Best Personal Loans: Rates, Fees, & Terms

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Personal loans can be a great way to access funds you need without paying too much in interest or fees. Each lender offers different interest rates and origination fees. Knowing what options you have and how to qualify will help you get the best deal.

Here are the best personal loans for everyone, including those with good credit, bad credit, or even no credit.

Best Personal Loans

Best Overall Personal Loan
Upgrade Loans
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Upgrade Personal Loans
  • Est. APR
    5.94% - 35.47%
  • Min. Credit Score
    560
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  • Loan Details

Upgrade offers a fast personal loan process for borrowers with good credit. You can get funds in as little as one day in some cases. Upgrade offers personal loan tools to help you improve your credit score once you pay off your high-interest debt or take care of other financial issues.

They have flexible underwriting guidelines, allowing borrowers with debt-to-income ratios as high as 75% to qualify. But, beware, there is an origination fee which decreases the amount of money you receive from the proceeds. The origination fee is deducted from your loan amount before disbursement.

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Best for Debt Consolidation
Payoff Debt Consolidation Loan
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Payoff Debt Consolidation
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 24.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    640
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  • Loan Details

Payoff isn’t a direct lender – they are a middleman between you and potential lenders to help you find the perfect loan. They do charge an origination fee to cover the cost of their services, and their lenders only lend money for one purpose – paying off other debts. The loan is for good credit borrowers, and they help you manage your finances and get on a better track, so you don’t have unsecured credit card debt hanging over your head.

To qualify, you’ll need a 3-year credit history, max 50% debt-to-income ratio, at least $1,000 in disposable income, and no recent delinquencies.

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Best Personal Loan for Little Credit History
Upstart Personal Loan Offers
Upstart Personal Loans
  • Est. APR
    5.38% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    Varies
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  • Loan Details

Upstart is a great option for those with little to no credit but a bright financial future. They look at your education and job history to determine your ability to afford the loan. Your credit score plays a role, but even if you have a low credit score or no credit, you may still get approved. If you qualify, Upstart can fund your loan fast (within one day) and even pay your creditors directly if you’re using the money for debt consolidation.

The requirements to qualify are simple. You must make at least $12,000 per year, be at least 18 years old, have a part-time or full-time job, and own a personal bank account.

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Best for Online Personal Loans + Funding Times
SoFi Online Personal Loans
SoFi Personal Loans
  • Est. APR
    4.99% – 19.63%
  • Min. Credit Score
    680
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

If you have great credit and solid employment, SoFi can be a good option. Its rates are low, especially if you set up autopay, and they have flexible payment dates so you can fit the loan in your budget. SoFi doesn’t charge origination fees, which means you get the entire loan amount versus the net amount minus an origination fee.

You do need good credit and solid employment history to qualify, but co-applicants are allowed. If you have a short credit history, you may still qualify if your history has all on-time payments.

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Best for Home Improvement Loans
LightStream Online Personal Loans
LightStream Personal Loans
  • Est. APR
    4.49% - 20.49%
  • Min. Credit Score
    660
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  • Loan Details

LightStream offers more flexible options for borrowers with good credit. You can lower your rate by 0.5% if you set up autopay, and if you use the funds for home improvement, a pool, or installing solar panels, you can take a term of up to 12 years in some cases.

LightStream also has a ‘low-rate guarantee.’ If you find a rate lower than they offer you and can prove the offer with the same terms offered to you by LightStream, they’ll beat it by 0.1%. LightStream also charges no fees, including origination, late fees, or prepayment penalties.

To qualify, you must demonstrate a strong credit score, the ability to save money, and enough income to cover all your debts, including the new loan.

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Best for Traditional Personal Loans
Marcus Best Personal Loans
Marcus by Goldman Sachs
  • Est. APR
    6.99% - 19.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    660
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

With no origination fees, it’s more affordable to secure a loan with Marcus by Goldman Sachs, but you’ll need good credit to qualify. In addition, they offer an on-time payments reward that may come in handy. If you have at least 12 on-time payments, you can defer one payment but without accruing more interest on the unpaid balance. This can help if you experience unexpected expenses or miss income for a short period.

The process is entirely online and goes fast, so you can get the money you need quickly. If you have good credit, an open checking account, and can prove your employment and affordable debt-to-income ratio, you may be able to take advantage of Marcus’s low rates.

Best for Quick Funding Times
Rocket Personal Loans
Rocket Loans
  • Est. APR
    5.97% - 29.69%
  • Min. Credit Score
    580
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Rocket Loans offers personal loans through Cross River Bank. They have low credit score requirements making it easier for low credit applicants to get approved. They fund personal loans fast, and they offer a user-friendly dashboard to manage your loan.

Like Rocket Mortgage, Rocket Loans has an exemplary reputation for great customer service, and the process itself is simple. We also like the fact that you can secure a loan for as little as $2,000. Most personal loan lenders require much higher loan amounts.

