Reach your next goal
with a personal loan

When you’re ready to plan that big wedding, breathe new life into your kitchen, buy a new set of wheels or simplify your existing debt, a personal loan could bridge your budget gaps to reach your goals. There’s a personal loan to fit nearly any need, which makes understanding exactly how they work key to getting the best rate and repayment terms you’re eligible for. This guide shows you how to compare top online lenders to narrow down a personal loan that satisfies what you’re looking for. We’ll take you from consideration to application to approval — including the documentation you’ll need and how to get an edge on low rates.

What loans could you qualify for?

Answer two quick questions to get recommendations on which lenders may approve your loan application.

Question 1 of 2

What’s your credit score range?

Very good740 or higher
Good670 – 739
Fair581 – 669
Poor580 or lower
I don’t know

Question 2 of 2

How much do you want to borrow?

$1,000or less
$1,001 – $5,000Between
$5,001 – $35,000Between
$35,000 or more

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Prosper Personal Loan - Quiz

Prosper Personal Loans

You could borrow up to $35,000 for a variety of purposes, with rates starting from 5.99%.

  • Recommended Credit Score: 640 or higher
  • Minimum Loan Amount: $2,000
  • Maximum Loan Amount: $35,000
  • Loan Term: 3 or 5 years
  • Turnaround Time: 1-3 business days
  • Simple online application process
  • No prepayment penalties
    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay) - Quiz

    SoFi Personal Loan Offer

    SoFi offer you the chance to borrow up to $100,000 with the choice between a fixed or variable interest rate.

    • Recommended Credit Range: Good to excellent
    • Min. Loan Amount: $5,000
    • Max. Loan Amount: $100,000
    • Loan Term: 3, 5, or 7 years
    • Unemployment protection
    • Confidential and secure online application
      OppLoans Installment Loans - Quiz

      OppLoans Installment Loans

      Get fast funding up to $5,000 at reasonable interest rates.

      • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
      • Loan Term: 9 to 24 months
      • Turnaround Time: 1 business day
      • Must be 18+ years old
      • No security deposit needed
      • Confidential and secure
        LendUp Payday Loans - Quiz

        LendUp Payday Loans

        Apply for a payday loan conveniently online and borrow between $100 and $250.

        • Minimum loan amount: $100
        • Maximum loan amount: $250
        • Turnaround time: 1 business day
        • Loan term: 7–30 days
        • Good credit not required
        • Confidential and secure
          Lending Club Personal Loan - Quiz

          Lending Club Personal Loan

          Lending Club offers loans of up to $40,000 as alternative to bank loans. Rates from 5.99% to 35.89% APR based on your credit score.

          • Recommended Credit Score: 660 or higher
          • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
          • Max. Loan Amount: $40,000
          • Loan Term: Flexible Terms
          • Turnaround Time: Varies
          • Total Costs: Depends on your credit score
          • Consolidate loans or pay off high interest debt
          • Confidential and secure online application
            NetCredit Personal Loan - Quiz

            NetCredit Personal Loan Offer

            You could borrow up to $10,000 and get an interest rate personalized to your credit score.

            • Recommended Credit Range: Fair or better
            • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
            • Max. Loan Amount: $10,000
            • Loan Term: Varies upon State
            • Turnaround Time: 1 business day
            • Total Costs: Depends on your credit score.
            • Unemployment protection
            • Confidential and secure online application
              CashNetUSA Loan - Quiz

              CashNetUSA Loans

              You could borrow up to $2,250,depending on your state of residency, with a payday loan from CashNetUSA.

              • Min. Loan Amount: $300
              • Loan Term: Varies by state
              • Turnaround Time: Same day - conditions apply
              • Must be 18+
              • No security needed
              • Confidential and secure
                Upstart Personal Loans - Quiz

                Upstart Personal Loan Offer

                Consolidate your debt to pay it off faster. Apply to borrow up to $50,000 from Upstart Personal Loans.

