Finder makes money from featured partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

Compare variable-rate personal loans

Get the flexibility you need to pay off your debt faster — but with the risk of higher costs down the road.

Variable-rate personal loans tend to come with lower starting APRs than their fixed-rate counterparts. As its name suggests, the rate can vary — or change — throughout the term of the loan. This may mean lower base rates, but you may find yourself with a higher APR over your loan term.

How does a variable-rate loan work?

With a variable-rate loan, your interest rate can change over the course of your loan term. It can either go up or down depending on market fluctuations, but your loan agreement will typically specify the maximum cap APR. And even though your loan term is fixed, you will generally be able to make additional repayments without incurring penalty charges, and be able to repay the loan early without incurring fees.

A variable-rate personal loan can be either secured or unsecured and can have term length between one and seven years with a borrowing amount ranging anywhere from $1,000 and $100,000.

Should I get a variable-rate personal loan?

It depends on your needs. Many find that variable rates stay relatively steady over a loan term, which means you’ll pay less than with a fixed-rate loan. However, if rates increase, you’ll end up paying more. Consider these factors before making a decision:

Why you might consider it:

  • Competitive rates. Its lower starting interest rate is usually what attracts borrowers.
  • Potential decrease in rate. When interest rates drop, you’re not locked into a set interest rate, letting you enjoy lower repayments and a cheaper overall amount to pay back.
  • Lower fees. Establishment and administration fees and charges are usually lower than on fixed-rate loans, keeping your overall cost down.

Why you might rule it out:

  • Interest rates are unpredictable. As the market fluctuates, so does your loan interest rate. If interest rates rise, your monthly payment will increase, and the loan may cost you more in the long run.
  • Harder to budget for. Variable interest rate loans are sensitive to economic conditions and the interest rate of your loan will change over the duration of paying it off — making it hard to budget repayments.

Compare personal loans from top lenders

Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Loan Amount
Credible personal loans
2.49% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$600 to $100,000
Get personalized rates in minutes and then choose an offer from a selection of top online lenders.
Best Egg personal loans
5.99% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $50,000
A prime online lending platform with multiple repayment methods.
PenFed Credit Union personal loans
4.99% to 17.99%
$600 to $25,000
With over 80 years of lending experience, this credit union offers personal loans for a variety of expenses.
SoFi personal loans
5.74 to 20.28%
$5,000 to $100,000
A highly-rated lender with competitive rates, high loan amounts and no fees.
Monevo personal loans
1.99% to 35.99%
$500 to $100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
Tally+ Express Line of Credit
7.9% to 25.9%
$2,000 to $30,000

Only available for Line of Credit and Debt consolidation

Upgrade personal loans
5.94% to 35.97%
$500 to $50,000
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
Avant personal loans
9.95% to 35.99%
$2,000 to $35,000
Conveniently check your loan options without affecting your credit score.

Compare up to 4 providers

How do I know which lender to go with?

The biggest attraction is generally a lender’s flexibility and lower origination and introductory rates. However, there are a few factors you should take into consideration when shopping for a personal loan.

  • Repayment flexibility. You should confirm the repayment flexibility of your loan before you apply. Will you be able to make additional payments or pay it off early without extra fees?
  • Fees and charges. Check upfront and ongoing fees when comparing your variable-rate loans as they could significantly add up if you’re not aware.
  • Total cost of the loan. You should consider how much the loan will cost when all is said is done. This depends on the how long the loan term is, repayment frequency, interest and any other fees that come with the loan.

3 costly mistakes to avoid

  1. Not checking fees and charges. Be sure to ask about any extra charges such as origination, application fees or any other costs.
  2. Borrowing more than you can repay. Only borrow how much you need. Defaulting on any kind of loan leads to a negative mark on your credit file and if your loan is secured, you will lose your asset.
  3. Extending terms longer than needed. Shorter terms mean you pay less interest, so you may want to consider choosing the shortest terms that are manageable on your budget. Some lenders might try to convince you to take a longer loan term and offer lower monthly payments as a selling point.

What do I need to apply?

Eligibility criteria differ between lenders, but generally you’ll need to have a good credit history. Most lenders also require you to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Show proof of identification
  • List contact information
  • Have a regular source of income
  • Provide employment history

Applying for a variable-rate loan can take just minutes since most lenders can make decisions online as long as you can provide the necessary documentation after preapproval.

Frequently asked questions

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • 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 provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site