Life happens and sometimes you might need a personal loan to help cover your expenses and get you out of a money crunch quickly. Whether you have to cover medical bills, buy a new air conditioner for your house or consolidate credit card debt, a personal loan can help.
There have never been more options to help you find personal loans and get approved in minutes. Unlike the old days where you had to go to a credit union or bank, now there are tons of options online.
These online lenders have made the costs go down as there are no physical branches. You can elect to use a personal loan company or a peer-to-peer lending company where people will contribute towards your loan.
Even if you have a low credit score there are still tons of great options to help you get started. Plus, getting a personal loan can actually help improve your credit score as you can pay off credit cards instantly.
Our Favorite Personal Loan Companies (In Order)
Credible is one of the best places to start because Credible isn’t actually a lender. Instead, Credible is a marketplace that will do a side-by-side evaluation of the top personal loan lenders for you to see and compare for yourself.
Another bonus is Credible does not charge any fees to use their platform for comparison and your credit score is not affected in anyway when comparing which lender will fit your needs the best.
The one drawback to Credible is although they do have relationships with many of the top lenders, they don’t have relationships with all of them which means your options may be limited.
It’s best to take a look at Credible along with the other direct lenders we have listed below.
Credible is also a great resource for student loan refinancing. The average student saves $18,688 when they refinance their student loan with Credible!
Prosper is different from some of the other personal loan companies as they are a peer-to-peer marketplace. They operate only online and have secured over $12 billion in personal loans since their origination.
Prosper offers personal loans for healthcare financing, debt consolidation, and other reasons.
What to Know About Prosper
Prosper has a few downsides though. All loans are unsecured, the loan amounts only range from $2,000 up to $35,000 and fixed APR can go all the way up to nearly 36% interest. This is incredibly high!
Like Lending Tree, they will pull your credit and other factors using their algorithm to determine your borrower risk. Your interest rate is based on their internal tools. There isn’t a ton of information available about their proprietary software but it’s best to have a higher credit score and a low income to debt ratio.
Some of the benefits of using Prosper include 100% online process and can pre-qualify yourself on their site without affecting your credit score. Of course, if you do go through with a loan a hard credit pull is required.
Should You Use Prosper?
Personally, I think there are better options on this list for personal loans. The loan amounts are relatively small and interest rates can be very high for some individuals.
- Unsecured loan amounts range from $2,000 to $35,000
- No prepayment fees but there is a one-time origination fee to borrowers (all P2P platforms have origination fees unlike other online loan companies)
- Fixed APR from 6.95% to 35.99% which can be very expensive if you have a poor credit score
- Easy online application and free tool to see if you would be a good fit
- Better rates for creditworthy borrowers
- No joint loan applications
SoFi is a relatively new company that was first established in 2011, however they have grown substantially in their last seven years and are now one of the best choices for personal loans in the nation. I’ve used them for life insurance and known several friends to use them for personal loans.
They offer home mortgages, student loan refinancing, parent financing, and student loans under the SoFi name. They offer variable APR and fixed personal loans.
What to Know About SoFi
SoFi is a phenomenal option when it comes to finding a personal loan company. New borrowers can qualify for financing from $5,000 all the way up to $100,000. Their fixed rate APR starts at 6.2% and max out at 15.37%.
While the lowest variable APR rates are 5.9% and can go up to 14.69%. It’s tough to find a better deal in the personal loan industry!
Plus, SoFi has very flexible options as most online lenders only offer fixed-rate loans. SoFi also has something very few, if any of the competitors have with their unemployment protection. If you lose your job and your main source of income after you’ve taken out a loan, you are eligible to receive this protection. They will halt your payments until you find a new job and even helps you find new opportunities in the workplace!
When it comes to payment they have five different payment plans available. You can choose to pay back your unsecured loans within 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 years. The longer plans have a lower APR while shorter plans come with a higher APR. Also, they offer autopay to ensure you never miss a payment.
If you want to get started it’s never been easier with their free application process.
Should You Use SoFi?
- They offer variable and fixed APRs personal loans
- The application process is completely free
- They offer no prepayment penalty
- Loan amounts up to $100,000 (highest amount on this list)
- Generous repayment term options: (5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 years)
- Five different payment plans (3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 years)
Lightstream is another personal loan company to help you pay for unexpected expenses. The only thing you can’t use your Lightstream for is business loans and post-secondary education loans.
