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Contents

Best Personal Loan Rates & Companies for 2020

Our company receives compensation from partners seen on our website. Here’s how we make money. Our research, news, ratings, and assessments are scrutinized using strict editorial integrity. Our editorial staff does not receive direction from advertisers on our website.

A personal loan is typically an unsecured loan that offers you access to cash that can be used towards debt consolidation, home improvements, or typically whatever else you need money for. Personal loans are generally offered with fixed interest rates that are lower than other financing options, allowing for a straightforward repayment process.

In this guide, you can compare our choices for the best personal loan companies, including their rates and terms, and find answers to some of the most common questions that borrowers have.

Compare Personal Loan Companies & Rates

Min. Credit Score

  • Rate Beat Program available
  • Accepts joint applications for every loan type
  • LightStream has one of the highest loan limits; allowing borrowers take out up to $100,000
  • Zero origination, prepayment penalties, or late fees
  • Plants a tree for every loan

*Your loan terms are not guaranteed and may vary based loan purpose, length of loan, loan amount, credit history and payment method (AutoPay or Invoice). Rate quote includes AutoPay discount. AutoPay discount is only available when selected prior to loan funding. 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 6.14% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $304.85. Some additional conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice. SunTrust now Truist is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2020 Truist Financial Corporation. SunTrust®, Truist, LightStream®, the LightStream logo, and the SunTrust logo are service marks of Truist Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Lending services provided by SunTrust now Truist Bank.

Loan Minimum $5,000
Loan Maximum $100,000
Time to Funding As soon as the same day 3
Min. Annual Income Not provided
Min. Credit History Not provided
State Restrictions Available in any state
Origination Fees None
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees None

Min. Credit Score

  • Access to free credit monitoring, a credit simulator, and free educational resources
  • Upgrade may allow you to temporarily reduce your monthly payments due to hardships
  • Funds will be sent to your bank via ACH within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications
  • No prepayment penalties

* Personal loans made through Upgrade feature APRs of 7.99%-35.97%. All personal loans have a 2.9% to 8% origination fee, which is deducted from the loan proceeds. Lowest rates require Autopay and paying off a portion of existing debt directly. For example, if you receive a $10,000 loan with a 36-month term and a 17.98% APR (which includes a 14.32% yearly interest rate and a 5% one-time origination fee), you would receive $9,500 in your account and would have a required monthly payment of $343.33. Over the life of the loan, your payments would total $12,359.97. The APR on your loan may be higher or lower and your loan offers may not have multiple term lengths available. Actual rate depends on credit score, credit usage history, loan term, and other factors. Late payments or subsequent charges and fees may increase the cost of your fixed rate loan. There is no fee or penalty for repaying a loan early. Personal loans issued by Upgrade’s lending partners. Information on Upgrade’s lending partners can be found at https://www.upgrade.com/lending-partners/.

**Accept your loan offer and your funds will be sent electronically to your bank or designated account within one (1) business day of clearing necessary verifications. Availability of the funds is dependent on how quickly your bank processes the transaction. From the time of approval, funds should be available within four (4) business days.

Loan Minimum $1,000
Loan Maximum $50,000
Time to Funding One business day **
Min. Annual Income None
Min. Credit History Typically 3 years
State Restrictions Not available in IA, VT, WV
Origination Fees 1.5% – 6% of the loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees Up to $10

Min. Credit Score

  • Founded in 2007, LendingClub is the largest online lender for personal loans in the U.S.
  • Ability to add a cosigner
  • Borrowers facing hardship have the option to make interest-only payments for three months
  • No prepayment penalties
Loan Minimum $1,000
Loan Maximum $40,000
Time to Funding As few as 3 days
Min. Annual Income None
Min. Credit History None
State Restrictions Not available in IA
Origination Fees 1% – 6% of loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees 5% of the unpaid amount or $15

Min. Credit Score

  • Upstart considers factors other than your credit score when assessing your loan application
  • Accepts applicants with a part-time job or a job offer letter
  • Receive funds as quick as next day after approval
  • No prepayment penalties or hidden fees
Loan Minimum $1,000
Loan Maximum $50,000
Time to Funding Typically one day
Min. Annual Income None
Min. Credit History None
State Restrictions Available in any state
Origination Fees 0% – 8% of the loan amount
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Fees $10 after 15-day grace period

Best Personal Loans for 2020

Below are reviews of LendEDU’s picks for the best personal loan companies. You can find information about interest rates, term lengths, fees, and more in the reviews below.

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The following seven companies are the highest rated based on our Editorial Ratings. In order to make the list, lenders must also offer personal loans in at least 20 to 40 states depending on credit score tier, and must not require borrowers to be a member of the bank or credit union.

Here are our choices for the best personal loans by credit tier. Click an option below to learn more about the lenders in that tier.

Best Personal Loans for Excellent Credit

Credit range: 690 to 850

The personal loan lenders in this category will typically only accept borrowers with excellent credit or good credit. If you fall into this range, you may be able to find a loan with the best rates and friendliest repayment terms in the industry.

LightStream

What we like: Beat any qualifying rate

Editorial Rating ( 4.62 / 5.0 )

  • $100 satisfaction guarantee on your experience 1
  • Rate Beat Program available
  • AutoPay discount of 0.50%

As soon as the same day 3

*Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.

Payment example: Monthly payments for a $10,000 loan at 9.34% APR with a term of 3 years would result in 36 monthly payments of $319.58. LightStream disclosures here.

More About LightStream

LightStream targets highly qualified borrowers which means it routinely offers some of the lowest personal loan rates available – but only to a subsection of online loan-seekers. Your actual APR will be determined after a thorough review of your application. LightStream loans can be used for virtually any purpose, as stated on the company’s website. Loan terms for all purposes outside of home improvement have a maximum loan term of 7 years.

If you don’t qualify for an unsecured loan through LightStream, you may be able to take out a secured loan for the purchase of a new, used, or classic car.

After receiving a loan, if you are not satisfied, you can complete a questionnaire and receive $100. This guarantee expires 30 days after receiving your loan.

LightStream is so confident in their product that they have a Rate Beat Program in which they offer to beat a competitor’s published rate by 0.10% if certain conditions are met (see site for details).

Since the loan application process is entirely online, borrowers don’t have to travel to a physical branch of LightStream’s parent company, SunTrust Bank, to fill out an application.

What we like: Career coaching

Editorial Rating ( 4.45 / 5.0 )

  • Minimum Annual Income of $50,000
  • Unemployment protection program
  • Pre-qualify for rates with no commitment
  • AutoPay discount of 0.25%

7 days on average

Fixed rates from 6.990% APR to 14.865% APR (with AutoPay). SoFi rate ranges are current as of September 1, 2020 and are subject to change without notice. Not all rates and amounts available in all states. See Personal Loan eligibility details. Not all applicants qualify for the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, to qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including evaluation of your credit worthiness, years of professional experience, income and other factors. See APR examples and terms. 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.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull.

More About SoFi

Since beginning in 2020, SoFi (or Social Finance) has grown into one of the best loan companies in the nation. SoFi offers personal loans for credit card consolidation, home improvements, relocation assistance, medical procedures, and more.

