Compare the best personal loans in 2017

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

You could take out a personal loan for a range of different reasons. While one person might need a personal loan to buy a car, another might take one out for renovating a home or making a consolidating debt. There’s a large variety of personal loans available, so, how do you find the best one for you?

The best personal loan for you will depend on your own needs and circumstances. You should think about why you need the loan and over what term. Remember that the best loan for you is one that you can afford, is flexible enough to adapt to any change in your circumstances and one that doesn’t have any nasty terms or conditions.

You generally need a good credit score of 680 or higher to be approved for a personal loan.

Fees and the interest rate are both important things to consider. Read through this guide to learn even more about how to compare your options.

Laurel Road Personal Loans

Laurel Road Personal Loans

Get a personalized rate offer through a quick online application. Recommended for people with annual income of $60K+ and debt of less than 40% of their income.

  • Min. Credit Score Required: 680
  • Min. Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Max. Loan Amount: 45000
  • Starting APR: 5.5%
  • Loan Term: 3, 4 or 5 years
  • Rate discounts for autopay
  • No prepayment fees

    Three of the best personal loans you can apply for in October 2017

    LenderAPRBest for…
    LendingClubAs 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 who want additional perks like educational events and member dinners.

    Some of the best personal loans you could apply for

    Rates last updated October 18th, 2017

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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 Requirements
    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)
    Must be a US citizen or permanent resident with a valid I-551 card
    Even Financial Personal Loans
    Get matched to the best loan offer instantly from top online consumer lenders.
    580
    $100,000
    From 4.99% (fixed)
    Must have a minimum credit score of 580+. Must be 18+ years old and be an American citizen or permanent resident.
    Prosper Personal Loan
    Borrow only what you need for debt consolidation, home improvements, special occasions and more — with APRs based on your credit score.
    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.
    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)
    Borrow up to $100,000 with a competitive APR and no fees.
    Good to excellent credit
    $100,000
    From 5.49% (fixed)
    You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, and 18 years or older.
    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)
    Must have a fair credit score of 600 or better and verifiable income. Must live in a state where LendingPoint services.
    NetCredit Personal Loan
    Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
    550
    $10,000
    From 34 - 155% (fixed)
    Varies depending on your state of residence.
    LendingClub Personal Loan
    Borrow up to $40,000 with rates from 5.99% to 35.89% APR based on your credit score.
    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.

    Compare up to 4 providers

    The three-step process to help you find the best personal loan

    1. What do you need?

    Decide why you’re taking out the loan and what you need from it. 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. Check out our guide on loan purposes to see the variety of situations a personal loan can be used for.

    2. What is available?

    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. Then, check the eligibility criteria to make sure you can apply for it.

    3. What does the loan cost?

    It’s important to find a loan you can afford. Check whether the loan charges a fixed or variable rate, look for upfront and ongoing fees and see how flexible the repayments are. Make sure the ongoing repayments will fit your budget.

    Once you’ve completed the third step, the only thing left to do is apply for the best personal loan that you’ve found.

    How you can compare the best personal loans

    It’s important to compare your options before applying for a personal loan. Pay attention to the following features, and you could enjoy considerable savings:

    • Do you want a secured or unsecured loan?
      If you get a secured personal loan, your loan will be backed by an asset used as collateral. An unsecured loan doesn’t use collateral but usually comes with a slightly higher interest rate since more risk is posed to the lender.
    • What is the interest rate and APR?
      Interest rates and APR’s vary depending on the lender. In addition to what interest is charged on the loan principal, it’s important to know what the APR is, since this number includes any fees that will be charged.
    • What are the fees?
      Some personal loans charge application fees and origination fees. Be sure to understand all the fees that are being charged and why they’re being charged.
    • What will the term of your loan be?
      While a lower interest rate might seem promising at first, you should also compare loan terms. This is simply because the shorter the loan’s duration, the less you pay in the form of interest over the life of the loan.

    Man comparing loans on laptop

    Pros and cons of personal loans

    • Online applications are easy and can offer quick turnaround
      The application process is quick, and the majority of lenders allow you to complete the whole process online. Some lenders offer next business day turnarounds if you apply by a certain time.
    • Wide range of personal loans available
      You can choose from secured and unsecured personal loans as well as lines of credit, car loans and business loans.
    • You can get access to a competitive interest rate
      If you compare interest rates of personal loans with credit card interest rates, you’ll see why people prefer personal loans over credit cards for certain expenses.
    • You may not be approved
      You can expect strict eligibility criteria with some of the top personal loan lenders. 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.

    Grace wants to improve her home before selling it

    best personal loan case studyGrace was moving out of state and decided to sell her home. To increase the value of her home, she wanted to complete some renovations. She knew she’d make the money back once the sale of the home was finalized but needed the cash on hand sooner. She wanted to borrow $7,000.

    Grace had good credit and a steady full-time job. Based on her annual salary of $75,000 and her regular expenses, she worked out she could comfortably afford repayments of up to $500 per month. She decided that an unsecured loan would best meet her needs as she wasn’t purchasing an asset to attach it.

    As unsecured loans tend to have higher rates, she found one with minimal fees to help keep her costs down. She compared her options and found a loan with an APR of 9.26% that she could repay in three years, making her repayments $223.45 a month. There was also no penalty for early repayment.

    Grace applied for the loan online and was approved. Since the repayments were well within her budget, Grace made extra payments throughout the term of the loan and was able to improve her home before selling it.

    What to keep in mind when comparing 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.

    Things to consider when applying for a personal loan

    • Establish how much you want to borrow and your monthly repayment ability before applying. You should find out how long it might take for you to pay the loan off completely, remembering that payments are usually made monthly.
    • Compare interest rates, fees, terms and requirements of different personal loans on finder.com. Once you find a loan you wish to apply for, proceed to the lender’s website by clicking “Go to Site”.
    • Have your personal information ready such as your government-issued ID, pay stubs, details of other loans you have and bank account statements.

    Frequently asked questions

    Fixed interest rates stay the same throughout the entire term of the loan, while variable interest rates may change during the term of the loan. Read our guide to learn more about the differences between fixed and variable interest rates.

    Maximum loan amounts vary depending on the lender. View our comparison table above to compare lenders who may offer the amount you need.

    Not exactly. Your likelihood of approval for a personal loan may be greater with an excellent credit score, but there’s no such thing as a guaranteed personal loan. Be sure to consider the lender’s other eligibility requirements, such as income and employment status, before applying.

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    US Personal Loans Offers

    Learn about our information service
    Prosper Personal Loan

    Borrow only what you need for debt consolidation, home improvements, special occasions and more — with APRs based on your credit score.

    LendingClub Personal Loan

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

    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)

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

    Upstart Personal Loans

    This newer service looks beyond your credit score to match you with accredited investors for low-rate personal loans.