7 best personal loans in 2018 | Low APRs and fees | finder.com

Compare the best personal loans in 2018

With so many personal loan options out there, we sift through the details to make your decision easier.

Personal loans are an important tool for many people when they’re looking to improve their home, buy a new car or consolidate other types of debt. When searching for the best personal loan, the most important factor is you. Your situation will determine what you need in a lender, and our guide will help you navigate the complexities to compare the best personal loan options to match your needs.

LendingClub Personal Loan

LendingClub Personal Loan

As an alternative to bank personal loans, LendingClub offers loans up to $40,000 to use for whatever you need. Rates from 5.99 to 35.89* APR based on your credit score.

  • Minimum Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Maximum Loan Amount: $40,000
  • Loan Term: 3 to 5 years
  • Turnaround Time: Up to 7 days
  • Total Costs: Depends on your credit score.

    Three of the best personal loans you can apply for in February 2018

    LenderAPRBest for…
    As low as 5.99%People who want a one-stop shop lender for multiple borrowing needs, including auto refinancing and business.
    As low as 5.99%Those looking for a no-frills peer-to-peer lender with a track record of transparent and fair practices.

     

    As low as 5.49%Borrowers with excellent credit who want additional perks like educational events and member dinners.

     

    How to find the best personal loan for you in 3 steps

    Step 1: Know your priorities

    Figure out what type of loan you need and what features to prioritize. For example, you might need the loan to consolidate debt or purchase a new car and you want to be able to make additional repayments without penalties.

    Step 2: Calculate how much you can spend

    It’s important to find a loan you can afford. When you’re deciding how much you can spend, consider your monthly expenses. Your rent or mortgage, insurance payments, food budget and other financial obligations all drain your bank account. Determine how much excess income you have and if you can use that to pay down what you borrow. You should also check whether the loan charges a fixed or variable interest rate, look for upfront and ongoing fees and see how flexible the repayments are. These factors all play a role in how much you can spend.

    Step 3: Research your options

    Compare the types of loan you want to apply for. Personal loans can be secured or unsecured and can have fixed or variable rates. Compare different loan types according to their features and find one that offers everything you need. Don’t check the eligibility criteria to make sure you’re qualified to apply, otherwise you may ding your credit score and receive a rejection despite your efforts.

    Our guide on loan purposes tells you what you can use a personal loan for

    More options to compare

    Rates last updated February 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
    Even Financial Personal Loans
    Get connected to competitive loan offers instantly from top online consumer lenders.
    580
    $100,000
    From 4.99% (fixed)
    LendingClub Personal Loan
    A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
    660
    $40,000
    From 5.99% (fixed)
    CompareFirst Personal Loans
    An easy-to-use loan connection service geared toward introducing first-time borrowers to affordable personal loans.
    580
    $100,000
    From 2.99% (fixed)
    Upgrade Personal Loans*
    620
    $50,000
    From 5.66% (fixed)
    Laurel Road Personal Loans
    Get a personal loan with no application or origination fees and a rate discount for autopay.
    680
    $45,000
    From 5.5% (fixed)
    FreedomPlus Personal Loans
    Consolidate debt and more with these low-interest loans. Cosigners welcome.
    640
    $35,000
    From 4.99% (fixed)
    Best Egg Personal Loans
    640
    $35,000
    From 5.99% (fixed)
    Prosper
    Borrow only what you need for debt consolidation, home improvements and more — with APRs based on overall creditworthiness.
    640
    $35,000
    From 5.99% (fixed)
    LendingPoint Personal Loans
    Get a personal loan with reasonable rates even if you have a fair credit score in the 600s.
    600
    $25,000
    From 15.49% (fixed)
    NetCredit Personal Loan
    Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
    550
    $10,000
    From 34% (fixed)

    Compare up to 4 providers

    How to decide between two or three loan options

    Once you’ve figured out what type of loan you’re looking for and have found a few providers that suit your needs, it’s time to make a decision and fill out an application. Here are some things to keep in mind when picking a loan:

    • Annual percentage rate.
      The APR is the interest accrued across an entire year rather than the monthly charge. Different interest rates and loan amounts will impact the APR of your loan, so compare providers based on this number.
    • Fees.
      Some lenders charge a monthly service fee, application fee or other large fees when you borrow. Find out what each lender plans on charging then narrow down your selection.
    • Customer reviews.
      How do people rate the lender on websites like TrustPilot or the Better Business Bureau? Reading up on others’ experience will tell you how a business handles customer complaints and problems.
    • Additional perks.
      Does the lender offer any additional perks that might stand out to you? Access to exclusive events or an easy-to-use mobile app can be the difference between lenders with other competitive features.

