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A personal loan is when a borrower receives money from a lender and has to pay it back in monthly installments.
It’s best for borrowers who have a plan on how to spend the money and repay it. Whether you have excellent credit or bad credit, the best personal loans listed below can be great for meeting your financial goals.
You're clicks away from finding a custom loan fit to your needs. Answer a few questions and start comparing real offers from multiple lenders within minutes. This won't impact your credit.
|Lending Partner||Min. Credit Score||Loan Amounts||Apr Range||Next Steps|
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
|Min. Credit Score: None||Loan Amounts: $1,000 - $50,000||APR Range: 4.60% - 35.99%|
2023 Award Winner
SoFi Personal Loans
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
|Min. Credit Score: 680||Loan Amounts: $5,000 - $100,000||APR Range: Fixed: 8.99-25.81% APR (with all discounts)|
2023 Award Winner
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
|Min. Credit Score: 660||Loan Amounts: $5,000 - $100,000||APR Range: 7.99%-24.99% (w/ AutoPay)*|
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
|Min. Credit Score: 640||Loan Amounts: $5,000 - $40,000||APR Range: 10.50% - 29.99%|
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
|Min. Credit Score: 720 FICO||Loan Amounts: $3,500 - $40,000||APR Range: 6.99% - 24.99%|
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
|Min. Credit Score: 580||Loan Amounts: $2,000 - $35,000||APR Range: 9.95% - 35.99%|
Rating image, 4.5 out of 5 stars.
|Min. Credit Score: 620||Loan Amounts: $5,000 - $50,000||APR Range: 7.99% - 35.99%|
Rating image, 4.0 out of 5 stars.
|Min. Credit Score: 640||Loan Amounts: $2,000 - $50,000||APR Range: 8.99% - 35.99%|
Discover Personal Loan
Rating image, 5.0 out of 5 stars.
|Min. Credit Score: 660||Loan Amounts: $2,500 - $40,000||APR Range: 6.99% - 24.99%|
*Marcus by Goldman Sachs Disclaimer
Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. Rates range from 6.99% to 24.99% APR, and loan terms range from 36 to 72 months. For NY residents, rates range from 6.99%-24.74%. Only the most creditworthy applicants qualify for the lowest rates and longest loan terms. Rates will generally be higher for longer-term loans. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. The availability of a loan offer and the terms of your actual offer will vary due to a number of factors, including your loan purpose and our evaluation of your creditworthiness. Rates will vary based on many factors, such as your creditworthiness (for example, credit score and credit history) and the length of your loan (for example, rates for 36 month loans are generally lower than rates for 72 month loans). Your maximum loan amount may vary depending on your loan purpose, income and creditworthiness. Your verifiable income must support your ability to repay your loan. Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a brand of Goldman Sachs Bank USA and all loans are issued by Goldman Sachs Bank USA, Salt Lake City Branch. Applications are subject to additional terms and conditions. Receive a 0.25% APR reduction when you enroll in AutoPay. This reduction will not be applied if AutoPay is not in effect. When enrolled, a larger portion of your monthly payment will be applied to your principal loan amount and less interest will accrue on your loan, which may result in a smaller final payment. See loan agreement for details.
*SoFi Personal Loan Disclaimer
Fixed rates from 8.99% APR to 25.81% APR reflect the 0.25% autopay interest rate discount and a 0.25% direct deposit interest rate discount. SoFi rate ranges are current as of 05/19/23 and are subject to change without notice. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, and a variety of other factors.
Loan amounts range from $5,000– $100,000. The APR is the cost of credit as a yearly rate and reflects both your interest rate and an origination fee of 0%-6%, which will be deducted from any loan proceeds you receive.
Autopay: The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.
