Compare and Apply for a Personal Loan

Find out how a personal loan can help you reach your next financial goal.

Cars, holidays, debt consolidation – whatever the need, a personal loan could help you get to where you want to be. There are myriad personal loan options available. While this gives you the power of choice, it also means you need to understand all of your options to make sure you get one that works best for you. Our guide below will help walk you through what you need to know before you apply for a personal loan, provide you with tips on getting a loan at a lower rate and teach you how to find the right financing for you.
NetCredit Personal Loan

NetCredit Personal Loans

NetCredit offer you the chance to borrow money as alternative to bank personal loans. As you borrow more your credit score increases and your interest rate becomes lower.

  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Loan Term: Varies upon State
  • Turnaround Time: 1 business day
  • Total Costs: Depends on your credit score.
  • Build your credit score - Must be 21+
  • No security needed
  • Confidential and secure!

    Personal loans you can apply for

    Rates last updated March 24th, 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.
    Interest Rate (p.a.) Maximum Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround Time
    NetCredit Personal Loan
    You could borrow up to $10,000 and get an interest rate personalized to your credit score
    From 34% (variable) $10,000 Varies upon State 1 business day Go to site More
    Lending Club Personal Loan
    Borrow up to $40,000 with rates from 5.99% to 35.89% APR based on your credit score.
    From 5.99% (fixed) $40,000 Flexible Terms Varies Go to site More
    SWIFT Personal Loans
    Access multiple lenders with a 5-minute application for a cash advance on your paycheck.
    From 0% (variable) $10,000 1-2 days Go to site More
    OppLoans Personal Loans
    Get a better personal loan of up to $5,000 with 9- to 24-month repayment terms, depending on your state.
    From 59% (variable) $5,000 9 to 24 months 1 business day Go to site More
    Prosper Personal Loan
    Loans made simple.
    From 5.99% (variable) $35,000 Flexible Terms 1-3 business days Go to site More
    LightStream Personal Loans
    You could borrow up to $100,000 with rates starting from 2.19% fixed, with AutoPay**.
    From 2.19% (fixed) $100,000 Flexible Terms Varies Go to site More
    Avant - Personal Loan
    Borrow up to $35,000 with APRs ranging from 9.95% – 36.00%
    From 9.95% (variable) $35,000 Up to 5 years 1-2 business days Go to site More

    Have we missed anything in the comparison table? Tell us

    • If the provider quotes a different rate to the one above please let us know

    Personal loan lender matching services

    These matching services connect consumers with personal loan lenders. It is important to note that these services do not make credit decisions and they are not lenders, loan brokers or agents for any lender or loan broker. They can help link you up with a lender that might be able to help you access a loan.

    The finder.com personal loan comparison

    Compare the features of the personal loans below.

    Personal LoanMax Loan AmountTurnaround Time
    $10,0001 business day
    $25,000Varies
    $5,0001 business day
    $100,000Varies
    $35,0001-2 business days
    $50,0001-2 business days
    Back to top

    What is a personal loan?

    A personal loan is a secured or unsecured form of credit offered to you for a fixed or ongoing term. You apply for the loan from a financial institution and if approved, you will be sent the funds by your nominated payment method. Repayments are made monthly and continue for the loan term, which is stated in months (e.g. 12, 20, 36 months). The flexibility for your repayments varies between lenders. For example, you may be able to prepay early without penalty with some lenders and not with others.