The loan application process is fairly straightforward. You can prequalify for a loan with a soft credit pull in 2 minutes with no commitment. When ready, you can complete your online application with the help of SoFi consultants that will require a hard credit pull. Funds can be expected within a few days after finalizing some additional agreements with the lender.

A unique perk offered by SoFi is their unemployment protection program. If borrowers lose their jobs and sources of income, they will be eligible for this program. SoFi temporarily halts payments until the borrower can find a new job. Additionally, SoFi even helps its customers find new opportunities in the workplace.

What we like: PNC offers multiple loan options, including secured and unsecured loans.

Editorial Rating ( 4.75 / 5.0 )

  • No minimum annual income
  • Apply online, by phone, or in person at a branch
  • A cosigner can be added to an application

Annual Percentage Rates, terms of loan and monthly payments presented are estimated based upon analysis of information you entered, your credit profile and/or available rate information from lenders. While efforts have been made to maintain accurate information, the loan information is presented without warranty and the estimated APR or other terms presented do not bind any lender. Lenders generally have a range of available APRs (for example, a lender’s range might be 5% to 36%) and only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend upon factors evaluated at the time of application, which may include credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. When evaluating offers, please review the lender’s Terms and Conditions for additional details.

More About PNC

PNC offers both secured and unsecured personal loans as well as lines of credit. PNC is the ninth largest U.S. bank measured by assets, which makes applying for a personal loan easy because you can submit your application via phone, in a local branch, or online.

While you’ll need good credit to qualify for an unsecured loan, PNC offers a reasonable APR and flexibility in loan repayment terms, so borrowing is easy and affordable. There are also no origination fees or prepayment penalties. The option to get a secured loan even enables people without perfect credit scores to borrow.

PNC prides itself on fast funding, and you have the flexibility to use borrowed funds for anything you’d like. You can also add a co-applicant to qualify for a loan at a better rate, and you can qualify for an autopay discount provided you make payments from a PNC checking account.

Full List of Excellent Credit Personal Loan Rates & Rankings

Ranking Lender Interest Rates (APR)
1 LightStream 3.99 – 16.79
2 SoFi 5.74 % – 17.67 %
3 PNC 5.99 – 11.49
4 Citizens Bank 6.79 – 9.06
5 Laurel Road 8.01 – 16.30
6 Discover 6.99 – 24.99
7 Navy Federal Credit Union 8.19 – 18.00
8 Wells Fargo 5.49 – 22.99
9 TD Bank 6.99 – 18.99
10 Earnest 6.99 – 18.24
11 Santander 6.99 +
12 M&T 7.49 – 12.99
13 American Express 6.90 – 19.98
14 USAA 9.49 – 17.65
15 Citibank 7.99 – 17.99
16 Best Egg 5.99 – 29.99
17 HSBC 5.99 +
18 Regions Bank Not Disclosed
19 Rocket Loans 7.16 – 29.99
20 Prosper 6.95 – 35.99

Best Personal Loans for Average Credit

Credit range: 630 to 689

The personal loan lenders in this category will typically only accept borrowers with average credit and above. If you fall into this range, you likely won’t receive rates similar to the excellent and good credit range, but you can still receive competitive rates and repayment terms.

Marcus by Goldman Sachs®

What we like: No fees

Editorial Rating ( 4.32 / 5.0 )

  • Minimum annual income of $25,000
  • No late payment fees
  • Personal loan calculator to see your savings
  • On-time payment reward

Your loan terms are not guaranteed and are subject to our verification of your identity and credit information. To obtain a loan, you must submit additional documentation including an application that may affect your credit score. 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.

More About Marcus

Marcus Personal Loans is a division of Goldman Sachs bank, one of the largest and oldest banks in the U.S. Marcus offers personal loans for debt consolidation, home improvement, weddings, moving and relocation, vacation, and more.

Marcus performs an initial soft credit check to provide you with prequalified personal loan offers. If you see a loan you like, you can submit a full loan application and the lender will perform a hard credit check to confirm your eligibility and rate.

Another feature of Marcus Personal Loans is that they allow borrowers to choose their monthly payments and loan amounts. This allows borrowers to better customize their loans so that it’s right for them and their lifestyle.

While there are no late payment fees with Marcus, you will still accumulate interest if you do not make payments. This will cause your final payment to be larger than previously agreed upon.

FreedomPlus

What we like: Human engagement during application

Editorial Rating ( 4.24 / 5.0 )

  • Max loan amount equal to 35% of gross income in a given year
  • Speak to a loan consultant for help with your application
  • Loans can be used for a wide range of needs

0% – 5% of loan amount

3 – 5 days after approval

Annual Percentage Rates, terms of loan and monthly payments presented are estimated based upon analysis of information you entered, your credit profile and/or available rate information from lenders. While efforts have been made to maintain accurate information, the loan information is presented without warranty and the estimated APR or other terms presented do not bind any lender. Lenders generally have a range of available APRs (for example, a lender’s range might be 5% to 36%) and only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend upon factors evaluated at the time of application, which may include credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. When evaluating offers, please review the lender’s Terms and Conditions for additional details.

More About FreedomPlus

FreedomPlus takes pride in offering borrowers the opportunity to speak directly with a loan consultant prior to submitting an application. Their model is focused on providing transparency to borrowers so that a loan from FreedomPlus can be “the smart way to meet your financial needs.”

The repayment process is straightforward as borrowers will have fixed monthly payments and the ability to choose their own payment date. Unfortunately, FreedomPlus does charge some fees that are worth considering when deciding if they are the best option for you.

Payoff

What we like: Job loss support

Editorial Rating ( 4.08 / 5.0 )

  • Must have a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less
  • Must have 3 years of a good credit history
  • Designed to help boost your FICO score
  • Loans are designed to help eliminate high-interest credit card debt

0% – 5% of loan amount

Annual Percentage Rates, terms of loan and monthly payments presented are estimated based upon analysis of information you entered, your credit profile and/or available rate information from lenders. While efforts have been made to maintain accurate information, the loan information is presented without warranty and the estimated APR or other terms presented do not bind any lender. Lenders generally have a range of available APRs (for example, a lender’s range might be 5% to 36%) and only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend upon factors evaluated at the time of application, which may include credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. When evaluating offers, please review the lender’s Terms and Conditions for additional details.

More About Payoff

Payoff offers a personal loan designed to help borrowers eliminate credit card debt. Their loan allows you to consolidate multiple high-interest credit card balances into one monthly payment with a fixed interest rate.

Something that makes Payoff unique amongst other personal loan lenders is the transparency around their approval criteria. In order to be approved for a loan you will need a FICO score of 640 or higher, a debt-to-income ratio of 50% or less, and 3 years of good credit amongst other criteria.

If you are looking for a personal loan to help you repay high-interest credit card debt, then Payoff may be a good option.

Full List of Average Credit Personal Loan Rates & Rankings

Ranking Lender Interest Rates (APR)
1 Marcus 5.99 – 28.99
2 DCU 8.00 +
3 FreedomPlus 5.99 – 29.99
4 PenFed Credit Union 6.49 +
5 Payoff 5.99 % – 24.99 %
6 LendingPoint 9.99 – 35.99
7 Upstart 5.59 % – 35.99 %
8 Upgrade 7.99 – 35.89
9 LendingClub 6.95 – 35.89

Best Personal Loans for Bad Credit

Credit range: 550 to 629

The personal loan lenders in this category provide bad credit loans to borrowers with below average credit and above. If you fall into this range, you likely won’t receive the best personal loan rates, but these lenders are usually aware of the need for borrowers to rebuild credit and look to help you with that. These lenders also provide customer service to help borrowers with any repayment struggles.

