usually does not negatively affect an individual's credit score.
  • Once the company has determined a person's credit history, they will then decide whether or not to offer the loan and at what terms. An individual may decide to accept or reject those terms. If they accept the terms, they will sign a contract, and the money for their loan will be wired into their account. They will begin making payments according to the schedule that they agreed to when they signed the contract. The entire process is online, and many of the communications that an individual has with the company will be online. But even in these instances, individuals will be able to speak to an employee at the company over the phone if something goes wrong. They may also be able to visit a physical store in order to talk to a human being and get their problems sorted out.
  • For those who are rejected from the online process, they can do like other individuals and go into a physical store location. Once an individual enters into a Mariner Finance location, they will have a seat and then talk to a loan professional. Mariners bank strives to make sure that every location is clean, comfortable, and welcoming to the public. Most individuals will not have to wait an inordinate amount of time in order to work out their loans.

When meeting with a loan professional at a store location, the agent will either review information that was entered online or collect information about an individual's finances and credit history in-person. Then, an individual is expected to tell the narrative of their financial situation and why they need the funds that they are requesting. This process helps to establish that an individual is using their funds legally and for the reasons that they are pledging.

It also increases the chances that a Mariner Finance officer will know that an individual has the means to pay off the loan on time. If the loan officer is satisfied, he or she will make an offer that can be negotiated to a reasonable degree. Then, an individual either accepts or declines that offer. If they accept the offer, the funds will often be wired to them as quickly as possible.

Mariner Finance Rates

Mariner Finance has some of the most competitive rates for personal loans in the country. These rates vary depending on, amongst other things, the amount of money being borrowed, the terms of the loan, and an individual's credit history and creditworthiness. Rates can sometimes be as low as 24 percent APR. Individuals make monthly payments and interest on their loans accrue monthly. There is a set of fees and penalties that apply if an individual fails to pay past a certain point or does not pay on time.

There is also a grace period which ensures that an individual will not be charged a significant amount of money because they missed their payments by a day or two. They can set up an email or phone call schedule to remind them when and how they should pay off their loan. The amount charged for interest is lower than some credit cards and other financial instruments designed to help people use borrowed money to pay their bills. An individual may also be able to lower their payments on a later loan if they pay off their current loan on time.

Mariner Finance has other suggested rates and limits as well. The general limits for these loans are between $1,500 and $7,000. Individuals have to have a manageable debt-to-income ratio and a verifiable Social Security number. Some individuals may have to pay closing costs on their loan. There are fees for online payments and phone payments. More restrictions apply to individuals who are purely trying to gain their funds through the company's online dashboard.

A personal loan is not perfect for every potential financial problem. But in many situations, it can be a healthy increase in funds that may make an individual's life significantly easier. However, personal loans can also be used as scams and for other unscrupulous activity. Individuals need to work with a trusted personal loan partner such as Mariner Finance. Mariner Finance may analyze a customer’s financial situation, ask the right questions, and make sure that an individual has everything they need to succeed in the world of personal finance.

Ana-Maria Sanders   LoanStart Marketing Manager
Personal Finance
Ana-Maria Sanders has always enjoyed helping people manage their finances. She has fond memories of helping her grandma cut offers out of the newspaper. As the main content writer and marketing manager for LoanStart, Sanders continues to help guide people through the complicated world of personal finances. She especially likes teaching people how to borrow and pay back loans.