What to Know About Lightstream
Lightstream is part of SunTrust Bank which has been around for over 100 years and has a lot of different personal loan options. If you have a high credit score, then Lightstream is a great option to help you secure a low-interest loan.
Lightstream offers loan terms from 2-7 years with interest rates as low as 3%! Even on the higher end the rates only go up to around 14%. If you choose to sign up for autopay you can get an even slightly lower rate.
As far as loan amounts they also offer some of the highest available of all online loan companies. The loans start at $5,000 and range up to $100,000!
The best part? They have essentially no fees on any of their loans. You won’t’ have to pay an origination fee or service fee like a lot of the others on this list.
Should You Use Lightstream?
If you have good enough credit to qualify for Lightstream, they are one of the best personal loan companies available!
- Loans range from $5,000 up to $100,000 (which is tied with SoFi for highest loan amount of any companies on this list)
- Loan terms from 2-7 years (bigger loans and longer terms than most online loan companies)
- Some of the lowest APR available! These can range from 3-14% APR
- No prepayment penalties, no origination fees, and no service fees
- They offer a “Rate Beat Program” if you meet the specified criteria, something no other loan company on the list provided
5. Lending Club
Like Prosper, Lending Club is another P2P (peer-to-peer) personal loan lending platform. They are headquartered in San Francisco and connect borrowers and investors across the United States. Unfortunately, if you live in Iowa or West Virginia you are not allowed to apply.
Most of the loans from Lending Club are unsecured loans and can be used for almost any purpose.
What to Know About Lending Club
Lending Club will allow borrowers to receive a loan that ranges between $1,000 and $40,000. Also like Prosper, they have an internal risk assessment that will weigh information about the borrower to determine the APR.
Once you submit all your information you are given a score that ranges from A to G. A is the safest borrower and G is the riskiest borrower. If you are in an “A” your rates can be as low as 6% which is very competitive among personal loan companies and peer to peer lenders. Good luck if you are “G” according to the risk investment tool as interest rates can go as high as nearly 40%!
Investors in Lending Club can choose if they want to play it safe with someone who receives a top grade or take more risk (and reward) by choosing someone who is deemed less risky. Loan terms range as well but can extend up to 60 months. They do not charge prepayment penalties and also allows for joint applications if you are applying with someone else.
Should You Use Lending Club?
LendingClub is a great non-traditional choice for your personal loan if you have a high enough credit score. Otherwise, like Prosper, your interest rates can be nearly double of some of the highest credit card providers and probably not worth a personal loan.
- Loans that will range from $1,000 to $40,000
- Fixed rate loans only with rates that range from 5.99% to roughly 36%
- Origination fees differ according to your risk grade after submitting all the necessary paperwork (the riskier the higher your origination fee will be)
- Loan terms up to five years but they never have prepayment penalties if you want to pay off early
- Joint applications are allowed (not as common as you’d think for loan companies)
6. Best Egg
Best Egg is a traditional personal loan company that has competitive interest rates to help you pay for debt consolidations, home improvements, credit card refinancing or just about anything else. The company is very reputable and has received an A+ rating with the BBB and loaned over $4 billion to borrowers.
What to Know About Best Egg
Best Egg makes the process to apply for a personal loan very simple. Within a few minutes, you can check your rate without having your credit score impacted and receive your money within one to two business days!
They don’t offer quite the flexibility of other lenders and only offer three or five-year repayment terms. But you can borrow between $2,000 and up to $50,000.
The interest rates can be low if you have a good credit score but up to 30% if you don’t have a high enough credit score. Plus, they have high origination fees for their loans. The origination fee can be between 1-6% of the total loan value, which can add up for a higher amount loan!
One of the main perks is that you can always pay off your loan early and can receive your money quickly. If you’re in a pinch and need money the next day this is a great personal loan option!
Should You Use Best Egg?
Best Egg has some perks like checking your rate quickly but a few big disadvantages. The biggest one being the origination fee which can be a ton of money depending on your total loan amount.
- Limited, fixed terms of 3 or 5 years are available
- Loan amounts can range up to $50,000 if you have high enough credit scores
- There are no prepayment penalties or hidden fees except an origination fee that can be as high as 6%
- APR can range from 5.99% – 29.99% depending on your credit score
- Can receive the loan quickly once the free application is completed
Payoff is a California based personal loan, peer-to-peer online lender. Their main focus is helping borrowers get out of credit card debt with a lower interest loan.
What to Know About Payoff
If you choose Payoff to secure your personal loan you can expect a fixed APR between 8 and 25%. The actual rates are lower at roughly 5.94% and 22.6%. The total amount you can borrow ranges from $5,000 for the smallest and up to $35,000.