OneMain Financial

What we like: Same day funding

Editorial Rating ( 4.33 / 5.0 )

  • No minimum annual income
  • Have local branches to allow for in-person discussions
  • Offer both secured or unsecured personal loans
  • Get an idea of your estimated monthly payment with their calculator

Annual Percentage Rates, terms of loan and monthly payments presented are estimated based upon analysis of information you entered, your credit profile and/or available rate information from lenders. While efforts have been made to maintain accurate information, the loan information is presented without warranty and the estimated APR or other terms presented do not bind any lender. Lenders generally have a range of available APRs (for example, a lender’s range might be 5% to 36%) and only borrowers with excellent credit will qualify for the lowest rate available. Your actual APR will depend upon factors evaluated at the time of application, which may include credit score, loan amount, loan term, credit usage and history. All loans are subject to credit review and approval. When evaluating offers, please review the lender’s Terms and Conditions for additional details.

More About OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial offers personal loans for those with bad credit. The ability to meet loan specialists in person at a branch can be useful for those looking for a more personal experience.

If approved for a personal loan through OneMain Financial, you will have to visit a branch to verify your information and discuss the next steps. Though this step may be unappealing for those looking to complete the process online, you could get your money the same day if approved by noon.

Naturally, interest rates are higher than other lenders due to the risk of lending to borrowers with lower credit scores. However, the lack of fees attached to their loan product is a plus.

Avant

What we like: No minimum credit score

Editorial Rating ( 3.93 / 5.0 )

  • No minimum income requirement
  • Check loan options with a soft credit pull
  • Mobile app to keep up with your loan
  • Financial tools to stay up to date on your loan

Up to 4.75% of loan amount

2 days on average

* The actual loan amount, term, and APR amount of loan that a customer qualifies for may vary based on credit determination and state law. Minimum loan amounts vary by state. Avant branded credit products are issued by WebBank, member FDIC.

For Example: A $5,700 loan with an administration fee of 4.75% and an amount financed of $5,429.25, repayable in 36 monthly installments, would have an APR of 29.95% and monthly payments of $230.33.

More About Avant

Founded in 2020 and previously known as AvantCredit, Avant has provided access to over $4 billion in personal loans to date. It has built a proprietary formula to judge a borrower’s creditworthiness by utilizing advanced algorithms and analytical tools.

A personal loan through Avant can be used for debt consolidation, home improvement, major purchases, and more. The loan application process is fairly straightforward. You can check your personal loan options in a few minutes without affecting your credit score. If you like the terms offered, you can e-sign and the funds can be deposited into your account as soon as the next business day following a hard credit pull.

Full List of Bad Credit Personal Loan Rates & Rankings

Ranking Lender Interest Rates (APR)
1 OneMain Financial 18.00 – 35.99
2 Stilt 7.99 % – 35.99 %
3 Boro 15.90 % – 19.90 %
4 OppLoans 99.00 – 199
5 Avant 9.95 – 35.99
6 Mariner Not Disclosed
7 Backed 2.90 – 15.99

How We Chose the Best Personal Loan Companies

In order to find the best personal loans, our Editorial Team spent over 50 hours analyzing 45 different companies for 21 data points.

We sorted each company into a credit rating category based on their eligibility requirements, and we rated each company relative to other companies in their category.

We only included lenders that offer loans to consumers in at least 20 states for the bad credit tier, 35 states for the average credit tier, and 40 states for the excellent credit tier. We also excluded companies that require any sort of membership to be eligible for a loan.

We rated lenders based on multiple data points and weighted each according to its importance. To come up with the overall rating for each lender, we found the weighted average of each data point.

See the Description of Rating Categories below for more information.

Weightings of Data Points Analyzed

  • Personal Loans for Excellent Credit: BBB Rating (10%), Fixed Rate APR (20%), Loan Amounts (10%), Term Lengths (15%), Deposit Time (10%), Origination Fees (10%), Initial Soft-Credit Pull (10%), Customer Support (5%), Discounts Available (10%)
  • Personal Loans for Average Credit: BBB Rating (7.5%), Fixed Rate APR (20%), Loan Amounts (5%), Term Lengths (15%), Deposit Time (10%), Origination Fees (15%), Initial Soft-Credit Pull (10%), Customer Support (5%), Discounts Available (7.5%)
  • Personal Loans for Bad Credit: BBB Rating (10%), Fixed Rate APR (20%), Loan Amounts (10%), Term Lengths (15%), Deposit Time (15%), Origination Fees (15%), Initial Soft-Credit Pull (10%), Customer Support (5%)

What to Look for in the Best Personal Loan

In order to find the best personal loan, there are certain things you should consider. While the best loan for you will depend on your personal situation, here are some common things to watch out for:

  • Interest Rates: Look for personal loans with the lowest interest rates. The rate will have the biggest influence over the total cost of the loan, so it’s important to shop around for the lowest rate.
  • Origination Fees: This fee is charged when you take out a personal loan and is calculated as a percentage of the total loan amount. Many of the best personal loans don’t have any origination fees, but some do. If there is one, be sure to consider it when calculating your total loan cost.
  • Prepayment Penalties: This fee is charged if you pay off your loan early. Like origination fees, most of the best personal loan companies don’t charge prepayment penalties. If you anticipate that you’ll want to pay off your loan faster than your term length requires, be sure to find a lender that doesn’t charge prepayment penalties.
  • Other Fees: Some lenders may charge other fees such as late payment fees or fees for paying with a check. Make sure to consider these fees before deciding on which personal loan is best for you.
  • Repayment Terms: Lenders usually allow you to choose from a range of repayment terms. This is the amount of time you will have to make monthly payments for. Shorter term lengths result in higher monthly payments but more interest saved over time, and vice-versa for longer repayment terms. Make sure the lender you choose has a repayment term that will result in a monthly payment that fits your budget.
  • Available Discounts: Many lenders offer interest rate discounts to help reduce the total cost of the loan and to promote financially healthy behaviors. Most often, lenders will offer a rate discount (typically 0.25%) for setting up automatic payments. Other lenders may offer discounts for other things such as having a bank account with the lender.
  • Soft Credit Check for Pre-Approval: Many lenders allow you to see interest rate quotes after they do a soft credit check. This won’t affect your credit score like a hard credit inquiry will, so you can shop around for rates without worrying about your credit taking a hit. Note that most lenders will perform a hard credit inquiry later on in the application process to determine if you are definitely eligible and what your rate will be.
  • If Co-Applicants/Cosigners Are Allowed: If you are not eligible for a personal loan on your own or would like to share the repayment responsibility with someone else, you should look for a lender that allows you to add a co-applicant or cosigner to your application. Check out our pages to learn more about personal loans with a co-applicant or personal loans with a cosigner.
  • Time to Funding: It will take each lender a different amount of time to process your application and disburse your funds to your bank account. If you need money sooner, be sure to choose a lender with a short funding time.
  • Customer Reviews: It’s often valuable to read customer reviews and complaints on external sites like the Better Business Bureau and Trustpilot to see if there are any common issues with the companies you are considering that could negatively affect you.

