Pay off your personal loan early to save money | Calculations + Tips

Can you pay off your personal loan early?

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Paying off your loan early can help you stay out of permanent debt.

Nearly everyone has to take out a loan at some point in their life, and that means nearly everyone needs to pay off that debt. By choosing to pay off your debt early, you can save yourself a good deal of money that might have been wasted on interest.

Our guide will help you decide if prepaying your personal loan off early is the correct option for you.

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    What are the benefits of paying off a personal loan early?

    Beyond no longer having to budget for monthly payments, paying your loan off early will save you hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars in interest over the long run.

    Like all forms of credit, personal loans accrue interest for every month the balance is outstanding. Choosing to pay your loan early will result in paying less interest over the life of the loan, but you may face steep prepayment penalties or exit fees if you aren’t careful when picking your loan terms.

    Paying these charges may be worth it if your monthly payments are high and you can afford to pay the whole balance back at once. If you can’t, there are steps you can take to reduce the total amount you owe.

    Three lenders that offer personal loans with no prepayment penalty

    Lender Max. Loan Amount Starting APR Requirements
    Laurel Road Personal Loans $45,000 5.5%–11.74% (fixed) Must be a US citizen or permanent resident with a valid I-551 card. Best for people w/ 680+ credit scores and $60,000+ annual income. Go to site More
    Prosper Personal Loans $40,000 6.95%–35.99% (fixed) Must be 18+ years old, an American citizen or US permanent resident and have a 640+ credit score. Go to site More
    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay) $100,000 7.075%–15.365% (fixed) You must be a US citizen or permanent resident, and 18 years or older. Go to site More

    8 tips to pay off a personal loan faster

    1. Stash away the change. Find an app that allows you to round up the change from your purchases and put it toward savings. Once you’ve built up some capital, you can make an extra payment toward your loan.
    2. Pay every two weeks. Making bi-weekly payments might feel like your paying twice a month, but in reality its a little more than that. You could end up paying off your loan earlier without even realizing it.
    3. Round it up. Round up your payments to the nearest $50 or even $100 to pay off more of your loan amount.
    4. Look for discounts. Depending on your lender, you may be able to take advantage of discounts, even for something easy like enrolling in autopay or going paperless.
    5. Make more money without exhausting yourself. Sell your unwanted items through LetGo, eBay or even your local consignment shop. This can be a great way to make a little cash to put toward your loan.
    6. Squeeze in one big extra payment. If you get a raise or find yourself with more cash than you expected, consider putting it toward your loan.
    7. Refinance your loan. Has your credit score improved? Are you stuck with an interest rate that’s much higher than it should be? Consider refinancing to lower your monthly payments.
    8. Cut expenses. Look at your monthly budget and find areas to cut back. Cutting out cable can save you a large pile of money a month — and with streaming services you probably won’t even miss it.

    Are there penalties for paying off my loan early?

    It depends. Some lenders will penalize you for paying off your loan early as a way to make back a portion of the interest you would have paid if your loan had gone to term. Prepayment penalties or exit fees are usually included in the loan contract before you sign, so if you know you’re going to be paying early, avoid lenders that charge one.

    Since there are plenty of lenders that don’t have prepaying penalties, it’s in your best interest to also research ones that don’t precompute your interest. This is where lenders calculate the amount of interest you’ll pay over the life of your loan and add it on to the principal. It may seem convenient, but it will cost you more if you decide to pay your loan early. An interest refund will be given to you, although this still won’t be as cheap as finding a loan that accrues interest daily rather than including it all as one lump sum.

    Will paying off a loan early hurt my credit score?

    Possibly. Once you pay off your personal loan, it will be considered a closed account on your credit report. If closing that account reduces the diversity of your credit portfolio or shortens your payment history, you may end up hurting your credit score even though you’re saving money on interest.

    However, closing an account is inevitable. You won’t be paying your loan off forever, so consider what other accounts you have open and make sure you have a healthy mix of open credit and a long payment history to offset the closure of your current personal loan.

