What is Fiona and How Does it Work?
Personal loans are a popular way to make big purchases, refinance debt, and cover emergency expenses. But their popularity means there are a lot of loan offers out there — which can make it hard to zero in on the best option for you.
Fortunately, borrowers these days can use a loan comparison site — sometimes called a lending marketplace — to efficiently sift through available loan options. Navient Marketplace is one such site, and it’s powered by a financial search tool called Fiona.
Founded more than a decade ago to help streamline the loan search process, Fiona is a top lending search platform and one of Navient’s trusted partners. Through its robust loan matching algorithm, Fiona can help you discover new lenders, compare rates, and make smarter borrowing decisions. In this article, we’ll talk about what Fiona is, how Fiona works, and how to use it to accomplish your goals.
What is Fiona?
Fiona is a user-friendly online lending tool that was founded in 2015 by Engine by MoneyLion, a New York-based digital finance company. Since then, Fiona has helped thousands of borrowers find the perfect lender for their needs. That process works through a simple but powerful algorithm: when you sign up for Fiona, the algorithm takes your desired loan amount and credit score, then matches you with loan offers based on those criteria.
The unique thing about Fiona is the sheer number of lending partners it works with. In 2019 alone, Fiona originated more than $600 million in personal loans through 300+ lending partners. These include some of the most reputable financial institutions in the game, like Marcus by Goldman Sachs, SoFi, and LightStream. With so many different lenders to choose from, it’s easy to find a loan to suit your needs.
What products are available through Fiona?
Fiona’s vast network of financial institutions offers a variety of financial products.
Personal loans are a popular way to finance major purchases such as new appliances or furniture, home improvement projects, or emergency expenses. They’re also a common tool for debt consolidation. Fiona can help you get matched with a number of high-quality personal loan offers. Fiona’s personal loans typically fall within these parameters:
● Loan amount: $1,000 to $250,000
● Loan term: 6 to 144 months
● APR: From 5.99% (fixed)
● Minimum credit rating: 600+ FICO score
● Origination fees: Varies by lender
Student loan refinancing
Student loan refinancing can help you save money in interest over the life of your loan. If you’re considering a refinance, Fiona can help you find competitive rates and better repayment terms for your student debt. All you have to do is enter your current loan amount and a few personal details.
Keep in mind that while refinancing can help you get a lower interest rate on all types of loans, it’s generally only recommended for private student loans1.
Auto loan refinancing
If you’re tired of paying high interest rates on your auto loan, Fiona may be able to help you find a better deal. Simply input some details about your car and current loan, and Fiona will connect you with direct lenders who offer competitive refinance rates.
Fiona can connect you with mortgage refinance lenders that offer two different types of loans:
Rate-and-term refinance: This is the most common type of refinance. With rate-and-term refinancing, you choose your new loan term and the type of interest rate you want. Your refinance lender will then pay off your old mortgage loan for you. In exchange, the new lender will issue you a new loan, usually with a lower interest rate.
Cash-out refinance: With this type of refinancing, you take out a new mortgage loan that’s worth more than what you actually owe on your house. Your new lender first uses that oversized amount to pay off your old mortgage loan. It then gives you the remainder of your new loan disbursement in cash. This allows you to liquidate a portion of your home equity, which you can use for personal or emergency expenses.
Fiona can also help you find life insurance and auto insurance through our partners, LeapLife and Savvy. Much like the Fiona loan search platform, LeapLife scours through life insurance providers to find products that fit your needs. Savvy does the same for auto insurance.
High-interest savings vehicles can help you earn more from your savings, but good ones can be hard to find. Fiona can help by automatically connecting you to savings accounts with the highest annual percentage yield (APY). You can then use the platform to quickly compare fees and annual returns.
How does Fiona work?
To apply for a loan or another type of credit through Fiona, you’ll need to follow these steps:
1. Input your information and requirements
To get started, go to the Marketplace and select the type of financial product you’re looking for. You’ll also need to enter your personal information, including your physical address, social security number, and income. This allows Fiona to match you with lenders and credit offers that you’re certain to qualify for. Rest assured that this information is only used to pull your credit report for prequalification purposes. The prequalification process will not affect your credit score, and your personal details will be kept secure.
2. Look through the options
Once you submit your personal information, Fiona will present you with a range of relevant lender offers or credit card offers. You’ll be able to see the interest rates you qualify for at each financial institution. Keep in mind that these loan rates are estimates. To get a firm commitment from the loan issuer, you’ll have to fill out an official loan application.
3. Apply for the loan
Once you’ve done a thorough review and chosen a bank or credit card company that suits your personal finance needs, you’ll be redirected to that company’s website. You can complete your application process there.
On the application, you’ll need to share proof of the details you provided on Fiona’s website. The financial institution will then pull your credit report to double-check your creditworthiness. (Note: Unlike Fiona’s prequalification step, the formal application process will affect your credit score.)
4. Get funded
If you applied for a loan, your loan provider will deposit your loan funds into your account after you sign the loan agreement. If you applied for a refinance or credit card, you’ll soon receive confirmation by mail or email. You can usually expect these processes to take between one and five business days.
What credit score do you need to use Fiona?
Fiona offers loan options for people with a range of credit scores, from those with excellent credit to those with poor credit. That said, borrowers with credit scores over 650 typically qualify for the best deals.
Fiona offers prequalification with a soft credit check, which means that your credit score is not impacted by searching through the options and there is no obligation for you to move forward if none of the offers match what you’re looking for.
Keep in mind that Fiona itself isn’t a direct lender. Instead, the Fiona platform simply gathers data and connects borrowers to lenders. That means lenders could potentially have stricter credit requirements. You’ll need to check directly with them if you’re worried that you have a bad credit score.
Does Fiona affect my credit?
To match you with lenders, Fiona performs what’s called a “soft credit check,” an inquiry into your credit that does not affect your credit score. Once you choose your loan product, you’ll be directed to the lender’s website, where you’ll fill out an application. Unlike Fiona’s prequalification step, this formal loan application will trigger a hard credit check. A hard credit check can result in a temporary dip in your credit score.
Is Fiona secure?
Like most comparison sites, Fiona must share your data with partner lenders in order to curate the best, most customized options for you. This means that when you share your data with Fiona, you agree to let Fiona share that information with its trusted partners.
Fiona protects customer data using 256-bit encryption, a secure data-encryption technique that uses a long, complex key to encode files. Fiona also shares a list of its partner companies on the website, so you can check out their privacy policies before you agree to data sharing.
Fiona may also share your data with financial services companies. You can read the FAQs and disclaimers on the Fiona website, or reach out to Fiona’s support team if you have any concerns.
Explore products on Navient Marketplace
Working with powerful platforms like Fiona is just one of the benefits of searching for loans through Navient Marketplace. Whether you’re looking to refinance your debt to get lower monthly payments or you want to take out an entirely new loan, Navient can help. Visit Navient Marketplace to start searching for personal loans, refinance loans, auto loans, and more.
1You may lose benefits associated with your underlying federal and/or private loans if you refinance such as federal Income-driven Repayment Plans, Economic Hardship Deferment, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or other deferment and forbearance options. If you file for bankruptcy, you may still be required to pay back this loan.
Navient may receive compensation when you click on links associated with this Navient Marketplace. Navient is not being compensated for any application, quotation, or the purchase of any financial products
Disclaimer: This blog post provides personal finance educational information, and it is not intended to provide legal, financial, or tax advice.
Information in this blog, including the rates advertised are current as of 5/26/2023 and subject to change. For current rates, please visit https://marketplace.navient.com/.