Best personal loans of 2018 | finder.com

Compare the best personal loans in 2018

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Find the best choice for your personal needs.

When searching for the best personal loan, the most important factor is you. Your situation will determine what you need in a lender, and your credit and finances will determine what kind of rates you qualify for.

Even if you have great credit, make sure you compare your options carefully before settling on a decision. It could make the difference between a decent personal loan and the best one for you.

Credible Personal Loans

Our top pick: Credible

Quickly get personal loan offers from top online lenders.

  • Minimum Loan Amount: $1,000
  • Maximum Loan Amount: $100,000
  • Loan Terms: 2 to 7 years
  • One simple form
  • Must have good to excellent credit

    The 7 best personal loans you can apply for in December 2018

    Lender APR Best for…
    6.95% to 35.89% People who want a one-stop shop lender for multiple borrowing needs, including car loan refinancing and business loans.
    6.95%–35.99% Those looking for a no-frills peer-to-peer lender with a track record of transparent and fair practices.
    7.24% to 15.24% Borrowers with excellent credit who want additional perks like career advice and networking events.
    5.99%–29.99% Good credit borrowers who need a quick turnaround.
    3.84% to 35.99% People who want to compare rates from different lenders but don’t have the time.
    8.01% to 16.30% Doctors and other healthcare professionals in need of personal financing.
    2.99%–36% People who want to compare lenders that accept cosigners.

    How we picked the best personal loans

    We evaluate lenders and connection services on factors that matter most to borrowers: interest rates, fees and borrower experience. We update our list of best personal loans regularly to reflect changes in the what each provider offers. To learn more about how we rate each factor, read our personal loan ratings methodology.

    Compare more personal loans

    Rates last updated December 15th, 2018

    Reveal your potential loan offers and rates

    Answer two quick questions to filter the loan offers and get the best one for you.

    Select your credit score range

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    Experian is a leading provider of personal and business credit reporting. Find out your FICO score now for less than the cost of a cup of coffee.

    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.
    550
    $100,000
    3.84% to 35.99% (fixed)
    Credible Personal Loans
    Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose a loan offer from several top online lenders.
    Good to excellent credit
    $100,000
    4.99% to 36% (fixed)
    LendingClub Personal Loan
    A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.
    660
    $40,000
    6.95% to 35.89% (fixed)
    Monevo Personal Loans
    Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit score.
    550
    $100,000
    3.34% to 35.99% (fixed)
    NetCredit Personal Loan
    Check eligibility in minutes and get a personalized quote without affecting your credit score.
    550
    $10,000
    34% to 155% (Varies by state) (fixed)
    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)
    No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.
    680
    $100,000
    7.24% to 15.24% (fixed)
    Marcus by Goldman Sachs Personal Loans
    Consolidate your debt or pay off large expenses with competitive rates and no fees.
    Good to excellent credit
    $40,000
    6.99% to 24.99% (fixed)
    OneMain Financial Personal and Auto Loans
    An established online and in-store lender with quick turnaround times. Poor credit is OK.
    Varies
    $30,000
    16.05%–35.99%* (fixed)
    Avant
    Conveniently check your loan options without affecting your credit score.
    580
    $35,000
    9.95% to 35.99% (fixed)

    Compare up to 4 providers

    How top personal loan providers stack up

    Need a personal loan but not sure where to start? Take a look at how our top picks for personal loan providers. If you’re interested, you can learn more by reading our full review.

    LendingClub

    • Starting APR: 6.95%
    • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $40,000
    • Loan terms: 3 years to 5 years
    • Eligibility requirements: US citizen or permanent resident, verifiable bank account, steady source of income, ages 18+.

    This award-winning peer-to-peer lender connects borrowers with investors interested in funding personal loans. It offers a risk-free quote of the rates you might qualify before you apply, so you can easily compare your offer with other lenders.

    If you prefer dealing with one lender for all of your borrowing needs, this might be the one for you. It also offers car loans and financing for small businesses.