    What can I finance with a personal loan?
    You can finance a range of personal purchases or investments with a personal loan. This includes:

    • Major purchases such as furniture
    • Business purchases
    • Car purchases or repairs
    • Vacations
    • Debt consolidation
    • Home improvements
    • Wedding expenses
    • Medical expenses
    • Moving or relocation expenses
    • College tuition or education expenses
    Back to top

    Types of personal loans available

    • Secured personal loanYou can borrow larger amounts for lower rates if you have an asset to secure your personal loan. Some personal assets accepted as security by lenders include savings, a retirement account such as your 401k, a vehicle or equity in your home.
    • Unsecured loans/signature loansLoans that don’t require security are often referred to as signature loans because only your signature is required. While you may get a higher annual percentage rate (APR) than you would with a secured loan, you won’t risk an asset if you default on the loan.
    • Auto title loansYou can use the title of a car to secure a loan. You’ll still have full use of your car while you’re paying off your loan, the lender simply holds the title as collateral.
    • Debt consolidation loans. If you are repaying credit cards, auto loans, installment loans or any other loans, you can consolidate them to make a single monthly repayment and save on interest and fees.
    • Credit card debt consolidation personal loan. If you have multiple credit cards or even a single card with a high APR, you might benefit from a credit card consolidation personal loan. Keep in mind you’ll generally need good credit to be approved.
    • Peer-to-peer loansThis is a new form of online lending that connects borrowers and investors. If you’re looking to borrow, post a request on a third-party peer-to-peer website and investors can choose to fund your loan. You will need good credit to be approved.
    • Payday loansThis is an option if you have bad credit. The terms are short, usually between 7 and 30 days, and for small amounts between $100 and $1,000.
    • Military payday loans. After the Military Authorization Act was introduced in 2007, creditors are now unable to approve payday loans or auto title loans to military members. Some consumer loans have an APR that’s capped at 36%. Military payday loans were introduced to service members of the military who couldn’t apply for loans due to the regulations.
    • Home equity personal loan. Available as a fixed term or a line of credit loan, this loan lets you use the equity in your home as security. You can generally enjoy lower interest and a higher loan amount as the loan is secured, although it’s a greater risk to you should you ever default.
    Back to top

    “I want a personal loan – where should I be looking to get one?”

    • Banks and credit unions. These conventional lenders will require you to have reasonably good credit to approve you. Your current bank can be a good “first stop” for a loan as you have a history with it. You may also want to consider other banks and credit unions that may be able to offer competitive rates and products.
    • Peer-to-peer lendersRelatively new to the financial market, these lenders operate as third-parties that bring investors and borrowers together. They essentially facilitate the loan process rather than offering the loans themselves.
    • Payday lendersIf you’re looking for a small loan less than $1,000 and want to repay on your next payday, you can consider applying for a loan with a payday lender. These are typically sought by borrowers with bad credit or no credit, or who are on lower incomes.
    • Alternative lenders. These lenders can specialize in specific types of loans, such as credit building loans, small business loans or auto title loans, or service a particular type of borrower, such as those with bad credit, no credit or military personnel. Pawn shops are also an alternative lender that can be considered.

    couple relaxing at home

    Back to top

    How you can compare personal loan lenders

    The US market plays host to a huge amount of lenders. When you’re looking for the right one, keep the following in mind:

    • Your eligibility. This should be the most important factor to consider. What is the minimum criteria set by the lender – age, income, employment – and do you meet it?
    • The rate you will get. Various factors affect the APR a lender will offer you: your credit score, the amount you want to borrow, the loan term, the type of loan and the financial institution. All these factors will impact the rate you’re offered. Remember, every time you apply for a loan it will affect your credit score and may result in you getting a lower rate when from subsequent loan applications.
    • The costs. Look beyond the interest rate to the fees of the loan. Origination fees and prepayment fees are common.
    • The range of loans. Does the lender offer the loan you want? If you want to buy a car take a look at its auto loan options, or if you want to consolidate your credit cards does it have the loan you need?