Loan payment terms are between two and five years. Like other peer-to-peer lenders, you will an origination fee that is dependent on your loan term length. If you choose a 24-month loan you receive a 2% fee, a 36-month loan is 3%, 48 months is 4% and 60 months is 5%. The only bit of good news from the origination fee is that it is the only fee you pay.
They also offer no prepayment penalties and no other fees besides the one-time origination fee. Payoff will also help you if you find yourself unemployed or have other financial hardships. Plus, they don’t have any late fees on payments!
Lastly, they go above and beyond with services to help you like monthly credit monitoring, resume review, and even offer interview advice. That is great service for an online loan company!
Should You Use Payoff?
Payoff has some perks that other peer-to-peer lenders just can’t match. They will help you during financial hardship, don’t have late fees, and overall a ton of flexibility.
The last thing you should know about Payoff personal loans is that you need a credit score of at least 660. This is the highest amount needed compared to other peer-to-peer lenders.
- Loan amounts range from $5,000 to $35,000
- APR from 8.00% – 25.00%
- Loan purpose is limited only to debt consolidation (mainly to pay off credit cards)
- All origination fees vary according to length of loan term
Avant is another traditional personal loan provider that operates in the US but only in select states. Like Lending Tree and Prosper, they evaluate your trustworthiness based on their internal system. If you do choose Avant you don’t have to use the loan just for debt consolidation like other lenders.
What to Know About Payoff
Avant is pretty standard compared with other online loan companies. They only offer fixed APR rates that are a very high 9.95% even if you have excellent credit. If you have worse credit and aren’t deemed as trustworthy might have to pay up to 36% interest!
Should You Use Avant?
Avant is pretty standard when compared to other online loan companies and allows you to get a loan with a credit score as low as 580.
- Unsecured loans that will range from $2,000 to $35,000
- Loan terms will range from 2-5 years
- APR’s that will range from 9.95% to roughly 36%
- Loan terms up to 5 years and all loans never have prepayment penalties
- There is an origination fee of 4.75%, regardless of loan term length and amount
Marcus Personal Loans is another great option for personal loans as they are a division of the famed Goldman Sachs. This division is even named after the co-founder, Marcus Goldman. This division of the company is relatively new and was originated in 2016.
What to Know About Marcus Personal Loans
If you choose Marcus Personal Loans you can receive loans from $3,500 all the way up to $40,000. Their APR rates range drastically on your credit score. The lowest fixed cost loan is 6.99% and the highest personal loan goes up to 24.99%. Marcus Personal Loans are limited with their term options, only offering terms between three and six years.
One of the biggest benefits of using Marcus Personal Loans is that they don’t charge you late fees if you miss a payment. Instead, you are only penalized by paying interest for the number of days you missed. This is a huge benefit and can be crucial if you forget a payment!
Making this error on a credit card would hurt your score substantially and have outrageous late fees. Plus, the online application process is very simple.
You submit your free application and they do a soft credit check, not a hard check initially like other lenders. This ensures that you are qualified, don’t take the credit hit, and see what type of rate you qualify for.
Lastly, you can also customize your monthly loan amount and payments to make sure it works best for you! This is very rare in the personal loan industry.
Should You Use Marcus Personal Loans?
- They offer no prepayment penalty and other hidden fees
- Loan amounts up to $50,000
- Customizable repayment terms
- Several different payment plans between 3-6 years
Upgrade is a brand new personal loan company that was founded in 2017. While it is new, two of the creators helped co-found Lending Club. This a great option if your credit score isn’t perfect. Upgrade requires that your credit score is at least 620 and bases your eligibility beyond just your credit score.
What to Know About Upgrade
Unlike a lot of the competitors listed, Upgrade evaluates your trustworthiness on your amount of free cash flow each month. To be eligible for a personal loan you must have $1,000 after all of your bills are paid.
There isn’t much customization with Upgrade. You can choose from a 36 or 60-month term length. Plus, your interest payments can range greatly. On the low end, Upgrade is around 7% and the high end 36%!
One of the biggest positives to getting a loan through Upgrade is their payment reduction option. If you are suffering from a financial emergency they will temporarily or permanently change your monthly loan payments. Also, they offer a credit monitoring software that will show you how to improve your credit.
Should You Use Upgrade?
This is a great option if you don’t have a very high credit score and you have a high monthly income.
