Looking for the best personal loan available? The truth is that the “best” loan will entirely depend on your personal circumstances, your credit rating and how much you want to borrow. To help you with this part, we’ve curated a list of the best personal loans by credit status and size of the loan so you’ll get a better idea of which lenders are more suitable for you. We’ve also added a wealth of tips and advice to ensure that you’re able to confidently decide which is the best personal loan for you.
While the best personal loans will depend on how much you want to borrow, in general you’ll find that the better your credit score and history, the better the rate you’ll receive. For personal loans over £7,500, you are likely to be offered a rate around 3% if you have a fair credit rating.
If you have bad credit or a limited credit history, you may find it hard to be approved for a personal loan. However, you still have loan options, but are unlikely to be offered the best rates. Instead, you may want to consider a guarantor loan or secured loan, especially if you find you’re only being offered unfavourable loan terms on a regular personal loan.
These days, many lenders will offer instant decisions or pre-approval on personal loans, but some will still take a couple of days to send you the money. However, there are some lenders that will fund your loan the same day and some lenders will even do it within a couple of hours of you being approved.
If you have limited or poor credit history, you may have a better chance of getting approved for a guarantor loan. By having friend or family member act as a guarantor for your loan, you reduce the risk for the lender, which increase your chance of approval, and may also help you get better loan terms and rates.
Secured loans are a specific type of personal loan that requires you to use the equity you have in your property as collateral against the loan. In return, you’ll generally receive more favourable loan terms than you would with an unsecured loan, including much more competitive rates, loan amounts and terms.
Here are our picks for the best personal loan for a range of circumstances:
This is a non-exhaustive list of the features of personal loans that you can use to differentiate lenders in the UK, and to start to home in on the right products for your needs.
In December 2020, we ran an independent customer satisfaction survey on personal loan providers. We received answers from 751 personal loan customers, who gave us their opinion on their current lender.
We asked respondents how satisfied they are with their personal loan provider (giving a rating from one to five) and whether they would recommend the lender to a friend. We converted the results into star ratings.
Table ordered by percentage of customers who said they’d recommend the brand to a friend (recommendation score)
|Overall satisfaction||Customers who’d recommend||Lender||Review|
|88%||HSBC||Founded in Hong Kong in 1865, and now one of the UK’s “Big Four” banks, HSBC provides personal loans for new and existing customers for up to 8 years. You can apply for a loan online or in person at an HSBC branch.||Read our review|
|86%||The Spanish banking giant has long been a fixture of the UK’s high street banking industry and offers personal loans for those who are at least 21 years old.||Read our review|
|81%||Barclays||Barclays is another of the “Big Four” UK banks and has been in operation for over 300 years. It offers personal loans up to £50,000, with discounted rates available to Barclays current and premium account holders.||Read our review|
|81%||NatWest||NatWest offers personal loans for existing customers only, meaning you’ll need to have had another NatWest product for at least 3 to 6 months.||Read our review|
|78%||Tesco||Our 2020 Customer Satisfaction Award winner, Tesco has been offering personal loans for over 20 years. You can borrow up to £35,000 and can get an instant decision on your application. If you’re a Tesco Clubcard member, you may even be eligible for a discounted rate.||Read our review|
|74%||Zopa||The other runner-up to Tesco, Zopa is a peer-to-peer lending platform that provides personal loan rates that are often lower than the high street lenders.||Visit Zopa|
|77%||Halifax||One of this year’s highly commended, Halifax offers personal loans for new and existing customers. Those who have a Halifax current account can even borrow up to £50,000.||Read our review|
|71%||Sainsbury’s||Sainbury’s Bank provides competitive personal loans up to £40,000 for customers in the UK. Like rival supermarket brands, Sainsbury’s also offers discounted personal loan rates to its Nectar cardholders.||Read our review|
|73%||M&S Bank||Another retailer that’s entered the financial services industry, Marks & Spencer was founded in 1884 and now offers personal loans up to £25,000.||Read our review|
|61%||Optimum Credit||A specialist lender offering second-charge mortgages, Optimum Credit has financed over £400 million in secured loans for UK customers.||Read our review|
|53%||Post Office||A government-owned retail post office company, the Post Office also provides financial products through its Post Office Money brand. It offers personal loans with competitive rates and flexible repayment terms.||Visit Post Office Money|
★★★★★ — Excellent
★★★★★ — Good
★★★★★ — Average
★★★★★ — Subpar
★★★★★ — Poor
The customer satisfaction score is based on a survey of 751 customers carried out in December 2020.
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This is how we come up with the star ratings and “best for” picks that you see for budgeting apps and their features.
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