                • Recommended Credit Score: 620 or higher
                • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
                • Max. Loan Amount: $50,000
                • Loan Term: 3 or 5 years
                • Turnaround Time: 1-2 business days
                • Total Costs: Depends on your credit score.
                • No prepayment penalty
                • Confidential and secure online application

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                  Prosper Personal Loan

                  Prosper Personal Loans

                  You could borrow up to $35,000 for a variety of purposes, with rates starting from 5.99%.

                  • Recommended Credit Score: 640 or higher
                  • Minimum Loan Amount: $2,000
                  • Maximum Loan Amount: $35,000
                  • Loan Term: 3 or 5 years
                  • Turnaround Time: 1-3 business days
                  • Simple online application process
                  • No prepayment penalties

                    Compare personal loans

                    A selection of personal loans you can apply for

                    Use this table to compare the interest rates, loan amounts and eligibility requirements of top online lenders.

                    Rates last updated June 26th, 2017
                    Unfortunately, none of the personal loan providers have a loan for that credit score. It you are urgent need of a small loan, you might want to check out a short term loan.
                    Name Product Minimum Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR Requirements
                    Prosper Personal Loan
                    640
                    $35,000
                    From 5.99% (fixed)
                    Must be 18+ years old, an American citizen or US permanent resident and have a 640+ credit score.
                    Lending Club Personal Loan
                    660
                    $40,000
                    From 5.99% (fixed)
                    You must be over 18 years of age, a permanent resident of the US or an American citizen and have a steady source of income.
                    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)
                    Good to excellent credit
                    $100,000
                    From 5.49% (fixed)
                    You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident 18 years or older.
                    Laurel Road Personal Loans
                    Good to excellent credit
                    $45,000
                    From 5.75% (fixed)
                    Must be a US citizen or permanent resident with a valid I-551 card
                    Upstart Personal Loans
                    620
                    $50,000
                    From 7.16% (fixed)
                    Must be 18+ and a US citizen or permanent resident. Must have good to excellent credit.
                    NetCredit Personal Loan
                    550
                    $10,000
                    From 34% to 155% depending on your state of residence% (variable)
                    Varies depending on your state of residence.
                    OneMain Financial Personal Loans
                    600
                    $25,000
                    From 12.99% (fixed)
                    Eligibility for a loan is determined by your financial history, credit history, income and expenses, and whether or not you have ever filed for bankruptcy.

                    Compare up to 4 providers

                    A selection of brokers you can speak to

                    One way to make sure you’re getting the best rate is to let a broker find a competitive rate for you.

                    Rates last updated June 26th, 2017
                    Name Product Minimum Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR Product Description
                    LendingTree Personal Loan
                    Good to excellent credit
                    $35,000
                    From 5.99% (fixed)
                    Receive up to five loan offers in just minutes through LendingTree's simple online application process.
                    PersonalLoans.com
                    Varies by lender
                    $35,000
                    From 5.99% (fixed)
                    Get matched with providers from a large network of banks, peer-to-peer marketplaces and direct lenders.
                    Zippyloan Personal Loans
                    Varies by lender
                    $15,000
                    From (variable)
                    Apply with Zippyloan to be considered by over 100 lenders, all offering multiple loan options to suit your needs.
                    Trusted Loans — Personal Loan
                    Varies by lender
                    $10,000
                    From (fixed)
                    Borrow up to $10,000 with personalized interest rates based on your credit score.
                    LoanStart.com Personal Loans
                    Varies by lender
                    $35,000
                    From 4.84% (fixed)
                    This no-obligation service matches you with lenders offering fast peer-to-peer, personal installment and bank personal loans.

                    Compare up to 4 providers

                    What is a personal loan?

                    A personal loan is money you borrow from a lender that is paid back over a set period of time — usually between one to seven years. When you take out a personal loan, you’ll be charged interest or a monthly fee. How much you’re charged on top of the loan amount may depend on your credit score, among other factors.

