Barclays Personal Loan Review
Barclays offers personal loans with no fees and some of the lowest APRs in the market for qualified borrowers. Here’s what you should know before applying.
|Offer||Best For||Min. Credit Score||Loan Amounts||APR Range||Next Steps|
Low APR for borrowers with good to excellent credit scores
Min. Credit Score:
$5k - $35k
5.74 - 20.99%
Barclays is a well-known financial institution that recently added personal loans to its product offerings. Barclays’ personal loans have some pretty compelling features, including some of the lowest interest rates in the industry for well-qualified borrowers, but also have some drawbacks that are important to know.
In this review, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of Barclays’ personal loan product, and what prospective borrowers need to know before applying.
Why you can trust me
I’m a Certified Financial Planner® and have extensive experience reviewing personal finance products and making recommendations to clients, friends, and family. In addition, I’m not just a reviewer in this case -- I’ve also obtained a personal loan and have firsthand experience with these products and application processes.
What I like about Barclays personal loans
Barclays offers unsecured personal loans to U.S. borrowers in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $35,000. Like every loan, Barclays personal loans have pros and cons, especially when compared with personal loans offered by other financial institutions. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of some of the things I like about Barclays personal loans.
- You can check your APR and loan terms quickly and easily, and without affecting your credit score.
- There are no fees associated with Barclays personal loans. This means that you won’t pay an origination fee when obtaining a loan, nor would you pay any prepayment penalty if you choose to pay your loan off early. There aren’t any late fees if you miss your due date (although I still don’t recommend making a habit of it).
- For borrowers with strong credit, Barclays offers low interest rates. The current personal loan rates start at an APR of 5.74%.
- Loan proceeds can be sent directly to your credit card companies, helping to streamline the debt consolidation process.
- Customers can choose their monthly payment due date and can change it once every 12 months.
What can be improved
Most lending products have drawbacks, and the Barclays personal loan is no exception. While not all of these drawbacks will affect everyone, here’s what you should know about Barclays’ loans before applying:
- Borrowers have a choice among 36, 48, and 60-month loan terms. Some other lenders offer longer repayment terms, and some offer the flexibility to choose a precise number of months for repayment.
- Borrowers with less-than-ideal credit may be better off exploring other options, as the high end of Barclays’ APR range is 20.99%.
- Some of the leading personal lenders offer loans of as much as $50,000 or even $100,000. Barclays’ $35,000 loan cap means that borrowers who need larger loans need to look elsewhere.
- On the other hand, the minimum loan amount of $5,000 is significantly higher than what many competitors offer. There are several personal lenders that have minimum loan amounts in the $1,000-$2,000 range.
- There’s no mobile app for Barclays’ personal loan platform.
Barclays’ credit standards
While Barclays doesn’t publish specific credit standards, the bank has a reputation for being rather selective when it comes to extending credit. According to the company, “Personal loans are offered to individual borrowers who demonstrate a proven ability to manage credit.”
In other words, borrowers whose credit histories have a few dings or are not well-established may be better off applying with a personal lender that specializes in personal loans to fair credit borrowers. Upstart, Avant, or LendingPoint are three good lenders to start with.
Personal loan amounts
Barclays makes personal loans in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $35,000. However, it’s important to realize that your qualifications must justify the loan amount. In other words, even if you have stellar credit, you aren’t going to qualify for a $35,000 Barclays personal loan unless your income and employment history warrant such an amount.
When a Barclays personal loan makes the most sense
Barclays personal loans can make sense for consumers who fit into one or more of these categories:
- Borrowers with strong credit histories and stable employment. The low end of Barclays’ APR range is among the best in the business, but in order to get the best rates, your qualifications will need to be excellent.
- Borrowers who need to borrow more than $5,000 but less than $35,000.
- Borrowers who have high-interest credit card debt. Even the 20.99% APR at the top end of Barclays’ range is lower than the interest rates charged by many credit card issuers.
When to look for a different personal loan
If the Barclays personal loan doesn’t meet your needs, you should look elsewhere. For example, if you need to borrow $50,000, the Barclays personal loan isn’t for you. The same can be said if you don’t have an established credit history.
In addition, I want to be clear about one point. Even if the Barclays personal loan sounds like a good fit for you, it’s still important to shop around before choosing a personal lender. By “shop around,” I mean taking the time to check your personalized loan offers from several personal lenders.
Like Barclays, most personal lenders will allow you to check your offers without impacting your credit score, so there’s no need to worry about harming your credit. Plus, it’s not unusual for personal loan APR offers to vary dramatically between lenders, even for the exact same borrower. At minimum, I suggest checking your rates with at least three or four of the best personal lenders.
How to apply
Like many modern personal lenders, Barclays’ personal loan application process is rather straightforward. First, you check your loan offers with no effect to your credit score. Then, you choose the length of your loan. Finally, you accept the loan offer and complete the application.
Barclays says that while a same-day approval is possible, most loan applications take a few days to complete. I can attest to this. While I didn’t obtain my personal loan through Barclays, there are typically several back-and-forth requests for documentation that can make the process go on for more than a day.
During the application portion, be prepared to provide documentation of your income, as well as information about your employer, along with other documents Barclays may need. It’s worth noting that Barclays will conduct a hard credit pull when you actually apply for a loan.
Once you’re approved for a Barclays personal loan, you can expect to see the funds appear in your bank account in a few business days.
Alternatives to consider
As I mentioned, it’s a smart idea to check your loan offers from a few personal lenders, so you may want to consider some of our favorite personal lenders as potential alternatives.
Furthermore, while personal loans like those offered by Barclays can be great, it may be smart to consider a credit card balance transfer offer if you have debt to consolidate, or a card with a 0% intro APR if you need to finance a purchase.
This can be a great money-saving option if you don’t need several years to pay off the debt. For example, the U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers a 0% APR on new purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles. If you can pay off whatever amount you need to borrow in 20 months or less, a 0% APR is going to save you money over a personal loan.