The best personal loans offer fast access to cash for any purpose: Debt consolidation, home improvements, business expenses, vacations, or any large purchase.
Where To Find The Best Personal Loans
Like a mortgage broker or an insurance agent, a personal loan broker will ask you a few questions and match you with the best loan offers. Using a loan broker saves time, ensures you get the best possible rate, and may eliminate the need to apply for multiple loans.
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$1,000 to $50,000
As low as 3.99%
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$500 to $35,000
As low as 5.99%
Additional lenders for less-than-perfect credit
LendingTree is one of the largest loan brokers in the United States, and they operate exclusively online. You can use LendingTree to find a mortgage, an auto loan, and yes, a personal loan.
LendingTree has one of the most intuitive user experiences of any consumer finance website. It essentially interviews you, one question at a time, to arrive at your personalized list of personal loan offers.
Using LendingTree, there’s no hit to your credit score, and there’s no obligation to apply for a loan. Answer the questions, view your rates, and then choose to apply for a loan, save your quotes for later, or do nothing.
PersonalLoans.com is a site to check if you’ve been turned down for a personal loan recently or have concerns about your credit.
Although LendingTree will attempt to match every consumer with loan offers, regardless of your credit score, it’s especially important to check multiple quotes whenever you’re applying for credit with a below-average credit score.
There are two reasons for this:
- You want to apply for the loan with the lowest rate possible. A few percentage points difference in APR can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.
- You may not be turned down by one lender, but approved by another.
Brokers like PersonalLoans.com and LendingTree work with many of the same lenders, but some lenders may exclusively work with one or the other. So, if you’re not seeing options you like with one broker, it might be worth checking the other. Both sites will pull your credit information, but again, these checks are known as “soft inquiries” and won’t actually affect your credit like the inquiry made when you actually go to apply for a loan.
Best Personal Loan Lenders
If you’re shopping for a personal loan and have good credit, look for the following lenders, which offer some of the best rates, loan terms, and user experiences in the industry.
Upstart is an innovative personal loan lender offering unsecured personal loans of up to $50,000 at rates between 5.67% – 35.99% as of publication. Unlike other lenders, Upstart takes into account more than just your credit score when making loan decisions. For example, Upstart will also consider an applicant's education, area of study, and job history in addition to traditional credit factors.
With Upstart, borrowers save an estimated 23% compared to credit card rates. Upstart also offers next-day funding and states that 99% of approved applicants get their funds within one business day of accepting their loans.
Upgrade is a straightforward personal loan lender offering loans up to $50,000 at rates between 5.99%-35.89% as of publication. Upgrade charges an origination fee of between 1.5% and 6% of the loan value, which is common among many personal loan lenders. Your actual fee will depend upon your creditworthiness and other factors.
Upgrade's website provides a fast, intuitive way to check your loan rate without impacting your credit score. Upstart also disperses loan funds within one business day of accepting your loan.
Prosper is one of the companies that began the personal loan revolution 15 years ago with what was, at the time, an unconventional approach to consumer lending.
At Prosper, individual investors pool small amounts of money to fund each loan. For example, I could create a Prosper account, deposit $25, and choose to lend it to you. If you were borrowing $1,000, up to 40 other investors would also lend you $25 or more, and together, we would share in earning interest as you repay the loan. (We also share the risk that you won’t pay us back!)
For well-qualified borrowers, Prosper can be very competitive on interest rates. And, due to the crowdfunded nature of their loans, some borrowers may have success getting a loan from Prosper when traditional lenders say no. Just watch out: Prosper’s interest rates can get exceedingly high for some borrowers. We can’t think of any situation in which we would recommend borrowing money at 30% or more. Borrower beware!
Prosper offers loans in amounts between $2,000 and $40,000 at rates of between 6.95% and 35.99% (eek!) at the time of publication. Prosper also charges an origination fee of between 1% and 5% of the loan amount. The fee amount will depend on your individual creditworthiness.
Earnest is a lender offering student loan refinancing, personal loans, and also mortgages. They offer competitive rates, but they also have a relatively high minimum credit score requirement of 680, so applicants with less-than-excellent credit are advised to look elsewhere.
Earnest offers loan amounts between $5,000 and $75,000. There are no origination fees and personal loan rates range between 5.99% and 17.24% with terms of 3, 4, or 5 years.
What’s notable about Earnest is that they allow you to “tweak” your personal loan’s monthly payments before you originate it by modifying any number of loan factors.
Payoff is a personal loan lender specializing in debt consolidation. Their product, the “Payoff Loan” is designed for consumers looking to consolidate credit card debt or other unsecured personal debt. Payoff’s minimum qualifications for this loan are a 640 credit score and less than 50% DTI, or debt-to-income ratio.
Payoff’s interest rates are between 5.99% and 24.99% as of the time of publication. There is an origination fee of between 2% and 5% of the loan value.
SoFi (short for Social Finance, if you’re curious), began as a Silicon Valley start-up offering young professionals better options to refinance their student loans.
As SoFi has grown, so have their product offerings, which now include mortgages, wealth management and life insurance, and yes, personal loans.
SoFi does not charge fees of any kind on its personal loans, so the interest represents the only cost to the loan. SoFi offers loans between $5,000 and $100,000 in terms of between 3 and 7 years. At the time of publication, interest rates range from 5.99% to 17.67% as long as you enroll in automatic payments. Rates without automatic payments are slightly higher.
You may know Goldman Sachs as a Wall Street powerhouse. Marcus is Goldman’s recently-launched consumer banking division, and currently offers some of the most competitive rates on both loans and deposit accounts nationwide.
Marcus advertises personal loans in amounts between $3,500 and $40,000 for terms between 36 and 72 months (3 to 6 years). Interest rates range from 6.99% up to 28.99% APR (up to 24.99% for residents of New York State) as of publication.
Lending Club is another “marketplace” lender like Prosper where individual investors pool their money to fund your loans.
LendingClub offers personal loans up to $40,000 at rates between 6.95% and 35.89% (again, eek!) Like Prosper, LendingClub charges an origination fee of between 1% and 6% of your loan amount, with the actual fee depending on your credit history.
Best Egg is an online lender that provides personal loans exclusively.
Best Egg advertises loans for amounts between $2,000 and $35,000 in 3- or 5-year terms and charges interest rates of between 5.99% and 29.99%. There is an origination fee of between 0.99% and 5.99% of the loan amount, depending on your credit.
Why Choose a Personal Loan?
Unlike credit cards, personal loans have fixed terms and monthly payments. With a personal loan, you can budget for a predictable monthly payment and can borrow only the money you need to remove any temptation to overspend.
For borrowers with excellent credit, the best personal loan rates may also be significantly less than even the best credit card rates.
Borrowers with less-than-perfect credit may be able to find a personal loan, too, albeit at possibly higher interest rates. Not sure where you stand? These are the two best websites for getting your free credit score.
In either case, it pays to shop around.
Above, we highlighted 9 of the best direct personal loan companies available today. Although there are hundreds of banks and direct lenders that offer personal loans, these companies have established themselves as reliable choices thanks to their competitive personal loan rates, good user experiences, and fair loan terms.
It pays to become familiar with these lenders and how their interest rates and loan products differ. While you may elect to apply for a loan directly with one of the lenders above, the best way to compare personal loans is often to use a loan broker.
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