As a college student starting out, managing money and keeping track of your finances is a new adventure. And then, gaining access to a loan can be a problem. Banks want you to have a credit score and credit history.
But for that, you need access to credit and have a history of making payments. It’s sort of a chicken and egg problem.
This is where Boro comes in. First, it provides solid money management and budgeting tools to college students. It also provides loans to students by using a non-traditional application process.
In this article, we’ll look at why Boro might be a good choice for some college students.
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- Free money and budget planner app
- Loans built for college students
- Doesn’t use traditional loan application process
Who Is Boro?
Boro is a money management tool that also lets college students borrow money who might not otherwise have access to a loan. The company behind the app is Westbon, Inc. It was founded in 2015 and is based in Chicago, Illinois. The founders are Hao Liu and Yifeng Ouyang. The company has raised $116.4 million through seed funding.
"Our goal is to create meaningful opportunities for students to build healthy borrowing habits that will serve them well beyond their time in college," Liu said in a press release. "Students today are overserved by unethical lenders. Boro breaks that pattern by helping users get access to stress-free financing that helps them grow their financial confidence, and protects them from high-interest rates and hidden fees."
What Do They Offer?
Boro is a money and budget-planning app designed with college students in mind. Additionally, it offers microloans and auto loans to college students.
Note: You must have a .edu email address to use Boro as of today.
Money Management Tools
Boro offers a variety of money management tips and tool inside the app for free. Users can access automatic expense tracking, custom spending tips, and monthly spending goals.
Soon, Boro will be able to send you regular credit score updates and credit-building tips as well. And with its StackUp Comparisons tool, you can see how your financial habits compare to other students at your school, state, and nationwide.
Loans For College Students
Rather than turning to a payday lender or high-rate interest credit card in a time of need, students can use Boro. While it doesn’t have the lowest rates, it does cap the amount a student can borrow at $2,000. Additionally, unlike credit cards, there is a fixed period in which the loan must be paid off. This keeps students from falling into a spiral of ever-increasing debt.
Boro works similar to a line of credit. Once your account is created, the $2,000 line is available as needed. When you pay off the borrowed amount, you don’t need to apply again to initiate another draw (i.e., borrow). Just access the amount that is needed and pay it back over time.
A side benefit of using Boro is that it builds credit. This helps students later on when they need a traditional loan, such as an auto loan or mortgage. The application only takes a few minutes to fill out. Results are known within seconds and funds are made available in 1-2 business days.
The Approval Process
Since college students often don’t have a credit history (86% of Boro customers don’t have one), Boro uses other methods to evaluate creditworthiness. Also, a Social Security number (SSN) is not required (nor a cosigner) which is a big benefit for international students.
Boro checks a student’s utility bills, checking account transactions, school enrollment status, and GPA. This information is run through its risk management engine to determine a student’s creditworthiness.
Boro has two loan offerings — Boro Cash and Boro Drive.
Boro Cash — used for personal loans that range from $50 to $2,000. Loan length is one, three, six, or 12 months. Students can choose to pay monthly or biweekly. The interest and amount of interest are also broken out so students can easily see how much of their payment is going toward interest. Interest rates range from 15.00%-19.99%. Boro Cash is available in 15 states.
Boro Drive — used for car purchases and available in over 30 states. With an approval process that takes at least a day, Boro Drive applications take a little longer than Boro Cash applications.
Terms are 12 to 60 months with loan amounts ranging from $5,000 to $3 million. Rates range from 6.00%-13.99%. Boro Drive requires a down payment that differs depending on the loan amount:
- Loan amount under $30,000 — 25% of pre-tax car price
- Loan amount over $30,000 — 35% of pre-tax car price
Are There Any Fees?
There are no application fees but you will pay ongoing interest on any outstanding loan balances.
How Do I Open An Account?
You can visit Boro's website to download the app. All loans applications are made through the mobile app.
Right now, you can get a $5 bonus when you open an account and link a bank or credit account.
Is My Money Safe?
Yes, there is no money on deposit with Boro and their website uses encryption.
Is It Worth It?
If you're looking for a solid money management tool to use while you're in college, Boro could be a great choice. It offers many of the tracking and goal-setting features of other budgeting apps, but places a heavier focus on the specific financial issues that students face.
If you don’t have any access to funds and need a little extra cash to pay for school-related expenses or a car purchase, Boro Cash or Boro Drive could be worth checking out. But it would be best to shop around for a lower rate with other cash advance, personal loan, or auto loan lenders before deciding to take out a Boro loan.
Savings and money market
Cash Loan Amounts
$50 to $2,000
Auto Loan Amounts
$5,000 to $3 Million
Soft Credit Check
Social Security Number
Customer Service Number
Customer Service Hours
9 AM-6 PM (CST)
Mobile App Availability
iOS and Android
- Interest Rates
- Fees and Charges
- Customer Service
- Ease of Use
- Tools and Resources
- Products and Services
Boro is an app that offers money management tools for college students and loans that don’t require credit histories or cosigners.
- Free budgeting and expense-tracking tools
- No cosigner or SSN required on loan applications
- No application or loan origination fees
- Requires a .edu email address to join
- Interest rates are on the high side
- Not available in all 50 states
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.