                    I want to…

                    How top online personal loan lenders stack up

                    Max Loan AmountAPR’s as low as…What makes them unique?
                    Prosper$35,0005.99%Prosper offers a transparent loan application process with no hidden fees.
                    Lending Club$40,0005.99%Lending Club provides loans for a wide variety of purposes, including auto refinancing and business.
                    NetCredit$10,00034% to 155% depending on your state of residence%NetCredit has a website full of personal finance resources to help you learn about building credit and better money management.
                    SoFi$100,0005.49%SoFi borrowers can receive support 7 days a week from dedicated customer service.
                    Upstart$50,0007.16%Upstart considers other factors, such as your level of education and job history, so you can present a holistic application.

                    What types of loans are available?

                    How a debt consolidation loan can help you manage payments

                    It can be hard enough to manage debt without having to keep track of multiple creditors. One way to streamline your bills is with a debt consolidation loan.

                    This financial tool is designed to gather multiple debts — all unsecured debt, like credit cards, payday loans and hospital bills — into one place, often under one fixed rate. With rates that start at around 7%, these personal loans could save you significant interest in the long run. If you’re currently paying 12% APR on $10,000 in credit card debt, that’s $500 toward more quickly paying down your debt.

                    You’ll also gain peace of mind knowing that you’ve gone from paying multiple bills to just one: your personal loan lender. Of course, you’ll need to find a loan with a lower interest rate than the debt you’re looking to consolidate. And you’ll want to avoid incurring additional debt — especially on cards you’re attempting to pay off — until you’re back in the clear.

                    How a business loan can help your business grow

                    It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes taking on debt can actually strengthen your financial future. This is especially true when you’re looking to start up a new business, expand a current one or even fill in funding gaps while waiting for payment. A business loan could provide just enough cash to fund your next step.

                    Business loan options vary by lender but could include:

                    • Traditional term business loans. National Business Capital, OnDeck and other online lenders offer more flexible loans to cover just about any business need.
                    • Asset-based secured loans. Lenders like Biz2Credit can provide loans against your inventory or equipment to offer you funding you may not have otherwise been eligible for.
                    • Peer-to-peer business loans. You can get funding from individual investors on online marketplaces like Bitbond and Able Lending to leverage the support of a network of people.

                    As with any loan, you’ll want to carefully compare the fees, terms and eligibility of the business loan you’re interested in.

                    I want a personal loan — where should I look?

                    • Direct lenders. These lenders offer straightforward application processes so you can conveniently borrow money online. If approved, your loan amount will be deposited into your bank account.
                    • Lender matching services. Brokers can pair you with a lender that suits your needs. After you fill out a preliminary application with the broker, you’ll be matched with a lender who offers the loan type you’re looking for in the amount you need. The lender must still make a decision on your application before you receive your funds.
                    • Banks and credit unions. If familiarity is important to you, these lenders may offer a loan that suits you. The application process may be quicker if you have an existing banking relationship with the institution.
                    • Peer-to-peer lenders. Relatively new to the financial market, peer-to-peer lenders operate as marketplaces that bring investors and borrowers together. They essentially facilitate the loan process between individuals rather than offering the loans themselves.

                    How to compare personal loans

                    Here are some common features to compare when considering lenders:

                    • Your eligibility. This should be the most important factor to consider. What’s the minimum criteria set by the lender – credit score, age, income, employment – and do you meet it?
                    • The rate. Various factors affect your APR: your credit score, the amount you want to borrow, the loan term, the type of loan and the financial institution.
                    • The costs. Look beyond the interest rate to the fees of the loan such as origination and prepayment fees.
                    • Loan purpose. Does the lender offer the loan for what you need? Most lenders offer specific loans for a variety of needs, such as home improvement or debt consolidation.

                    What can you use a personal loan for?

                    You can use a personal loan for a variety of purposes. A more fitting question is: What can’t you use a persona loan for? Check out our guides below to see how you can use a personal loan to reach your next goal, take care of financial obligations or fund your next big purchase.

                    What do you want to do?

                    How much do personal loans cost?

