Origination fees may only account for a small portion of a personal loan, but they result in an increased APR and an overall higher cost. These fees typically run from 1% to 10% of the total loan amount, depending on the lender and your creditworthiness.
For example, if you take out a $10,000 loan with a 5% origination fee, you’ll only get $9,500 instead of the $10,000 you applied for — but you still pay interest on the full $10,000.
However, not all lenders charge origination fees, and you shouldn’t have to pay them if you have good credit. Our list of no-fee lenders offer personal loans without application, origination or prepayment fees, so you can be sure interest is the only thing you’ll pay.
Top 6 personal loans with no origination fees
SoFi: Best overall
SoFi earns our best overall pick for its large loan amounts, streamlined application process and quick funding. It offers personal loans from $5,000 to $100,000 with repayment terms from two to seven years, a 0.25% autopay discount and member benefits like unemployment protection and career coaching.
But its eligibility requirements are a bit stricter than other lenders: you generally need a minimum credit score of 680 and a relatively high annual income to qualify. SoFi is one of the few lenders that never charges any fees — including prepayment penalties or late fees — but you can pay an origination fee in exchange for a lower rate.
|Min. credit score||680|
|APR||8.99% to 25.81%|
|Loan amount||$5,000 to $100,000|
LightStream: Best for low rates
LightStream personal loans
If you're looking for low rates, LightStream can't be beat – literally. Its Rate Beat Program will beat any competing rate from another lender as long as you meet the requirements. It also offers a generous 0.5% rate discount for setting up autopay – but this must be done before funding.
And unlike many lenders, LightStream doesn't charge any fees, including late fees or NSF fees. However, there's no prequalification process, so don't be surprised when it does a hard pull of your credit when you apply.
*Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 5.95% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $303.99.
Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust, Truist, LightStream, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.
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|Min. credit score||Good to excellent credit|
|APR||7.49% to 25.49%|
|Loan amount||$5,000 to $100,000|
Discover: Best for debt consolidation
Discover offers competitive rates, no origination fees and a simple debt consolidation process – earning it our best pick for this category. Loans start at a relatively low 7.99% APR for the best credit borrowers, with repayment terms ranging from 36 to 84 months.
Discover's personal loans come with a 30-day guarantee: If you find a better deal or change your mind within 30 days, you can return your funds without having to pay interest within that time frame. But there's no grace period for payments and it charges a steep $39 late fee.
|Min. credit score||660|
|APR||7.99% to 24.99%|
|Loan amount||$2,500 to $40,000|
Laurel Road: Best for medical professionals
Laurel Road personal loans
Laurel Road works with all types of borrowers that have good to excellent credit – but offers customized loan products for medical professionals. Doctors and dentists can borrow up to $80,000 – much higher than many other lenders – with a fixed interest rate.
Employed doctors and last year residents with a signed work contract are eligible for Laurel Road's physician loans. It also offers an .025% autopay discount to help you save on your loan's interest payments.
|Min. credit score||680|
|APR||7.99% to 23.25%|
|Loan amount||$5,000 to $80,000|
PenFed: Best for smaller loans
PenFed Credit Union personal loans
If you're looking for a small loan of $1,000 or less, PenFed offers personal loans for as little as $600. And unlike many credit unions, anyone is eligible to join. All you need to do is open a savings account with a $5 deposit.
PenFed may be a good option if you prefer to work with a credit union as your lender – and customers give it good reviews online. The credit union's entire loan application is digital, but it may take up to two weeks to receive your loan funds.
U.S. Bank: Best for borrowing with a coapplicant
- Available in: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming
|Min. credit score||660|
|APR||8.24% to 21.49%|
|Loan amount||$1,000 to $50,000|
Methodology: How we picked the best no origination fee personal loans
Finder’s lending experts review 120+ personal loan lenders and weigh 16 key factors like origination fees, interest rates and eligibility requirements to narrow down the best loans across different categories:
- Minimum APR
- Maximum APR
- Origination fees
- Minimum loan amount
- Maximum loan amount
- Minimum loan term
- Maximum loan term
- Number of states served
- Minimum credit score
- Joint application availability
- Turnaround time
- Online application availability
- Prequalification process
- BBB ratings
- Trustpilot ratings
- Other features, such as rate discounts
We regularly review our top selections as lenders enter and leave the market and revise our picks to ensure they’re the best in their categories. See our Personal loans rating methodology for more information on how we rate lenders.
Other personal loan fees to consider
If a lender doesn’t charge application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties, it’s considered a no fee personal loan. However, most no fee personal loans carry late or nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees if your autopayment doesn’t go through or a check bounces.
While these are technically fees, they aren’t set fees worked into the cost of the loan. Your lender may charge other fees as well.
How loan fees affect the APR you pay
Your annual percentage rate (APR) is an expression of the total cost of your loan after origination fees are factored in. The higher the fees, the higher the APR. But if the lender doesn’t charge any fees, your APR and interest rate are the same.
A loan with no fees but a high interest rate will cost you more than a loan with fees but a low overall APR. So, when shopping for a loan, always compare APRs – not the interest rate.
How to keep your personal loan costs low
To limit the amount you pay in interest on your personal loan:
- Compare multiple lenders. Be sure to get at least three or four different quotes to find the best deal. Do a loan preapproval first to see your potential rates, if the lender offers it.
- Get a cosigner. Not all lenders allow cosigners, but if your credit score is below 670, having one can increase your chances of approval and help you secure a lower rate, too.
- Look for rate discounts. Many lenders offer reduced rates of 0.25% to 0.5% if you set up autopay, send funds directly to your creditors, have a cosigner or show that you have retirement savings.
- Improve your credit score. Check your credit profile and clean up any errors that may be pulling your score down. Also, keep making your payments on time, don’t close out any debt accounts or take on any new debt before applying for a personal loan.
- Choose the shortest term. Shorter term loans often have lower interest rates than longer term loans. To keep your interest costs down, always choose the shortest term with monthly payments you can afford.
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Am I eligible for a personal loan with no origination fees?
No fee personal loans are best for people who have a good to excellent FICO score. In general, lenders that offer no fees cater to borrowers with credit scores of 670 and up — although having a creditworthy cosigner can increase your chances of approval.
While every lender is different, be prepared to meet the following requirements:
- Minimum FICO credit score of 670
- A debt-to-income ratio of 43% or less
- Regular source of income
- US citizen or permanent resident
- At least 18 years old
- No past bankruptcies or foreclosures
How to get a no origination fee personal loan
Follow these 5 steps to find and apply for a loan.
- Compare lenders. Use our list of the top 7 no fee lenders to research and compare offers.
- Get prequalified. Go to the lender’s website and do an online prequalification, if available, to see your potential rates. Doing a prequalification doesn’t hurt your credit score.
- Submit an application. Once you’ve chosen a lender you want to work with, do a full application and upload any requested documents. This will result in a hard credit pull.
- Sign for your loan. If approved for loan, you’ll need to sign your loan documentation so the funds can be released to you.
- Wait for your funds to arrive. Each lender is different, but you may have your funds in your bank account as soon as the same day, although one to three business days is more common.