Personal Loans: Compare Trusted Online Lenders in 2021 | Finder

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Compare personal loans in October 2021

Use our personal loan marketplace to find a provider and check your rate online.

This article was reviewed by Brad Stevens, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and 30-year veteran of the credit industry who specializes in rehabilitating struggling banks.

Compare personal loan options

We reviewed over 130 personal loan providers to help you find the right for loan for debt consolidation or a large expense — with options for every credit score.

Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Loan Amount
BHG personal loans
Varies
700
$20,000 – $200,000
A highly-rated lender with quick turnaround and reliable customer service.
Credible personal loans
2.49% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$600 – $100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose an offer from a selection of top online lenders.
Best Egg personal loans
5.99% to 29.99%
600
$2,000 – $50,000
A prime online lending platform with multiple repayment methods.
PenFed Credit Union personal loans
5.99% to 17.99%
650
$600 – $50,000
With over 80 years of lending experience, this credit union offers personal loans for a variety of expenses.
SoFi personal loans
4.99% to 19.63%
680
$5,000 – $100,000
A highly-rated lender with competitive rates, high loan amounts and no fees.
Monevo personal loans
1.99% to 35.99%
None
$500 – $100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
Tally+ Express
7.9% to 29.99%
660
$2,000 – $30,000

Only available for Line of Credit and Debt consolidation

Upgrade personal loans
5.94% to 35.97%
600
$1,000 – $50,000
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
Upstart personal loans
5.55% to 35.99%
580 or 600 depending on state of residence
$1,000 – $50,000
This service looks beyond your credit score to get you a competitive-rate personal loan.
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Top personal loan guides

More of Finder’s top guides & reviews

What rates can I expect on a personal loan?

Personal loan annual percentage rates (APR) — the loan’s interest rate, plus fees — can range from 4% to 36%. The average interest rate for a 24-month personal loan was 9.58% in the second quarter of 2021, according to the Federal Reserve.

The rate you get depends on the following factors:

  • Credit score. With most lenders, you need an excellent credit score of 760 or higher to qualify for the lowest advertised interest rate.
  • Income. Lenders look at your annual and monthly income to check if you have enough regular cash flow to afford monthly repayments.
  • Debts. Lenders also look at your bills and other monthly expenses. The lowest interest rates go to borrowers with a debt-to-income ratio (DTI) below 20%.
  • Collateral. Securing your loan with an asset makes it less risky to the lender and gets you lower rates.
  • Term. Lenders tend to to offer higher interest rates the longer you take to repay the loan.
  • Amount. Often, the lowest available rates are only available on the highest loan amounts.
  • Use. How you plan to use a personal loan can affect your rate. For example, if you use a loan for debt consolidation, your lender might offer a lower rate than if you wanted funds to pay for a vacation.

Your monthly payment depends on the loan term and your rate. You can figure out the monthly cost of a loan by using our payment calculator.

What goes into a personal loan APR?

The APR tells you how much you’ll pay in interest and fees on your personal loan over one year. This makes it the easiest way to compare the cost of loans with the same term.

It often includes an origination fee, which lenders charge after you sign your loan contract. But it doesn’t include penalties like late fees, nonsufficient funds (NSF) fees or prepayment penalties.

1. Determine the amount

Crunch some numbers to figure out how much you need to borrow and how much you can afford to pay back each month. Also, compare different types of loans to find the one that suits your needs best.

What type of loan should I get?

2. Shop around

Look for lenders that offer the type of loan you need and eligibility requirements you can meet. Then compare factors like rates, fees and terms.

The best personal loans of 2021

3. Prequalify

After you narrow down your choices, fill out a quick preapplication with a few different lenders to learn which rates and terms you might get. This usually doesn’t affect your credit score.

How to get preapproved for a personal loan

4. Finish the application

After you decide on a lender, follow the steps to complete the full application and submit documents like pay stubs to verify your income.

Read our full guide on how to apply for a personal loan

Where can I get a personal loan?

You have a variety of personal loan providers to pick from. However, you’ll typically have more loan options if you have a stronger credit score. Depending on the type of provider you choose, you can apply for a personal loan in person, online or over the phone.

  • Direct online lenders. Online lenders have more flexible lending criteria and offer a straightforward application process. If approved, your personal loan can be deposited into your bank account as soon as the next business day — but it may take up to a week.
  • Banks. Personal loans from a bank are often the least expensive option out there — many also offer interest rate or origination fee discounts to current customers. But it can be harder to get approved at a bank, and new customers can expect to wait weeks to get approved.
  • Credit unions. Personal loans from a credit union are usually easier to qualify for than a bank, but often have higher interest rates and fees. You also must become a member to apply — which is often limited based on where you live or your profession.
  • Peer-to-peer platforms. Peer-to-peer platforms connect borrowers with investors who fund the loan. They usually offer loans that are be easier to qualify for than a bank or credit union, but tend to charge high origination fees — even compared to direct online lenders. And it can take weeks to get your funds.
  • Brokers and connection services. Brokers and connection services take your personal information to help you compare providers. Brokers often charge a fee for their service but offer assistance with the application. Connection services are automated and don’t make lending decisions themselves.

Where can I get a loan during the coronavirus outbreak?

U.S. Bank, Gesa Credit Union, KeyBank and many others are offering low-cost emergency loans to customers affected by COVID-19. These typically come with low or no interest rate and the option to defer payments for several months. You can often qualify with a low credit score or no credit history.

Read our guides to COVID-19 financial assistancepayday loan alternatives and loans to cover rent in a pinch to learn about all of the options available to you.