Direct Deposit Discount: To be eligible to potentially receive an additional (0.25%) interest rate reduction for setting up direct deposit with a SoFi Checking and Savings account offered by SoFi Bank, N.A. or eligible cash management account offered by SoFi Securities, LLC (“Direct Deposit Account”), you must have an open Direct Deposit Account within 30 days of the funding of your Loan. Once eligible, you will receive this discount during periods in which you have enabled payroll direct deposits of at least $1,000/month to a Direct Deposit Account in accordance with SoFi’s reasonable procedures and requirements to be determined at SoFi’s sole discretion. This discount will be lost during periods in which SoFi determines you have turned off direct deposits to your Direct Deposit Account. You are not required to enroll in direct deposits to receive a Loan.
Rates quoted are with AutoPay. Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based on loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. Rates without AutoPay are 0.50% points higher. To obtain a loan, you must complete an application on LightStream.com which may affect your credit score. You may be required to verify income, identity and other stated application information. Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 8.49% APR with a term of 5 years would result in 60 monthly payments of $205.12. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. Truist Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2023 Truist Financial Corporation. Truist, LightStream, and the LightStream logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by Truist Bank.
*Upstart Loan Disclaimer
The full range of available rates varies by state. The average 3-year loan offered across all lenders using the Upstart platform will have an APR of 21.97% and 36 monthly payments of $35 per $1,000 borrowed. For example, the total cost of a $10,000 loan would be $12,646 including a $626 origination fee. APR is calculated based on 3-year rates offered in the last 1 month. There is no down payment and no prepayment penalty. Your APR will be determined based on your credit, income, and certain other information provided in your loan application.
The lower the interest rate, the more money you save in paying back the loan. A great loan is one carrying a low interest rate. The interest on a loan is calculated as a percent of the total you borrow.
Look for your personal loan term sweet spot, the shortest term with the most affordable payment. The best loans fit your budget and timeline. The "loan term" is the period of time you have to repay a loan in full. Some people opt for a longer loan term because it keeps their monthly payments low. However, the longer you carry a loan, the more interest you pay in total.
The best personal loan lenders don't charge an origination fee. Other expenses -- like prepayment and late fees -- are kept to a minimum. Another key trait of a great personal loan is that it has no fees or very low fees. Fees can be sneaky. Say a lender offers you a low interest personal loan, but piles on fees. That loan may end up costing more than a loan with a slightly higher interest rate but no fees.
We selected Upstart as a best personal loans lender because it can accommodate a wide range of borrowers with different needs. Upstart offers flexible lending guidelines, small loans, and low rates to qualified applicants. Loans can fund in one day.
SoFi makes our list of best personal loans companies because of its well-known consumer-centric approach. It doesn't require fees, loan limits are high, and rates are low. You can also get a rate discount for setting up automatic payments.
We selected LightStream as a best personal loans lender because it offers high loan limits, no fees, low interest rates, a large autopay discount, and fast funding (sometimes same day). It prioritizes customer service and even pays unhappy customers for their feedback.
We chose Happy Money as a best personal loans lender because we love its focus on paying off high-interest debt. Well qualified applicants can get a very low rate. Happy Money discloses clearly what it wants in an applicant, so you'll know before you apply if it's a good fit.
Marcus is a best personal loans lender because it is very consumer-friendly overall. Marcus charges no fees, and you can get an interest rate reduction by signing up for automatic payments.
Avant makes the cut as one of the best personal loan lenders because this lender can accommodate borrowers who might not qualify somewhere else. You'll need a credit score of 580, which is lower than what other best personal loan companies require. Loans start at $2,000.
FreedomPlus is one of the best personal loan lenders because rates are low, especially for borrowers who use the money to pay off other debt. Also, you can borrow as little as $1,000 and use a cosigner if you need to. Loans can fund in a day.
We chose Best Egg as a best personal loan lender because well-qualified applicants can get a very low interest rate here on loans up to $50,000. Most loans fund within a day. Also, borrowers get free access to their credit score and tips for improving it.
We chose Discover as a best personal loan lender because of its overall customer-friendly approach. There is no origination fee (other lenders charge up to 8% of your loan amount). You get free access to your FICO score, which is nice if you're working to monitor or improve your credit.