    Shop through a broker

    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 March 24th, 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.
    Interest Rate (p.a.) Maximum Loan Amount Term of Loan Turnaround Time
    PersonalLoans.com
    An online loan matching service that connects you with lenders.
    From (variable) $35,000 Up to 5 years 1-2 days Go to site More
    Zippyloan Personal Loans
    This broker can match you to lenders offering $100 to $15,000, often with flexible repayment options.
    From (variable) $15,000 Varies by lender Varies by lender Go to site More
    LendingTree Personal Loan
    What everybody ought to know about LendingTree and the personal loans it provides.
    From 5.99% (variable) $35,000 Varies based on lender If you apply during working hours on a business day you can get access to approved funds within 24 hours. Go to site More
    Accredited Debt Relief
    Offering free consultations, Accredited Debt Relief can help you lower your monthly payments and interest rates or get out from under serious debt. Call 1-877-569-5675.
    From 0% (variable) Varies based on lender On average a settlement lasts 2 to 4 years. Varies by lender Go to site More

    Have we missed anything in the comparison table? Tell us

    • If the provider quotes a different rate to the one above please let us know
    Back to top

    How much do personal loans cost?

    The main factors that influence the cost of a loan are the interest rate and fees. These are outlined below:

    • Interest rate. This is the base cost of a personal loan. The interest rate is what the lender charges you to borrow money.
    • Fees. There are a few fees that can add to the cost of your loan. Origination fees less than 5% of the amount you borrow are common, but watch out for prepayment penalties. Lenders may also charge you for late or missed payments, unsuccessful or failed payments, fees for certain transfers (such as ACH transfers) or administrative charges.
    • 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. Interest rates on typical personal loans can range from 10% to 20% APR but are higher for bad credit and payday loans.

    Tips to get a lower rate

    A low APR translates to lower ongoing repayments. Here are some ways to help you get the lowest rate:

    • Compare your options. Banks and credit unions can offer the most attractive rates, so you might want to start your search there. If you have a long-term history with your current bank you can consider its personal loan offers.
    • Find out your credit score. If you aren’t sure what your credit score is, or if you haven’t checked it in a while, you can check it for free at creditkarma.com. You’ll generally need a score in the “fair” range – 660 and above – to secure a decent rate.
    • Review your credit file. Your credit score and credit file are two different things, with the latter being a detailed record of your credit history. You can order a free copy of your file once a year from annualcreditreport.com to check for errors. Correcting incorrect listings such as unpaid accounts can help improve your credit score and help you get a better APR.
    • Check rates but don’t apply yet. Any loan application you submit will affect your credit score and your future APRs. When comparing your options, ask if the lender can give you a range of possible rates, or see what credit score you need to get the best rate. Most lenders will require you to submit an application to get a personalized rate (some peer-to-peer lenders do not require this), but asking questions before your application can help narrow down your options.
    • Pay down your credit cards. You don’t need to pay off your credit cards, but paying down the debt can help you secure a lower APR.
    • Only apply for the loan amount you need. The amount you apply for has a direct influence on the rate you are offered, so only ask for as much as you need.
    Back to top

    Who can apply for a personal loan?

    You’re able to apply for a personal loan in a number of different financial circumstances for a variety of different purposes:

    • Those with good, bad and no credit. Your credit score will factor into a lender’s decision to approve you, what rate you’re offered and what loans you’re eligible for. You will have loan options in each of these scenarios.
    • Employed, part-time employed, self-employed, unemployed and on benefits. Your employment situation will also affect how much you can borrow and at what rate. Check the minimum criteria for the loan you’re interested in to see if you can apply.
    • US residents and US citizens. If you’re a citizen or permanent resident you will be able to apply for personal loans, while temporary residents will need to build up a credit history and will only be eligible for some loans such as education loans. They may also need a US citizen to cosign the loan.
    • Non US Citizens/Non-resident aliens (under certain conditions). If you are a non-US resident and you have full time employment and a US social security number it’s possible to get a personal loan if you have a ‘footprint’ with a particular bank. Policies vary between each bank.
    • Those of the right age. This differs between states and lenders, with the minimum age ranging from 18 to 21.
    Back to top

    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, such as a state ID card, US passport or military ID
    • Social security number
    • Details of your finances, such as your pay stubs to prove your income
    • Your previous years’ tax returns, financial statements or your account numbers if you’re with that same bank
    Back to top

    Step by step guide to applying for a personal loan

    Step 1: How much do you need? The very first thing you’ll need to do once you decide to apply for a loan, is to determine exactly how much money you will need. Borrowing too little or too much could leave you either unable to cover your debts, or with extra money you will be repaying with interest.