Average Personal Loan Interest Rates

The following table shows the average personal loan rates that LendEDU users were offered by our lending partners based on their credit scores.

Credit Score Average Rate (APR)
350-629 20.00%+
630-689 19.60%
690-719 13.64%
720-850 10.02%

The following graph shows how the average personal loan interest rate has changed over time according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

How to Get the Best Personal Loan Rates

When it comes to borrowing, one of the most important things to be aware of is the interest rate that you’ll be charged. Your interest rate is the percentage that you will be required to pay on the principle of your loan.

The lower the interest rate, the less you’ll pay over the life of your loan (assuming you make all of your monthly payments).

Lenders determine the interest rate by calculating how big of a risk they believe you will be. If you’re seen as highly likely to repay your loan, you will receive a lower interest rate.

Here are a few things that will help you get the lowest personal loan rates:

Increase Your Credit Score

One of the biggest determiners of your interest rate is your credit score. If you have a high credit score, then you will likely qualify for a low interest rate. If you don’t have a great credit score, you may want to work on improving it before applying for a loan.

Use a Cosigner or Co-Applicant

If you don’t have great credit, you may get a lower interest rate or gain eligibility if you have a creditworthy friend or family member that will sign up as a cosigner or co-applicant on your loan.

A cosigner or co-applicant offers a fallback option for the lender if you fail to make payments, so they are often willing to give you a lower rate.

Have a Stable Income

Even if you have good credit, you will likely find it difficult to get a low interest rate if you don’t have a steady job or source of income. Having a job or steady source of income allows you to show the lender that you will be able to afford future payments.

Choose a Short Term Length

When you take out a loan, you often can choose how long you want your loan term to be. Shorter term lengths usually come with lower interest rates since it will be easier for the lender to project your immediate financial future.

Information You’ll Need When Applying for a Personal Loan

When applying for a personal loan, you will need to provide the lender with certain information. Most often, you will need the following information:

  • Identification: A driver’s license, Social Security card, or passport
  • Proof of Income: If you have an employer, you will need your W-2 form and pay stubs. If you’re self-employed, you will need your tax returns, bank statements, and possibly a profit and loss statement.
  • Verification of Your Address: You need an official piece of mail like a utility bill with your address on it or a copy of your lease or deed.
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your Monthly Expenses and Current Debt
  • Previous Addresses

Personal Loan Resources

If you want to learn more about how personal loans work and best practices for using them, check out some of our resources below.

Best personal loans online 2020: Find the perfect loan for your credit

By Luke Edwards 05 March 2020

Compare the best personal loans online for good and bad credit, debt consolidation and home improvement.

The best personal loans online are a great way to get the funds you need. You might be looking to get a personal loan to pay off debt or major expense such as some home improvement or a wedding. It could be you simply want the extra cash to help fund something you’ve always dreamed about buying.

What ever you need the cash for, we’re here to help you find the best personal loan for your needs and circumstances. Pay your debt down on time and you could also earn a better credit score as you pay it off.

The good news is that there’s a personal loan for everyone, regardless if you have good or bad credit. While rates and charges will vary depending on many factors, the right loan could be the best way to finance your needs securely.

Despite their reputation, some loans are worth exploring if you’re planning to consolidate all your credit card debts into one loan payment at a lower rate. Others will offer a really low starting rate, if you have a great credit score.

There are lots of factors to take into account. Are you looking for the best APR, or do you need a longer-term loan? Perhaps it’s flexible repayments or payment security that you prioritize. Whatever your needs or financial situation, we’ve reviewed the best personal loan companies and summarized then for you so you can quickly and easily find the perfect online personal loan for you.

Compare personal loan rates at Credible
Credible is the perfect place to start your search for the best personal online loan rates. It gets rates from hundreds of banks and lenders for you, so you don’t have to fill out the same details again and again.

1. Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best personal loan overall

Marcus by Goldman Sachs

Best for service

APR variable: 5.99 – 28.99% | Loan range: $3,500 – $40,000 | Min credit score: 660 | Term: 3 – 6 years

Marcus by Goldman Sachs has one of the best customer service ratings of all the personal loan companies out there, which is one of the reasons it ranks top of our list of the best online personal loan providers.

Loans come with a range of benefits like low starting rates, a lack of fees and flexible payment options. The ability to change the due date up to three times during the life of the loan is a nice feature as is the relatively low credit score required for such a low starting rate.

You can skip one payment per year and it will simply be added to the end of your loan term. The lack of hard credit pull is appealing but that’s not to say this is ideal for lower credit rating borrowers as it won’t allow co-signing and does require a minimum 660 credit score.

2. Lightstream: Best personal loan for strong credit

Lightstream

Best overall personal loan for strong credit

APR variable: 4.49 – 17.49% | Loan range: $5,000 – $100,000 | Min credit score: 660 | Term: 2 – 12 years

Lightstream personal online loans are some of the best available right now with excellent rates, a high top-end loan amount, long term options and no fees. While the application process does require a hard credit pull, this loan is only for those with a good credit score of 660 and above. If you’re worried about a rejection then you should avoid this loan company.

Rate undercutting means Lightstream will offer you 0.10% less than any other offer you get from a competitor. With up to a 12-year loan period this is ideal for anyone looking to carry out a big project that costs a lot and needs repayment spread. All that and if you’re unhappy you’ll get $100 back for your troubles if you complain within 30 days.

3. Upstart: Best personal loan for new borrowers

Upstart

Best for new borrowers and graduates

APR variable: 7.69 – 35.99% | Loan range: $1,000 – $50,000 | Min credit score: 620 | Term: 12 – 60 months

Upstart, as the name suggests, is a personal loan for those just starting out in the world of borrowing. That means both those with little or no credit history and those with poor credit ratings could find they are approved by Upstart where others have said no. This applies particularly to graduates with a coding background since this company was started by ex-Google employees. Upstart looks at more than just credit scores with a high value put on potential future income, so graduates with a good degree could do well.

The catch is that rates start a little higher than the competition and there are fees, including origination and late fees. But with super-fast funding, this is one of the best personal loan options out there, especially for graduates.

4. SoFi: Best personal loan for security

Best for security

APR variable: 5.99 – 17.67% | Loan range: $5,000 – $100,000 | Min credit score: 680 | Term: 2 – 7 years

SoFi requires a good credit score to get one of its loans but should you qualify then you can enjoy lots of benefits. The starting rate of 5.99% is decent and the top end amount of $100,000 is generous. But it’s the membership perks and security we like. That security comes in the form of a forbearance feature that will protect you should you become unemployed. This lets you pay interest-only for up to a year while you find a new job.

Membership benefits include lower rate second loans and invites to private events with business owners, career counsellors and mentors. There are no fees and total transparency on these loans but you may have to wait up to seven days for funding to come in.

5. Prosper: Best personal loan for medical fees

Prosper

Best for medical bills

APR variable: 5.99 – 36% | Loan range: $2,000 – $40,000 | Min credit score: 640 | Term: 36 – 60 months

Prosper personal online loans offer a way for those with lower credit scores of 640 to get a loan at a decent starting rate of 5.99%, but the company also specializes in medical bill payments.

