Best low-interest personal loans

Compare top lenders and get tips to qualify for the lowest rate.

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Getting a low interest rate on a personal loan can save you hundreds — if not thousands — over the life of your loan. And while it’s not a random process, it will take a lot of work to get your interest rate to a coveted single digit. By comparing your options, knowing what lenders look for and improving your application, you may be able to snag a low interest rate on your personal loan.

Our top pick: Fiona Personal Loans

  • Min. Credit Score Required: Good to excellent credit
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $100,000
  • APR: 3.84% to 35.99%
  • Requirements: Good to excellent credit, American citizen or permanent resident, 21+ years old

Our top pick: Fiona Personal Loans

Get loan offers from multiple lenders at once without affecting your credit score.

  • Min. Credit Score Required: Good to excellent credit
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $100,000
  • APR: 3.84% to 35.99%
  • Requirements: Good to excellent credit, American citizen or permanent resident, 21+ years old
Promoted

Best low-interest personal loans

ProviderAPR RangeLoan Amounts
Alliant 6.49% to 10.49% $1,000 to $50,000Read review
Fiona3.84% to 35.99%$1,000 to $100,000
Go to Fiona's site
LightStream Competitive $5,000 to $100,000
Go to Lightstream's site
Earnest 5.99% to 17.24% $5,000 to $75,000
Go to Earnest's site
PenFed6.49% to 17.99%$500 to $25,000
Go to PenFed Credit Union's site
SoFi5.99% to 20.01%$5,000 to $100,000
Go to SoFi's site
Wells Fargo5.24% to 24.49%$3,000 to $100,000Read review

How we selected these top lenders

When choosing the best low-interest personal loans, we first considered each lender’s APR — a number that represents the interest rate and any mandatory fees. We also considered each lender’s eligibility criteria and underwriting to estimate how likely it is to get a low rate.

What’s changed in 2020

Alongside a comprehensive update to our scoring methodology, we added four new lenders to our top picks for low-interest personal loans — Alliant, PenFed, SoFi and Wells Fargo — so you can compare some of the lowest rates out there.

We also replaced Monevo with Fiona Financial. Not only does Fiona have similar lenders in its network, but it also has a lower starting APR of just 3.84%.

Alliant

Product NameAlliant Credit Union Personal Loans
Min. Loan Amount$1,000
Max. Loan Amount$50,000
APR6.49% to 10.49%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Min. Credit Score640
Maximum Loan Term5 years
  • Best for borrowers looking for a low rate with fair credit.
  • Look elsewhere if you don’t want to join a credit union.

Alliant has one of the lowest maximum rates available — it’s hard to beat 10.49%. And unlike most lenders, it accepts borrowers with fair credit. You’ll also have access to a variety of other banking services through the credit union without needing to meet specific criteria. Overall, it’s one of the better deals out there if your credit or debt-to-income ratio doesn’t meet other lenders’ requirements.

Fiona Financial

Product NameFiona Personal Loans
Min. Loan Amount$1,000
Max. Loan Amount$100,000
APR3.84% to 35.99%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Min. Credit ScoreGood to excellent credit
Minimum Loan Term2 years
Maximum Loan Term7 years
Turnaround TimeVaries by lender
  • Best for comparing lenders with rates as low as 3.84%.
  • Look elsewhere if you don’t want your information shared with marketing partners.

Fiona Financial is a connection service, not a direct lender. But some of the lenders in its network have surprisingly low starting APRs of 3.84% — provided you have excellent credit. Through its service, you can compare personalized offers from its partner lenders without affecting your credit. But you might face marketing emails and phone calls from its partners — even after you take out a loan.

Earnest

Product NameEarnest Personal Loans
Min. Loan Amount$5,000
Max. Loan Amount$75,000
APR5.99% to 17.24%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Min. Credit Score660
Minimum Loan Term3 years
Maximum Loan Term5 years
Turnaround Time1 to 2 business days
  • Best for borrowers who have a tendency to pay late — it doesn’t charge any late fees.
  • Look elsewhere if you were hoping to apply with a cosigner.

While you still need good credit to qualify for a loan from Earnest, this online lender uses a unique underwriting system to look at all aspects of your career, education and finances when you apply.

Earnest’s rates start low, but the low maximum APR is what makes it really competitive — it’s also much lower than the standard maximum rate of 36%. If you went to graduate school and have established a solid career path, you might find that Earnest offers lower rates than other lenders provide.

