17 best personal loans

If you’re in the market for a personal loan, here are the 17 best personal loans that are available right now. (iStock)

Whether you’re looking to consolidate debt or you need to cover a big expense, a personal loan can be an easy way to access the funds you need at a lower interest rate than most credit cards. That said, not every personal loan will work for every borrower. 

Interest rates and terms can vary widely from lender to lender, depending on your credit, how much you want to borrow and the repayment term you seek. So it’s important to shop around for the best rate and to compare your options. 

Comparing personal loan rates is easy with Credible, where you can see your prequalified rates in minutes.

  • What to know about comparison shopping for a personal loan
  • 17 best personal loans
  • Other personal loan lenders to consider
  • How to apply for a personal loan
  • Can you get a personal loan with bad credit?
  • What can personal loans be used for?
  • What to consider when taking out a personal loan
  • How does a personal loan affect your credit score?

What to know about comparison shopping for a personal loan

If you’re in the market for a personal loan, remember that it’s important to compare your loan options from multiple lenders. As a rule of thumb, you should gather quotes from at least three different lenders. 

Once you do, you’ll generally want to choose the loan with the lowest loan interest rate, but you’ll also need to make sure that the fee structure and available loan terms work for you. While you’re weighing your options, it may be helpful to use a personal loan calculator to get a better idea of what your monthly payments might look like at various loan amounts and interest rates.

17 best personal loans

Beginning your comparison shopping with a website like Credible can help you quickly narrow down your options to lenders that work for your needs. The following 17 personal loan lenders are Credible partners.

Avant

With a minimum income requirement of $24,000 and a minimum credit score of 580, Avant could be a good fit for borrowers with poor credit. But Avant loans are not available in Colorado, Iowa, Hawaii, Vermont, Nevada, New York or West Virginia. The lender also charges origination fees.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $35,000
  • Loan terms (years): Two to five
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the next business day, if approved by 4:30 PM CT on a weekday

Axos Bank

If you have good credit, Axos Bank may be an option, as it requires a credit score of at least 740. The lender charges origination fees from zero to 2%, and also late and insufficient funds fees.

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $35,000
  • Loan terms (years): One to five
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: Next business day

Best Egg

With a minimum credit score requirement of just 600, Best Egg may be a good fit for borrowers with fair credit. And because the lender considers more than 1,500 factors besides your credit score, you might have an easier time qualifying with Best Egg than with some other lenders. However, Best Egg does charge origination fees.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): Two to five
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: As soon as one to three business days after successful verification

Discover

If you need a bit more time to repay your loan than most lenders offer, Discover’s seven-year repayment term might be a good option for you. But you’ll need at least fair to good credit to qualify, as the lender’s minimum required credit score is 660.

  • Loan amounts: $2,500 to $35,000
  • Loan terms (years): Three to seven
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: Loan funds can be distributed as soon as the next business day after acceptance.

FreedomPlus

If you need a personal loan for debt consolidation, it’s worth noting that FreedomPlus may give you a better interest rate if at least 85% of your loan proceeds go to paying off existing debt. But FreedomPlus loans are not available in Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, New Hampshire, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin or Wyoming.

  • Loan amounts: $10,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): Two to five
  • Discounts: Does not disclose
  • Time to get funds: As soon as two business days

LendingClub

Although their personal loans do come with an origination fee, there’s no minimum income requirement to borrow through LendingClub. And their minimum credit score requirement is only 600, which makes it a good fit for those who may be operating on a tight budget. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms (years): Three or five
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: About three days

LendingPoint

With a minimum credit score requirement of just 580, LendingPoint may be a good option for people with less-than-great credit. They do require a minimum annual income of $20,000 and their loans aren’t available in Nevada or West Virginia.

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $46,500
  • Loan terms (years): Two to four
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the next business day

LightStream

Available in all states except for Rhode Island and Vermont, LightStream’s loans may be best for people who need to borrow a large amount. You’ll need a credit score of at least 660 to qualify for a loan from this lender, and their loans aren’t available in Rhode Island or Vermont. 

