Finder may earn compensation from partners, but editorial opinions are our own. Advertiser Disclosure

Best small personal loans

Compare loans with low monthly payments for every credit score.

This article was reviewed by Doug Noll, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and award-winning lawyer, mediator and author with over 40 years of experience in the legal field.

A small personal loan is a good choice when you don’t want to use a credit card to cover bills or a small expense. We chose these six lenders because they offer a wide range of options for borrowers looking to avoid credit card debt and take advantage of a fixed monthly payment. Just know that many of your small personal loan options will require you to have good credit and may come with an origination fee.

6 best small personal loans of October 2021

LenderBest forMin. loan amountAPR
UpstartGood credit$1,0008.27% to 35.99%
OneMain FinancialBad credit$1,50018% to 35.99%
LendingTreeComparing lendersStarting at 2.49%$1,000
Read review
PNCBorrowing from a bank$1,0007.24%
Read review
First Tech FCUBorrowing from a credit union$500Starting at 9.20%
Read review
EarninBorrowing from a pay advance appVariesOptional tip
Read review

What are the best small personal loans?

Best for good credit

Upstart personal loans

Finder rating 4.15 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on Upstart Personal Loans's secure site
Upstart accepts borrowers with fair credit, but because of its high maximum interest rates, it's best for borrowers with good credit who need a small loan. Unlike many lenders, your education and current job play a role in your application. And while there is an origination fee attached, in most states, you'll be able to borrow as little as $1,000.
  • Not available in: West Virginia

Best for bad credit

OneMain Financial personal loans

Finder rating 3.4 / 5 ★★★★★

Go to site
on OneMain's secure site
OneMain Financial doesn't have a set credit requirement for its borrowers, which makes it a good choice if you need a small loan and don't have the best credit history. However, be prepared to pay a high origination fee of up to 10% when you borrow — which results in a high APR. But if you decide against borrowing, you have up to seven days to return your loan funds. And if you apply at a branch, you may be able to get your loan the same day you apply.
  • Not available in: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, Rhode Island, Vermont
* OneMain Disclosures:
Example Loan: A $6,000 loan with a 24.99% APR that is repayable in 60 monthly installments would have monthly payments of $176.07.

Not all applicants will qualify for larger loan amounts or most favorable loan terms. Loan approval and actual loan terms depend on your ability to meet our credit standards (including a responsible credit history, sufficient income after monthly expenses, and availability of collateral). Larger loan amounts require a first lien on a motor vehicle no more than ten years old, that meets our value requirements, titled in your name with valid insurance. Maximum annual percentage rate (APR) is 35.99%, subject to state restrictions. APRs are generally higher on loans not secured by a vehicle. Depending on the state where you open your loan, the origination fee may be either a flat amount or a percentage of your loan amount. Flat fee amounts vary by state, ranging from $25 to $400. Percentage-based fees vary by state ranging from 1% to 10% of your loan amount subject to certain state limits on the fee amount. Active duty military, their spouse or dependents covered under the Military Lending Act may not pledge any vehicle as collateral for a loan. OneMain loan proceeds cannot be used for postsecondary educational expenses as defined by the CFPB’s Regulation Z, such as college, university or vocational expenses; for any business or commercial purpose; to purchase securities; or for gambling or illegal purposes.

Borrowers in these states are subject to these minimum loan sizes: Alabama: $2,100. California: $3,000. Georgia: Unless you are a present customer, $3,100 minimum loan amount. Ohio: $2,000. Virginia: $2,600.

Borrowers (other than present customers) in these states are subject to these maximum unsecured loan sizes: Iowa: $8,500. Maine: $7,000. Mississippi: $7,500. North Carolina: $7,500. New York: $20,000. West Virginia: $14,000. An unsecured loan is a loan which does not require you to provide collateral (such as a motor vehicle) to the lender.

Best for comparing lenders

LendingTree personal loans

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

While LendingTree requires you to have good to excellent credit to use its services, it's a good place to start if you aren't sure what type of lender you qualify for. The lenders in its network have interest rates starting at just 2.49%, and you could be able to receive your funds as soon as the next business day. However, there are quite a few complaints about the volume of marketing calls and emails some users have received after submitting their information.
  • Available in all states

Best bank

PNC Bank personal loans

Finder rating 3.25 / 5 ★★★★★

A loan from PNC is limited to a select few states where it has branches. But unlike many banks, it offers personal loans for as little as $1,000 — and you can select a loan term from six months to five years. You'll need a good credit score to qualify, and if you opt for autopay from a PNC checking account, you may qualify for a solid rate discount of 0.25%. Plus there's no origination fee, so you'll be able to borrow exactly the amount you need.
  • Available in: Alabama, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Best credit union

First Tech Federal Credit Union personal loans

Finder rating 4 / 5 ★★★★★

First Tech Federal Credit Union doesn't have the lowest starting rates out there, but it does have a wide range of loan terms — and loans that start at just $500. There are no fees, and you can become a member for just $8 or $15 a year. And because First Tech FCU uses more modern underwriting, you may receive a decision on your loan within 24 hours of applying.
  • Not available in: Hawaii

What is a small personal loan?

There is no standard amount that makes a personal loan small, but in general, any amount less than $3,000 may be considered a small personal loan. Most lenders set their minimum loan amount at $1,000 — enough to cover a wide range of less costly projects or purchases. But some, like SoFi and LightStream, only offer loans of $5,000 or more, making them less than ideal for borrowers who only need a few thousand to cover an expense.

Where can I get a small personal loan?

You have a few places to turn to for small personal loans, including online lenders and more traditional sources like banks.