This is a peer-to-peer loan meaning it comes from multiple investors. As such the top-end rates are very high at 36% and late fees and origination charges do apply. Soft credit checks won’t affect your credit rating and if you are in no rush you can get a lower APR on your loan. The specialist healthcare loans go up to a higher amount and have lower top-end rates, but require a higher credit score.

6. Lending Club: Best peer-to-peer personal loan

Lending Club

Best peer-to-peer loan for debt consolidation

APR variable: 5.99 – 34.99% | Loan range: $500 – $40,000 | Min credit score: 660 | Term: 36 – 60 months

Lending Club is the original peer-to-peer loan company that allows investors to spread money across loans meaning borrowers can get credit without going to a bank.

You’re still required to have a credit history and decent score but it is aimed at paying off debt and will even consolidate multiple credit cards for you by paying them, so you’re left with one fixed-rate loan. This starts low at 5.99% but shoots up to 34.99% at the high end. This is great for improving credit rating while clearing debt and even allows co-signing, so those with a credit score as low as 540 can be eligible for a loan. An interest-only hardship payment plan is a nice security net for those struggling to repay. But with a 1 – 6% origination fee and 5% late fee it’s not perfect.

7. Avant: Best personal loan for low credit scores

Avant

Best for low credit scores

APR variable: 9.95 – 35.99% | Loan range: $2,000 – $35,000 | Min credit score: 580 | Term: 2 – 5 years

Avant is one of the best personal loans for those with a low credit score. Not only does this only require a score of 580 but it also carries out a soft credit check first so you don’t need to risk lowering it further.

This will cost you though as even the low-end rate is 9.95% APR which climbs to a heady 35.99%. Charges are clear with both origination and late fees made obvious from the start. There are flexible payment options to help if you get into any trouble repaying this loan.

8. Regions: Best personal loan for non-US citizens

Regions

Best for non-US citizens

APR variable: 7.99 – 17.99% | Loan range: $2,000 – $35,000 | Min credit score: Undisclosed | Term: 24 – 60 months

Regions is a very rare personal loan company as the Regions Bank is willing to take applications from, and will actually fund, non-US citizens. This is also a great loan for those seeking smaller dollar amounts from their loan with flexible lines of credit.

While this onnline loan company does cater for those with less impressive credit scores, the rates can be higher in those instances, topping out at 17.99% APR. You can make some savings with deposit secured loans and by using autopay. The downsides are that you must have a Regions checking account and there are both origination and lates fees.

9. Payoff: Best personal loan for debt consolidation

Payoff

The best debt consolidation specialist

APR variable: 5.99 – 24.99% | Loan range: $5,000 – $35,000 | Min credit score: 640 | Term: 2 – 5 years

While this is a personal loan specifically for debt consolidation, it won’t pay off who you owe directly – like some competitors will. That is kind of a positive though as it fits with the company’s ethos of empowering and educating the borrower to clear their own debts and become better at handling money themselves.

This is done through a host of supportive tools including learning resources, online chat assistance and a member advocate for personal guidance. The end result should be regular, on-time payments, which help improve credit score as the loan is paid back.

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How to apply for a personal loan

Applying for a personal loan online in many cases is simple. The initial application process may only take a few minutes. Information varies from lender to lender, but you’ll most likely be asked to provide your address, employment status, estimated credit rating, Social Security number and income information.

You may also be asked to provide further supporting documentation such as proof of income and your address. This basic information helps the lender or broker determine whether you are a good candidate for a loan. Your credit will also be verified using the three major credit-reporting agencies. Many lenders run what is called a “soft credit check” that will not negatively affect your credit score.

What can you use a personal loan for?

A personal loan is one of the few types of loan with few to no restrictions on what you can use the funds for. Where mortgages must go toward a house, student loans must cover college expenses, and auto loans go toward a car, personal loans – in most cases – can be used for nearly anything you can think of, be it a personal or a household need. Typically, people use personal loans for things like moving expenses, vacations, medical emergencies, large purchases and to consolidate debt, among other things.

Still, it isn’t unheard of for lenders to set limits on what you can use the money for, even though it isn’t standard practice. A lender may specify that you cannot use your personal loan to pay for a car or to cover business or college expenses. The lesson here is to read all the fine print attached to any personal loan you are considering. That way, you won’t be blindsided by strict requirements that limit how you can spend the money you borrow.

Factors that influence your loan rate

As with most loans, your credit rating is scrutinized. Each lender has its own requirements, but you’re more likely to obtain a personal loan if you have good credit and a dependable, steady income. If you have not established credit through traditional lines, such as credit cards, a mortgage or auto loans, the lender may consider your payment history with other bills such as utilities or rent.

Interest rates can vary greatly. If you have good credit, you can likely obtain a competitive rate. If your credit is bad or marginal, you can expect to pay a much higher rate, or you may not receive an offer at all.

Lenders may also evaluate your income. Many have minimum income requirements, and these vary from lender to lender, but usually the requirement is a few thousand dollars per month, depending on the loan size and your debt-to-income ratio.

Personal loan fees to consider

The first fee to consider is the actual interest rate. Rates vary greatly. Just a few percentage points in the long run can make a huge difference, so you’ll want to shop for the best rate possible.

A second loan expense to consider is origination fees. Not all loan companies charge this fee. The origination fee is taken from the loan balance. For example, if you get a $10,000 loan but the lender charges an origination fee, your initial deposit won’t be the full $10,000 because the origination fee has been taken out.

The last fee is a check-processing fee. Most companies nowadays add an extra charge to process check payments.

Personal loan rates for good credit

Loan offers, as well as their terms and rates, vary wildly depending on your credit score. If you have a good credit score, which is considered to be any score at or above about 690, you’ll have better loan opportunities available. Additionally, if you have good credit, it’s more likely that your loan will have lower rates, more flexible terms and fewer fees, if any. This is especially true for people whose credit scores are considered to be excellent, which is above 720.

Individuals with a good credit score will also have a wider variety of lenders to choose from, be it from one of myriad online sources or from your personal bank or local credit union. If your credit score is good, we recommend taking the time to shop around for the best loan, so that you end up with one that has the best terms and conditions, fewest fees, lowest rates and, ideally, payment flexibility.

Best personal loans for bad credit

If your credit is far from excellent, don’t fret: There are likely plenty of loan options available to you. The caveat, however, is that with a bad credit score – that is, any score below about 630 – your loan’s rates are likely to be higher. You’ll find that your options are more limited and that you may also have to deal with higher monthly payments or inflexible terms.

The lenders that offer loans to people with low credit scores typically scrutinize your credit history more intensely than they would for applicants with higher scores. Before signing on to any old loan, we recommend checking out the personal loan options at your local credit union first as they have your best interest at heart and usually have a cap on the interest rate they can charge you.

If you have a really low credit score and think you might not pre-qualify for a loan, your other options are to get a co-signer for your loan, borrow against your home’s equity or ask a relative or friend to take a loan out for you in their name. Payroll advances and borrowing against your 401K or life insurance are also options, but they aren’t something we recommend, as they have steep interest rates and can end up hurting your credit in the long run.

