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Personal Loan Finder

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A personal loan can be used for a variety of expenses or to consolidate debt. But before you apply, learn more about every phase of the process — from choosing the best lender to applying quickly to getting an edge on low rates.

Our top pick: Credible Personal Loans

  • Min. Credit Score Required: Good to excellent credit
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $100,000
  • APR: 5.34% to 35.99%
  • Requirements: Have good to excellent credit, ages 18+ and be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Free loan connection service
  • Personalized rates in minutes
  • Secure online application

Our top pick: Credible Personal Loans

Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.

  • Min. Credit Score Required: Good to excellent credit
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: $100,000
  • APR: 5.34% to 35.99%
  • Requirements: Have good to excellent credit, ages 18+ and be a US citizen or permanent resident.
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Compare personal loans

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

Updated September 23rd, 2019
Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount
6.95% to 35.89%
640
$40,000
A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
5.34% to 35.99%
Good to excellent credit
$100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.
3.99% to 35.99%
500
$100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
Varies by lender
Available for all credit scores
$100,000
Get a connected with a lender — or get debt advice.
5.99% to 17.66%
680
$100,000
No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.
3.84% to 35.99%
550
$100,000
Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
34% to 155% (Varies by state)
550
$10,000
Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
7.99% to 35.89%
620
$50,000
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.

Compare up to 4 providers

What phase are you in?

How top online personal loan providers stack up

Max loan amount APR ranges Best for…
LendingClub $40,000 6.95% to 35.89% Finding multiple types of financing. Read review
SoFi $100,000 5.99% to 17.66% Refinancing, especially student loans. Read review
Prosper $40,000 6.95% to 35.99% Finding a low-cost loan. Read review
Upstart $50,000 7.98 to 35.99% Getting a loan with limited or poor credit. Read review

What is a personal loan?

A personal loan is money you borrow from a bank, online lender or credit union. You pay back the amount you borrow with interest in monthly installments. Your lender determines your loan amount, interest rate, loan term and fees based on factors like your credit score, financial history, income and debts. Borrowers with excellent credit tend to get lower rates and better terms, while those with average or bad credit may have to pay a higher interest rate — sometimes as high as 36%.

What types of personal loans are there?

What can I use a personal loan for?

You can use a personal loan to cover a variety of purposes or even consolidate debt. In general, a personal loan can be used in place of your savings. So whatever you can pay for with cash — like a car, vacation or wedding — you can pay for with a personal loan. However, there are a few exceptions: Some lenders won’t let you use your loan funds to pay for college expenses or fund your business.

Just some of the top providers we compare

Prosper provider logo Lendingclub provider logo usfpl-sofi-logo-personal-loans
Lending Point provider logo Payoff provider logo upgrade personal loans
Upstart provider logo Money Lion provider logo personal loans
OneMain Financial provider logo Best Egg provider logo Wells Fargo provider logo
Avant provider logo Even financial logo FreedomPlus Personal Loans

Personal loan rates by credit score

Personal loan APRs can range from 5% to 36% and vary widely by lender. And while having excellent credit can lower your rate, it can be quite difficult to qualify for the lowest possible number advertised.

Here’s what rate you might expect based on your credit score:

Credit type Score range You might get an APR around…
Excellent 800 or higher 10%
Very good 740 to 799 12%
Good 670 to 739 15%
Fair 580 to 669 28%
Poor 579 and under Not likely to get approved

So who gets the lowest rate? People with long and impeccable credit histories, high salaries and almost no debt. Some lenders also don’t allow borrowers to qualify for the lowest rates unless they apply to borrow over a certain limit.

Rates can also vary based on factors like income, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) and even your state. And even the best unsecured personal loan might have a higher rate than a loan backed by collateral.

Don’t have good credit? You might want to consider applying with a creditworthy cosigner to get more favorable rates and terms.

How can personal loans affect my credit score?

If you make all of your payments on time and according to schedule, taking out a personal loan can help you build your credit. In fact, some lenders offer small-dollar, short-term loans with low interest rates that are designed to help borrowers build credit.

However, borrowing a personal loan can damage your credit if you fall behind on your repayments. Your ability to make your payments on time is the most heavily weighted factor credit bureaus consider when calculating your score.

5 tips for getting the best rate on a loan

Watch the 2-minute video above or read the tips below.

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Ask yourself the following questions to determine if borrowing a personal loan is a good choice for you:

  1. How much do I need? Personal loans are generally better for larger one-time expenses since they come in a lump sum and most lenders have a minimum loan amount of $2,000.
  2. Do I have the time? Personal loans also require some planning since the application and funding process could take some time<> — typically at least a couple business days.
  3. Can I meet the employment requirements? Personal loans can be difficult to qualify for if you’re self-employed or unemployed — you’ll need to prove you’re able to pay it off to be approved.
  4. Do I have the credit score? You could have a hard time getting approved if you have a history of making late payments or have never taken on debt before.

Can’t I just use my credit card?

You could, but personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards. In fact, people often take out personal loans to help them pay off their credit card debt at a more competitive rate.