    Best personal loans by credit score

    Credit scoreBest lenderWhy you might like it
    Very good and excellent (740+)SoFiNo fees, easy online application, funding in a few days.
    Read review
    Good (670-739)ProsperLoans for any personal or small business expense with no prepayment fees.
    Read review
    Fair (580–669)LendingPointFunding tailored to your financial situation, no-credit check quotes.
    Read review
    Poor (579 or lower)NetCreditPayment reports sent to Experian and TransUnion can improve your credit.
    Read review

    Man comparing loans on laptop

    The good and bad of the application process

    • Competitive interest rates.
      Even if you don’t have perfect credit, the best personal loans will offer competitive interest rates. As an added benefit, these are usually lower than what a credit card will offer you.
    • Simple application.
      Almost every lender has an online application you can take advantage of, making it easy to enter your personal information and submit a request for approval.
    • Good customer service.
      The best personal loan lenders will have knowledgeable and responsive customer service teams to answer your questions.
    • You may not be approved.
      The best personal loans available will have strict eligibility criteria. If you don’t have good credit (680+), your chances of approval may be slim.
    • The loan purpose might be restrictive.
      Depending on the type of personal loan you choose, you may be restricted as to how you can use it. If the lender you’re looking at doesn’t cover your needs, look elsewhere.
    • You might need additional documentation. Depending on your personal finances, your lender might ask to see documents you didn’t expect to need while you’re applying. If you don’t have them on hand, this could draw out the application process.

    Grace wants to improve her home before selling it

    Woman holding young son in front of house.Let’s imagine a scenario. Grace was moving out of state and needed to sell her house. To get a better deal on the sale, she decided to borrow $7,000 to pay for renovations. She figured she could comfortably afford monthly payments of $500 and compared loans for home improvement.

    She got preapproved for a three-year loan from LendingClub with an APR of 9.26% and an APR of around $223.45 per month. Laurel Road offered her an APR of 6.78% for a two-year loan with monthly payments of $312.71 per month.

    Grace chose to go with Laurel Road. Despite having higher monthly payments, it was still in her budget and she would pay less in interest because of the lower rate and shorter term. After Grace sold her house, she used the money she’s made off the improvements to pay off her loan even earlier, saving more.

    What to keep in mind when comparing the best personal loans

    While personal loans are helpful in many scenarios, it’s in your best interest to avoid certain traps and pitfalls.

    • Read the fine print.
      Scrutinize all your options carefully right from the start and remember to look for ongoing fees, early repayment fees and late payment fees. Read the terms and conditions document from start to finish.
    • Check that the lender is licensed.
      There are a number of credit brokers and providers who operate illegally. If you wish to safeguard your information, it’s best to do your research to avoid these disreputable lenders.
    • Don’t take on a loan you can’t afford.
      Just because you qualify for a large loan, doesn’t mean you have to take out the maximum amount. If you only need $10,000 for what you want to accomplish, there’s no need to get a $15,000 loan, for example.

    Smart tips to pay off your new loan

    Personal loan payments can hang like a weight over your head. Choosing to tackle repayments head-on can save you time, money and stress.

    • Put away your payments.
      If your bank doesn’t charge you for opening an extra savings account, utilize it! Stick your payments here so you don’t have to worry about not having enough in your regular checking account.
    • Make an extra payment or two.
      The minimum monthly payment set by your lender will apply a good deal of your money to your interest, not your principal. Making an extra payment can help reduce your total debt and get your loan paid off sooner.
    • Round up you interest.
      Rounding to the nearest whole number–for instance, $335.98 to $350–will only cost you a bit more each month, but you can quickly make a difference on the total amount of debt you have.
    • Check out refinancing.
      A series of on-time payments will improve your credit, and with an improved credit comes the opportunity to refinance and get a better interest rate. This means you’ll pay less in interest and reduce the total cost of your loan.

    However, some lenders will charge a prepayment penalty. Before you start applying any of these tips, make sure your lender allows you to make extra payments and that you have enough extra income to cover what you’re spending.

    Bottom line

    At the end of the day, the best personal loan depends on your needs and your finances. Before you decide which lender to go with, learn more about personal loans and discover how smart borrowing can affect you.

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    US Personal Loans Offers

    Important Information*
    Even Financial Personal Loans

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

    Prosper

    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)

    Borrow up to $100,000 with a competitive APR and no fees.

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