How to get the best personal loan for you

Do your research: Though it’s tempting to grab the first loan you see, taking the time to research your options can pay off – quite literally – in the long run. Before applying for a loan, look at any requirements it may have. Does it require a co-signer or collateral? Does the lender run a soft or hard credit check? Are there better options through your bank or local credit union? Knowing the answers to these questions can help point you in the right direction.

See if you pre-qualify: Many loans give you the ability to see if you are eligible for them before formally applying. The pre-qualification process typically requires you to verify your employment, age, residency and income, and it may involve a credit check. Be sure to check whether the lender will do a soft or hard credit check, so your credit score isn’t unnecessarily impacted.

Shop around: There are thousands of loan options out there from a variety of lenders. Once you get pre-approved, taking the time to shop around gives you a better chance to find the best deal for your needs. While looking around, it’s important to keep in mind what a lender will get out of you taking out a loan through them. Many lenders are predatory, advertising a great deal while disguising sky-high interest rates and fees or ridiculous terms. Try to avoid loans with variable interest rates that flux over the life of the loan, in favor of fixed rates instead. Your best bet is a loan through your local credit union.

Apply: Before formally applying for a loan, be sure to read any fine print. Here you should be able to see all the fees, rates, terms and conditions attached to the loan. You should also be able to see any hidden fees here, including application fees, establishment fees, origination fees or early repayment fees. If you’re unsure about anything in the fine print, we recommend contacting the lender directly and asking for clarification.

Get approved: This is the easiest step! The lender will inform you that you have been approved and for how much. Note that some lenders may approve you for an amount exceeding what you needed; and though it’s tempting to accept the full amount, doing so can cost you more in the long run with fees and interest.

Receive your funds: Once you’re approved, you’ll receive your money either by direct deposit or physical check. How long it takes to get your money varies by lender. With some lenders, it may take a couple of weeks; with others, you’ll receive the money the same day that you’re approved.

Repayment: You’ll start paying back the loan according to the terms set forth by your lender. In most cases, you’ll have a set monthly payment. If you want to pay off the loan all at once, check beforehand to see if the lender allows you to do so without penalty.

Managing your loan

One of the benefits of getting an online personal loan is that it’s easier to manage than one you’d take out in person at a bank or credit union. Once you log on to your lender’s website, you should be able to view all pertinent details for your loan. In most cases, you should be able to view related documents, along with your current balance, next payment amount and due date, payment instructions, a single payment portal and lender contact information.

Good lenders will also provide you with your payment history, automatic payment setup, the ability to view and edit your account information as well as a way to review your loan’s rates, fees, terms and conditions. They’ll also have an intuitive and clearly labeled interface that makes it easy for you to view all of your pertinent information, and they won’t try to hide anything from you in confusing menus or fine print. We also like lenders that provide a mobile app so you can view your loan, its related information and even make a payment, no matter where you are. Good lenders may also include a link where you can view your FICO credit score, allowing you to manage both the loan and your credit while repaying the loan.

Your payment options? Your lender should provide you with at least two ways to make a payment on your loan. The easiest way to make a payment is to set up autopay – the amount due will be deducted from your account automatically each month. This is also the easiest way to ensure you don’t miss a payment, which can negatively impact your credit score and possibly even affect your interest rates or other loan terms. You should also be able to make a manual online payment or call the lender’s customer service number to make a payment over the phone. Depending on the lender, other repayment methods may be available as well, including mailing in a check or cash, or making a payment in-person at a brick-and-mortar branch.

We found that, in addition to offering multiple convenient payment methods, the best lenders also make it easy for you to make a payment. Whether you’re making a payment over the phone or online, they should provide step-by-step instructions for paying your bill every time. This feature is especially handy for those who haven’t made a payment through the lender before. Typically, your physical or online bill will give you instructions and provide a way for you to review extra information online.

Contact information for the lender should also be readily available and clearly listed on the bill or website portal so you can quickly get ahold of them should you have any questions about making a payment or you encounter a problem when trying to make a payment. If you call in, some lenders have an automated interactive voice response system that can help you make your payment without ever having to talk with a representative.

What happens if you default on your loan? It is fairly easy to get a personal loan – the tricky part is making payments regularly and repaying it in full. With a bank account and a decent internet connection, you can easily set up auto payments and not spend another minute worrying about the loan. But what happens if you miss a payment or end up defaulting on the loan?

Depending on factors like your loan terms, your location and the lender, you could be considered in default after missing just one payment, or it could take months of missed payments. Typically, when you default on a loan, you can expect your credit score to take a hit, and the blemish on your credit report could remain there anywhere from three to 10 years. This bad mark could even affect your chances of getting a job or buying a house down the line.

Beyond that, the lender could potentially sue you or place a lien on your assets. If that happens, you can end up on the hook for paying court or attorney fees. In court, the contract you signed with the lender saying you agreed to repay your loan will most likely be held against you. The lender could also send your debt to a collections agency, and you could have your tax refund or wages garnished or even be required to repay your overdue balance in a single, immediate lump sum.

Keep in mind, you still owe a payment even if you don’t receive a bill – mail can get stolen or lost, you may forget to change your address after you move, or the lender may put in fine print that it is a paperless company and will never send you a physical bill. Either way, it is your responsibility to contact the lender over the phone or online if you don’t know when your bill is due. Depending on the lender, you may also be able to change your payment due date.

Differences between online lenders and banks

When thinking about getting a loan, it’s worth knowing the difference between types of lenders. Though online lenders and banks both offer a similar product, that’s where the similarities end. From paperwork to loan rates, we recommend reading up on how these two lender types vary so that you can make the smartest decision for your financial needs.

Online lenders: One of the biggest benefits of shopping for a personal loan online is you can easily compare multiple loan options from several lenders at the same time. Additionally, online lenders have less stringent application processes that don’t require as many qualifications. Many don’t even require a hard check on your credit. Online lenders also boast more unsecured options, less paperwork, and quicker approval and funding times, so you can get the money you need fast.

On the other hand, it is easy to get scammed online. With so many loan options at your fingertips, it can quickly become difficult to tell which lenders are trustworthy and which only have their best interests at heart. Once you choose an online lender, you’ll also find that you have limited support options. Whether you have questions about filling out the application or about the loan itself, you’ll only have the communication tools they provide to you. This could be troubling if you don’t understand some of the terminology or their website goes down. Online loans typically also have higher APRs and more fees.

Banks: Getting a loan from a brick-and-mortar bank brings peace of mind. Banks usually offer bigger loans for cheaper, meaning lower APRs and fewer fees. And while online lenders typically only offer unsecured loans, banks usually have secured options as well. Going into a bank to get a loan also means you can get help filling out your application from someone in person. They will also be able to answer more questions and provide helpful support throughout your entire loan process.

The downsides to getting a loan from a bank aren’t many – at least not compared to online lenders. A bank may require more paperwork and have a more rigorous application process. They may pull a hard credit check and ask you to provide more extensive documentation. It usually also takes longer for your loan to get approved and funded through a bank. And you’ll have access to fewer loan options.

Differences aside, what matters most is what you bring to the table. Your qualifications, credit score and history, and total needed loan amount, are all individual factors that help shape the loan offers you quality for. It’s no secret that people with excellent credit scores and a healthy credit history have access to both more loan options and better loan options than those with a poor credit score.