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Best for Traditional Personal Loans
Discover Personal Loans
Discover Personal Loans
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 24.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    660
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

If you already work with Discover with a credit card or banking, it makes sense to get a personal loan through them too. They don’t charge an origination fee, so you keep all the funds that you borrow, which is a nice feature.

They do require good or even great credit, and you’ll pay a late fee if you miss a payment, but their customer service is outstanding, and they make it easy to manage all of your Discover accounts in one place.

To qualify, in addition to good credit, you’ll need a household income of at least $40,000.

Best for Bad Credit
Avant Best Personal Loans
Avant Personal Loans
  • Est. APR
    9.95% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    580
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  • Loan Details

Avant personal loans are good for borrowers with bad credit. They offer the option to consolidate your debt or take care of financial emergencies without having great credit. While you’ll pay an administrative fee, it’s better than paying late fees or having a collection for bills you cannot pay.

They offer fast access to your funds and loan terms for as long as 5 years. The interest rates may be higher, but that’s to make up for the lower credit scores they allow.

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Best for Co-Borrowers
LendingClub Best Personal Loan
LendingClub Personal Loans
  • Est. APR
    7.04% - 35.89%
  • Min. Credit Score
    600
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

LendingClub is a peer-to-peer lender, which means you have more options to get financed. LendingClub rates your qualifications based on their criteria, and then individual investors decide whether or not they’ll invest in you.

While the interest rates are higher, you have a better chance of securing a loan through LendingClub because of its unique setup versus going to a lender directly if you have bad credit. It’s easy to apply for the loan online, and you’ll typically get an answer quickly too.

We also like how easy it is to secure even a low loan amount, as most lenders have a $5,000 minimum.

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Best for Low Rates
Best Egg Loans
Best Egg Personal Loans
  • Est. APR
    5.99% - 29.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    640
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

Best Egg is for high-income borrowers with great credit. While you could get a loan with a lower credit score or less income, it will be at a much higher rate than you could elsewhere. Meet their requirements, though, and you’ll have attractive terms and fast funds.

You can borrow up to $50,000 with Best Egg which means you’ll have access to funds you need for your personal finance needs. Best Egg does a soft credit check to prequalify you for a loan, and you’ll do best if you have a credit score of at least 700.

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Best for Fast Funding Times
OneMain Financial Best Personal Loans
OneMain Financial Loans
  • Est. APR
    18% - 35.99%
  • Min. Credit Score
    660
  • Learn More
  • Loan Details

OneMain Financial may work with borrowers with low credit scores if you can demonstrate the ability to repay their loan on time. You can have a joint applicant to make it easier to qualify, and you also get to choose your payment date.

If you’re doing debt consolidation, OneMain will pay your creditors directly, taking the burden off you. Most borrowers get their funds the same day, and you can borrow as little as $1,500, but the upper limits are lower than most at $20,000.

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How to Compare the Best Personal Loans

Before you choose the best personal loans for your situation, know what to look for and how to compare them.

#1. Interest Rates

The interest rate is the fee charged for borrowing the money. It’s not the only factor that determines loan affordability, but it’s an important factor. You’ll have your best chances at securing the lowest interest rate if you have good credit, a low debt-to-income ratio, and enough income to cover your current obligations plus the new loan.

#2. Fees

Not all lenders charge fees on a personal loan, so make sure to shop around. Don’t assume you must pay an origination fee. Check with some lenders that don’t charge one and see if you qualify. If you pay an origination fee, the money comes right out of your loan proceeds, leaving you with less money in hand.

Some lenders charge lower interest rates but higher origination fees. Look at the big picture – how much the loan costs over its lifetime to determine if it makes more sense to take a higher interest rate or higher origination fee.

#3. Funding Times

Think about how fast you need the funds. If your need is immediate, you should look at lenders offering same-day or next-day funding. Some lenders take up to a week to disburse funds, so keep that in mind as you shop around.

#4. Loan Amounts

Every personal loan lender has a different loan amount minimum and maximum. If you only need a small amount, you’ll have fewer options since most lenders start their minimum at $5,000. On the other hand, you may also be limited if you need a higher loan amount as some lenders max out at $20,000 – $35,000.

#5. Eligibility Requirements

Every personal loan lender has different eligibility requirements. Some require a specific credit score or debt-to-income ratio. Others require a certain amount of monthly income or disposable income (money that’s free after you pay your bills).

Read the eligibility requirements carefully and determine if you meet them. You may still get approved if you don’t, but at a higher interest rate or origination fee. Look for lenders with qualification requirements you can meet, so you limit your overall costs.

What Are the Advantages of Personal Loans?

You have many options to secure funds when you’re in need, but there are many advantages to a personal loan over other options, including a home equity loan, payday loan, or credit card advance.

Fixed-Rates

Personal loans have fixed interest rates which means the rate you get when you close is the only rate you pay. You don’t have to worry about your rate adjusting and your payment increasing. You’ll always know the payment required for your personal loan.

Fixed Monthly Payments

Because all personal loans have fixed rates, they have fixed monthly payments too. This makes it much easier to budget and ensure you can make your payments on time.