- Potentially very high-interest rates (up to 36%)
- They offer no prepayment penalty and other hidden fees
- Loan amounts up to $50,000
- Payment terms of 3 or 6 years (no customization)
- Free credit monitoring tool which can be useful to improve your score for any future loans
11. Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank is a full-service bank that offers an array of financial products. They offer traditional things like mortgage, student loans, savings, checking and even personal loans. Unlike other personal loan lenders, they also have physical locations as they are the 13th biggest bank in the US.
What to Know About Citizens Bank
As they are a traditional bank they offer very traditional lending services. Their unsecured loans can range from $5,000 all the way up to $50,000. While $50,000 is a lot, it’s only half of some of the lenders on this list.
Some of the benefits of using Citizens Bank includes no application, origination, prepayment or distribution fees. Like other lenders, they offer autopay and a smartphone App to help you manage your loan better.
One of the biggest benefits of using Citizens Bank for personal loans is that you can have a cosigner help you secure the loan. Even if you have applied and been rejected you can apply with a cosigner. If you choose a qualified cosigner they will only use their credit score to help you get the loan.
Should You Use Citizens Bank?
Overall, Citizens Bank has a ton of benefits to help you with a personal loan. Two of the biggest perks are physical locations and the ability to have a cosigner.
- Loans amounts that range from $5,000 up to $50,000
- APR rates from 5.99% to 18.99% on personal loans (some of the best on this list)
- Terms vary from 36 to 84 months (some of the longest on this list)
- No account fees ever (including no prepayment penalties)
- Physical branch locations available throughout the United States
- Ability to use a cosigner even if you have been rejected (one of the only loan companies on this list)
12. Lending Point
Lendingpoint is another decent option if you have a low credit score and low monthly income. They specialize in helping you get a loan if your credit score is over 600 and earn at least $20,000 per year.
To help them determine your trustworthiness they will also look at your outstanding debts, bankruptcies, employment status, and other factors.
What to Know About LendingPoint
LendingPoint will help if you’re in desperate need but the APR is so high it’s hard to recommend this as a great option. The lowest APR is around 17% interest rate and can range all the way to 35%.
The term lengths are relatively short as well and range between 2-4 years. One benefit is that Lendingpoint does offer an option for two scheduled monthly payments instead of one.
Should You Use LendingPoint?
If you live in one of the 28 states that LendingPoint operates from it’s an okay option but I recommend looking at other options from this list first.
- Loans ranging from $3,500 up to $20,000
- Very high APR rates that will range from 17-35%
- Terms vary from 36 to 84 months
Discover has a personal loan division that offers personal loans and a few options that aren’t available by other lenders.
What to Know About Discover Personal Loans
Discover offers personal loans with interest rates starting as low as 6.99% APR. They also have flexible term lengths that range from 3-7 years.
The best part? They offer “lenders remorse.” If you decide that you don’t want the loan anymore they will let you return the entire amount with no hidden fees within 30 days of the loan origination.
Should You Use Discover?
- No upfront fees and loans ranging up to $35,000
- APR rates that will range from 7-25%
- Terms vary from 36 to 84 months
- Get your money fast (usually 2-3 business days)
Freedom Plus is a great loan company if you have a high credit score (over 720) and earn over $30,000 annually. To be eligible you also must have a debt to income ratio of under 40%.
What to Know About FreedomPlus
FreedomPlus has the highest minimum loan amount of $10,000. The interest rates are decent and range from 4.99% to 29.99%. The major downside to Freedom Plus is the origination fee which can be as high as 5% and is dependent on your location, not the total loan amount.
Should You Use Freedom Plus?
- Loans ranging from $10,000 and up to $35,000
- APR rates as low as 5%
- Terms vary from 24 to 60 months
- No prepayment penalties
Peerform is a P2P (peer-to-peer) platform that is a good idea if you have an average credit. It is very comparable to Lending Tree and other P2P platforms.
What to Know About Peerform
As you don’t need as good of credit the loan amounts aren’t quite as high. The highest you can borrow is $25,000 and every loan has a three year term length with no exceptions.
Should You Use Peerform?
- Loans ranging up to $25,000
- APR rates as low as 6%
- Set terms for any loan amount of 3 years
- No prepayment penalties
How a Personal Loan Saves You Thousands of Dollars
Let’s assume you have $15,000 in credit card debt at an average interest rate of 20%.
Now, let’s say you want to pay it all off in 2 years (or less) because debt sucks and you’re over it!