No cosigners accepted
To get the best rates from loan companies, follow these three steps:
If you know how you're going to spend the money and have a plan to repay it, a personal loan can be a good tool for accomplishing your goals. Most lenders don't care how you spend the money, as long as you pay it back as promised.
If you need the money quickly, make sure to check the lender's approval and funding timeline. Many lenders offer next day funding, and some even offer funding as quickly as the same day you're approved. The best loans like these can help you overcome financial roadblocks, even when you need fast cash.
Let's compare personal loan rates. Say you need to borrow $20,000 to replace the roof of your house, and you plan to get a loan with a five-year term. You're considering two options: Lender A and Lender B. Below, we've summarized these two imaginary lenders and how their interest rates would impact the cost of your loan. Even a small percentage change can result in significant savings. It's clear that the lender offering the lower interest rate can save you money over the life of the loan. These are funds you can use in some other way, like investing for your future.
You may only pay an extra $13 per month for a loan from Lender B, but that small difference costs you $780 more over the life of the loan. For help finding low interest personal loans, check out our guide to good interest rates for personal loans.
You will likely pay a higher interest rate for a personal loan. If this is your situation, you have two options. You can take steps to raise your score and wait until it's in better shape before applying for a loan. The second option is to get a loan now, then refinance your personal loan later (when your credit score is higher and you can get a better rate).
While personal loans can be used for anything, the key is to use them to improve your financial wellbeing. Here are some of the best reasons to get a personal loan:
Personal loans have higher interest rates than secured loans and if not used properly, can just increase your debt payments. It may be better to cut expenses or find additional ways to increase your income rather than take out a personal loan. These are reasons you should not use a personal loan for.
No matter where you apply to get a personal loan -- a bank, credit union, or an online personal loan lender -- the application process is the same.
Here are the steps to take:
No matter where you apply, the lender is likely to ask for the same documents. Getting them together before you apply can streamline the process and save you a great deal of stress. Here's what you need:
Whether it's a secured personal loan or an unsecured personal loan, the lender may ask about the purpose for the funds -- some personal loans are designated for specific purposes, like those to help consolidate existing debt, but those loan types are relatively uncommon.
Take the time to shop for the best lender. Lenders make loan decisions based on a "soft" credit check, which has no impact on your credit score. This soft credit check gives the personal loan lender a sense of your credit history, including credit card debt and other debt (like an outstanding installment loan). If your credit score is not quite perfect, look for lenders that specialize in personal loans for fair credit or personal loans for bad credit.
Don't leave any gaps -- fill out the entire loan application and provide the lender with all documents requested. If you do this, it should not take long to hear whether your loan has been approved. Some of the best lenders let you know within minutes if your application has been approved.
Personal loan prequalification or pre-approval allows you to get a sense of what loan terms are available. Most prequalification processes use a soft credit check, which doesn't impact your credit score. If you qualify, lenders will let you know how much you can borrow, the interest rate you will be charged, and how long you'll have to repay the loan. You can use this information to compare personal loans. If you do not qualify, you can learn what you need to do to improve your odds of getting a personal loan.
Compare loans of the same type side by side. If you have applied for unsecured loans, compare them only to other unsecured loan offers. And if you've applied for secured loans, compare them only to other secured loan offers.
Here's what to look for:
A lender does not run a "hard" credit check until you let them know you want to proceed with a loan. So if you applied with five banks, only the bank you choose to work with runs a hard credit check.
A hard credit check is a deeper dive into your credit history, and helps the personal loan provider make sure a borrower meets their minimum credit score requirement and has paid bills on time. Although the hard credit check may decrease your credit score, it's typically by less than five points. After a few months of regular payments, your score should rebound to its pre-loan level.
Note: If a low credit score means you don't receive a loan offer that works for you, consider taking time to improve your credit score. Boosting your score can only help you in the long run. Small changes like reducing your credit utilization, paying bills on time, and only applying for credit when needed can help raise your FICO® Score.
Whether you're working with an online lender or a brick-and-mortar financial institution, most lenders allow you to sign documents electronically. Read through the documents thoroughly before signing. Once you've signed, you're legally committed to whatever is written inside the four corners of the contract.
