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Best low-interest personal loans

Compare low-cost options for good, fair and bad credit.

This article was reviewed by Doug Noll, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and award-winning lawyer, mediator and author with over 40 years of experience in the legal field.

Personal loan rates usually range from 4% to 36%. But the lowest rate you can qualify for depends on your personal finances, especially your credit score, income and debts.

We spent hundreds of hours reviewing over 120 personal loan providers before selecting these lenders. In January 2021, we revamped our list to include options for different credit types and a best overall. We also paid special attention to the maximum interest rate — only a few applicants can qualify for the lowest rate available.

After reviewing our list, these are our 11 top picks for low-interest personal loans.

11 best low-interest personal loans of July 2022

SoFi Marcus Upgrade OneMain Financial Stilt LightStream Monevo Discover Payoff Wells Fargo PenFed Credit Union
APR6.99%22.23%6.99%19.99%5.94%35.97%18%35.99%7.99%15.99%Competitive1.99%35.99%5.99%24.99%5.99%24.99%5.74%20.99%5.49%17.99%
Minimum credit score 680 660 600 300 Not required Good to excellent credit None Varies 640 Varies 650
Loan terms 24–84 months 36–72 months 24–84 months 24–60 months 6–36 months 24–84 months 6–144 months 36–84 months 24–60 months 12–84 months 12–60 months

Breakdown of our top picks

Best for excellent credit: SoFi

SoFi personal loans

Finder rating 4.45 / 5 ★★★★★

This online lender offers some of the lowest interest rates out there and charges absolutely no fees — not even late fees. It’s also one of the few providers that offers both fixed interest rates and variable rates, which allow you to take advantage of the low fed rate on shorter loan terms. Aside from rates, this lender offers perks like free financial planning and career coaching. But it can take as long as 30 days to get your funds — and it doesn’t disburse money to creditors for debt consolidation.
  • Not available in: Mississippi, Vermont

Best for good credit: Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Marcus by Goldman Sachs personal loans

Finder rating 3.8 / 5 ★★★★★

Marcus By Goldmans Sachs is the online lending arm of Goldman Sachs Bank. While it doesn’t have the lowest starting annual percentage rates (APRs) out there, its low maximum rate makes it a good option for borrowers with excellent credit. Service members can also qualify for rates as low as 4%. But its range of loan amounts is limited compared to other similar providers. And while it doesn’t charge a late fee, you’ll pay extra interest if you miss a payment.
  • Available in all states

Best for fair credit: Upgrade personal loans

Upgrade personal loans

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

While we picked Upstart as the best overall pick for fair credit because of its more-forgiving credit score cutoff. But Upgrade offers a better deal if you’re looking at rates. This lender emphasizes your monthly cashflow over your credit scores, making it a good choice if your credit report isn’t spotless. But its origination fees can run as high as 8% — most lenders stop at 5%.
  • Not available in: Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Vermont, West Virginia

Best for bad credit: OneMain Financial personal loans

OneMain Financial personal loans

Finder rating 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

OneMain’s interest rates start higher than some of its competitors stop. But for bad credit borrowers, it’s not a bad deal. This lender is one of the few personal loan providers that doesn’t have a minimum credit score. And it allows you to secure your loan with collateral for a lower interest rate. But it’s still expensive. If it’s not an emergency, consider taking steps to improve your credit to help you get a lower rate.
  • Not available in: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, Vermont

Best for no credit: Stilt personal loans

Stilt personal loans

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

Stilt specializes in personal loans for nonresidents and recent immigrants. But anyone with strong personal finances but no credit history can benefit from this lender. Instead of looking at your credit score, it considers factors like your income, spending habits, education and career. But it’s only available in a handful of states and its loan terms are short compared to other lenders. This can lead to high monthly payments.
  • Only available in: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin

Best for low interest rates overall: LightStream

LightStream personal loans

Finder rating 4.83 / 5 ★★★★★

We may not be able to tell you the exact rate, but if you check its website, you’ll see why LightStream tops our list. Aside from having some of the most competitive rates, its Rate Beat program may beat some competitor offers. It also has a generous 0.5% autopay discount and offers a $100 satisfaction guarantee. But you could struggle to qualify if you don’t have good credit. You also can’t check your rate without affecting your credit.
  • Available in all states