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms (years): Two to seven (up to 12 for home improvements)
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Time to get funds: As soon as the same business day

Marcus

If you need to tailor your payment options to fit your budget, Marcus loans may be worth a look. Plus, the lender offers the option to defer one monthly payment, without incurring additional interest, after you’ve made 12 consecutive on-time payments. But if you need super-fast funding, Marcus may not work for you, as their time to fund is at least three days.

  • Loan amounts: $3,500 to $40,000
  • Loan terms (years): Three to six
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Time to get funds: Many Marcus customers receive funds in as little as three days.

OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial stands out as a lender for people with poor credit, as the lender has no minimum credit score requirement. And, if you visit a branch office, you may be able to get your loan proceeds on the same day your application is approved. But you may need to put up some collateral to secure the loan. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,500 to $20,000
  • Loan terms (years): Two to five
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: The same day, as long as you visit a branch office

Payoff

You may be able to qualify for a Payoff loan with fair credit since the lender’s minimum credit score requirement is just 600. But you can only use Payoff loans for debt consolidation or credit card consolidation. And its loans aren’t available in Massachusetts, Nevada or Ohio. 

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms (years): Two to five
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: As soon as two to five business days after verification

PenFed Credit Union

If you need a smaller loan, you might find what you need with PenFed — the lender offers loans for as little as $600. You’ll need decent credit to qualify, as the lender’s minimum score requirement is 670. You’ll also need to join the credit union to qualify for a loan.

  • Loan amounts: $6,000 to $50,000, depending on the repayment term
  • Loan terms (years): One to five
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: Two to four business days after verification

Prosper

With no minimum income requirement and a minimum credit score requirement of just 640, this peer-to-peer lender could be a good option for people with modest credit and lower income. Prosper does charge origination fees, and their loans aren’t available in Iowa, North Dakota or West Virginia. 

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $40,000
  • Loan terms (years): Three or five
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: As soon as one business day

SoFi

If you want more than just loan funds from your lender, SoFi may be worth considering. The lender provides borrowers with access to perks like unemployment protection, career coaching and investment advice. But it can be difficult to know how likely you are to qualify for a SoFi loan, as the lender doesn’t disclose its minimum income or credit score requirements. 

  • Loan amounts: $5,000 to $100,000
  • Loan terms (years): Two to seven
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Time to get funds: Three business days

Universal Credit

In addition to offering personal loans to those with a minimum credit score of at least 560, Universal Credit gives borrowers access to free credit monitoring and a range of tools to help them build their credit scores. But their loans aren’t available in the District of Columbia, South Carolina or West Virginia. Their rates can be higher than other lenders, and they charge an origination fee. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan term (years): Three to five
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Time to get funds: Within one day, once approved

Upgrade

With a minimum credit score of just 580, Upgrade is a solid option for those with less-than-perfect credit who are in need of credit card refinancing, debt consolidation or a home improvement loan. Upgrade charges an origination fee for their loans, which are not available in West Virginia. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): Two to seven
  • Discounts: Available for autopay
  • Time to get funds: Within a day of clearing necessary verifications

Upstart

If you need a loan with low income and/or low credit, Upstart’s minimum income requirement is just $12,000 and its minimum credit score is 580. But you won’t be able to get an Upstart loan if you live in Iowa or West Virginia, and the lender charges origination, late payment and returned check fees. 

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $50,000
  • Loan terms (years): Three to five
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: One to three business days

You can check rates from these personal loan lenders by visiting Credible, where checking your prequalified rates doesn’t affect your credit.

Other personal loan lenders to consider

The following lenders are not Credible partners, so you won’t be able to easily compare your rates with them on the Credible platform. But they may also be worth considering if you’re looking for a personal loan. 

HSBC

It may be difficult to know if you’ll meet HSBC’s qualifications since the lender doesn’t disclose minimum credit score or income requirements. But if you do qualify, HSBC charges no loan fees. 