    Vincent compares his loan prepayment options

    Vincent has recently inherited a large sum of money and wants to pay off a few loans he’s taken out over the years, but he isn’t sure if paying them early will be worth the expense.

    He creates a small chart to compare his outstanding loans and calculate the interest he’ll save.

    Amount borrowedTermInterest rateMonthly paymentMonths left on termLump sum payment to pay off loanAmount saved on interest
    Loan 1
    $35,0005 years8.99%$726.3712$8,306.45$410.02
    Loan 2
    $10,0003 years12.99%$336.8910$3,176.73$192.19
    Loan 3
    $50,0007 years10.9%$853.5018$14,113.82$1,249.09

    Vincent decides that it would be worth it to pay his first and last loan off early, but that he wouldn’t benefit from paying off the second since the amount he would save is so low. This takes a huge weight off his shoulders and opens up his finances so he can start investing the money he was previously spending on payments.

    Looking for another loan? Consider these options

    If you’re in the market for a new loan to cover the next big project in your life, we have a selection of lenders that suit every need.

    Rates last updated August 20th, 2018

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    Unfortunately, none of the personal loan providers offer loans for that credit score. If you are in urgent need of a small loan, you might want to consider a short term loan.
    Name Product Product Description Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR
    Credible Personal Loans
    Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.
    Good to excellent credit
    $50,000
    4.99%–36% (fixed)
    LendingClub Personal Loan
    A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
    660
    $40,000
    6.16%–35.89% (fixed)
    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)
    No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.
    680
    $100,000
    7.075%–15.365% (fixed)
    Even Financial Personal Loans
    Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
    580
    $100,000
    4.99%–35.99% (fixed)
    NetCredit Personal Loan
    Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
    550
    $10,000
    34%–155% (Varies by state) (fixed)
    Best Egg Personal Loans
    A prime lender with multiple repayment methods.
    640 FICO®
    $35,000
    5.99%–29.99% (fixed)
    Monevo Personal Loans
    Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit score.
    580
    $100,000
    3.09%–35.99% (fixed)
    FreedomPlus Personal Loans
    Consolidate debt and more with these low-interest loans. Cosigners welcome.
    640
    $35,000
    4.99%–29.99% (fixed)
    OppLoans Installment Loans
    Installment loans with competitive rates from a top-rated direct lender.
    Bad credit accepted
    $5,000
    99%–199% (fixed)
    OneMain Financial Personal and Auto Loans
    An established online and in-store lender with quick turnaround times. Poor credit is OK.
    Varies
    $30,000
    16.05%–35.99%* (fixed)

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Bottom line

    Making early prepayments on your loan can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest. There’s the risk of fees, but these can avoided by comparing your loan options before you borrow.

    While you may not be able to make a huge prepayment to clear your outstanding balance at one time, you can follow some of tips above to pay it down faster. Review your options and find what’s best for your budget.

    Frequently asked questions about prepayments

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    2 Responses

    1. Default Gravatar
      JoeMarch 14, 2018

      I have a best egg loan,want to know if I make extra payments,if it will go towards the principle…thanks

      • finder Customer Care
        JoshuaMarch 21, 2018Staff

        Hi Joe,

        Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

        Generally speaking, unless stipulated, when you make extra repayments to your loan, the majority of it goes to the interest and only a portion of the principal. There is a way to get around this. For example, you can pay your extra payments at the same time that you make your monthly payment. This way the money will go towards the principal.

        Of course, let me be clear that every lender has their own way of handling debts. That’s why it is wise to read the terms and conditions of your loan or directly get in touch with your lender to see how you can pay off your debt sooner.

        I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

        Have a wonderful day!

        Cheers,
        Joshua

    US Personal Loans Offers

    Important Information*
    Even Financial Personal Loans

    Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.

    Prosper Personal Loans

    Borrow only what you need for debt consolidation, home improvements and more — with APRs based on overall creditworthiness.

    LendingClub Personal Loan

    A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)

    No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.

    Go to site