Loan Amounts

Personal loans have higher loan amounts than some other options, especially a payday loan or credit card advance. You don’t have to worry about using the equity in your home to get the higher loan amounts, either.

Better Choice than Credit Cards

Credit card interest rates are astronomical, and if you miss a payment, you’ll be even further up a creek. Personal loans have lower interest rates, and the interest doesn’t accrue daily like a credit card.

Don’t Need Collateral

Unlike a home equity loan, you don’t need collateral for a personal loan. A few lenders offer a secured loan option that may help get your rate down, but collateral isn’t necessary for the most part.

What Are the Disadvantages of Personal Loans?

Like any personal finance tool, there are downsides to personal loans that you should understand before making a choice.

High-Interest Rates (Depends on Your Credit)

If you have a low credit score, low income, or a high debt-to-income ratio, you may pay an inflated interest rate. The rates on personal loans can get as high as 35%, so always read the fine print and improve your qualifying factors before applying for a personal loan.

Origination Fees

Many lenders charge origination fees, which can range from 1% – 8% of your loan amount. This means $10 – $80 for every $1,000 you borrow. Since the fee comes out of your loan proceeds, you’ll walk away with less money than you applied for.

Credit Check

All lenders pull your credit to determine your eligibility for a personal loan. Some don’t do a hard credit pull to prequalify you, though, so if you’re shopping around, ask if they do a soft or hard credit pull before choosing them.

More Debt

A personal loan is exactly as it sounds – a loan. If you’re trying to get out of debt, a personal loan only adds to it or moves your debt around if you’re using it for debt consolidation. You’ll still accrue interest and pay fees for the debt.

What Can a Personal Loan be Used For?

You can usually use a personal loan for just about anything, but there are some exceptions. Common uses of a personal loan include:

  • Debt consolidation
  • Paying for a wedding or vacation
  • Home improvements
  • Medical expenses
  • Emergency expenses
  • Funeral expenses

Most lenders don’t allow you to use personal loan funds to pay for college, refinance student loans, illegal activities, or gambling.

When Does a Personal Loan Make Sense?

A personal loan makes sense when you’ve exhausted all other opportunities to secure the funds you need with no luck. If you’re considering taking a credit card advance or payday loan, a personal loan often makes more sense, especially since there are so many options, including those for people with bad credit.

How Much Can You Borrow with a Personal Loan?

The amount you can borrow with a personal loan varies by lender. Some lenders allow loans up to $20,000, and others offer loans as high as $50,000 or more.

Where Can I Get a Personal Loan?

Personal loans are available at brick-and-mortar banks, online lenders, and peer-to-peer lenders. Who you use depends on your qualifying factors and how comfortable you are working online. If you don’t mind applying for a loan and dealing with the bank personnel mostly online, you’ll usually find your best interest rates and lowest fees that way.

What Factors Do Lenders Consider for Personal Loans?

Lenders look at the big picture when you apply for a persona loan. They want to know how likely you are to repay the loan if they approve you. They look at your credit score, income, current debts, debt-to-income ratio, and employment.

Not all lenders look at every factor – some put more emphasis on certain factors than others. It just depends on which lender you choose.

How Much Will a Personal Loan Cost?

Some lenders charge nothing for a personal loan. They rely on the interest you pay to make a profit on your loan. Other lenders, typically those accepting low credit scores or high DTIs, charge an origination fee or administrative fee. This is a percentage of your loan amount that they charge upfront, along with interest charged on your loan.

Are Personal Loans Safe to Use?

As long as you work with a reputable bank or lender, personal loans are safe. Before you take out a loan, do your research. Ensure the lender is legit and that you’re taking out the personal loan for the right reasons. Don’t take out a loan just to have the money. Make sure you have a real reason to need the funds and that you’re using them responsibly.

Summary of the Best Personal Loan Rates

  • Upgrade: Best Overall Personal Loan
  • Payoff: Best for Debt Consolidation
  • Upstart: Best Personal Loan for Little Credit History
  • SoFi: Best for Online Personal Loans + Funding Times
  • LightStream: Best Personal Loan for Home Improvements
  • Marcus by Goldman Sachs: Best Traditional Personal Loan
  • Rocket Loans: Best Personal Loan for Quick Funding Times
  • Discover: Best Traditional Personal Loan
  • Avant: Best Personal Loan for Bad Credit
  • LendingClub: Best Personal Loan for Co-Borrowers
  • Best Egg: Best Personal Loan for Low Rates
  • OneMain Financial: Best for Fast Funding Times

Bottom Line: Best Personal Loans

The best personal loans are the ones that get you the money you need the fastest and at the lowest rates and fees. Shop around to find the best deal for you, and make sure you read the fine print to understand the full cost of the loan.

Kim Pinnelli
Kim Pinnelli
Kim is a personal finance expert with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been freelance writing for 13 years for a number of large publications. Kim thoroughly enjoys helping people take charge of their personal finances.