Online lenders

Online lenders are a common choice for small personal loans because of their speed and flexibility. You could receive your loan funds within one business day, and both loan terms and interest rates can be favorable for borrowers with a high credit score. However, those with a lower credit score may be required to pay an origination fee on their loan.

Many serve borrowers with bad to fair credit, although their APR tends to reach the legal maximum of 36%. For borrowers with good to excellent credit, interest rates can be much lower and are often designed to compete with banks.

Credit unions

A credit union — whether local or federal — offer small personal loans. As nonprofit institutions, they are able to focus on the needs of their members. This means many are able to work with borrowers who need a smaller loan amount or have a lower credit score. While you’ll need to be a member to qualify, many offer membership to residents of the surrounding area — and let you apply for a personal loan before joining.

If you’re already a member of a federal credit union, look into payday alternative loans (PALs). These are extremely small loans between $200 and $1,000 with interest rates capped at 28%. Smaller credit unions may also offer loans similar to PALs.

Banks

Some banks offer small personal loans, but they’re few and far between. You might want to begin your search with PNC, Citibank or TD Bank — they all have loan amounts starting around $1,000 or $2,000.

You might also want to consider a local bank. Much like credit unions, these tend to have lower interest rates overall and competitive loan terms. And many banks that offer personal loans also offer rate discounts, often up to 0.25%, for using your regular checking or savings account to make automatic payments.

Can I get a small personal loan with bad credit?

Yes, there are loans available for borrowers with bad credit. It may be hard to qualify for the best interest rates and terms without a solid credit history. In general, expect a higher interest rate and more fees — including an origination fee — that will increase the cost of your loan. Your monthly payments may also be higher, making these small loans more expensive.

To make the most of your credit score, compare small loans from a credit union or online lender. Many will offer unsecured personal loans with lower minimum loan amounts and a more competitive interest rate than bigger banks.

Avoid payday loans

Payday loans, installment loans and title loans typically charge fees that result in an APR well over 300%. This can cause many borrowers to fall into a cycle of debt, often taking out a new payday loan to pay off their first one. When comparing your options, be sure to check the lender’s rates and fees. If the lender advertises personal loans but offers a high APR, it’s likely a short-term lender.

3 alternatives to small personal loans

When you need a small loan, there are more options to consider:
  • Financial assistance programs. Most states offer financial assistance programs for residents who may be struggling financially. You can browse a list of programs available in your state or simply go to your state’s website to see what programs you might qualify for.
  • Pay advance apps. Pay advance apps aren’t like a personal loan. Instead, you’ll receive funds based on the amount you worked during your last pay period. And you don’t need to worry about repayments: The amount you were advanced — plus any fees — is automatically withdrawn from your bank account on your next pay day.
  • Credit cards. If you only need a few hundred dollars, you might want to consider a credit card. While they tend to come with high interest rates and may charge multiple fees, they’re often a good option if you frequently need small loan amounts.

Compare more personal loans

These lenders, which include some of our best picks, all offer personal loans with a minimum loan amount of $2,000 or less.

Name Product Filter Values APR Min. Credit Score Loan Amount
BHG personal loans
Varies
700
$20,000 - $200,000
A highly-rated lender with quick turnaround and reliable customer service.
Credible personal loans
2.49% to 35.99%
Fair to excellent credit
$600 - $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 29.99%
600
$2,000 - $50,000
A prime online lending platform with multiple repayment methods.
PenFed Credit Union personal loans
5.99% to 17.99%
650
$600 - $50,000
With over 80 years of lending experience, this credit union offers personal loans for a variety of expenses.
SoFi personal loans
4.99% to 19.63%
680
$5,000 - $100,000
A highly-rated lender with competitive rates, high loan amounts and no fees.
Monevo personal loans
1.99% to 35.99%
None
$500 - $100,000
Quickly compare multiple online lenders with competitive rates depending on your credit.
Tally+ Express
7.9% to 29.99%
660
$2,000 - $30,000

Only available for Line of Credit and Debt consolidation

Upgrade personal loans
5.94% to 35.97%
600
$1,000 - $50,000
Affordable loans with two simple repayment terms and no prepayment penalties.
Upstart personal loans
5.55% to 35.99%
580 or 600 depending on state of residence
$1,000 - $50,000
This service looks beyond your credit score to get you a competitive-rate personal loan.
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

Bottom line

A small personal loan can be an affordable option when you only need a few thousand dollars to cover a small expense. But before you commit, read our guide to personal loans to learn more about how they work and compare lenders.

Frequently asked questions

Our answers to the most commonly asked questions about small personal loans.

Can I use Can I use a personal loan for debt consolidation?

Yes, personal loans can be used for debt consolidation. This allows you to combine your monthly payments on credit cards and other loan debt. Your options will be based on your credit. The lowest rate goes to borrowers with higher credit scores, and many lenders may require you to borrow a larger loan amount to qualify.a

Do I need a bank account?

In most cases, lenders require you to have a bank account to qualify for a personal loan. To get your loan funds by the next business day — or at least within a few business days — your lender will require you to connect your bank account so it can transfer your loan funds.

What kind of fees do lenders charge?

Fees are typically the same whether you borrow a small or large amount. Three of the most common personal loan fees you’ll come across include:

  • Origination fee. Some lenders charge a percentage of your loan amount in order to process your loan. These are typically between 1% and 6% and deducted from your loan before you receive the funds.
  • Late fee. If you fail to make your payment on time, you may be charged a flat fee or a percentage of the amount due.
  • Prepayment penalty. While these aren’t as common with personal loans, you could be charged a fee for paying off your loan early.

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com 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

Finder.com 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 finder.com Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on finder.com 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