What are the requirements for a personal loan?

There’s a personal loan for almost any type of borrower. But you have to meet the following criteria to qualify with most lenders:

  • Good credit. The credit score cutoff is often around 670 — and usually higher if you want a low rate.
  • Steady income. You typically need to bring in at least $24,000 a year.
  • Employment. Some lenders will only work with borrowers who are employed full time.
  • Low debt-to-income ratio. Most lenders require your monthly expenses to be no more than 43% of your monthly income, though the lower the better.
  • US citizen or resident. If you don’t have a green card or citizenship, your options are limited to the few lenders that work with nonresidents.
  • Age of majority. In most states, you must be 18 to borrow. But the age of majority is 19 in Alabama and Nebraska, and 21 in Mississippi.

Frequently asked questions about personal loans

Read more about personal loans with these answers to common questions.

What is the best place to get a personal loan?

The best place to borrow depends on your priorities. If you need money fast, an online lender can get you funds as soon as the next business day. But if you’re looking for a low interest rate or origination fee, banks tend to offer the least expensive option.

Can I get a personal loan with a credit score of 550?

You can qualify for personal loan with a credit score of 550. But your options are limited if you have bad credit — or a credit score under 580. If you need money quickly, you might consider a bad-credit lender, which often offers funding as soon as the next business day.

But you could end up paying a higher interest rate and origination fee than you would with a bank or online lender that offers personal loans to those with good credit scores. If you have the time, you might be eligible for personal loans from a credit union or local bank. These which often have lower credit requirements than big national banks and offer relatively low interest rates.

Can I get a personal loan for $100,000?

While most lenders offer funding between $2,000 and $50,000, it’s possible to find a $100,000 personal loan. But not everybody can qualify. Generally, you’ll need to have a credit score of at least 760, a debt-to-income ratio under 20% and enough income to support monthly payments for the loan term you choose.

What is the easiest loan to get approved for?

Online lenders tend to have higher approval rates than other providers and often offer some of the easiest personal loans to get approved for. But going for a lender with a high approval rate often means you’ll land a higher interest rate and origination fee than you might pay with another provider. Consider prequalifying with a few lenders with minimum credit score, debt-to-income ratio and other requirements that you meet.

When should I use a credit card instead?

Credit cards can be a better choice if you can repay the amount you need to borrow within a month or two. While your credit card likely has a higher interest rate than a personal loan, you could end up paying no interest at all if you can pay it back over a short period of time. A personal loan is helpful when you want to pay off a large purchase or refinance credit card debt with a low monthly payment.

How long can I take out a personal loan for?

Most lenders offer personal loan terms that range from three to seven years. However, it’s possible to find a loan term as short as one year. Your loan term determines your monthly payment and total loan cost. To strike a balance between monthly payments and total loan cost, go for the shortest term you can afford.

How do personal loans affect my credit score?

Personal loans can improve your credit score by adding to your history of on-time payments and diversifying the types of credit in your name.

When you apply, it can temporarily hurt your credit, however, since lenders run a hard credit check which dings your score. And if you miss a payment or default, it can damage your credit.

Can I take out a personal loan to invest?

You can, but it might not end well. Investing itself is incredibly risky and taking out a personal loan increases that risk even more.

Some experienced investors take out personal loans after they’ve gotten the hang of weighing the risks, but it takes a while to get to their level. And even they don’t always win.

What is a prime borrower?

Prime borrowers typically have credit scores above 720, no delinquencies on their credit report and a minimum six-year credit history.

Can I get a loan with no origination fee?

Yes, many lenders offer loans with no origination fee — and several offer loans with no fees at all. Compare no-fee personal loans and find the best option for your needs.

How do I get an unsecured loan?

Unsecured loans, or otherwise known as signature loans, are loans that don’t require any collateral. They are based on your creditworthiness. Keeping your credit score at good or excellent and a clean credit history will get you a better rate. Usually you need to have proof of income, be a resident of the US and have a Social Security number to apply for an unsecured loan.

What happens if I use my loan for a different purpose than I applied for?

Often, nothing will happen — unless the lender finds out. But if you violate the contract of your loan, your loan goes into default.

Your lender could also take legal action if it finds out that you used the money for something other than what you agreed to. This would be on the grounds that you falsified information on your application.

Can I buy a house with a personal loan?

No. To purchase a home you’ll need a mortgage. Mortgages work differently than personal loans and are a bit complicated. To learn more about how home loans work, read our guide to mortgages.

Read more on this topic

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6 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    TheresaJune 11, 2019

    Are there fees you must pay before you get a loan? My partner is approved for a loan, but he must send $259.00 dollars before he can get the loan. Is this correct?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezJune 12, 2019Staff

      Hello Theresa,

      Thank you for your comment.

      If a lender asks you to provide an upfront fee for any reason, then you must put the brakes on your application. There is no legitimate lender that will ask you to provide money at any point before it processes your application. Some lenders charge an origination fee for their loans, but these fees are typically deducted from your total loan amount. You may read our article about personal loan scams.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

    Default Gravatar
    KortneyOctober 17, 2017

    Can I use my car title as collateral. For a short term loan

      Default Gravatar
      GruOctober 17, 2017

      Hello Kortney,

      Thank you for your interest in applying for a short-term loan.

      Yes, you may use your car title as collateral with lenders offering title loans. Doing this helps you qualify for a loan because by putting up collateral, you assume more risk for the loan o lenders may also offer you lower rates in exchange.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Gru

    Default Gravatar
    DeannaFebruary 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

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      AdrienneFebruary 15, 2017Staff

      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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