Getting a personal loan through your Credit Union

If a traditional loan doesn’t seem like the perfect fit, check out the personal loan options available to you through a credit union. You can use these loans for pretty much anything, just as you would with a traditional personal loan. Since credit unions are not-for-profit organizations, you can expect to receive a lower interest rate on your loan than you would elsewhere, even if you have an average or poor credit score. Credit unions are member-owned and designed to focus on the needs of their members rather than profits, which is why they can offer lower rates and fees.

Typically, credit unions can offer you secured and unsecured personal loan options. A secured loan requires you to make a deposit as collateral, which the credit union will use to cover its losses should you default on the loan. This type of loan has lower rates than the secured option and may allow you to earn interest on your deposit. An unsecured loan doesn’t require this and is the more common option. No matter which option you choose, however, credit union loan rates are much more affordable than nearly any other option out there.

Your Rights as a consumer

Lenders are legally obligated to provide consumers certain protections. Legal documents are often confusing, and the loan process can be overwhelming. Perhaps you are unsure what questions to ask. Below is a list of your consumer rights and the questions you are entitled to ask. This isn’t a complete list. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website offers some helpful resources in the consumer information section of its website.

Some of your rights include the following:

  • Credit decisions cannot be based on your race, color, gender, national origin or other such identifiers. Credit decisions can, however, be based on your financial status. If you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against, contact your state attorney general’s office.
  • You do not have to reveal your marital status if you are applying for a loan in a non-community property state.
  • Creditors are not allowed to discriminate if you receive public assistance.
  • Within 30 days of applying for a loan, you should receive notification whether you’ve been accepted or rejected.

You have the right to ask for the following:

  • If you are denied your loan request, ask why. There may be information on your credit report you may not be aware of, or there may be incorrect information. You also have the right to obtain a free copy of your credit report.
  • Inquire about the total cost of the loan, including interest, fees and other charges. While a low monthly payment may seem attractive, you may discover, on closer analysis, that it is not in your best interests. For example, some lenders charge fees for processing check payments.
  • Request clarification on any terms or legal language you do not understand. Do not sign any type of legal agreement if you do not fully understand the terms.

Avoiding personal loan scams

Loan scams are real, and you should be wary of offers that seem too good to be true. The FTC and other consumer-rights groups regularly warn consumers about loan scams. Here’s how you can protect yourself:

  • Always be suspicious of unsolicited loan offers. If you receive a phone call or mail you didn’t request, you should be careful.
  • Be wary of lenders that are not interested in your credit history. All legitimate lenders and banks will evaluate your credit history.
  • Verify that the lender you are considering is registered in your state.
  • Do not send any money to a lender that asks you to make a payment upfront before you’ve received your loan funds. Legitimate lenders will not ask you to do that.
  • If you’re using a loan broker, always verify the bank or institution. Do your research. Physical locations, P.O. boxes, etc., should be thoroughly investigated.
  • If you have bad credit and are seeking a personal loan, you’ll need to be extra cautious. That said, there are numerous legitimate lending agencies available to help those with marginal credit. In addition, each state provides free resources to those desiring to improve their credit. In many states, it is the Consumer Credit Counseling Service that can assist you.

How to monitor your credit

Keeping an eye on your credit is important even when you aren’t actively seeking out a personal loan. Monitoring your credit can help you make smarter financial decisions and potentially even help you get qualified for better loans with better rates and terms.

The better your credit is, the more likely you are to be approved for a personal loan, especially one with good rates and terms. Learning about your credit’s health and history can give you an idea of how likely you are to be approved for a loan, or if it’s even a good time for you to be applying for a loan.

There are many ways to monitor your credit, all of which are easy and cost little to nothing. The Federal Trade Commission states that you are entitled to “one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies.” Additionally, most banks and credit cards provide similar services, or you can use a third-party app like Mint, Credit Karma or Wallethub.

Mint helps you track your spending and provides a credit report and education about credit scores. Apps like Credit Karma can provide you with your credit scores from TransUnion and Equifax, with regular updates. They let you view the factors that affect your credit, such as credit card utilization, open accounts, hard inquiries and payment history. These apps can even recommend credit cards and loans tailored to your credit history and help determine if you pre-qualify for them.

Should I get a co-signer for a personal loan?

If you’re applying for a personal loan and aren’t confident you’ll be approved or worry that a low credit score might leave you with a high rate, getting a co-signer can help. Having a co-signer with a higher income or better credit history improves your likelihood of being approved and can get you a better rate and terms.

When looking for a co-signer for a personal loan, you need to keep a few things in mind. First and foremost, your co-signer is a loan guarantor – they appear on all paperwork, and if you fail to make timely payments, they become liable. This means late payments don’t just affect your credit. They affect your co-signer’s credit too. Failing to make payments on time opens your co-signer to liability and could damage your relationship with that person.

Unlike student loans, most personal loans don’t have a co-signer release period. If you want to relieve your co-signer of their responsibilities later on, you need to refinance the loan to remove them as a co-signer. To do this, you need to improve your personal financial situation to the point where you can get approved solo. This means making on-time payments on all your debts, not just your personal loan. Also, improve your debt-to-income ratio by paying down other debts.

Ultimately, the decision to have a co-signer on your loan depends on their willingness to help you and open themselves to liability. If you have friends or family who are willing to help you out, make sure you stay on top of payments to ensure they aren’t left footing your bills.

A home equity loan or line of credit can be an attractive alternative to a personal loan. If you’ve owned your home for a while and have built up significant equity, you may be able to tap into it and get a better rate than you would on a personal loan. Deciding which type of loan to get depends on several factors, including your equity in your home, how much money you need and your credit score.

Typically, you can take out personal loans in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. The limit on a home equity loan depends on your home’s value and how much of the existing mortgage you’ve paid off. Most lenders only lend up to 85 percent of your available loan to value, which is the difference between your loan balance and your home’s current value. So the loan amount will be less than your total equity. If you only need a small sum of money, a personal loan may be the better option. However, you could consider a home equity line of credit – it has the flexibility of a credit card and may have better rates than a personal loan.

Another factor that may guide your decision is your credit score. Personal loans tend to have stricter credit requirements than home equity loans – a poor credit score can affect your rate, loan amount or even your approval. Typically, to get the best rate on a personal loan, you need a credit score in the 700s. Home equity lenders’ credit requirements aren’t as strict. Typically, you can get good approved and even secure a good rate if you have a score in the mid-600s.

One drawback of a home equity loan is the application process is longer than that for a personal loan. The process is similar to the one you go through to get a regular mortgage – you need to have your home appraised, and it can take up to a month to get approved.

Can I use a personal loan to pay for school?

The short answer is yes – you can use a personal loan to cover tuition and other costs associated with higher education. However, there are several reasons this may not be a good choice, especially since rates for both types of loans tend to be comparable if you have good credit.

If you need help paying for school, check with the federal government first. Fill out a FAFSA form to see what aid you’re eligible for. Your credit score isn’t used to determine whether you are eligible for a federal loan, so that isn’t an impediment. In addition, there’s no age limit on a FAFSA, so you can apply for federal aid even if you’re older and considering going to school.