  • Loan amounts: $3,000 to $50,000, depending on your relationship with HSBC Bank
  • Loan terms (years): Two to five
  • Discounts: Does not disclose
  • Time to get funds: One to three days

PNC

PNC also offers loans without fees, but they don’t disclose their minimum credit score and income requirements, which can make it hard to know if you qualify. In addition, their loan terms are limited to three years.

  • Loan amounts: $1,000 to $35,000
  • Loan terms (years): Three
  • Discounts: None
  • Time to get funds: Does not disclose

Rocket Loans

Available in all states except Iowa, Nevada and West Virginia, Rocket Loans also does not disclose its minimum credit score and income requirements. Although the lender charges an origination fee, they’ll provide a discount if you sign up for autopay. 

  • Loan amounts: $2,000 to $45,000
  • Loan terms (years): Three or five
  • Discounts: Autopay
  • Time to get funds: Does not disclose

Methodology

Credible evaluated the best personal loan lenders based on factors such as customer experience, minimum fixed rate, maximum loan amount, funding time, loan terms and fees. Credible’s team of experts gathered information from each lender’s website, customer service department and via email support. Each data point was verified to make sure it was up to date.

How to apply for a personal loan

After your comparison shopping has helped you identify the lender you think is right for your needs, you’ll have to complete an application to secure the loan. Following these steps could help make the process go more smoothly:

  • Gather your documentation. To qualify for a personal loan, you’ll generally need to provide documentation on your income, such as a recent pay stub. You’ll also likely need to provide a form of personal identification, such as a driver’s license or photo ID.
  • Get prequalified. You should gather quotes from different lenders and compare loan offers to see which works best for your financial situation.
  • Fill out the application. Once you choose your lender, you’ll fill out a complete loan application. Avoid completing more than one loan application, as too many applications in a short amount of time could affect your credit.
  • Wait for approval. You may have to wait a few days for the lender to review your application and make a decision on whether or not to approve you for a loan.

Can you get a personal loan with bad credit?

As you can see from the list of Credible lenders above, most lenders publicize their minimum credit requirements, which can help you identify one that you’re most likely to qualify with. You'll want to make sure that you meet, if not exceed, any minimum requirements. 

Be aware, however, a personal loan for bad credit often comes with a higher interest rate than you might qualify for with good credit. With that in mind, if you can wait, it may make sense to work to improve your credit score as much as possible before applying for a personal loan.

What can personal loans be used for?

Personal loans are generally used for consolidating debt or for covering large expenses like home improvements or medical costs. While some lenders put restrictions on what their loans can and can’t be used for, others are more flexible. 

That said, generally, personal loans aren’t used to pay for education costs. In that case, student loans may be a more viable alternative.

What to consider when taking out a personal loan

While loan amounts, terms and fees can vary from lender to lender, you should generally consider the following:

  • Loan amount — Most personal loan lenders usually offer loan amounts between $1,000 and $50,000. However, in some instances, you may be able to get a loan worth up to $100,000 if you’re a qualified borrower.
  • Loan term — Loan terms typically last anywhere from 12 to 60 months.
  • Interest rates — Lender annual interest rates usually range from 5% to 36%. However, the rate you receive will likely be dependent on your credit, the amount you want to borrow, the repayment term and other financial qualifications.
  • Fees — Some lenders charge origination fees, while others charge late fees or fees for incomplete payments. Still, others may charge you a penalty if you pay off the personal loan early.

Comparing rates from multiple lenders can help ensure you receive the best personal loan available to you. Checking rates is easy when you use Credible.

How does a personal loan affect your credit score?

Any time you open a new credit account or pay one off, your credit score can change as a result. The change can be long-term or short-term, positive or negative.

Some positive effects of a new personal loan include:

  • Improving your mix of types of credit
  • Lowering your credit utilization ratio
  • Building a positive payment history as you make on-time payments

But there are some negative effects as well, including:

  • It creates a hard inquiry on your credit report, which can temporarily lower your score.
  • It can create more debt if you use it to pay off credit cards and then continue carrying new balances on those cards.
  • Missed or late payments will negatively affect your credit.

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