    Prosper

    • Starting APR: 6.95%
    • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000
    • Loan terms: 3 years to 5 years
    • Eligibility requirements: Must be 18+ years old, an American citizen or US permanent resident and have a 640+ credit score.

    Prosper is one of the first peer-to-peer lenders to pop up in the US and has become a trusted name in the industry since. You can use its personal loans for just about any legitimate purpose, including large expenses like weddings, home improvement and even debt consolidation.

    Borrowers concerned with the security of their personal information can rest easy with Prosper. While no security system can prevent hacks 100% of the time, Prosper uses the latest technology to protect borrower’s information, including VPN and firewall technologies.

    SoFi

    • Starting APR: Variable rates start at 6.51% with autopay. Fixed rates start at 7.24% with autopay.
    • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
    • Loan terms: 3 years to 7 years
    • Eligibility: Ages 18+, US citizen or permanent resident

    This direct online lender has become a near-household name for its student loan refinancing. But it also offers a wide range of personal loans. If you need to borrow a large amount, this might be the lender for you. You can get up to $100,000 if you qualify.

    One feature that sets SoFi apart is the career help it offers borrowers. SoFi sets up networking events, offers free financial counseling and protection for if you lose your job. If you’re looking for a lender that can give you a sense of community, this could be the one for you.

    Best Egg

    • Starting APR: 5.99%
    • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
    • Loan terms: 3 years to 5 years
    • Eligibility: Must have a FICO® score of 640+ and be a US citizen or permanent resident. Not available in IA, WV, VT, PR, or GU.

    If speed is your main concern, this provider might be what you were looking for. Best Egg has one of the fastest turnaround times for a peer-to-peer lender. While it might take as long as a week to get funds from LendingClub, Best Egg’s turnaround time can be as quick as one day.

    Even Financial

    • Starting APR: 3.84%
    • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $100,000
    • Loan terms: 2 to 7 years
    • Eligibility: Credit score of 550+, American citizen or permanent resident and ages 21+

    Even Financial isn’t a direct lender, but it can cut down on the time you spend researching and comparing lenders. By filling out a quick, risk-free application, you can get potential rate quotes from as many as five lenders at once. What sets this lender apart are its advanced searches and tools that let you tailor your loan to your specific needs.

    This service could be particularly useful to borrowers with less-than-perfect credit scores. You only need a score of 580 to qualify for one of Even Financial’s lenders.

    Laurel Road

    • Starting APR: 8.01%
    • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $45,000
    • Loan terms: 3, 4 or 5 years
    • Eligibility: Must be a US citizen or permanent resident with a valid I-551 card. Best for people w/ 680+ credit scores and $60,000+ annual income.

    Formerly known as DRB, this lender offers no-fee personal loans at competitive rates. Doctors and dentists might want to pay extra attention to this one: They can qualify for higher amounts, longer loan terms and lower rates. Medical residents can also sign up to make minimal monthly payments of $25.

    Not a medical professional? Laurel Road also offers other perks like a 0.25% discount for signing up for autopay and a $300 cash bonus for referring a friend. With an entirely online application and minimal required documentation, this lender has a relatively simple application.

    CompareFirst

    • Starting APR: 2.99%
    • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $50,000
    • Loan terms: 1 year to 5 years
    • Eligibility: Must be a US citizen or permanent resident, age 18 or older, with a credit score of 580 or higher, and have a minimum annual income of $35,000.

    Looking for a personal loan with a cosigner? Those can be tough to come by, but CompareFirst has got your back. It’s powered by Backed Inc. a direct lender that specializes in cosigned loans designed to help young adults build up their personal credit.

    Like other comparison sites, you’ll see your potential rates from several different lenders — and you also don’t need perfect credit to qualify. Its website is limited, however, and with no customer service phone line it can be difficult to get answers to your questions if you have trouble using this service.