Lenders consider your credit score when you apply for private student loans, and they have higher rates than federal loans. However, they’re available in larger amounts, so a private student loan may be an option if you’ve already taken out $57,500, or $31,000 if someone can claim you as a dependant, from the federal government – the max it allows. To get a good rate on a private student loan, you need a score in the 670 range or better.

It may seem like a good idea to get a personal loan in lieu of a private student loan, but student loans generally have features that make them a better choice. The primary reason to get a student loan to pay for school is you don’t have to make payments until you complete your education, and most have a six-month deferment period. With a personal loan, you need to begin making payments immediately, which can be a problem if you want to focus on your studies and not work while you are in school. Student loans also have a variety of forbearance and deferment options that aren’t available with personal loans.

Best Business Loans

With all the difficulties in today’s economy, many people are choosing to open their own business instead of working for a traditional employer. Whether you’re just starting your business, expanding your already-established business, or even hanging out a shingle as an online company, it’s likely that at some point you’ll need a business loan to successfully meet your customer’s needs and your business goals.

In the past, small business owners relied heavily on traditional brick-and-mortar banks in order to finance their business loans. Often that meant that borrowers had to rely on their own reputation and relationship with their local bank. Getting the lowest possible interest rate was also more challenging, since there were few lending options from which to choose.

Business Loan Reviews

ON DECK

In business since 2007, OnDeck specializes in providing short- and long-term business loans and lines of credit, and has helped more than 50,000 small businesses access the funds they need to grow. For businesses looking to borrow funds with extremely competitive rates, OnDeck is an excellent choice. They earn our highest rating.

FUNDING CIRCLE

Started by small business owners in response to their own frustrations with securing business loans to grow their company, Funding Circle uses peer-to-peer lending to fund small business loans. With no hidden fees, clear interest rates, and an A+ rating as an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau, Funding Circle is a great choice for people seeking business loans.

LENDINGCLUB

LendingClub is a trusted lender for those seeking business loans from $5,000 to $300,000. With very competitive interest rates and an uncomplicated application process, LendingClub is an excellent choice for business owners who need a loan to grow their company.

KABBAGE

Kabbage uses a unique verification system for businesses looking to qualify for a business loan, making the application process incredibly quick and access to funds almost immediate. While their requirements make them unsuitable for startups, and their total loan amount is smaller than some other lenders, their low fees of 12% or less make them an attractive option for established businesses that need a business loan.

NATIONAL FUNDING

With loan options ranging from $5,000 to $500,000, National Funding is one of the only providers of business loans who can meet the needs of companies big and small (as long as you have annual gross sales of at least $100,000). They custom-design a loan specific to each customer, and even have options for those with bad credit. While we’d like to see more details about National Lending’s fees and typical interest rates, a solid reputation with the BBB and ample 5-star ratings from loyal clients indicate that this provider can be trusted to offer business loans that are fair, affordable, and funded in as little as 24 hours.

BALBOA CAPITAL

Serving customers since 1998, California-based Balboa Capital has funded nearly $5 billion in financing solutions since its inception. Though some borrowers have expressed frustration with fees and other fine-print items, Balboa’s A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and established history make them a company to consider when looking for a business loan.

NATIONAL BUSINESS CAPITAL

National Business Capital provides financing to businesses in a variety of industries and credit histories, specializing in helping those who have previously been turned down by banks and other lenders. They maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and have a number of convincing testimonials on their website. Information on their loan terms is hard to come by, and we’d like to see more details with respect to loan amounts, eligibility requirements, and interest rates.

CAN CAPITAL

Georgia-based CAN Capital has been providing business loans for nearly 20 years and maintains a perfect A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. However, interest rates aren’t readily available, and our research indicates that they may be as high as 85%. We recommend that prospective borrowers make sure to calculate their APR before making a commitment to borrow from CAN Capital.

ADVANCED COMMERCIAL CAPITAL

Advanced Commercial Capital is based in St. George, Utah and specializes in a particular type of business loan commonly known as factoring, in which a business sells its outstanding accounts receivable to a financial institution (a “factor”) in order to get cash immediately. While this type of business loan may work for some established businesses, especially those with a physical inventory, Advanced Commercial Capital may not meet the needs of other types of businesses, including startups.

CAPITAL LOAN HUB

Most US-based businesses are likely to feel uncomfortable attempting to secure a loan through Capital Loan Hub. Based in the Caribbean and with no contact information other than an email address and online contact form, Capital Loan Hub serves merely as a referral service to other lenders and doesn’t provide direct funding to businesses. We recommend that you consider one of the proven, trustworthy lenders that rank higher in our reviews.

Fortunately, business owners today can choose among many lenders to find the best terms and interest rates available. In addition to the old local options, small business borrowers now have much more and better choices through various lenders on the Internet that specialize in small business loans.

There are many factors that you should consider before selecting a lender for your business loan. Some of these include:

  • Loan size and rate. How much will you be allowed to borrow? What interest rates do they typically offer on loans of that size?
  • Loan application process. When applying for your business loan, can it be completed online? Is the lending process easy and straightforward?
  • Requirements for business history. Can a brand-new business take out a loan, or is there a minimum time that the business must have been in operation in order to qualify? What other verification and/or collateral is required to secure the loan?
  • BBB rating. Does the lender have an established history of good business practices?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Business Loan programs available today. We hope this information helps you find the best loan for your small business at an affordable rate!

Business Loans In The News

The small business loans are considered an integral part of the $2 trillion government pandemic stimulus efforts since companies with less than 500 employees comprise nearly 50 percent of the American .

Published: Sat, 04 Apr 2020 15:48:00 GMT

Your small or medium-sized business is very likely eligible for direct assistance that Congress has just authorized. Author Micah Solomon draws out noted tax and business attorney Mark W. Schweighofer .

Published: Sat, 04 Apr 2020 17:07:00 GMT

Despite the major problems in implementation, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted Thursday night that the program was up and running with a link to the application guidelines. Final borrower .

Published: Fri, 03 Apr 2020 14:59:00 GMT

As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Virginia and throughout the U.S., businesses owners find themselves in an ever-evolving situation. Small Business Administration loan, but the .

Published: Sat, 04 Apr 2020 20:29:18 GMT

Bank of America was one of the few big banks that began taking applications Friday morning, earning the praise of President Trump. “Great job being done by @BankofAmerica and many community banks .

Published: Fri, 03 Apr 2020 13:26:00 GMT

Small businesses depending on promised federal money to keep them afloat are now finding themselves locked out of much-needed support, thanks to bureaucratic government tangles and confusion at the .

Published: Fri, 03 Apr 2020 21:15:43 GMT

The program that lets small businesses take out forgivable loans to cover payroll and overhead under the new CARES Act was supposed to launch last night, but the rollout has been bumpy.

Published: Fri, 03 Apr 2020 12:15:00 GMT

The Small Business Administration has bumped up to 1% the interest rate lenders may charge small businesses under a $350 billion U.S. relief program after lenders complained that the previous approved .

Published: Fri, 03 Apr 2020 03:51:00 GMT

Colorado lenders face unprecedented asset write-downs and lost revenue from the coronavirus crisis, but some have more exposure than others when it comes to the one segment of the economy taking the .

Published: Thu, 02 Apr 2020 12:21:00 GMT

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