But if you need cash right away or only want to make a small purchase, a using credit card can be a better choice. Personal loans can sometimes take weeks to fully process and deposit into your bank account. You can also use credit cards for a wider variety of expenses than a personal loan, including education costs.
Find out when a personal loan or a credit card makes more sense

I want a personal loan — where should I look?

You have a variety of lenders to pick from. However, you’ll typically more loan options if you have stronger credit. You can apply for a personal loan in person, online or over the phone with one of the following types of lenders.

Direct online lenders

Online lenders often have more flexible lending criteria and offer a straightforward application process. Some are even willing to work with potential borrowers who have a credit score as low as 530. If approved, your loan amount can be deposited into your bank account as soon as the next business day — although it may take up to a week.

Brokers and connection services

Brokers can pair you with a lender after you fill out a preliminary application. The lender must still make a decision on your application before you receive your funds.

Connection services are slightly more automated than brokers but work the same way. They can help you find more flexible terms or flexible payment options if you don’t have excellent credit. But you might not be able get approved the same day you apply.

Banks

Getting a personal loan from a bank might be the traditional choice, but it’s not always the best option. If your bank offers them, it might not be a bad idea to look into your borrowing options — they sometimes offer discounts to people that already have an existing account. However, banks typically have stricter approval criteria, a longer turnover time and are sometimes more expensive than other options.

Credit unions

If familiarity is important to you, you can consider borrowing a loan through a credit union or bank you already have a strong financial history with. Like banks, credit unions are more traditional lenders, though they don’t have fast approval and often have stricter eligibility requirements than other loan companies.

Peer-to-peer lenders

Relatively new to the financial market, peer-to-peer lenders operate as marketplaces that bring investors and borrowers together. They facilitate the loan process between individuals rather than offering loans themselves. The process of obtaining a peer-to-peer loan is a lot like getting a loan through a direct online lender. However, the turnaround time is often much longer.

More questions? Check out these guides

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How much do personal loans cost?

Three main factors contribute your loan’s cost:

  • Interest rate. This is what the lender charges you to borrow money and is usually a percentage of the loan amount.
  • Fees. It’s common to see origination fees up to 5% of the loan amount. Other common personal loan fees include 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.
  • Loan term. Your loan term is how long you have to pay off a loan. The longer your loan term, the more you pay in interest. But while you’ll pay less with a shorter term, your monthly payments could be much higher.

Your annual percentage rate (APR) is an expression of your interest rate and fees as a percentage. APR can give you an idea of how much it will cost each year you take to pay back your loan. It doesn’t include late fees, nonsufficient funds fees (NSF) or prepayment penalties.

What makes a personal loan competitive?

There are a few key features you’ll want to consider when comparing loans. To find the best deal, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I qualify for this loan? Don’t waste time researching a loan if you don’t meet the approval criteria.
  • Can I borrow the amount I need? Will you be able to take out the exact amount you need and can you afford to pay it back? Typically, good and excellent credit scores have higher borrowing limits.
  • Does it have a competitive interest rate? Look at the rate itself but also consider whether it’s fixed or variable — variable interest rates are subject to change.
  • What are the fees? Most lenders charge application, origination, prepayment, late or NSF fees.
  • How long will I have to pay it back? Aim for a loan term that gives you monthly repayments you can afford without being too long. Otherwise, you could wind up paying a lot in interest in the long run.
  • Can I use it to pay for what I need? You can use a personal loan for almost any purpose, but some lenders have spending restrictions. For example, many don’t allow you to use the funds to pay for education costs or investments.
  • Will I need collateral? Secured personal loans require you to put up something you own as collateral — a car, a home or even a bank account. Unsecured personal loans do not.
  • Is it safe to apply? If there’s an online application, check to make sure your internet connection is private and secure. Read the privacy policy to learn how it share your personal information and what you can opt out of.

What lenders look for in a personal loan applicant

Lenders take on risk when they lend large amounts of money to borrowers. That’s why they require applicants to meet certain eligibility criteria. Here are some common qualifications that the best loan companies look for:

  • Good to excellent credit. Most personal loan providers rely on credit scores. If you have poor or no credit, check out our guide to bad credit loans to see your options.
  • Low DTI. You can calculate your DTI by dividing your monthly debt payments by your monthly income. Lenders can rely on this number as much as your credit score and normally don’t accept anyone with a DTI above 43%. A good DTI is anything below 36%, though under 20% is ideal.
  • Employment. Most lenders require you to be steadily employed. Some lenders have minimum income requirements as well that can include wages, alimony, pensions or any other form of funds coming in on a regular basis.
  • 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 but 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 one 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.

Personal loan application checklist

The application process differs between lenders, but they’ll generally ask for the following:

  • 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
  • Utility bill in your name or other proof of residence

How to apply for a personal loan step by step

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Paying off a personal loan

So you’ve been approved and the money is in your bank account. You’re done, right? Not quite. Now you have to pay it back according to the payment plan in your contract.

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Personal loans glossary

Definitions

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Frequently asked questions about personal loans

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6 Responses

  1. 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 here.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  2. 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.
      You may read more on the types of collateral used for loans here.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Gru

  3. 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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