Best for comparing lenders: Monevo personal loans

Monevo personal loans

Finder rating 4.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Monevo is an online marketplace that can help you find a personal loan if you don’t know where to start. You can compare personalized offers from its partners by filling out a quick online form. Its partners offer some of the lowest interest rates out there and it has options for all credit scores. But by using its service, you’re agreeing to share your information with its partner lenders. Many people complain about getting high volume of phone calls and emails from lenders after using similar services.
  • Available in all states

Best for debt consolidation: Discover personal loans

Discover personal loans

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

This online lender will send your loan directly to your creditors, making it easy to pay off high-interest debts. It also doesn’t charge origination fees and can disburse your loan as soon as the next business day. But the maximum loan amount is low compared to other options on this list. And it charges a relatively high late fee of $39 as soon as you miss a payment. Most lenders have a 15-day grace period.
  • Available in all states

Best for credit card debt consolidation: Payoff personal loans

Payoff personal loans

Finder rating 3.8 / 5 ★★★★★

If you only have credit card debt, Payoff could be a better choice — especially if you have good or excellent credit. While it charges some borrowers an origination fee of up to 5%, you can save on late and annual fees. This lender only offers loans for credit card debt consolidation and claims that borrowers boosted their credit scores by as much as 40 points by paying off $5,000 in credit card debt. It also allows you to change your monthly due date once a year, which can be useful if you switch jobs.
  • Not available in: Massachusetts, Nevada

Best for bank loans: Wells Fargo personal loans

Wells Fargo personal loans

Finder rating 3.65 / 5 ★★★★★

When it comes to big national banks, Wells Fargo offers some of the lowest interest rates that are available to new and current customers. There’s also no origination fee and you can receive an APR discount as high as 0.5% if you sign up for autopay with a Wells Fargo account. But consider applying with your bank before you choose Wells Fargo. Most offer relationship discounts and it can take significantly less time to receive your funds if you already have an account.
  • Available in all states

Best for credit union loans: PenFed Credit Union personal loans

PenFed Credit Union personal loans

Finder rating 3.6 / 5 ★★★★★

PenFed Credit Union has some of the lowest maximum interest rates out there — and it accepts some borrowers with fair credit. You can also borrow as little as $600 through this lender. But its maximum loan amount also runs low compared to other providers on this list. Like other banks and credit unions, you have to be eligible for membership to get approved. And it can take a couple of weeks to receive your funds — which it disburses by check.
  • Available in all states

What’s the best rate on a personal loan?

The lowest rates lenders offer on personal loans hover around 4%. But very few people can qualify for the absolute lowest rate. The average rate is over 9% according to the Federal reserve — and that’s if you borrow from a bank. Online lenders typically offer a higher APR range.

So who gets the best rates? Generally these go to applicants with near-perfect credit, 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.

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

For most borrowers, a low interest rate is below 12%. But it depends on your lender and personal finances. The better your credit, the more likely you are to qualify for rates in the single digits.

Who has the lowest APR on a personal loan?

You can find the lowest APRs with the following lenders.

  • LightStream often has the lowest starting APR and rates vary by loan amount and loan term
  • PenFed comes in second with rates at 5.49%
  • Wells Fargo sits at 5.74% for customers who qualify, including the relationship discount
  • Upgrade starts at 5.94%, including an autopay discount
  • Payoff comes in fifth at 5.99%
  • SoFi also offers low rates starting at 6.99% APR

How to get the best personal loan with a low interest rate

There are several steps you can take to find the lowest interest rate on a loan.

  • Consider a secured loan. Unsecured personal loans almost always come with higher interest rates. Backing your loan with collateral offsets the risk for the lender and can help you qualify for a lower rate.
  • Look into relationship discounts. Your bank might offer rate discounts as high as 0.5% if you have a current checking account or savings account — and you can get your loan funds faster.
  • Sign up for autopay. Some lenders offer a 0.25% rate discount if you sign up to have payments automatically debited from your account.
  • Shop around. Don’t just go with the first loan offer you find. Comparing lenders can sometimes lead you to an even better deal.
  • Check your rate. Prequalify or reach out to your top picks to make sure you’re applying for the loan with lowest rate available to you.
  • Take advantage of low-rate guarantees. Some lenders like LightStream will offer you a lower rate than the competition, as long as the offer meets certain requirements.
  • Consider a co-signer. If your creditworthiness isn’t up to par for a low interest rate, having a co-signer on your loan can bring down the risk for a lender and give you a better rate.