                    The cost of your loan is influenced by fees and interest rates:

                    • Interest rate. This is what the lender charges you to borrow money and is usually a percentage of the loan amount. Learn more about low interest rate loans.
                    • Fees. There are a few fees that can add to the cost of your loan. It’s common to see origination fees up to 5% of the loan amount. Watch out for prepayment penalties if you plan to pay your loan off early. Lenders may also charge for late or missed payments and unsuccessful or failed payments.
                    • Annual percentage rate (APR). This will give you an idea of the true cost of the loan expressed as an annual rate. It encompasses the interest charged on the balance of the loan, as well as any fees you might have to pay. Typical personal loan APR’s can range from 5% to 20% APR, but can be higher for those with bad credit.

                    6 tips to get a lower rate on your personal loan

                    • Compare your options. If you have a long banking history with a current bank or credit union, one option is to consider that financial institution for your personal loan. Online lenders offer a wide variety of loan types that may fit your needs better than what your bank offers.
                    • Find out your credit score. You’ll generally need a score in the “good” range – 680 and above – to secure a decent rate on a personal loan.
                    • Review your credit report. Your credit score and credit report are two different things. The latter is a detailed record of your credit history. You can order a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau once a year from annualcreditreport.com. Be sure to check for errors. Correcting incorrect listings, such as unpaid accounts that were actually paid, can help improve your credit score and help you get a better APR on a loan.
                    • Check rates, but don’t apply yet. Loan applications may appear as inquiries on your credit report. Be sure to review the eligibility criteria to see if you may qualify. When comparing your options, you can also ask if the lender can give you a pre-approval before submitting your actual loan application. Asking questions before you fill out an application can help narrow down your options.
                    • Pay down your credit cards. Having a lower debt-to-income ratio can improve the rates and repayment terms you’re ultimately offered.
                    • Only apply for the loan amount you need. The amount you apply for has a direct influence on the rate you’re offered, so only ask for as much as you need.

                    Am I eligible for a personal loan?

                    Personal loans can be a convenient and affordable way to reach your financial goals and make large purchases. Because lenders are taking on a risk when they lend large amounts of money to borrowers, they require applicants to meet certain eligibility criteria in order to be approved. Here are some common criteria lenders tend to look for:

                    • Good to excellent credit. Most lenders rely on credit scores when choosing borrowers to approve and even calculating specific loan terms. If you have poor or no credit, check out our guide on bad credit loans to see your options.
                    • Employment. Most lenders will require you to be steadily employed. Some lenders have minimum income requirements as well.
                    • US citizen or permanent resident. If you’re a US citizen or permanent resident, you’re able to apply for personal loans. Temporary residents are only eligible to apply with certain lenders and may need to build up a credit history. They may also need a US citizen to cosign the loan. You may be able to get a personal loan as a non-US resident if you have full-time employment and a US Social Security number.
                    • 18 or older. Since the age of majority varies by state, the minimum age for lenders varies as well and is usually between 18 and 21.

                    Your personal loan application checklist

                    The application process differs between lenders, but you’ll generally need the following to complete a personal loan application:

                    • Proof of your identity, like a government-issued ID, US passport or military ID
                    • Your Social Security number and date of birth
                    • Pay stubs, tax returns and other income details
                    • Banking details for disbursing your funds and elective automatic repayments

                    How to apply for a personal loan step by step

                    Step 1: Determine how much you need to borrow

                    The first thing you’ll need to do once you decide to apply for a loan is determine exactly how much money you’ll need. Borrowing too little or too much could leave you either unable to cover your costs or with extra money you’ll be repaying with interest.

                    Step 2: Choose a loan type

                    There are quite a few loan types available. Are you looking for a secured or unsecured loan? Do you want a fixed or variable interest rate? These are just a couple of questions to consider when choosing your loan type.

                    Step 3: Shop around

                    The first lender you come across may not have the best deal. Shop around and make sure to compare things like APR, fees, turnaround time, and term of the loan. You can check out our comparison table to compare these features. Be sure to read the requirements as well to make sure you qualify.