LightStream

Product NameLightStream Personal Loans
Min. Loan Amount$5,000
Max. Loan Amount$100,000
APRCompetitive
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Min. Credit ScoreGood to excellent credit
Minimum Loan Term2 years
Maximum Loan Term7 years
Turnaround TimeVaries
  • Best for getting a rate that beats out the competition.
  • Look elsewhere if you don’t have good to excellent credit.

LightStream offers some of the lowest rates out there. And if you get a better offer from another lender, LightStream might offer a rate 0.01% lower, thanks to its Rate Beat program — as long as the other lender’s APR meets specific terms and conditions. Its maximum APR caps at close to half of what you’d find with most other lenders.

PenFed

Product NameLightStream Personal Loans
Min. Loan Amount$5,000
Max. Loan Amount$100,000
APRCompetitive
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Min. Credit ScoreGood to excellent credit
Minimum Loan Term2 years
Maximum Loan Term7 years
Turnaround TimeVaries
  • Best for current, honorably discharged and retired military members.
  • Look elsewhere if you’re in a rush — it can take up to two weeks to get your funds.

PenFed doesn’t technically have the lowest rates out there, but for military members and civilians who qualify for membership, it’s still competitive. That’s because you only need fair credit to qualify. However, there are a few downsides: Turnaround time may take multiple weeks, and the maximum loan amount is relatively low. However, a max rate below 18% can be worth the extra wait if you don’t have excellent credit.

SoFi

Product NameSoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)
Min. Loan Amount$5,000
Max. Loan Amount$100,000
APR5.99% to 20.01%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Min. Credit Score680
Minimum Loan Term2 years
Maximum Loan Term7 years
Turnaround TimeVaries
  • Best for borrowers with good credit who want free career and financial mentoring.
  • Look elsewhere if you need less than $5,000.

SoFi welcomes younger borrowers with good to excellent credit — and it won’t nickel and dime you for it. While its minimum loan amount starts high, you could be eligible for up to $100,000 and a loan term up to seven years. You may also be able to take advantage of its many programs, like career coaching and special rate discounts.

Wells Fargo

Product NameWells Fargo Personal Loans
Min. Loan Amount$3,000
Max. Loan Amount$100,000
APR5.24% to 24.49%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Min. Credit ScoreVaries
Late Fee$39
Minimum Loan Term1 year
Maximum Loan Term7 years
Turnaround TimeAs few as 1 business day(s)
  • Best for borrowing at a low rate for a long loan term.
  • Look elsewhere if you want to avoid steep late fees.

Wells Fargo may have a hefty late fee and a higher maximum APR, but it also has one of the lowest minimum APRs on this list. And with a wide range of loan amounts, it’s a good option if you have the credit to qualify. You may also be able to borrow a secured loan or line of credit, giving you much more flexibility than many other banks.

What’s considered a low interest rate on a personal loan?

A low-interest personal loan is a loan that has an interest rate below 12%. It works like any other personal loan: you borrow money and then pay it back with interest and fees. But because of their low interest rates, they tend to cost much less than the average personal loan.

To qualify for a low-interest loan from most lenders, you typically need to have a credit score above 720 and a strong financial history. Doesn’t sound like you? You still have low-interest options. Those without excellent credit might want to look at loans secured with collateral or borrow from credit unions or peer-to-peer lenders, which tend to offer lower rates than other direct lenders.

No matter what your situation, you’re likely to find a low-interest personal loan that fits your needs.

What’s the best rate on a personal loan?

You might think you can get that 2.99% interest rate by simply having a good credit score, but the truth is that very few people can qualify for a lender’s absolute lowest rate. Lenders only offer these low rates to the most ideal candidates: people who borrow over a certain amount, have a six-figure income and almost no debt. In other words, the kind of person that probably doesn’t need a loan.

In reality, the average interest rate for people with excellent credit is actually around 9%.

How do I compare low-interest offers?

Interest is important, but it’s not the only thing that makes a loan competitive. Compare these other features when deciding between two low-interest offers:

  • Loan security. If you can’t provide any collateral, your options are limited to low-interest unsecured personal loans. By providing some kind of security, you may be able to get a lower APR.
  • Loan amount. Different lenders offer low-interest unsecured personal loans for amounts from $500 to $50,000. The maximum you can borrow depends on your creditworthiness, your existing financial situation and your ability to make repayments.
  • Loan fees. Some online loans come with origination fees — typically between 1% to 5% of your loan amount — which is factored into your APR. There are other fees you might want to look out for that don’t get included in your rate, such as prepayment penalties, late fees or nonsufficient funds fees. You could also consider a no-fee personal loan if you have very good credit.
  • Loan term. Getting a loan term that matches your needs may be easier than you think. You can normally find low-interest personal loans with terms from two to seven years.
  • Processing time. Certain lenders can give you access to funds on the day you apply or by the next business day. For others, you may have to wait for as long as 7 to 10 business days.