    Best personal loans by credit score

    Credit score Best lender Why you might like it
    Very good and excellent (740+) SoFi No fees, easy online application, funding in a few days.
    Read review
    Good (670-739) Prosper Loans for any personal or small business expense with no prepayment fees.
    Read review
    Fair (580–669) LendingPoint Rate quotes online with no hard credit pull.
    Read review
    Poor (579 or lower) NetCredit Payment reports sent to Experian and TransUnion can improve your credit.
    Read review

    How do I decide between my 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. These fees will also impact your APR, so keep an eye out.
    • 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.

    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.

    Man comparing loans on laptop

    Who has the best interest rates for personal loans?

    Traditionally, banks or credit unions had the best rates when it came to personal loans. However, more and more online lenders are offering low-rate deals for excellent-credit and high-income customers.

    Keep in mind that just because a lender offers a low starting rate doesn’t mean you’ll be able to qualify for it — few people have strong enough finances to do so. The best way to find the best rate you can qualify for is to compare lenders.

    Find a low-interest personal loan

    Who qualifies for the most competitive rates?

    Lenders typically look for the following features before giving a borrower the most competitive rates they offer.

    • High credit score. Having a good or excellent personal credit score is one of the most important factors in getting a competitive rate. Many preapplications are based on your credit score alone.
    • Strong credit history. Your credit score should reflect your credit history to an extent, but lenders like to see that you have a long history of paying off several different types of debt on time.
    • High income. Most personal loan providers have a minimum income requirement to qualify, but you’ll generally need an income that is much higher than the cutoff to get the best rate.
    • Low debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Sometimes even more important than income is the ratio of your monthly debt payments to your monthly income, as it better shows your ability to take on another payment. Typically lenders don’t want to work with anyone with a DTI higher than 43%, though lower is better.

    Add a cosigner or collateral to qualify for a better deal

    Backing is one way to make sure you get the best deal possible. You have two options: Having a cosigner back your loan or using collateral to secure your loan. These both make it less risky for the lender, which typically offers favorable rates and terms in return.

    • Cosigners are responsible for paying back your loan if you can’t. They can strengthen your application if you don’t meet all requirements or want to qualify for a better rate or term.
    • Collateral means that you’ll lose whatever items you use to back your loan if you can’t pay it back. You’ll still need to meet all requirements on your own to get a secured loan but you could get a better deal.

    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 want 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. Use our calculator to find out how much you can comfortably afford to repay.

    4 smart ways to pay off a 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.

    1. Put away your payments. If your bank doesn’t charge you for opening an extra savings account, take advantage of it! Stick your payments here so you don’t have to worry about not having enough in your regular checking account.
    2. Make an extra payment or two. Making an extra payment can help reduce your total debt and get your loan paid off sooner — as long as you don’t have prepayment penalties.
    3. 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.
    4. 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. Refinancing could reduce the total cost of your loan. However, some lenders charge a prepayment penalty.

    Before you start applying any of these tips, make sure your lender allows you to make extra payments without additional charges 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. There are a number of loan types and lenders to cover pretty much any situation, so do some careful research when you’re looking for the best personal loan.

    Before you decide which lender to go with, learn more about personal loans and discover how smart borrowing can affect you.

    Frequently asked questions

    Aliyyah Camp

    Aliyyah Camp is a publisher for finder.com helping folks compare personal, student, car and business loans. When she's not helping people with their personal finances, you can find her going for runs outdoors.

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    US Personal Loans Offers

    Important Information*
    Credible Personal Loans

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

    Monevo Personal Loans

    Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit score.

    LendingClub Personal Loan

    A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)

    No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.

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    US Personal Loans Offers

    Important Information*
    Credible Personal Loans

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

    Monevo Personal Loans

    Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit score.

    LendingClub Personal Loan

    A peer-to-peer lender offering fair rates based on your credit score.

    SoFi Personal Loan Fixed Rate (with Autopay)

    No fees. Multiple member perks such as community events and career coaching.

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