                    Step 4: Apply

                    Applying for a personal loan is typically a quick and straightforward process that goes something like this:

                    • Personal details. Gather the necessary information such as proof of identity (passport, driver’s license, or ID), proof of address (utility bills or lease), and proof of income (W-2s, pay stubs or bank statements).
                    • Loan application. This is where you request a certain loan amount, specify what you want the loan for and choose your terms. Many banks and lenders have applications online, so you avoid the hassle of having to go to a branch and fill out paperwork.
                    • Loan agreement. If you’re approved, sign the loan documentation and agree to all the terms. With most lenders you’ll have a certain amount of time to rescind the agreement, should you change your mind.

                    View our page on how to apply for a personal loan to see pictures of the process.

                    Step 5: Receive your funds

                    Many lenders require that you have a checking account to receive your money via direct deposit, but that’s not always the only option. Some lenders may be able to send you a check in the mail.

                    Step 6: Spend your money

                    If you take out a loan for something specific, such as a new car purchase or debt consolidation, the lender may send the funds directly to the company you owe. If you take out a personal loan with no restrictions on what you can purchase, you are free to spend the funds on whatever you’d like.

                    Step 7: Make your payments on time.

                    It’s important to make your payments on time so you don’t end up paying extra in fees. Be sure to verify how you will be required to make payments. Can you pay by phone with a credit card or account number? Is there an automatic payment option?

                    Back to top

                    Frequently asked questions about personal loans

                    You can typically borrow between $1,000 and $50,000. Some lenders offer loans up to $100,000.
                    Yes, although your options will be limited. You can consider a bad credit lender, a credit builder loan, a payday loan or any other alternative lender that looks beyond your credit score.
                    What’s considered the best personal loan depends on your borrowing needs and what you can qualify for. You may want to compare things like interest rates, loan amount and how legit the lender is. Read our “best personal loans page” to learn how to find the best personal loan for you.
                    Some lenders can approve your application by the next business day if you apply by a certain cut-off time. If additional verification is required or if you need to take documents to a branch location, this may delay the process a few days. You can usually find out the turnaround time from the lender before you apply.
                    The interest rate is what the lender charges for lending you the money. The APR is more representative of the true cost of the loan as it includes all fees that come with the loan as well as the interest rate.
                    Depending on the loan you hold you may be charged prepayment penalties.
                    There’s no technical definition for this but prime borrowers are typically thought to have credit scores above 720, have no delinquencies on their credit report and have a minimum six-year credit history.
                    As with any personal finance decision, the ability to repay what you borrow is crucial. However, if you’re receiving government benefits, you may still qualify for a loan on welfare
                    Interest rates vary by lender, but can be as low as under 3% and as much as 36%. Generally, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate on a personal loan.
                    Personal loans themselves aren’t bad for your credit. As long as you make regular payments and pay within the terms of the loan, a personal loan can actually improve your credit score to prove you can handle your debt responsibly.
                    Most lenders offer loans from one to seven years.
                    When you borrow money, you might end up with more than you actually need. Or a last minute, emergency expense might arise. Are you allowed to do whatever you want with the money as long as you repay it on time? This all depends on the type of loan you apply for. Some loans, such as home and student loans, come with restrictions and are virtually impossible to spend on something other than what they’re meant for. Auto lenders are typically more lenient but considering there will be a lien on your vehicle until the loan is repaid, it makes it more difficult to repurpose the funds. Some people will even take out loans without any plans of using the money the way they were intended to. In a process known as a “spread”, borrowers will invest money with the hopes of earning more than they have to pay in interest.
                    While there’s technically no law against it, if you default, your lender could still choose to take legal action should they find out that you’ve used the money for something other than what you agreed to. This would be on the grounds that you falsified information on your application.

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                    2 Responses to Compare and apply for a personal loan

                    1. Default Gravatar
                      Deanna | February 14, 2017

                      Is there any possible way of getting a personal loan if you are expecting payment from back pay from SSI and can prove the amount going to you from SSI

                      • Staff
                        Adrienne | February 15, 2017

                        Hi Deanna,

                        It may be dependent on each individual lender and their requirements. Your best bet is to compare your options and find a lender you’d like to apply with, and then give them a call to make sure this is possible.

                        Best,

                        Adrienne

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