Interviews · · 6 min read

How Fig Loans is Disrupting the Massive Payday Loan Industry for Better

Meet Fig Loans. Fig changes the way people with bad credit experience banking. They offer emergency loans and financial stability products to get you through unpredictable financial challenges. Fig stands behind a commitment to offer financial products to customers in a socially responsible way. The


Meet Fig Loans. Fig changes the way people with bad credit experience banking. They offer emergency loans and financial stability products to get you through unpredictable financial challenges.

Fig stands behind a commitment to offer financial products to customers in a socially responsible way.

The loans are designed only to cover the costs of serving the Fig Loan — that’s it. Their loans provide customers with the most affordable product when they need it most.

In a world where traditional financial institutions often overlook the needs of low-income individuals and families, Fig Loans has emerged as a torchbearer for responsible lending practices and inclusive financial opportunities.

By operating with a commitment to social impact and offering low-interest loans designed to cater to the unique needs of underserved communities, Fig Loans is revolutionizing the lending industry and helping to break the cycle of financial vulnerability faced by many in these communities.

One of the key aspects of Fig Loans that sets it apart from traditional payday lending options is its innovative approach towards credit building. The company understands the significance of credit scores in determining a consumer’s financial opportunities and ensures that the loans they offer contribute positively to the credit-building process.

By timely reporting the repayment activities of their clients to the credit bureaus, Fig Loans not only helps them achieve more affordable credit options in the future but also provides a stepping stone towards long-term financial stability.

Moreover, Fig Loans operates on a mission to offer trustworthy and transparent services to its clients. Customers can benefit from the clear and upfront pricing of their loans, without any hidden fees or costly surprises.

Another essential component of Fig Loans’ operations is their commitment to financial education and skill development. The organization has partnered with nonprofit financial coaches like United Way, EARN, and LISC to equip its clients with resources and knowledge, enabling them to make better financial decisions and achieve self-sustainability.

Fig Loans is also proactive in seeking client feedback to enhance their services continually and even shares their findings with policymakers to advocate for fair and inclusive financial policies.

Fig Loans’ impact on local communities is not contained only within their client base. Their unique business model, which focuses on long-term success rather than short-term profit, enables them to invest in community development.

Fig does not look at a traditional credit score when making loan decisions. Instead the company looks at your ability to repay the loan based on account age, income, and existing or previous loans.

Fig currently offer loans between $300-$500 and the loans cost less than $4 for every $100 borrowed per 2 weeks. The loans are paid off over four months, through 4 equal monthly payments.

Unlike payday loans, Fig Loans work with you to adjust payment dates because they understand that life doesn’t always follow a calendar.

Transparency is what sets Fig apart from payday lenders. They don’t charge any surprise fees and even give customers a discount if they choose to pay their installment loan back early!

Below is a Q&A with Fig Loans Co-founder, Jeff Zhou

How Fig Loans is Looking To Disrupt The Payday Loan Industry
How Fig Loans is Looking To Disrupt The Payday Loan Industry

What inspired you and your co-founder to start Fig Loans?

John and I are able to start Fig Loans because along the way people took a chance on us. Whether it’s an education, job or an investment – they could have picked anyone else, but they gave us that opportunity. As a result, these institutions are more than just schools, employers or investors to us.

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The catch-22 of credit traps people out of the traditional credit markets. You need to get credit to build credit, but if you have bad credit nobody will give you credit. Fig takes a leap of faith every time we lend.

We give our borrowers an opportunity to show they’re more than their credit score. And after we’ve helped them succeed, I hope they’ll think of us as more than a lender.

Can you explain the difference between Fig Loans and Pay Day loans?

Payday loans are marketed as paycheck advances for emergency needs. The borrowers are typically unable to access lower cost traditional credit products like credit cards. Payday loans are predatory because they’re designed to trap customers in debt.

Predatory loans come with incredibly high interest rates and, more importantly, fine print that structurally prevents borrowers from paying the loans off.

For example, payday lenders often charge a fee for paying off your loan early, they might only accept payments in person, they might not accept partial payments, and all this in addition to costly late and change fees.

To shed light on the most common predatory features of a payday loan, we’ve created our own 5 step loan guide to help borrowers identify dishonest lending practices and predatory fine print.

Originally designed with the financial coaches of United Way THRIVE, Fig is the loan you would make to a friend. Fig Loans are 60% cheaper than payday loans, have no extra fees, report credit, and even come with an early repayment discount.

Our mission is financial health, and so our product is intentionally designed to incentivize borrowers to make good financial choices, like paying off the loan early.

As another example, Fig provides flexible repayment plans at no additional cost or interest. Lastly, we’re always honest with our customers and want to help them find the best solutions, even if it isn’t a Fig Loan.

Can anybody apply for Fig Loans or do you have to live in a certain state?

As of September 2021, we’re able to serve California, Missouri, Utah, Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico, and Florida residents.

How can other communities get Fig Loans enabled in their states?

Reach out to us at! It’s very important we work alongside local organizations like non-profits, local banks, and schools when entering new states.

Fig’s goal is to be a contributing member in every community that we join and working with existing organizations helps us understand how to add the most value!

Can you talk a little bit more about your social mission and how Fig plans to empower communities?

Fig’s mission is provide responsible financial products to borrowers by aligning our business model with their financial health. Communities are vital to creating and supporting lasting financial health for our borrowers.

To that end, Fig aims to be the ultimate tool for our partners, creating products that complement and enhance their capabilities. An example of this is our newest product called Fig36!

Fig36 is a turnkey lending-as-a-service solution that we provide at no cost to our non-profit partners.

Fig36 is all of Fig’s lending, underwriting, legal, customer service and credit reporting technology in a single platform that enables our partners to build their own emergency loan programs.

Fig takes care of the lending nuts and bolts, allowing our partners to focus on their clients.

What inspires you about your work?

Everything! The customer success stories are amazing, but my day-to-day inspiration comes from the dedication and passion of the Fig team and our partners.

The Fig team moves mountains to make it so Fig can deliver on our promises. As a company, we often take the longest, hardest path because we are unwilling to compromise when it comes to customer outcomes and company efficiency.

We’re able to operate at a fraction of the cost of our competitors and provide a far superior product because everyone is in the background changing the paradigm to make it possible.

Our amazing partners could spend their time anywhere else, but they’ve chosen to work with Fig and so we must do our best to be more than just a partner!

What is the ultimate dream vision for Fig Loans and what it can become?

Our products are the gold standard for financial services and provided in communities all over the world. In every community we are active participants, contributing not only as a corporation but also as citizens.

I want every local partner to meet Fig team members face to face, spend time with us, and confidently say Fig is a constant force for good in their community.

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