    Step 2: Decide what kind of loan is right for you. There are quite a few options available. Are you looking for a secured or unsecured loan? Will there be any incentives? How about flexible payment options? These are all things to consider when choosing your loan.

    Step 3: Shop around. Don’t apply for a loan from the first lender you come across. Shop around and make sure to compare things like APR, fees, turnaround time, and length of the loan. You can check out our comparison tables or search online, just make sure to be fully informed before applying for any loan or line of credit.

    Step 4: Apply. Applying for a personal loan is usually a quick and straightforward process that goes something like this:

    • Gather the necessary information such as proof of identity (passport, driver’s licence, or ID), proof of address (utility bills or lease), and proof of income (W-2s, paystubs, or bank statements).
    • Fill out the application. A lot of banks and lenders have all of these documents on their websites, but sometimes it can be helpful to fill out the application in person. That way, if you have any questions you will be able to ask the loan specialist. Many lenders or brokers offer online applications as well.
    • Sign the loan agreement. If you are approved, you will then need to sign the loan documentation to agree to all the terms. With most lenders and types of loans, you will have a certain amount of time after signing the loan agreement to change your mind, should you decide you no longer need the money.

    Step 5: Get your money. Many lenders and banks require that you have a checking account to receive your money via direct deposit, but that’s not always the only option. Some lenders will be able to send you a check, or load your money onto a prepaid debit card.

    Step 6: Spend your money. If you took out a loan for something specific, such as an auto loan or a debt consolidation loan, you should spend it on that. But if you take out a personal loan with no restrictions on what you can purchase, you are free to spend that on whatever you’d like.

    Step 7: Make your payments on time. It’s very 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, or do you need to mail in a check? Is there an automatic payment option?

    Want to see what the process looks like?

    What happens if I spend my money on something other that what the loan was provided for?

    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 apply to 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, that 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.

    Can I get in legal trouble for repurposing my loan?

    While there is 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.

    Back to top

    Frequently asked questions about personal loans

    How much can I borrow with a personal loan?

    You can apply for between $1,000 and $50,000 with typical personal loans, although some lenders offer loans up to $100,000 (these are typically secured). Payday loans are for smaller loan amounts of between $100 and $1,000.

    I have bad credit – can I still get a personal loan?

    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.

    How quickly can I be approved for a personal loan?

    Most personal loans from banks, credit unions and alternative lenders can offer a fast turnaround time, giving you access to your funds on the same or next business day. 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 before you apply to ensure you get your funds when you need them.

    What is the difference between the interest rate and the APR?

    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.

    Can I prepay my personal loan early?

    Depending on the loan you hold you may be charged prepayment penalties.

    What is a prime borrower?

    There is 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.

    Can I get a loan if I'm on welfare?

    As with any personal finance decision, the ability to repay what you borrow is crucial. However, if you’re receiving government benefits you can still qualify for a loan. Click here to learn how.

    Back to top

    Important information

    ** LightStream – Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.
    Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

    US Personal Loans Offers

    Learn about our information service
    Lending Club Personal Loan

    Borrow up to $40,000 with rates from 5.99% to 35.89% APR based on your credit score.

    SWIFT Personal Loans

    Access multiple lenders with a 5-minute application for a cash advance on your paycheck.

    PersonalLoans.com

    An online loan matching service that connects you with lenders.

    NetCredit Personal Loan

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

    Back to top

    Read more on this topic

    Ask a Question

    You are about to post a question on finder.com

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Disclaimer: At finder.com we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
    Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
    By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com privacy policy.

    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

    feedback