Where can I get a low-interest personal loan?

The following types of lenders might offer low interest rates, though you might not be able to qualify with all unless you have good credit.

  • Banks. Banks tend to offer some of the lowest rates out there, but you generally need a credit or FICO score of at least 670 to qualify — and some might only offer loans to current customers.
  • Credit unions. Credit unions often offer low rates to a wide range of credit types compared to other lenders, since they’re owned by their customers. And federal credit unions legally can’t charge rates over 18%.
  • Online lenders. These lenders have higher rates on average, but typically put less weight on credit score than a bank or credit union.
  • Connection services. A connection service can help you quickly prequalify with multiple lenders to help you quickly find the lowest rate you qualify for with its partner lenders.

How lenders determine interest rates

The interest rate you’re given by a lender is determined by your financial history and creditworthiness. 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.
  • Credit report. Your credit report lists all the credit accounts you’ve had in the past, the accounts you currently have open and any hard credit inquiries.
  • Debt-to-income ratio. Lenders rely more on your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio than your income itself, since it 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, like your work history, level of education and even how many times you’ve changed your phone number over the past few years.

What’s the difference between my interest rate and APR?

APR includes the interest and fees you’d pay over one year. It gives you a more accurate idea of how much your loan will going to cost. Many personal loans don’t come with application or origination fees, so in those cases the APR and interest rate are the same. Otherwise, a loan’s APR will be higher than its interest rate.

What to know before you apply

Look into these factors before you start the application process to make sure you get the best personal loan for you.

  • Credit score. Check your credit score online to get an estimate of the number your lender will see, and your credit score range. This can help you understand the types of rates you’re eligible for. If your score is below 670, consider taking steps to improve your credit first.
  • DTI. Use a calculator to get an estimate of what your DTI is. If it’s over 43%, you might have trouble qualifying. Try focusing on paying down debt before you apply for a loan.
  • Monthly cash flow. Lenders look at how much money you have available each month to cover loan payments after you’ve paid your bills. You should have enough in there to cover monthly repayments on the loan amount and term you’re considering with room for emergency costs.
  • Prequalification. If available, going through a lender’s prequalification process isn’t a waste of your time. It’s not a guarantee that you’ll get approved, but it can show you what kind of loan you might qualify for and what rates the lender may offer. And this process typically doesn’t include a hard credit check.
  • Exact loan amount. Go in knowing how much you need to borrow so you can rule out lenders who don’t offer financing in that range. If you’re not sure how much you’ll need, consider more flexible financing options like a credit card or line of credit instead.

How to apply for a low-interest personal loan

Follow these steps to get started on your personal loan application.

  1. Compare lenders. Start your search by comparing lenders that you qualify for, paying close attention to interest and loan costs, such as origination fees and prepayment penalties.
  2. Prequalify. After you’ve narrowed down your choices, fill out an online form or reach out over the phone to learn which rates you might be eligible for through that particular lender.
  3. Gather basic documents. Having your most recent bank statements, tax returns and pay stubs on hand before you start means you won’t have to scramble to find information later.
  4. Fill out the application. Many lenders allow you to apply online or over the phone. Banks and credit unions also allow you to apply in person in most cases — and sometimes require it. If you meet the basic requirements, your lender will likely ask you to submit documents to verify your identity and income.
  5. Review your offer. If you’re approved, the lender should send you an offer with your final rates and terms — it might. be different from your prequalification offer.
  6. Submit a counter offer, if possible. If you received a lower offer from another lender, now is the time to take advantage of a best rate guarantee if it’s available by following the lender’s instructions.
  7. Sign your contract. After loan approval, you’ll need to sign your closing documents. While many banks allow you to sign your contract online using an e-signature, some states require an in-person closing.

Low-interest credit cards vs. personal loans

Low-interest credit cards and personal loans are useful in different situations. Personal loans are ideal for a one-time expense that you need a few years to repay, such as a home improvement expense or debt consolidation loan. But if you could easily pay off the debt in a year, a new credit card might be the better way to go.

That’s because cards typically come with 0% APR introductory periods that usually last around 12 months. You’ll save on interest if you can pay off your debt in that time. But low-interest credit card rates are typically higher than personal loans when the interest kicks in.

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.

While you work to build your credit, you can compare these lenders against even more personal loan options to find a rate that fits your budget.

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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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