Funds usually hit your bank account one to 14 days from the time of loan approval. If you need the money quickly, ask lenders about their fund distribution times as you shop for the loan. If you can't wait, make sure to work only with a lender that promises a quick distribution of funds.
If your personal loan is denied, the first step is to find out the reason. Typically, you will be denied if your credit score does not meet the minimum qualifications. You may have negative items on your credit report, not enough credit history, or high credit card balances. Another reason may be that your income doesn't meet the minimum requirements or your debt-to-income ratio is too high. There are other factors that could impact loan approval, such as your employment history, cash flow history, and available assets.
If you are denied, work on improving your credit history and credit score. Making on-time payments makes up the bulk of your credit score. Keep your credit card balances and utilization low. Pay down your credit card debt and ask your credit card company to raise your limits to help with your utilization. Avoiding too many hard inquiries can also improve your credit. After you have increased your credit score, you will be in a better position to qualify for a personal loan.
Personal loans are not for everyone. Depending on your circumstances -- for example, if you need money to fund a project or pay an unexpected expense -- you may want to look at other options.
Here are two alternatives to personal loans:
A credit card can provide fast cash in an urgent situation. If you qualify for a 0% APR credit card, you have months (typically 12 to 18) to pay off the debt with no interest. Only use a credit card with a 0% transfer offer if you're confident you can pay it off in full before the promotional rate expires. At the end of the promotional period, the interest rate shoots up to its standard rate, and you could get stuck trying to pay down debt as high interest piles on top.
A secured line of credit can help you snag the best rates for personal loans. When you take out a secured line of credit or secured personal loan, you typically pay a lower interest rate because you put up something of value as collateral. This may be anything of value, such as your car, home, boat, or jewelry. A line of credit offers greater flexibility. You can borrow up to your credit limit, depending on what you need, and you only pay interest on the amount you borrow.
Online personal loan companies rarely offer secured lines of credit, so if that's the route you choose, plan on working with a brick-and-mortar bank or credit union.
Since personal loans typically have higher interest rates, you want to pay them off as fast as you can. You will pay less interest and have more peace of mind if you don't have potentially tens of thousands of dollars to pay back. Here are some simple tips to help you pay back your personal loan faster without breaking the bank. Make sure you check with your lender to see if there are any penalties for paying off your personal loan early.
If you look through our loan suggestions but don't find a loan that fits your needs, don't worry. No loan fits every borrower or every set of circumstances. Here are a few others to consider:
Taking out a personal loan is a big deal. You're committing to years of working with a specific financial institution and taking on new debt. Take your time to decide if you can comfortably afford a personal loan. If you decide you can, take time to find the loan that's just right for you.
While the loan term may run anywhere from one to 10 years, a term of three to five years is more common. That said, if you opt for a personal loan with no prepayment penalty, you can pay it off before the term ends. Doing so minimizes the amount you pay in interest.
Personal loans normally carry a lower interest rate than credit cards, and in that way, personal loans are a better option. Personal loans and credit cards both represent debt, and the best financial move is to pay either off as quickly as possible.
There is no limit on how many loans you can have from different loan lenders. Some lenders may limit the number of personal loans you can have. Loan companies will consider your debt-to-income ratio, credit score, as well as other factors when determining how many loans you can take out or how much you qualify for. If you have too many loans, then it can impact your credit score making it more difficult to qualify for new credit or a better rate.
Unsecured personal loan rates generally have higher interest rates than secured loans. The lender requires nothing more than good credit and your written promise to repay the loan as agreed. Compared to a mortgage or auto loan, personal loan lenders take more risk since there is no collateral to back up the loan in case of a default.
Personal loans have a fixed interest rate based on the creditworthiness of the individual applying for the loan. The higher your credit score, the lower you can expect the lender's interest rate to be. Even if your credit score is not as high as you would like, you may still qualify for a personal loan with bad credit. However, you'll likely pay a higher interest rate than other borrowers.
Our Loans Experts
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