How do lenders determine interest rate?

The interest rate you’re given by a lender is determined by your financial history and your current financial situation. Lenders want to know how well you can pay back your loan and if you’re likely to default.

  • Credit score. Your credit score is an overall picture of your ability to pay back the money you borrow. A high credit score is the first thing many lenders look at and is often considered one of the most important parts of your application.
  • Credit report. Your credit report lists all the accounts you’ve had in the past, the accounts you currently have open and the recent pulls to check your credit score. This details your financial situation for your lender, giving it a better idea of how you handle your finances.
  • Debt-to-income ratio. Lenders rely more on your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) than your income itself. This is because your DTI shows the exact amount you have to spend on your loan and the money you owe to other creditors.
  • Nonconventional factors. Lenders may also consider less conventional factors when setting your interest rate. Your work history, level of education and even how many times you’ve changed your phone number over the past few years could affect your interest rate.

What’s the difference between interest and APR?

You might have noticed that most lenders advertise annual percentage rates (APR) instead of interest. That’s because APR includes interest and fees, giving you a more accurate idea of how much your loan is going to cost. Many personal loans don’t come with application or origination fees, so in those cases the APR and interest are the same. Otherwise, a loan’s APR will be higher than its interest rate.

5 tips to get a low interest rate on a personal loan

Watch our 2-minute video or read the tips below to learn how to save money on your next personal loan.

Compare more personal loan options

Updated January 27th, 2020
Name Product APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
Even Financial Personal Loans
3.84% to 35.99%
550
$100,000
Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
LendingClub Personal Loan
6.95% to 35.89%
640
$40,000
A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
Monevo Personal Loans
3.99% to 35.99%
450
$100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.

Compare up to 4 providers

Where can I find a low-interest personal loan?

In your search for low-interest personal loans you’ll come across these options:

  • Peer-to-peer lenders. Peer-to-peer lenders connect investors with borrowers. If you have a good or excellent credit score, you may be able to get competitive interest rates.
  • Credit unions. Credit unions don’t have any shareholders so they transfer their profits to their members through competitive interest rates and little to no fees. But not all credit unions offer membership to the public at large.
  • Secured loan providers. Some lenders allow you to secure your personal loan with collateral. In return, you may be able to score a lower interest rate.
  • Banks. If you have excellent credit, you might be able to qualify for a low-interest bank loan. Some banks like Wells Fargo might offer a customer discount if you already have an account.
  • Online lenders. There are multiple personal loans out there offered by lenders that work completely online. These tend to accept borrowers with a range of credit scores, but you may be able to get a low rate if you have a good or excellent credit score.

How to get a low-interest loan

If you find a personal loan you’re eligible for, you can either apply online, in-person or over the phone. Many online lenders have prequalification options, which gives you an estimate of what type of interest rates you might be eligible for without a hard credit check.

After you submit your application, an underwriter (or underwriting software) reviews your file and pulls a hard credit check, which will cause a temporary dip in your credit score. At this point, you might be asked to submit additional documentation like bank statements, tax forms or pay stubs.

If you’re approved for an online personal loan, the money is transferred into your bank account electronically. You then have to make repayments on a monthly basis until your loan is paid off.

Bottom line

Getting a personal loan with a low interest rate can be a years-long task. After all, you’ll need to have both an excellent credit score and a solid financial history. But the hard work will be worth it when you can compare loans for excellent credit.

Frequently asked questions

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    RobertOctober 15, 2018

    Are there age limits for obtaining a loan?

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloOctober 15, 2018

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      You’ll have to meet your state’s minimum age requirement. For most states that age is 18 years. You should also be an American citizen or a permanent resident and have a regular source of income.

      Please send me a message if you need anything else. :)

      Cheers,
      Joel

  2. Default Gravatar
    NirbhaiSeptember 26, 2017

    Hello. Please suggest on how can I get full amount of loan that I need. Please help me.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezSeptember 29, 2017Staff

      Hi Nirbhai,

      Thank you for your comment.

      The amount of funding that you can borrow will depend on several factors that include your credit score and the purpose of the loan. The maximum you can borrow depends on your creditworthiness, your existing financial situation and your ability to make repayments. You should check with the lender on how much is the maximum amount they can lend you.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

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