This means you would have to make $763 monthly payments for two years, which totals to $18,322 ($15,000 in principle payments and $3,322 in interest).
Now, let’s say you go through a site like Credible and find a personal loan with a 10% interest rate on a 2-year term.
Your new payment would lower from $763/month to $692/month ($71/month savings) and the total interest paid would lower from $3,222 to $1,612 (a $1,610 savings!)
Now, let’s assume you have a better credit score and you are approved for a 6.2% interest rate with SoFi bank.
The new savings is $97/month in payments and your overall interest savings in the two years it takes you to pay off the personal loan is a whopping $2,234!
|Interest Rate||Total Interest Saved|
|10% APR||$1,610 and $71/month in payments|
|6.2% APR||$2,234 and $97/month in payments|
Frequently Asked Questions About Personal Loans
What is a personal loan?
A personal loan is an unsecured loan where you don’t need to provide any collateral to secure the loan as you would for a down payment for a mortgage. You can use personal loans for a variety of reasons unless otherwise specified by the provider.
Fixed vs variable interest rate?
A fixed rate means the rate is fixed and will not change for the entire term of the loan. A variable rate on the other hand means just that – it’s a rate that can change.
I would always recommend you choose a fixed rate because it will allow you to easily budget for the same amount each month. The variable rate will always look better and almost always starts off with a lower interest rate than the fixed rate loan.
This is is because you are taking on more risk with the possibility of the rate going up. When the risk is transferred away from the lender and onto you, the benefit is the lower rate.
With that said, a variable rate may be a good idea if you KNOW you will pay the loan off BEFORE the change in rate will go in effect.
What is a personal loan used for?
Some of the most commons reasons to take out a personal loan include:
- Home improvements
- Refinancing high-interest credit card debt
- Starting a small business
- Refinancing high-interest student loan debt
- Medical expenses
Unless otherwise specified, you can use the loan however you choose best for your financial situation.
The biggest reason people use personal loans is to refinance high-interest debt and it can save you huge amounts of money! For example, if you have a lot of credit card debt that is at 15 or 20% interest and can get a personal loan for 5-8% you will be savings tons of money on interest!
Another great reason to access a personal loan is to help pay off your high-interest, student loan debt.
How to apply for a personal loan?
When it comes to applying for a personal loan you have two main options, credit unions and online lenders like the ones mentioned above.
This might be more work when applying for a personal loan but it can help save you big on interest rates. Normally you would go in and speak with a loan officer at a credit union and go through the full process which is more time consuming than online.
If you have bad to average credit score this might not be the best option as credit unions tend to have the highest financial requirements.
For online lenders and peer-to-peer options log onto their homepage with the links above and go through the signup process. Often times it’s much quicker than going to a credit union and they tend to have lower requirements. Depending on which institution you might even be able to access the cash the next day!
How can I improve my chances of being approved for a personal loan?
Before you apply for a personal loan I highly recommend that you try to increase your credit score as much as possible. Your credit score tends to be the biggest factor when it comes to securing the lowest interest rate.
After you’ve done what you can for your credit score I recommend trying to pay down any credit cards if possible. The lower your debt to income ratio, the better grade you will receive from peer-to-peer lending companies. Remember, these companies don’t just base your loan off of credit score but also other factors.
Are there any other good resources for personal loans?
Yes, there are other websites that aren’t directly personal loan companies but can help you find great loans.
- Personalloans.com – A search engine that helps you find cheap loans as low as $500 total loan amount!
- Evenfinancial.com – This tool makes it easy to compare a lot of the loan companies on this list in one place.
Summary of Best Personal Loan Companies
Before choosing a personal loan provider make sure you absolutely need the money.
I definitely don’t recommend taking a personal loan out for a fancy vacation, new clothes, a bigger TV, or anything like that. Make sure you have a plan for your personal loan which involves you saving money instead of paying more interest over time.
Bottom line: Only use a personal loan to improve your financial situation.
And while there are a ton of online personal loan platforms, keep in mind some of them can have pricey origination fees, high interest rates, and strict pay off terms. Make sure you read all the fine print before you hit submit.
With that said, if you do choose to get a personal loan, understand that your credit score will have a huge impact on your ability to get the lowest interest rate with the best loan terms.
Lastly, make sure you are 100% clear on the terms before you sign up for a personal loan. Shop around with some of the sites provided to ensure you get the lowest APR and payment terms that work best for you.
Have you ever used a personal loan service? What was your experience like?
Please let us know in the comments!
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